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Coen + Partners wins Cooper Hewitt design award

The Minneapolis landscape architecture firm Coen + Partners was recently award the 16th Annual National Design Award in Landscape Architecture from the Smithsonian's Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt.

“With the reopening of the museum this past year, Cooper Hewitt is scaling new heights to educate, inspire and empower our community through design,” said Caroline Baumann, director, in a press release. “I am thrilled and honored to welcome this year’s class of National Design Award winners, all of whom represent the pinnacle of innovation in their field, with their focus on collaboration, social and environmental responsibility, and the fusion of technology and craftsmanship.”
First launched at the White House in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards were established to promote design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world. The awards are accompanied each year by National Design Week, which this year will take place Oct. 10–18 and include a variety of public education programs, panel discussions and workshops. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Patron for this year’s National Design Awards.

Founded by Shane Coen in 1991, Coen + Partners works through a process of collaboration, experimentation, and questioning, to embrace the complexities of each site with quiet clarity and ecological integrity. The practice has built a distinguished body of award-winning work that is widely recognized as progressive and timeless, receiving numerous awards for landscape architecture, planning, and urban design. Coen + Partners has been recognized by the AIA, the ASLA, the GSA Design Excellence Program, and the editorial staff of such influential publications as Metropolis, Dwell, and Architectural Record. New York Times architectural critic Anne Raver has described Coen + Partners’ work as “pushing Midwestern boundaries.”

Minneapolis 2nd among top 10 best downtowns

In this "golden age of American downtowns," Minneapolis is #2 out of 10 nationally, according to Livability.com.

The ranking criteria included vacancy rate, population increase since 2010, percentage of new homeowners, daytime population, project median household income, walk score, entertainment options and arts/cultural attractions.

"Young professionals between the ages of 22 and 34 are especially drawn to downtowns, where people can congregate, enjoy shopping and dining, walk, bike and, most importantly, live," according to a Livability.com press release. "With this in mind, Livability.com has named Minneapolis a Top 10 Best Downtown, 2015." 

"Our editors focused on small to mid-sized cities, taking into consideration increasing housing values and populations to find cities that are growing and thriving. They looked for areas with new construction because cranes are often a great sign of economic and cultural recovery. They found downtowns with vibrant arts scenes and walkable streets. In addition, our well-traveled editors weighed in with their own opinions. The data drives our short list, but our journalistic judgment helps determine the final rankings," according to the release.

“We’re really in a new golden age of American downtowns,” says Livability editor Matt Carmichael. "Throughout cities large and small, the energy and resources focused on restoring Main Streets and urban cores is paying off.”

"Downtown Minneapolis offers a low vacancy rate, high percentage of new homeowners, walkability and an array of entertainment options. It is also surrounded by parks, lakes and rivers providing residents quick access to a variety of outdoor recreation," the release added.

MSP top metro for innovatively solving urban issues

Minneapolis-St. Paul was recently named one of the top 10 innovative cities in the U.S. by CNN Money.

"From technology and infrastructure, to job creation and sustainability," the article stated, the cities included are "leading the pack when it comes to creatively solving urban issues."

About MSP, the article stated, "June saw the opening of a new light rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experts from around the country praised it as an example of transportation infrastructure done right -- it integrated the needs of the affected communities and used the new line to drive economic development."

The Twin Cities were also selected as "early adopters of programs to help immigrants start businesses, artists buy real estate, and enlist local execs in solving community problems. The Cities also get high marks for their public health efforts, including smoking cessation programs, cancer screening and efforts to create walkable communities."

Peavey Plaza preservation efforts awarded

The International Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement—better known as Docomomo—has initiated a new program, the Modernism in America Awards. Docomomo US is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the modernist movement. The juried awards program honors individuals and organizations dedicated to preserving and/or renovating midcentury architecture and design.

Among the award’s inaugural recipients are the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and the Minnesota Chapter of Docomomo US for the groups’ efforts to save Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis. The groups were given the Advocacy Award of Excellence.

