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gung-ho-5.jpg

April 12, 2014

Leuc from the Raptor Center at GUNG HO

R.I.P LEUC

The Raptor Center’s Bald Eagle died at the age of 35 this week. He was a special guest at a Merck event based on Gung Ho that we produced back in the ’90s…..

That Northwoods event filled the MCC Ballroom with live evergreens, marsh and forest plantings, Clyde Belecourt’s own tipi, a live beaver, the “Gift of a Goose” strutting around, the “Spirit of the Squirrel”, Native American student dancers from Heart of the Earth, and of course, Leuc the bald eagle from the Raptor Center overseeing it all.

We recreated a REAL Minnesota North Woods and served Native American food-although one of the student dancers was overheard saying the fry bread wasn’t very good because it was “made by a white man”. :-)

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SENATE INVESTIGATION OF CIA

April 12, 2014

Sometimes when I listen to the “daily news”,  I am totally confused….for instance, the current Senate intelligence committee report on CIA activities in 2001-2008 is often being reported on with negative OBAMA connotations as if HE and his administration were to blame. 

I guess the expectation was that once the BUSHIES were out and he was in, he was supposed to wave a wand and make eight years of ineptness disappear.  Personally, I would have loved to see Obama take office in 2009, expose it all and put the “artist formerly known as the US President” and his evil neo-con advisors right where they belonged – in court in the defendant chair.

But get real, folks.  First there is the just the moving into the White House experience and living under the constant eye of the public to get used to.  Then there is the expanse of responsibilities a new president inherits-let alone the ambitious promises and agendas forged in a long campaign to even become President; and then, in this case, the ineptness of the previous administration with its wars and intrigue and not much else. And let’s not forget the right wing disrespect and attacks on Obama, his African American background and whether or not he was a citizen of the United State – all because he was not a good ole white boy. 

But aside from all of that, there is also a “fraternity of Presidents” that works to change but not discredit their predecessor.  And of course in this case, the number one priority was trying to re-steer the US ship out of TWO wars on to a better course for all Americans.

From my viewpoint, Obama stopped practices he was able to; he’s tried to minimize others that could not be changed; and he did indeed change the course of this country from the direction the left-over “wannabee”  war heroes  known as the  NEO-CONS were trying to take it.  All that, and the Health Care Reform ACT – like it or not.

Nevertheless, the current still-secret investigations are at least now moving in the right direction.

According to the STRIB yesterday, the investigation “calls into question the legal foundation of the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists…challenges the key defense on which the agency and the Bush administration relied in arguing that the methods didn’t constitute torture.”

But whether you think it was torture or earned punishment, one cannot excuse the fact that that the CIA disrespect for human life itself was clearly demonstrated by the fact they did not think it necessary TO KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS of the numbers that were tortured nor the names of those that suffered; and worse, then lied as it issued “erroneous claims about how many it detained and subjected to the controversial investigation methods.

This morning, the story continued.  As if waterboarding was not enough,  today we learned we need to add sleep deprivation for up to eleven days at a time, confinement in a cramped box and slamming detainees into walls.

And the Repos DARE criticize Obama’s Middle East policies?  I’d say it’s time to look in the mirror and accept that any cooling of relationships and increase in dislike of Americans maybe has its renewed beginnings in the Bush Administration!

Frankly, George W’s “self-portrait” of himself in the bathtub demonstrates exactly what a dufus he really is.  I guess we should be GRATEFUL that he did not do MORE DAMAGE than he did while he was in office.

 

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MINNESOTA STAR AWARDS…CELEBRATING 10 YEARS

April 5, 2014

For  years, I’ve been the broken record in the dark among  Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter members…never accepting the recent path of our journey as we moved ever deeper into the THEME party motif for our Star Awards.

 With the “performance improvement” background from my FIRST career, I firmly believe Awards events are to recognize outstanding efforts and achievement; to demonstrate talent within our midst and to provide opportunities for us to learn from each other to better improve performance and meet objectives of our clients….and yes, to celebrate what we, as the ISES community, bring and contribute to the urban location in which we live.

Last evening’s event made one GIANT STEP in accomplishing all that in an environment of collaboration and sharing that could be felt wherever one turned. 

I felt like the proud parent – particularly since I have devoted most of the past 5-6 years preaching collaboration for better results for all in everything we do.  This year, I felt “it” everywhere, all evening…but only when I got home and read Susan’s Welcome in the Program, was I able to put my finger on what the “it” was:

“We’re here to celebrate the work, acknowledge talent, showcase creativity, and recognize that what we do is complicated, challenging and important.  We collaborate to create experiences that impact people’s lives.  That’s why they are called special events.” 

And that is exactly why last evening I felt it; I knew I was attending a truly special event.  Indeed, I had no entries this year; I was not a finalist; I took home no hardware to show for my efforts in the industry, but I went home proud of the chapter I was a part of founding “way back when” fifteen years ago.  What a wonderful personal gift I received as I wind down this SECOND career in the life of Cheryl Kranz!

