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AdWeek names Fallon "top shop" in Minnesota

Advertising industry publication AdWeek recently selected one "top shop" per state, factoring in notable clients, legacy, reputation, and employee count, and Minneapolis-based Fallon got the nod for Minnesota.
In choosing the agencies, the magazine noted that each top shop is "the one you can't help but admire, or envy. The one where you'd like to work—or if you're lucky, where you do work...The one that, more often than not, just gets it right."
Contenders were limited to agencies that were actually founded in their respective states, giving homegrown shops an advantage over the satellite offices of the big networks.
First established in 1981, Fallon has been notable for high-profile campaigns, as well as for spawning several other agencies in the Twin Cities, as Fallon-trained entrepreneurs start their own firms.

Minneapolis in second place nationally for bicycle commuting

In Minneapolis, biking or walking to work is becoming increasingly commonplace, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

The survey shows that 6.9 percent of Minneapolis residents walked to work in 2012, which was an uptick from 5.8 percent in 2011, according to city materials. Another 4.5 percent of residents biked to work, over 3.4 percent the year before.  

“While these estimates are within the margin of error, they show that pedestrian and bicycle commuting in Minneapolis is holding steady and likely growing,” a city web post reads. 

The city “has the second highest per capita bicycle commuting and ninth highest pedestrian commuting” of major US cities, it states. 

Metro Transit adds wi-fi to Northstar Line

Metro Transit recently added a service for commuters on its Northstar Line, which takes people between downtown Minneapolis and Big Lake during rush hours: It debuted wi-fi access on Monday, the Star Tribune reports

The complimentary wi-fi will work on at least one train car for each trip, which will be labeled, according to the Star Tribune blog post. That will usually be the “cab car,” at the end of the train.

Metro Transit spokesperson Brian Lamb is quoted in the piece, saying, "Due to the longer distances traveled on commuter rail, Northstar service is a great match for wi-i.”

Besides wi-fi access, passengers can listen to Minnesota Public Radio’s “Sound Point,” which provides historical background about the areas the train traverses. 

Four Minnesota companies land on list of most innovative businesses

Online technology publication InformationWeek recently released its annual list of 250 companies that excel at utilizing information technology, and four Minnesota-based businesses got a nod.
Eden Prairie-based Virtual Radiologic came in at no. 15 on the list, with Minnetonka-based Digital River at no. 129. Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis, is at 192nd, and Ramsey-based Vision-Ease Lens squeaked in at no. 233.
The magazine looked at U.S. companies that boasted a revenue of $250 million or more, and contenders were required to complete an application that articulated their business technology strategies. Applicants even had to do an essay submission, which must have left many CEOs recalling their college application days.
In unveiling the list, InformationWeek's Editor in Chief, Rob Preston, noted that every enterprise is now a digital business, or needs to become one fast. "The organizations in our ranking are leading the way," he stated.

Target gets buzz for its unique Simplicity Challenge contest

As the popularity of the Minnesota Cup demonstrates, innovation challenges are becoming a definite trend, and now Target is getting into the mix.
As reported by MedCity News and other news outlets, the company recently announced two contests aimed at boosting innovation in healthcare.
The Target Simplicity Challenge will reward the creators of the winning ideas $25,000 apiece, and offer them the chance to partner with Target on developing the concepts. One contest will focus on solutions that help people make positive lifestyle and preventative care choices, while the other will focus on helping people live well with chronic conditions.
MedCity News notes that Target wants small, simple ideas that can substantively solve problems outlined in the contest. The company announced the challenges at the Mayo Clinic Transform Symposium

Local author gets early press for forthcoming title

RT Book Reviews, which shares information about forthcoming titles in a column called "Forewords," recently gave a shout-out to a local author in its nonfiction category. 

Margret Aldrich, who used to work for the Utne Reader magazine, “is ready to celebrate the new miniature library craze with The Little Free Library Book, a collection of stories, images, and tips,” the column reads. 

Her book is expected to come out next spring, it states.  

Forewords draws from the “web team’s most-anticipated upcoming releases across the genres,” just as projects are announced. 

Minnesota chef lands Food Network show

Amy Thielen, a Minnesotan, is leading a new TV show on the Food Network, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.

The show, titled “Heartland Table,” will first air this Saturday. 

“Heartland Table” features Thielen cooking at her home in Two Inlets, a rural area north of Park Rapids. 

“The show gives viewers a look at the former Manhattan chef's recipes for Midwestern dishes like fried bologna, rhubarb spears and blueberry lemon pie,” the story reads. 

Thielen stopped cooking professionally when she and her husband relocated to their Minnesota cabin. She turned to food writing and she even snagged a James Beard Foundation Journalism award for coverage, the story states. 

Twin Cities farmers markets land on list of nation's best

Food and restaurant site The Daily Meal highlighted the importance of farmers markets in a recent feature designed to showcase them--101 Best Farmers Markets in America.
Six local markets landed on the list, with St. Paul Farmers Market coming in at the no. 5 spot. Others included Midtown Farmers Market, Kingfield Farmers Market, Northeast Farmers Market, and Fulton Farmers Market.
To get the results, the site ranked markets based on the quality, number, and variety of products sold, the availability of each vendor's background information, what people are saying online about the market, and any awards or other recognition received.
"Farmers' markets are a place where the community comes together to support each other and the sustainable practices farmers use to produce," the article notes. "Farmers are the backbone of our food supply, and we love meeting and getting to know the people who grow what we eat at our local farmers' market."

