Archive for March, 2014



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!




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. 



March 26, 2014

I’m ready to throw my computer out the window for all the intrusive “pop-op” ads I’m experiencing right now.  It’s bad enough that one is subjected to this almost anytime one clicks on a story of interest associated with KARE TV or MNPOST, or most anything you’ve every researched, but now after trying to do a few searches on olive oil and Crete for a project I’m working on and a few searches on Rochester and a potential future life there, I have been flooded with these interruptions.

So last week, I tried an experiment for two days.  I recorded time spent watching or trying to bypass these irritants.  I spent almost 25% of my time (YES 25%!) either waiting for an intrusive advertisement to end or trying to close the offensive window and get on with my business!    Yes, maybe it was only 20% allowing time to track/record, but either way, it was a SIGNIFICANT loss of productivity-considering in every case, I was trying to by-pass and get on with the work at hand.  THINK about how much time, if a viewer was actually interested, and then got sucked into the churn and went from one ad to the next-all beckoning from the sidebars.

My point being, this is a huge loss of income-generating time which translates to LESS INCOME to return to those irritating businesses who take part in this intrusive habit.  One would think their OWN marketing gurus might have sense to understand this but apparently they don’t- or don’t care- or simply think it does not matter. 

In a corporation, one generally gets paid for time at the office- productive time or not.  But I can assure you, these invasive tactics will not return income from me!  I paid my dues by giving them time to hear about their product I did not want!  As trends predict more and more independent “businesses” in the future, corporations may just want to RETHINK this plan of attack, I would think.

I cannot be the only one that has a similar reaction, or am I?

Some days, I do think it is just me…otherwise in comparison why have we made such an issue of NSA gathering meta-data?  A number communicating with a number for x amount of time – frankly, doesn’t bother me or IMPACT MY PRODUCTIVITY AND LIFE as much as the intrusions of corporations whose sole intent is to separate me from my money….all so they can pay execs $millions annually, and have a little left over of course to lobby for their own interests, and pay those marketing yahoos who are targeting me!

Yes I know…no one wants to feel Big Brother is watching over us controlling our free will.  Yet everyone wants the government to have systems that guarantee that no bad guys can plot to harm us. We do not want another 9-11. 

I’d like to hear from the naysayers how they expect the government to do that without some sort of watchful eye to stop these incidents at the PLANNING stage…not just come in and clean up after.

And, I’d like to hear from the naysayers why they are perfectly okay with becoming a Stepford Wife controlled by corporate America thru unwanted pop-op ads! 



March 25, 2014


“Dakota Native Americans rode horses from South Dakota 330 miles to Mankato in December to commemorate the 1862 hanging of 30 braves in Mankato-the largest mass execution in US History.”

That is a quotation under the picture of the ride shown in the STAR TRIBUTE this morning, March 25, 2014 in the Metro Section on Page B5.

And with that I feel exonerated!

A few years ago, I mentioned this annual event to my family when I was visiting at Christmas and boy was I put in my place. That would be impossible to do, you know, and how could I be so dumb?

And just like in my youth, I fell right back into the role and accepted their criticism, and convinced myself that indeed, I had to be the dumb one. Weird how that happens, isn’t it? 




March 25, 2014


Obama’s in Europe as the new G-7 discusses how to get Russia in line….meanwhile, the Russians are in Minnesota for a Russia-US Innovation Conference.  The  goal of conference of companies, universities and non profits  is to “share best practices and explore ways to strengthen US-Russian trade, investment and research.  Hmmm.


Although only one person was injured, thankfully, it seems time we asked ourselves as drivers in Minnesota some hard questions!

This weather is NOT NEW to Minnesota! 

Although my brain may have magnified past winters in the 20th century into more than they actually were, somehow, I don’t think that is necessarily true.  For instance, the winter of ’92 stands out in my mind for the WORST ruts downtown ever….it was Super Bowl; it was planning for the first ever “Taste of the NFL”; and it was a challenge day after day to head into downtown from Plymouth after work to attend planning meetings – where driving REALLY got bad-and even turning a corner in the city was an issue. 