Designed in 1975 by M. Paul Friedberg + Partners, the plaza is located adjacent to the newly renovated Orchestra Hall. The groups collaborated to “successfully communicate Peavey Plaza’s on-going importance and prevent its demolition,” states the Docomomo website. “The Board of Directors of Docomomo US is impressed by the well-coordinated collective nature of these efforts; their outreach to a wide audience including local constituents and national interests; and their use of a combination of advocacy tools including the solicitation of pro bono design concepts by the plaza’s original landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg.”

Local arts leaders appointed to NEA's National Council on the Arts

Of the three new appointees to the National Endowment for the Arts' prestigious National Council on the Arts, two are Minneapolis arts leaders: Ranee Ramaswamy, founder and co-artistic director of Ragamala Dance, and Olga Viso, executive director of the Walker Art Center. The third appointee is Rick Lowe of Houston, Texas, founder of Project Row Houses.

The National Council on the Arts convenes three times a year to vote on funding recommendations for grants and rejections; to advise the chair on application guidelines, budget, and policy and planning directions; and to recommend to the President of the United States nominees for the National Medal of Arts. The three new appointees were confirmed by the U.S. Senate and appointed by President Barack Obama.

The appointees "bring their varied experience--ranging from contemporary art curatorship, to classical Indian dance, and creative placemaking--to help the NEA advance its mission to support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation in communities across the country," states the press release.

Ramaswamy has been a master choreographer, performer, and teacher of the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam dance since 1978. She founded Ragamala Dance in Minneapolis in 1992. Her work has been commissioned by the Walker Art Center, American Composers Forum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and has been supported by the National Dance Project and the Joyce Foundation. Ramaswamy’s tours have been highlighted by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Dance Festival, and the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, India. She's earned numerous regional and national awards for her work.

Prior to joining the Walker, Viso was director at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden – Smithsonian Institution. She was a curator at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida from 1993 to 1995, and held several curatorial and administrative positions at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia from 1989 to 1993. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors. From 2003 to 2006, she served on the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts

Franke+Fiorella awarded at international design competition

Franke+Fiorella, a brand identity design firm in Minneapolis, has received three awards from the international Creativity 43 Print & Packaging Awards, according to a prepared statement from the company.    

The firm, which focuses on Fortune 1000 companies, stood out for its work for clients such as Edmentum and The Mosaic Company.

Franke+Fiorella was awarded for design excellence in the Edmentum Corporate Identity Brandmark and Edmentum Brand Guidelines Brochure, and Mosaic GROW magazine from March 2013, according to company materials.  

Source: Franke+Forella 

Minneapolis dancer featured in the New York Times

A recent New York Times story gives a shout-out to Minneapolis dancer, Aparna Ramaswamy, who recently performed to critical acclaim in New York City, saying she "lit up Pace University's Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts.

The dance review titled, “Pleasing Deities, and the Eyes, With Storytelling Steps From India,” examines performances by  four classical Indian dancers.   

Ramaswamy, who is the co-artistic director, choreographer, and principal dancer of Ragamala Dance company in Minneapolis, “exuded a brisk, eager energy in her hourlong program, 'Sannidhi (Sacred Space),'" reviewer Siobhan Burke wrote. "Joined by four superb musicians, she gorgeously embodied the swooping violin; the plunking mridangam; the wailing, warbling vocals."  

Source: New York Times 

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.

Outside Magazine names local agency Haberman as a top workplace

For the second year in a row, Haberman, a Minneapolis-based full-service marketing agency, landed on Outside Magazine’s list of the top 100 workplaces nationwide, according to a prepared statement from the publication. 

Haberman, which came in 36th in the list, stands out for innovative and healthy work-life balance, the statement reads. 

Outside Magazine arrived at its results by looking at company benefits, compensation and policies, job satisfaction, environmental initiatives, and community outreach programs, the statement reads. 

