Archive for April, 2013



April 13, 2013

Most citizens of our metro have no idea what or where that is…and those of us that do are either Native Americans or whites that have learned from Native Americans….

What Rochelle Olson of the STRIB calls the “convergence” of rivers, and many of us know as the confluence, is a sacred space for Minnesota’s native peoples and should be respected as thus. 

So I was pleased to see that the American Indian Community Development Corporation is one of five entities submitting a development plan for the historic Upper Post of Fort Snelling. Their dream of a Native American cultural and language school named after Bdote seems a long overdue RE-beginning.

I was also interested to then read further into the article that Archie Givens, CEO of Legacy Management & Development Corporation said he would “welcome” this school into his proposal to redevelop the entire parcel of land.  His plan currently includes an embassy for all the state’s Indian tribes, a museum, monuments, transitional housing and a historic commemoration of Scott.  As he researched the area in preparation of his plan, did he not stumble onto anything about the Native Americans that might have led him to a more inclusive proposal?

I ‘ve yet to look at details of either plan, costs, obstacles and so forth, but I admit, I did have an immediate small adverse reaction to Givens indicating he would “make room” for the Bdote School in his plan.

Hmmm, I thought…is this the tone of Olson who wrote the article; is it really an assumption that Givens could do it better and give the natives a small footprint as a consolation prize; or am I misunderstanding?  Or, is there room to collaborate that keeps the primary focus on Bdote and the Native Americans?

The other three proposals from Airspace Minnesota, Upper Mississippi Dev. LLC and Global Athletic Village together only warranted a single paragraph mention so I assume at least the STRIB found them less stellar than the other two entries.  I’m a little concerned, though, that as the article continued on a later page, the highlighted sub-heading was strictly focused on the white man’s history in Minnesota…a mere 250 years in the much longer 10,000 years of Bdote history. I think that signals at least Olson’s and the STRIB’s determination of “importance” and that is concerning.

Obviously, I have to do some digging and look at the details before I presume one way or another as I am really not well informed at this point and certainly the Dred Scott inclusion is an important part of MN history…although maybe it belongs as an addition to the already developed lower Fort Snelling.

So as I learn more, I will trust that the joint-powers recommendation (DNR, Henn Cty, MPRB, MNRRA, and MHS) for the most viable plan due at month’s end will ensure that the native people remain in the forefront.



April 12, 2013

In late 2011, I moved back downtown; in late 2012, I made a commitment to become carless for a minimum of six months…so I sold my car that was costing me waaaay too much money to keep in the garage for the occasional use…figuring, if I can make it without a car in winter, then the rest of the year will be a piece of cake.  So I committed to the pedestrian experience for six months minimum-no matter what.

For the most part, it’s been good.  The train works well to connect to the airport for the Mayo shuttle to Rochester – except for that very confusing station at the terminal itself.  I only needed to use Hour Car five times in three months – for a total cost that was less than ONE MONTH of car insurance.  And the bus-for the most part-is an enjoyable experience…..a trip out to Rocco’s in Edina traveling perfectly familiar roads unveiled a whole world of things I had never seen before-as I could look around instead of watching the road and the other cars…and surprisingly enough, despite the stops along the way, the bus does not take much longer than driving and parking – and in some instances, is quicker!

My twice-a-week trips to Physical Therapy on 28th and Chicago take a bit longer as I have to walk down to 8th street to catch the bus. I have learned that I if I want a seat, I need to board at 8th and LaSalle as no matter the time of day, those trips are packed full.  And what an experience that trip is…the passengers are definitely a cross-section of all cultures in our metro area-often I am the only white and always I am the minority…it reminds me twice a week of my passion to be a part of building our metro to become a world-class multi-cultural city by 2030! Plus, a bonus tip from a great driver clued me in that if I ask for a transfer, I have a 2.5 hour time period to take advantage of the transit system.  Translation:  for seventy-five cents, I can get to therapy AND back home again!

I’ve had to make a few adjustments, of course….walking almost a mile to the Lund’s on University for fresh produce when temperatures were below freezing did not work well…so I had to take advantage of the skyways even though I dislike them, and on cold weeks switch to the awful grocery selection in the Target downtown.  I needed a bit of help from a friend to get my Christmas trees and holiday décor back to the storage space in the North Loop. And one ISES meeting that required TWO bus transfers to reach seemed a little daunting, so I took a cab. 

So far, the biggest hurdle has been Visitor Experience meetings for the Central Riverfront.  Unfortunately, trying to accommodate allergies and no stairs requests means we meet at Dunn’s on University and 6th SE….a bit of a trek for me.  In March, scurrying across the Central Avenue bridge before it had been plowed, I fell.  I sported bruises from above the knee to mid-calf for three weeks, and still have a very tender kneecap.

So yesterday in view of yet another storm, I tried to be careful….I walked the block and a half through ice and slush to Hennepin Avenue; caught the bus  and was dropped at the door of Dunn’s –a total commute of approximately 15 minutes.  It actually took me longer to get to the bus stop than it did riding the bus.  Unfortunately, I was the only one to make the meeting! So when I finished my coffee, I decided I would walk back five blocks to Lund’s and pick up a few groceries. This was a mistake…it was five blocks of pure torture.  The snow-packed path on the sidewall was treacherous. In some places, worn down to pure ice but in most cases just packed down so well, it was very slippery.  So after a block or two of that tension, I chose to break a new trail in the fresh snow.