One had to first escape the deep ruts going in one direction; get your car to “Jump” over mounds of ice that defined those ruts and as the car turned , you needed to carefully settle it into similar ruts going a new direction without creating an accident..  Not long after that, I bought a Jeep!

But I digress.

We need to figure out why the pileup of 61 cars on the Mendota Bridge happened.

  • Too many folks thinking they are invincible out on the roads?
  • Too many Millennial drivers with little experience driving in this weather?
  • Too many old Boomers with slower reaction times these days thinking they are still invincible?
  • Too many all-weather tires on cars when maybe this year we should have had chains and snow tires?
  • Too many of distracted all the time by cell phones in our cars?
  • Too little instructions on “How to drive in Winter Weather” happening these days?
  • Do we need a new evaluation of how we treat roads to insure better safety?

Do we all need to take a minute and rethink that “Time is of an Essence” that propels us dangerously about the metro? 

Being ON TIME is not worth putting lives at risk – so says the person that ALWAYS has to be early for fear of being late!  Truthfully, I don’t know the cause or the answer; but it seems to me it is a sizable WAKE UP CALL we all should be concerned about!.







March 24, 2014

There are those that find the Monday edition of the STRIB to be lacking.  Yes, some sections are smaller; like the “Business Insider” but why is that surprising?  Not much “breaking news” happens on Saturday and Sunday in the business world…but there are usually some great features and great learning opportunities through-out the few pages.  Take this morning, for instance:


Yet another advance in energy; the Buoyant Airborne Turbines float 1000 ft. in the air and can power a dozen homes.  They do not do this as cheaply as a wind farm (where costs are low as 4 cents per kilowatt per hour make it more affordable than coal in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Anything that helps those three environment-polluting states is a big positive)!  Nevertheless, 18 cents vs. 35 cents per kilowatt per hour is a BIG step forward in Alaska.

I’m sure my dad is somewhere observing all this development from the WIND FARMS to the BAT…I’m just not sure if he’s sharing in “colorful” language how foolish this is…or, if he has already figured out  how to make a few improvements!  But one thing I do know, wherever he is, Hap is monopolizing the conversations with his thoughts on these new turbines.



Meanwhile, a round of applause and more is due Devean George for the Commons at Penn Avenue.

Almost twenty years ago, a drive-by shooting killed his 11-year old cousin and motivated George to “become a success, make the NBA, care for his family and create a better community.”

With George Group North, he has been doing just that.  He owns apartment buildings, has refurbished houses and built “Marketplace & Main” , a residential/retail complex in downtown Hopkins.  He is involved in several non-profits, stays connected to Augsburg, and now has launched the “Commons at Penn Avenue” .

Tiffany Glasper, CPED, says it well:  “This is a good project because it activates an inactive corner that has been a magnet for loitering and crime.  People and activity deter crime.  And Devean has gone beyond what most developers do to work with the community.”

The NBA as well as other Pro Sports Teams should listen up!  Many of you might do well getting to know this man and his work.


7401 Metro Boulevard in Edina…you know the area-that sea of buildings between Hwy 100 and France Avenue that all look alike?  Not what you would consider a cultural spot in MSP!

Nevertheless, a law firm housed on the top floor in one of those buildings remodeling with their values in mind, and has created some buzz:

Commitment to Client:  With client privacy in mind, they included new enclosed, frosted glass conference rooms on either side of the entrance to the firm…no more parading clients through a sea of employees.

Commitment to Teamwork and Collaboration among employees called for redesigned work spaces, and,

Commitment to Community is visually displayed by works of art by artists with developmental disabilities.  The non-profit Partnership Resources teamed with the Walker Art Center to provide not only the art itself, but meet-the-artist opportunities at the firm.

Nothing big and splashing, but I am liking this; it could be a model for a new century in the business world!