The magazine celebrates companies that “enable employees to pursue active lifestyles while also supporting their social and environmental contributions.”

'Mad Men' star to appear at the Guthrie this summer

Vincent Kartheiser, an actor on the popular AMC series “Mad Men,” will return to his hometown this summer to play in the Guthrie Theater’s production of “Pride and Prejudice,” according to the Star Tribune.

Kartheiser first graced the Guthrie stage as a seven-year-old in the theater’s staging of “A Christmas Carol.” This time around, he’ll play the role of Mr. Darcy.

“Kartheiser, 35, grew up in Apple Valley and moved to Los Angeles as a teen to pursue an acting career,” the story reads. The actor became well known beginning in 2007 as the “Mad Men” character Pete Campbell, the “slimy, conniving ad executive everyone loves to hate.”

“Pride and Prejudice” marks the theater’s 50th season.

Internet Cat Video Festival could make its way to Europe this year

The Walker Art Center’s Internet Cat Video Festival was “an unparalleled and unexpected success,” according to a museum magazine piece.

The film festival turned out to be a viral success, “sparking news headlines worldwide, the festival itself saw the convergence of 10,000 people—some in costumes, others cradling kitty companions, all feline fanatics—on the Walker’s hillside one warm August evening last year,” it reads.

The festival has since led to a national tour, lots of media attention and an expanded event for next year. And a "legitimate" film festival in Austria has made a bid to host it.

Scott Stulen of the Walker is quoted, saying, “It was something unique. Also, we were very aware that we were tapping into a powerful meme, and we knew there was some interest with it.”

A new map for getting around the skyways downtown Minneapolis

A new map for navigating the skyways in downtown Minneapolis is out on a website called, Skyway My Way.

The website has a map plus a searchable database of businesses within the skyway system.

This map-app differs from others in that “Searching for a location in other popular mapping applications puts you on the street, not in the skyway,” it states. “Our team of skyway gremlins have meticulously combed every nook and cranny to obtain all of the necessary information.”  

The website can help people find everything from a lunch spot to a chiropractor.

New York Times features Minnesota Orchestra concert

The New York Times recently featured the Minnesota Orchestra, which played a concert in early February despite a lockout that’s been ongoing since October.

“The Minnesota Orchestra and its players have been locked out since Oct. 1, after they rejected management’s proposal for a 32 percent cut in base pay and refused to make a counterproposal,” the story reads.

The special concert took place at the Minneapolis Convention Center, celebrating an orchestra ensemble’s Grammy nomination for its Bis recording of Sibelius’s Symphonies Nos. 2 and 5, the story states.

“The recording is indeed superb, easily one of the best of 2012, and the concert represented it well, despite compromised circumstances,” the story adds.

Two local restaurants make Open Table's top 100 list of restaurants for last year

Open Table, the restaurant reservation website, recently put together a list of its top 100 picks for dining out across the country.

The Capital Grille in downtown Minneapolis and Restaurant Alma in the city’s Marcy-Holmes neighborhood both made the list, beating out thousands of other restaurants.

“Out of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, these outstanding restaurants are the top 100 'Best Overall' restaurants in the nation for 2012,” an Open Table posting reads.

New York Times features Minnesota Opera's production of 'Doubt'

A recent feature in The New York Times centers on the Minnesota Opera’s premiere of “Doubt,” which opens January 26 and runs through Feb. 3. 

According to the article, playwright John Patrick Shanley was initially skeptical of the idea of rewriting the show, which had been a play and an award-winning movie, into an opera libretto.  

But it turned out to be a rewarding experience, Shanley says. “There’s a lot of feelings that could not be expressed in the play because of its austerity,” he says, adding, “But opera, even when it is austere, is as rich as chocolate cake. So that allowed me to go back and express a lot of things that I could not before and still tell the story"--a story which centers on the nature of the relationship between a Catholic proest and a young African-American boy.