There is no doubt in my mind-the celebration of the Tenth Anniversary was the best Minnesota Star Awards I have attended.

It recognized the vision of the originals…Jody, Jean, and Sheree;

It recognized the rebirth of a great cultural icon in MSP and effectively used the Orchestra Hall space to advantage;

In the Gallery, it recognized the progressive journey of the chapter;

It recognized the work of finalists and award winners in an engaging and timely manner (and yes indeed, Susan, without most of the audience even recognizing that the MC had to drop out just the day before-a remarkable recovery on that one, so another KUDOS to you J)

And most of all, it recognized attendee needs and interests.

If one area had little appeal…one could just move along to the next.  No need to “suffer through” anything that did not resonate at the moment.

Perhaps for the first time, there was less about alcohol and more about interesting food inclusions and great examples of how to use that food to contribute to the ambience. It may also be the first time I did not leave hungry.  And for sure, it was the first time I think I had NO NEED for Gretchen’s MORNING AFTER departure gift…although remembering one very BAD year, the kit- indeed- made me smile.  And that’s a good thing; for up to now, that particular memory has been MOST humiliating!

The pre-event communications were GREAT…I especially compliment Susan and the team for the recognition given to the sponsors.  The Facebook introduction of each paid off-at least for me.  As I have refocused on the search for that illusive Third Career” and spent less time on ISES, many of the sponsors were new names to me.  My resource file grew in leaps and bounds.

The program did a great job in recapping quickly each finalist entry…but of course, I wanted MORE.  Yes, I was one of those few that actually browsed through the old BINDER collection.  Not a ‘must have” for most, but that would be my only entry on a future Awards wish list….maybe finalists need some Facebook time as well to communicate  more than one paragraph can tell of each story…if only for those of us who want and can absorb MORE!

Finally, on a personal note, although Creative Events  focus over the last 21 years has been on corporate events , I am especially proud of those among us who share talents and inspiration with our sister non-profit world.  I am always amazed at the impact ISES members make in that other universe.  Based on the few times I have ventured into that realm, I know it is a lot harder to accomplish the mission with small budgets, lots of committees, lots of volunteers, lots of sponsors and lots of opinions!

So for those of you who include the non-profits in your book of work, Kudos to you.  I am in AWE.

The ISES Star Awards turned TEN last night and thanks to Susan Diamond and the talented and dedicated ISES members that formed her team, I think we GREW UP and successfully passed out of our childhood.  It was job WELL DONE by all….and now, one last question:  Who has extra programs that I can tap into as I head off to Rochester in search of Career # 3?  Surely, I can use them as a tool to build a new nucleus of opportunity in the DMC!

 

;

 

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NEVER SAY NEVER

April 5, 2014

Well, wasn’t that nice of the Feds….FINALLY just three years ago, the government having decided maybe it would be safe to allow the Native peoples of the United States to have their own RADIO stations, granted FOUR licenses to stations on Minnesota Reservations.

All this time after radios were a central fixture in every white home in America as well as in many a non-English-speaking multi-cultural immigrant family home, perhaps the days of Boarding School thinking designed to destroy native peoples cultures and assimilate native peoples into the white man’s land are finally over!

No use trying to understand why this took so long to accomplish; no sense even trying to understand why I am probably not in the minority in not even recognizing our Native peoples did not have access to their own stations – programed, run and focused on their own cultures! No use trying to figure out why we celebrate and preserve ancestries of all of us  that originated on other continents, but only 500 years later, can we allow those who have been here for thousands of years to have their own radio stations!.

All these years later, we have finally given our native peoples an inexpensive way in which to connect and communicate with one another…to preserve their language, culture and communities and keep them in sync with current affairs that directly impact them.

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IRS vs the ARTIST

April 4, 2014

IRS VS ARTISTS

Perhaps the IRS should review some of the background information in my library on adult learning and the role of art and activity in interactive engagement and change.  Independent artists being denied small business status is an atrocity.   MSP at least understands the place of art in modern urban planning-that’s why Mpls. has a city department identified as CREATIVE PLACE-MAKING….and the DMCC in Rochester is not doing too badly in understanding the role of art in their new remake and community building plans.

EARPLUGS AT NIGHTCLUBS

A little sanity, finally, in the noise level in clubs discussion.  Never mind the cost for ear plugs…as a guest, I’d be more concerned about a “what if”:  What if they gave me a used pair?  YUCK!

This whole discussion sounds like craziness.  Why aren’t we regulating the NOISEMAKERS and not the victims for goodness sake!

It would not be hard; would not cost much; and would do the trick!

Legislate that sound cannot exceed x decibels.  A Radio Shack sound meter at each club would be a lot less expensive than a never ending supply of disposable earplugs-which , by the way, seems a pretty negative for the environment in packaging and disposable ear plugs.  Will these be biodegradable?

Back in the day when I was still booking entertainment for my events, I often added the expected maximum decibel level to my entertainment contract.  It clearly stated the entertainment was to stay within x sound level; would be issued a warning if they exceeded and would NOT receive final payment if they received a second warning.