We know the Polymet copper-nickel mine has raised controversy:  How does one balance 20 years of 350 jobs and lots of tax income revenue for the State of MN with a 200-year threat to the northern Minnesota watershed?  Each of us, based on interests and needs as a strong opinion.

Terry Larken, a private consultant, provided us with a summary of Risk Evaluation from the May 2010 issue of Professional Safety Magazine.  The four categories sound simple, but perhaps difficult to judge.

However, Larken made a good point as he used the North Dakota Bakken oil fields to show that an economic activity originally judged to have “acceptable risk” has become an “unacceptable risk” because of the National Transportation Safety Board report that oil trains used to transport the oil now represent an unacceptable public risk.

Larken then walked the reader through three important questions, advising that if all the answers are YES; then we have acceptable risk.  But if not, then “no amount of economic activity/reimbursement could justify its existence.”

I like this approach; no emotion; just the facts…a 21st century interpretation of that old BI real/win; worth/risk analysis model I still use on occasion.

I will leave you with his parting comment:

Let’s agree that once you crack open hard-rock sulfide ore, you must prevent it from leaching into one of the finest watersheds on the North American continent.  Ever.


Whew.  All that, and I have not even gotten to Sweden’s music makeover through Spotify and its streaming service, nor the “Movers and Shakers” column yet!

With both past and current clients in the Medical Device world, the work featured in Movers and Shakers certainly caught my eye.  I learned that the Technological Leadership Institute at U of M has a new program to “prepare students to understand, anticipate, and manage innovation challenges in the global medical device industry.”

This 30-student program has been designed to give students “knowledge of the industry, of regulatory and global trends needed for a sustained, competitive career advantage individually, and then for their organizations and give them an enhanced capability for innovation and growth for their companies.”

That’s admirable and forward-thinking.  I wonder what role U of MN Rochester might have as this rolls out.




March 24, 2014


The STRIB may have slanted the comments of Pat Higgins, Mpls. Building Official regarding the LOT-EK plan being recommended by Akquaracy & Scott Patingo…or perhaps Higgins, indeed has grave reservations about the proposed plan to create the biggest shipping container building in North America…Nevertheless, I’m sending out a BIG YES for the futurist thinking.

Whatever the case, the extra scrutiny is most likely warranted, as Minnesota has no experience with this medium and indeed, we need to ensure “structural integrity, durability, fire resistance and…energy conservation standards”.

But I am celebrating the forward thinking!

One of the few design books I am NOT planning to part with is a recent Taschen compilation of the best Temporary Architecture around the world.  [Temporary being a relative term-generally emerging to mean “not built to last for centuries”, i.e. out of marble and stone. J]

Amongst the structures featured from around the world are indeed those made of shipping containers.  It is the one medium I regret I was not able to work with in my events career as they are so versatile and such a fabulous “reuse” application!   Not to mention, available and “cheap!

In Sao Paulo, containers housed an international video art exhibition in Villa Lobos Park; in Spain, they were used as housing modules by the Municipal Society for Urban Rehabilitation; in Tweksbury, New Jersey, they became a three bedroom two-and-a-half bath prefabricated QUIK house.  In Italy, a push button five room home was created from containers; in New York they became “pop-up” stores, and in Alicante Spain and in Boston, Lot-ek and PUMA ised them to create a mighty impressive store for retail and for events.  Copenhagen housed the North Harbor Exhibition in containers, and then re-purposed them for additional cultural events and for event space.

I suggested they be used by Target once for an exhibition in the MCC; and I am sure once Marilyn Nelson and team secure the Super Bowl, there will be some great application opportunities for those festivities.  After all, we did a tent on the frozen lake at Carlson Towers for CBS (I think it was) the last time we hosted Super Bowl!

So hopefully, we will not say NO without some good thought and investigation.  The North Loop warehouses have become apartments and condos, stores, coffee shops and restaurants. What better compliment to the area than to use the shipping containers that once filled all those warehouses with product to help complete the story of the area’s roots!