Preparing for production, the Minnesota Opera hosted a number of workshops for composer Douglas J. Cuomo, Shanley, and stage director Kevin Newbury, the story states.

Newbury says of the resulting show, “It isn’t just about doubt, it’s doubt brought to life onstage. And it’s a particularly American play with all the questions about class and race and religion rolled up into one.”

NYTimes reports on local 'locavore' hotel

The Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis has been re-imagined as a “hotel for locavores,” according to a recent New York Times story.

Part of the hotel’s recent $25 million renovation used area manufacturers, artisans, and artists. Its new décor “pays tribute to the city’s heritage and industry,” it states.

While the hotel is internationally known, architect Mike Suomi of Stonehill & Taylor says in the story, “We also wanted to craft a narrative that is specific to the location.”

Design touches reference timber and woolen mills while an oversized map of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers is tied together with Post-Its, which the city is also known for.

Bon Appetit highlights Eat Street Social

Bon Appetit magazine recently pulled together a list of the top five soda fountains around the country.

“A band of bartender converts are stepping up to the seltzer tap, returning us to the era of phosphates and egg creams,” the story states. Eat Street Social in Minneapolis made the list.  

“Sodas go toe-to-toe with craft cocktails at this lively bar,” it reads, adding that the Raspberry Rickey is a must-order.

Slate.com features Wal-mart turned library with help of Minneapolis architects

In a recent story, Slate.com profiled a Texas library that occupies a building that had once been a Wal-Mart.

The Minneapolis-based architecture firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd., “breathed fresh life into the warehouse, about as big as two-and-a-half football fields, late last year, when they repurposed it as the country’s largest single-story public library,” it reads.  

Interesting signage, reading nooks, and special spaces, such as a quiet room, several computer labs, and a bookstore and café, have redefined the place.

So much so that the McAllen Public Library won The International Interior Design Association’s 2012 Library Interior Design Awards, the story states.

Placemaking conversation regarding Hennepin Avenue at Walker Art Center

The Walker Art Center magazine features a story about the “Art of Placemaking,” as it pertains to Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.

“Despite its status as a major, historic thoroughfare in Minneapolis--or maybe because of it--Hennepin Avenue has for decades been regarded as a problematic, contested public space,” it reads.

A project called Plan-It Hennepin aims to change that, by turning it into a “lively, compelling cultural corridor,” the story says.

The story touches on the Walker’s perspective on the process, in which it’s a participant:  It quotes the Walker’s Olga Viso, who says, “Along with our partners in Plan-It Hennepin, we thought that the Walker could help lead a different conversation in terms of creativity and envisioning possibilities, by bringing artists’ voices into the process.”

This story dovetails with The Line's feature this week on Candy Chang.

Photographer puts together Twins games time lapse

Minnpost has a brief piece about photographer Bruce Hemmelgarn’s 23-hour time-lapse of Target Field.

The result, which is posted on its website and Hemmelgarn’s blog, brings together day and night games from April 11 and 12.

It uses thousands of images to show the transition from one game to the next. At one point in the evening, the moon is visible in the scene, Hemmelgarn notes on his blog.

The time-lapse has been posted in many places, including the CBS Sports Daily Blog and the Major League Baseball website.

MCTC student gets national recognition

Recently, Brad Conley, a student at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, was recognized as a member of the All-USA Community College Academic Team and a New Century Scholar, representing the state.  
He’s one of 20 students selected from a pool of 1,700 nominations that came from around the country to be part of the team, according to school information.
On April 23, Conley was recognized for the achievement at a convention in Orlando, Florida, and he got a shout-out in USA Today.

The honors come with $4,500 in scholarship money.
“The New Century Scholars program and the All-USA Community College Academic Team honor outstanding community college students for their grades, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and volunteerism,” MCTC materials read.

Source: MCTC


Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Minneapolis featured for interesting makeover

A recent USA Today story highlights the makeover of the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

As a part of a $25 million project that started in December 2011, the hotel charged its designers with creating a “sleek, new look with an eye towards all things “local”--including Red Wing Pottery,” the story states.