This did wonders in managing the NOISE problem!

SURFACE PARKING LOTS

Who knew?!!!

I was absolutely amazed to read yesterday morning that existing ordinances already prohibit much of our ugly Minneapolis downtown surface parking lots; yet we’ve done nothing to enforce the regulations. Nor, have we as citizens, done anything to force compliance.

Current ordinances REQUIRE:

  • A landscaped yard at least 7-9 ft. wide
  • A masonry wall, fence, berm or hedge that is 3 ft high and at least 60% dense
  • At least one tree per ft. of parking area frontage

So good for Jacob Frey for bringing this to public attention!

And good for the city who will be reminding commercial parking lot license holders that beginning  May 1, lots will have 1 year to reach compliance.

 I expect that just like in 2010 when the city tried to enforce the ordinance, the owners will scream because they will lose some revenue-producing stalls in their lots.

Hopefully, this time, the city will hold firm. This is NOT a nicety to make a prettier place. This is a regulation to help with rainwater.  “Surface lots with no landscaping send more water into the streets, flooding storm sewers. “

We all recognize the age and the state of our ancient storm sewers.  Perhaps the parking lot owners would prefer assessments to RE-DO THAT system!  And don’t even get me started about the impact on the river and surrounding environment!

We don’t want these parking lots anyway.  Get in compliance or go away.  We are slowly but surely now headed in the right direction – to reduce cars and improve Metro Transit with a mix of cars, streetcars and trains.

Over the last few years, we have spent MUCH time and money in creative city making…from Plan It/Talk It Hennepin, to the redo of the Nicollet Mall, to the Cultural Corridor, the Gateway, the beginnings of the redo of Washington Avenue, a new Marcy Homes plan, the East Downtown plans and certainly with one study and action plan after another that has focused on the Mississippi River – from the Central Riverfront to Above the Falls.  These parking lot eyesores come up in discussions in each. 

Now is the time to start real action towards improving the situation.

 

 

 

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“LIGHT RAIL, LIGHT IMPACT”?

March 26, 2014

Why is it we can blame almost anything we don’t like in our world today on the most recent recession, but we can ignore its impact in other studies if it is convenient to do so?

That’s my take on LIGHT RAIL, LIGHT IMPACT article in the STRIB this morning.

I am with Peter McLaughlin on this one. Despite a major recession for the first four years of the Blue Line’s existence,, by this, the eighth year, we’re showing lots of redevelopment along the Blue Line.

Perhaps we should question the study itself rather than its results. It only covers, coincidently, the first four years – in which development was at a standstill EVERYWHERE!

Perhaps a better model is the Green Line – not open yet and lots of activity all along the route in anticipation.  I wonder what its first four years will bring?  Light Rails 2; Cars 0 in my book!

 

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THE TRAVESTY CONTINUES

March 26, 2014

“This is an exhaustive, time consuming, and extremely expensive, and burdensome process” complained the Twin Cities Archdiocese as they asked for more time to turn over secret files of 40 priests they ADMIT were credibly accused of sexually abusing children since 1970.

The files were asked for in November; they were ordered to be released by the courts in February, and they are due March 31.

My first thought is what can be hard about forty files.  Look under “secrets files to be kept from public view”!.  Do they really expect the Courts and Public to believe these files are not now kept in a single defined space?  Makes one wonder just how many incidents per priest are in each file that it is taking more than FIVE MONTHS to locate each and copy them.  That is a bit of stretch of imagination in my book.  Do they think we believe they still copy documents by hand?

I also wonder as they whine about the “inconvenience” if they are giving a thought to the “exhaustive, time consuming and extremely expensive and burdensome process” the VICTIMS and their parents have been put through in trying to heal and move forward from these atrocities.  Unfortunately, the damage done cannot be as easily locked away “out of sight; out of mind” as can the records.

And do not even get me started on their request to interview the “John Doe One ” victim and his wife, and possibly his friends, co-workers and employers” to assess the impact of the abuse and the damage claims.  Have these people no empathy?  Why do you think the cases were filed as “John Does”?.  The Archdiocese claim they need to do this, exposing the victim publically, in order to understand the impact? . 

That sends another frightful signal about this whole issue.  Surely, they do not think they can set themselves up as the “experts” on how damaging sexual abuse can be?  If so, I suggest, perhaps they should have STOPPED THE PRACTICE LONG AGO instead of just hiding it, and putting the reputation of their church as more important. No, I think they are gambling here. I think they know how devastating this would be to the victim to share publically; and thus they expect the victim will “fade away” and their church and its pedophiles will escape punishment – one more time.

Yes, I know the plaintiff and the defendant alike have equal rights, but really?  Can this not be accomplished in some more “compassionate way?”  I would hope so, but I admit, my personal reaction is that when the Archdiocese chose the path of lying and hiding the records some 35 years ago, and made it “standard practice” to continue to do so in every case thereafter, they put some of their “rights” at risk. 

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