Food site highlights Minneapolis Indian cuisine choices

Indian and other South Asian cuisine can sometimes get overlooked in the Twin Cities food landscape, notes food-centric site Eater, but "Minneapolis has lots to offer, from the more familiar chicken tikka masala and naan to dosas, momos, and brand-new creations like the Indurrito."
From food trucks to downtown dining to suburban strip malls, superb Indian and South Asian restaurants are popping up all over the metro. The site offers a handy guide to help diners, along with suggestions for what to order at each restaurant or food truck.
Chosen as the top three on the list are Darbar India Grill, Namaste Cafe, and Gandhi Mahal. Others getting a nod include food truck Hot Indian Foods and Brooklyn Park favorite Great India. Another suburban pick, Dosa King in Spring Lake Park, got a mention for its 13 different varieties of dosas. 

Bicycling magazine gives props to Midtown Greenway

The October print issue of Bicycling magazine pays tribute to Minneapolis’ Midtown Greenway, a 5.5-mile bike and pedestrian path, in photos and words. Alongside a photo of a solo rider journeying down the Greenway in the wee morning hours, the piece reads, “Well-loved and heavily trafficked, the Greenway is an expressway of sorts for pedestrians and cyclists.”  

The Greenway, a former railroad corridor, has a scenic trail that “bypasses streets and highways and leads to the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes to the west and the Mississippi River to the east,” it adds.   

Handmade candle company inspired by geek culture meets Kickstarter goal

A local project called Nerdy Candles: For Nerds reached its fundraising goal of $5,000 on Kickstarter last month. 

The project, led by Tom Lubanovic of Frostbeard Studio, centers on handmade candles inspired by video games, movies, and comics. It’s a “fun mash-up of traditional craftsmanship with geek culture,” the Kickstarter page reads.  

This is the group’s second foray onto Kickstarter. In the past, the group created book-themed candles for the literary set. “It's become apparent that people really like our candles, both for smelling nice and for being... different,” the Kickstarter page continues.  

The new line of candles will take inspiration from Zelda, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Doctor Who, among other pop culture icons.  

Pioneer Press photographer's smartphone-made stop-animation film goes viral

Pioneer Press photographer Ben Garvin recently produced a stop motion video that went viral, hitting over 1.2 million views on YouTube within only a couple of days. Garvin’s short film, titled “Magic Beard,” which was recorded with a smartphone app, has since been featured on numerous morning shows, evening news broadcasts, and websites all over the globe, including the Huffington Post. The film goes to lengths, literally, to reveal the wonders of Garvin's  "magic beard." Besides the amount of time Garvin spent growing the beard, the film, which runs just a couple of minutes, took 15 hours to put together.   

The Huffington Post shout-out about the film reads, “Ben Garvin's glorious stop-motion film documenting the antics of his clearly out-of-control beard validates all of our fears about facial hair.” 

"Glee" actor coming to St. Paul to record radio show and podcast

Former “Glee” actor Stephen Tobolowsky is coming to St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater to tape his syndicated radio show and podcast,  "The Tobolowsky Files," live on Oct. 10, the Pioneer Press reports.   

In the hit TV series, Tobolowsky was the glee club teacher early on. He's also appeared in many other roles on-screen, but he might be most known for his part as “the memory-challenged character who provides a key to the mystery in "Memento,”” the Pioneer Press story states. 

As a part of "The Tobolowsky Files,” the actor recounts personal tales about Hollywood, life, and love, the story adds. 

Twin Cities named one of the country's healthiest, happiest hometowns

Health and wellness site Prevention.com identified the "25 Healthiest, Happiest Cities in America" and Minneapolis-St. Paul came in third on the list, just after San Jose and Salt Lake City.
To come up with the results, the site evaluated 100 of the nation's largest 48 cities, using measures that included farmers markets, access to green space, disease incidence, and unemployment rates.
The Twin Cities earned top scores for heart health, and abundant parks and lakes. A cardiologist at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing noted that "people have spent decades boosting heart health by making the area more bikeable, for example, and offering cholesterol and blood pressure screenings to everyone."
The article also added that of the top 25 cities, the Twin Cities have the highest per capital number of farmers markets and among the highest access to fresh produce.

Minneapolis-St. Paul on list of "most aspirational" cities in the U.S.

Online news and culture site The Daily Beast compiled a ranking of the "Top 15 Aspirational Cities" in the United States, and Minneapolis-St. Paul comes in at no. 10 on the list.
To determine America's aspirational hotspots, the report's authors focused on economic indicators, such as employment growth, per capita income, and unemployment. The authors also looked at demographic factors such as the movement of college-educated people into the area.
Finally, they considered quality-of-life factors like housing affordability, traffic congestion, and cultural highlights. The top three cities considered aspirational were Austin, New Orleans, and Houston.
"[G]iven current conditions and the most likely accrual of current trends, we can expect that most of the cities at the top of the aspirational rankings will remain there for some time to come," the authors note.
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