Michael Suomi, design chief for Stonehill & Taylor, which came up with the architectural and design plans, is quoted saying "We had a specific goal of bringing as much of the manufacturing and sourcing back to America to promote job growth, increase speed to market and celebrate American craft"--adding that this way, “we saved money!"

OpenTable picks four local restaurants for list of best service in nation

Four local eateries landed on a list of restaurants that provide the best service in the United States.
Compiled by restaurant reservation service OpenTable, the list is based on reviews submitted by users of the website.
The quartet that rose above the others locally: Acqua Restaurant and Wine Bar in White Bear Lake, Capital Grille and La Belle Vie in Minneapolis, and Joan's in the Park in St. Paul.
"A huge part of what makes many of these restaurants great are the people themselves, working tirelessly to delight their patrons," OpenTable noted about the list.

Huffington Post features Minneapolis's Central Library as cultural center

As a part of a Huffington Post series called “Libraries in Crisis,” the Minneapolis Central Library is featured as a cultural center. 

Despite budget cuts, “more people than ever are visiting their local library,” the story states.  

That point holds true at the Minneapolis Central Library, where the busy computer area, teen center, and New Americans Center show how library use is changing. 

“Librarians across the country are looking to institutions such as this to show the way forward. For their part, the librarians here say their hope is that this library can be more of a cultural center than a book repository,” the story reads.  


'Tabatha Takes Over' show comes to local salons

Next season, the popular Bravo reality show “Tabatha Takes Over” will visit a couple of local salons, according to the Pioneer Press

Jungle Red Salon in Minneapolis’s Loring Park area and H Design Salon in Uptown will be featured in separate episodes of the show, which starts on Jan. 10. 

“If this year is anything like past seasons, the new episodes likely will be full of shears and jeers as outspoken salon owner Tabatha Coffey swoops in and tells salon owners and their employees how to improve their game,” the story states.


Minneapolis's Downtown 100 program recognized as one of top 10 criminal justice initiatives in U.S.

At the recent Innovations in Criminal Justice Summit in Chicago, Minneapolis’s Downtown 100 program was honored as one of the top 10 national criminal justice initiatives, according to MyFox9.com.

The collaboration between local government, businesses, nonprofits, and community members has a goal to “both reduce crime in the short term and develop solutions for maintaining law-abiding conduct in the long run,” the story states.  

Downtown 100, which started in April 2010, helped reduce crime from top offenders by 74 percent, according to MyFox9.com.

It also led to more offenders being placed on supervised probation and obtaining housing, the story states.  

Local bartender featured in Esquire

Johnny Michaels, who works as a bartender at La Belle Vie restaurant in Minneapolis, was recently featured in Esquire magazine.

"Mixology is sort of like cooking with liquor," says Michaels in the interview, joking,  "With my looks and personality, I should've been a cook."  

He describes his good fortune to have wound up at La Belle Vie, which he imagines is "like getting drafted by the New England Patriots."

Although he claims he's not a popular "silver-tongued" charmer, he admits that he's in a good position to see people's moods brighten.

"What's good to hear is when people tell you, 'That's the best drink I've ever had in my life.' That's my crack. That's my home run," he says in the piece.   

New York Times covers political digital conferences in Minneapolis

The New York Times gave some ink to two recent digital conferences in Minneapolis that were on opposite sides politically.

"It is no secret that much of the blogosphere is sharply, often loudly, divided by politics," the story starts out by saying.

Netroots Nation is liberal, while Right Online has a conservative bent, the Times reports.

The groups scheduled their gatherings simultaneously in the city, mere blocks away from each other, the story notes.

Looking at some of the cultural and ideological differences between the two groups, the story shows how the vibrant politicking in Minneapolis is demonstrative of the national political climate.