Silly me.  Although it did the trick to get me safely to the corner of University and Central, it was like a high stepping march-requiring leg muscles I do not normally stretch that much on my routine walks.   Then after I filled two grocery bags and because of their weight and only one arm to carry both, I wisely decided to hop a bus over the bridge instead of walk.  That was the first time I have taken a bus over that bridge…what a delight, when it dropped me right in front of the convenience store/liquor store on the corner of the Churchill grounds!  

I was pretty pleased with myself managing all that in the storm when all the drivers did not make it…that is until I woke up this morning.  Oh my.  I won’t be walking much today!  Those little used leg muscles are screaming at me.  A trip over to the library for more books may be all I can manage!

But in retrospect, the experience was worth it.  I learned two new bus routes and in an eureka moment, thought to myself…WHY am I settling for Target groceries when I really could take the # 6 bus to the Lund’s on 12th and Hennepin…get my groceries and return…with a transfer, it will only cost me 75 cents round trip!

Now the next big challenge comes in May.  I am off to Rochester not only for hand injections, but a big Kranz family wedding so will be gone 4-5 days.  How in the world do I manage a bigger suitcase, plus my packed Lenox china which I am giving to a niece, AND a wedding present – probably still with only one usable arm.  This may require the first regular rental car in this latest adventure!




April 8, 2013

The first Monday of the second quarter of 2013….and from the looks of my office and the dust accumulating elsewhere in my house, I’ve either been slacking off most of the winter or my medical focus and these last two weeks of being down and out have been taking a greater toll than I thought!

After two plus bottles of cough syrup, lots of throat spray, gargling with peroxide for the sore mouth, far too many boxes of Kleenex and lots and lots of sleep, I feel like perhaps I will live…but still not sure how I will weather all the physical therapy ahead.  Nevertheless, before I can get to real work hidden on my desk, once again, the post it notes and news clippings must be addressed.

More on Drones…

Recently we had a demonstration against drones here in Mpls…100 Minnesota Peace Action Coalition activities staged a drone protest. I took note of a quotation in the Strib attributed to a 20 year old participant:  “The reality of the situation is that there is a lot of collateral damage, and it’s turning people against us”.

Understand, I am not actively advocating the use of drones, nor am I saying people should not raise the issues associated with their use.  I am not sure about drone use; I just don’t want to be pulled down into the drama of the Republicans posturing as they grasp for “last breaths” to redeem themselves; and I am concerned that those protesting may not have a proper perspective.

And that of course, brings me back to a familiar complaint of mine….the irresponsibility of the Bush Administration in the 2000s, aided by a Press that allowed them to get away with it.  As Bush left office, the WORLD was not on our side…two wars-at least one of which was unnecessary and the other was not the most successful-although, in the end, Osama bin Laden is dead-no thanks to the Bush Admin.  Their habit of counting ONLY US lives lost in their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq may have made them feel better, but did little for our reputation and status.  To dwell only on the tip of the iceberg – American LIVES lost minimizes the real tragedy…what about Afghan and Iraqi lives lost including innocent citizens?…How many wounded on all sides?…How much collateral damage did we do in those countries?…What is the REAL financial cost of those wars?…How much did the Bush folly-financed on the “credit card” lead to our deficit today?…What steps were taken by the Bush Administration to plan for financial help to wounded veterans that will continue for perhaps the first half of the 21st century or longer?

All those 2000s missteps tend to make me lean towards drones….yes- they, too, cause issues but perhaps they are an improvement over the flawed thinking of the late 20th century.

Nevertheless; glad to see the engagement of our youth in highlighting the issue; now let’s push to for the answers above, do a comparison between boots on the ground and the drones, and see what restrictions and oversights are needed to improve upon the use of drones as a better alternative.


New Perspective on the Jobs Scene….

Yesterday, the Strib introduced an influencer on the jobs situation that I have overlooked.  I’ve asked the question regarding statistics of people using the difficulty as an opportunity to rethink how they make a living and in some cases, providing the impetus to start up their own business; but  of course, the beginning of the BOOMER retirement will significantly impact those “troubling” numbers.  If their search for employment has not been successful, some have had to rethink “retirement” plans as they reach that age when they qualify for Medicare and Social Security.  It becomes a “lifeline” that provides a financial cushion as they rethink what the future holds for them.

It is permanent income; it allows some breathing room for people like me.  I was not searching for full time employment, but indeed, I have had to take a breather to adjust to the ramifications of a fall a decade ago that meant several months of physical therapy in 2012; followed by joint injections and more physical therapy this year.  My intention of working until I am 75 or 80 has not changed; I have no dream of RETIRING; but I am using the temporary health issues as a time to explore what I want to do in my third career and what new worlds will open before me.

I still believe that although the Traditionalists before us dreamed of a life of leisure as soon as- and as long as-possible, the Boomers may not all want to follow in their footsteps.  Personally, the more I see of those that have followed that path, and its impact on their cognitive abilities, I cringe to think that may lie ahead for me.

But I digress; the topic was the impact of Boomers who have “retired” being counted as those that have “dropped out” of the jobs market.  I had totally overlooked how that is impacting the employment “numbers” we watch for every month.  Shame on me.

And speaking of brains and cognitive abilities….

Hats off to Obama for his new BRAIN initiative.  For the last twenty years, the world of adult learning has been revolutionized as we begin to understand a bit of how the brain really works.  I predict this new initiative will be among the most memorable act of the Obama Presidency…among other things, we may just learn the answers to issues raised in recent Strib articles….How much of an impact and why is it that older men having children may be an autism risk….and how does a walk in the park actually reboot the brain?