NYTimes blog puts Target Field in 4th place among major league stadiums

In a recent New York Times FiveThirtyEight blog post, writer Nate Silver ranks downtown Minneapolis' Target Field as the fourth-best major league ballpark, overall.

Pittsburgh's PNC Park, Boston's Fenway Park and San Francisco's AT&T Park top the list of 30 ballparks, while Toronto's Rogers Centre comes in at the bottom, according to his calculations.  

Silver gleaned these findings through a simple Yelp.com search, he writes.

Each of the 30 major league stadiums had received between one and five stars, according to Yelp's rating system, which is a more holistic way to look at it than from a single reviewer's perspective or the technical-type fan review sites, he explains.

The popular review site is helpful because it uses dozens, if not hundreds of fan reviews to score the stadiums, he states. This way, readers get a greater sense of the user experience at each ballpark.  

Minnesota Cup still adding sponsors, $35,000 in prize money

The Minnesota Cup has added $35,000 to its 2011 pool of prize money, reports Wendy Lee in a May 9 StarTribune article. That's 42 percent higher than last year's total prize money, she writes.

The increase is the result of the competition adding sponsors, a Cup spokesperson tells Lee. Carlson Companies was already a new sponsor at the time of the competition's launch last month, and General Mills is the most recent addition as a new General Division Lead Sponsor, according to a press release from General Mills.

Casting agents come to Minneapolis in search of someone to play young Adam Sandler

Recent auditions for celebrity comedian Adam Sandler's upcoming movie, "I Hate You, Dad," were held locally at the Hennepin Center for the Arts in downtown Minneapolis, the Pioneer Press reports.

Casting calls are also happening in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, the story states.  

One Maple Grove resident who showed up to try out for the part of a young Adam Sandler, 15-year-old Ethan Maisel, is quoted in the story saying, "I've never been told I look like him. But, he adds, "I've never been told I don't look like him, if that makes sense." 

When the casting agents ask him, on camera, why he wants the job, he tells them, "I would be so excited," adding, "I've always been interested in movies and TV. I'd like to get involved in the business side of things, but to be cast in a movie would change my life."

Country's fifth-largest consumer magazine, Game Informer, calls Minneapolis home

It's a little-known fact that Minneapolis-based Game Informer is the country's fifth-largest consumer magazine, according to a story from Minnpost's David Brauer.   

With 5 million subscribers, including many male readers in the 18-to-34-year-old age demographic, in some ways its reach surpasses People and Maxim, the story states.  

Game Informer, which is available at checkout counters at GameStop retail stores nationwide, grew by 33 percent in a period when so many other magazines declined.

The magazine's writers often preview games well before they're out, which associate publisher Rob Borem says is a huge advantage. "Our primary asset is still pulling down world exclusives," he states in the story.

"Sitting on a coffee table, desk, or kitchen counter, print is an evergreen," he says, adding, "We want to reflect that it's more of an art, celebrating the joy of the game."

Gibson Guitar blog: First Avenue and 7th Street Entry among top 10 world-class rock venues

It probably comes as no surprise to music enthusiasts everywhere that First Avenue and 7th Street Entry in downtown Minneapolis are featured by a Gibson Guitar Corp. blog post that pays homage to 10 world-class rock venues across the globe.

Both stages have hosted many pop icons, including some who started out in the Twin Cities, the blog notes. But when Prince and the Revolution stepped on to the main stage at First Avenue to perform the music in the film, "Purple Rain," the place was memorialized forever.

Throughout the 1980s, Prince continued to experiment with new songs in front of audiences at First Avenue. At the same time, 7th Street Entry turned out such noteworthy local bands as The Replacements, Husker Du, and Soul Asylum, the blog goes on to say, adding: "One wonders if the Midwest alternative explosion would have occurred at all were it not for this cornerstone venue." 

Some other venues that made the list include Whisky A-Go-Go in Los Angeles, the Apollo Theater in New York, and the Marquee Club in London, England.

Does Target have an opportunity to leapfrog Walmart in sustainability?

When Target announced a set of environmental sustainability goals last week, its press release was largely ignored. But GreenBiz.com took a closer look and sees the potential for Target to leapfrog Walmart and go transform from  "Tarjay to Targreen."

Writer Dara O'Rourke notes that most of what was in Target's announcement isn't worthy of hoopla. It's playing catch up with Walmart, which set more ambitious goals a few years ago. "[I]n 2010, pledging to eliminate waste is like pledging to close the refrigerator door."

But where Target now has a major impact is in the products it chooses to sell. "Based on an optimistic reading of the company's announcement, Target may now be positioned to do for sustainable products what it did for well designed, yet affordable, consumer products." Read the rest of O'Rourke's piece at GreenBiz.com.

Target Field in Minneapolis has had a ‘transformative effect’

The Winter 2010 issue of Next American City magazine says that downtown Minneapolis's Target Field has had a "transformative effect" on its surroundings.

With a record-setting 3 million-plus attendees in the first year, "the park is perhaps the first example of a publicly financed sports stadium done right," even beyond sports, it states.

Target Field, it boasts, is the country's second LEED-certified major league ballpark, with numerous green features, plus easy access to light rail, buses, the popular Nice Ride bike-sharing program, and other transit-oriented developments. The stadium has brought a neighborhood feel to an otherwise business-y district, it goes on.

The story quotes Andrew Dahl who works for the city's economic development office. Noting a dramatic increase in the use of public transportation, biking, and walking, along with more foot traffic to nearby restaurants and bars plus the emergence of pedicabs and street food vendors, Dahl states, "I think when we look back 10 or 20 years from now at what Minneapolis has become, this stadium will really be the definitive turning point."

Walker Art Center starts free admission for 18 and unders

The Walker Art Center in October began a policy of free admission for everyone age 18 and younger, Minnesota Public Radio reports:

"Walker Public Relations manager Ryan French said teens have long been an important part of the Walker audience, and he hopes the new policy will encourage even more young visitors.

"'So this is really meant to target the teen audience that really is critical to the Walker,' French said. 'In fact it's 14 percent of our overall audience, or about 84,000 teens visit annually.'"

WellShare provides donkey-powered ambulances to rural Tanzania

Not all innovation involves high-tech solutions.

A Minneapolis nonprofit has developed a donkey ambulance that's helping to reduce deaths during childbirth in rural Tanzania.

The Downtown Journal reports that WellShare (formerly Minnesota International Health Volunteers) came up with the cart "as a sustainable and affordable solution to this crisis of emergency transport."

The cart is pulled by one or two donkeys and uses an animal-friendly design that places weight on the animals' back muscles instead of neck.

A woman dies during childbirth in rural Tanzania every 21 minutes, often because they give birth alone or with untrained attendants.

An employee-friendly workplace is key to Fast Horse's innovation

An "über-creative collaborative space," a daily blog, and creative awards for jobs well done are a few of the quirks that set Fast Horse apart from other marketing agencies, Minnesota Business magazine writes:

It's little programs like that that we're constantly using to keep our talent happy, and to push each other to try new things,' says [founder Jörg] Pierach, 'because that type of innovation ultimately moves the whole vision forward.'"

Read the Minnesota Business article here.

Likeness of sports columnist Sid Hartman to join downtown Minneapolis statuary

At a celebrity-studded banquet in honor of Star Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman's 90th birthday, plans were announced for a statue of the sports media legend in downtown Minneapolis. MinnPost's David Brauer took a look at how a likeness of Hartman will fit into the collection of recognizable faces in bronze around downtown.

"This got me thinking: who is honored with a statue in downtown Minneapolis?

"Obviously, the traditional concept involves heroes, inordinately defined as politicians and generals. Those categories were always too narrow. But downtown's sculpture garden is starkly different: future civilizations would correctly discern our priorities—sports and pop culture."

Read the rest of the article here.
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