Archive for September, 2014



September 24, 2014

The PB article in Saturday’s paper entitled “We Need People” mentioned improving quality of life via new restaurants and art venues….which is valid…but certainly that is not the full picture!

After my first twelve (12) weeks here, I have a list of a few things I think also need to be addressed/added:

The Traditionalist and Boomer voices are loud and clear in their wishes but I am somewhat uncomfortable in these community meetings to look around at the sea of gray hair as I think to myself…where are the Millennials? Building for the future does not make sense if that new vision will only appeal to those of us that will no longer be in the workforce once that vision is realized – twenty years from now.

From what I learned about the Millennials when I was involved in similar “place-making” projects in Minneapolis – this is a big mistake! In fact, much of the energy and forward-thinking ideas that became part of PLAN-it Hennepin came from the students at Fair School that were integrated into our teams.

They were incredible; and their perspective often redirected the rest of us as we overlooked some fairly important elements- as they politely steered us back on the path of what will be needed IN THE FUTURE.

We need to remember that the Millennials are not a car generation; nor are they a house-in-suburb generation. To get more people to live here to provide that needed pool for labor, we might want to think bikers and walkers; public transportation options, and downtown housing needs.

And, as a city dweller for most of last twenty (20) years, I learned that also means grocery stores, office supplies, and a Walmart/Target-type option.

I know from my house search this Spring – there are not a lot of options downtown today. Since I arrived, I have experimented with the public transportation system occasionally and can get to Apache, Crossroads and Silver Lake Shopping Center without much trouble. It is less friendly if I want to visit one of my siblings living in Rochester. And I certainly miss HOUR CAR or a similar option when I need a big grocery run.

I recognize I have been influenced by interactions with leaders in creative city-making such as Charles Landry, Candy Chang, and especially Gil Penelosa during their residencies in MSP, so my intuition says to create not only a functional city, but also a happy city, we need more dreamers to balance out the gray-haired nay-sayers!



September 18, 2014

What a dilemma. YES, I think a woman as US President could bring a new perspective to the role of President. YES, I think it is time in US history to accept women behind this significant “closed door”.

My problem remains the same one I had in 2008. I have never thought Hillary was the right person to lead the charge to get that accomplished. I fear if she is nominated, women as viable alternatives could be set back significantly. From my perspective, she is too much a product of the 20th century. She has no choice but to view the 90s as the right way for our country; after all, she was pretty invested in it, wasn’t she?

And although the door did not shut automatically on that December midnight of 1999/2000, over the last fourteen years, we should all have come to recognize that the 21st century is far different than a “continuation” of what we once believed. And we do not need to go backwards in the progressive leadership of our country.

The Boomers HAD our chance and fifty years is sufficient. It is now time to find leadership that is aware of, comfortable with, and skilled at collaborative resolution to opportunities, issues, and concerns.

I feel Hillary does not understand the new and still-emerging rules of this century. One can indeed disagree; one can suggest alternatives; one should be a part of forming a path forward that is stronger than any single person’s viewpoint; but one does not undercut the plan when one’s suggestions are not adapted. That is Politics – not Leadership.

That does not mean I do not think she did a fine job as Secretary of State in Obama’s first term. But I’ve heard enough hints in her “carefully staged” comments to raise a concern – at least for me.

I wish we had a couple Amy Klobachers to choose from in 2016; then Hillary could live happily ever as a Grandmother and we could avoid continual reminders of how the Clintons finally got things “right” in the last decade of the 20th century. What they did may have been right for the 90s and a fitting close to a bygone century, but those things do not necessarily translate well in the 21st!



September 16, 2014

So last year ANOTHER child by ANOTHER mother was also scarred while being disciplined in Adrian Peterson’s care?

Unfortunately, this is not just about child abuse; it’s about the culture of NFL Football in general.

I STILL can’t talk about my experiences with the NFL Alum organization without getting an upset stomach and almost crying.

Even in my early corporate days in the ‘70s when I was the “first” woman in much of my corporate work life – always trying to carefully maneuver myself out of one situation or another with male clients and co-workers, I was NEVER treated so poorly nor exposed to as much slime as I experienced when I was working with the NFL Alum on their “Player of the Year” Awards events back in mid 1990s.

We can call out individuals all we want (and we should); we can say it’s the fault of the NFL management team (and we should); but as fans, we should look ourselves in the mirror and question WHY we let this filth be perpetuated. Trust me, one can never get rid of the slime – no matter how hard you scrub, if you’ve interacted with them one-on-one.

We have long passed the time when we should have re-evaluated the league, the game, and its culture- as well as the propensity of making these jerks “our heroes” – just because they play football, and make a lot of money.

And yes, I know there are many affiliated with the NFL that should not be categorized this way. There are many who do all they can to overcome the stigma, and many NFL-affiliated organizations do good work as I well know from early days of TASTE OF NFL. Nevertheless, you cannot argue that the culture and many of the fans support this throw-back-to-cavemen-times behavior. And no matter what the spin, IT’S WRONG.

I guess I can only hope that sometime along the way in the 21st century, the world will wake up and recognize that acceptance of this culture does not mesh with today’s values and aspirations and then changes can be made.



September 15, 2014

I think I have to stop subscribing to Dave Tinjum’s wonderful newsletter – the Mill City Times! I want to be in Minneapolis to participate in almost every meeting he included in his post today!

I am sure there will be plenty of voices at tonite’s Mill District Meeting about diverting water away from St. Anthony Falls with new hydro projects. We’ve talked so much about Crown Hydro, one would think it would go away…but of course not; and added to that is A Mill Hydro and Symphony Hydro which I know very little about –and then Xcel gets added to the mix as they want to more water from the falls as well. It’s scary to think about the answer to Dave’s question: “Will the Falls run dry two years from now?”

And then tomorrow begins the planning for the East Bank Bike and Pedestrian Trails from Plymouth Avenue to Marshall…..I KNOW that will be well attended by local residents and MRP…but still, East Bank is my FIRST LOVE and it will be hard to miss the meeting.

And then there is the East Downtown FORUM on Thursday at Valspar, and an Elliot Park Neighborhood Meeting with its update on the Armory among other things …..and the draft of Nicollet Island-East Bank Small Area plan is now available along with Marcy Holmes/Dinkytown Master Plan AND the Ramen Attack on Sept 28  and the Water Works Design which is almost done….not to mention comments are due Sept 30 on the Mississippi River Critical Area Rulemaking. AND, I already missed the Anfinson event last week.

Makes me sad to be missing all this despite the fact that my” plate” is filling fast here in Rochester.



September 14, 2014


Read an interesting article this week outlining the impact on the 23 states that rejected expanding Medicare. For the next eight years through 2022, those 23 will pay out $152 billion to extend the program in the states that comply. $88 billion of that will come from five states: Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Virginia.

The article – one more time – pointed out that not only are the nay-sayers losing benefits, they’ll still pay $152 billion and lose $386 billion in federal funding – let alone the “soft” benefits of economic activity stimulation, increased tax revenues and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

One might be inclined to say “this makes NO SENSE” but remember….we are talking about “Dixieland”….sensible is not a word in their vocabulary!


My first question is a simple one. If 40 countries in this alliance called “The Global Coalition of Counter ISIL” refer to their target as ISIL, and apparently from the name of the organization, they do – WHY does the US Press continue to use the term ISIS and make remarks such as “which Obama still refers to as “ISIL”?

I’m pleased to see John Kerry push back to the omnipotent Press re questions of whose doing what in the alliance being formed. They seem to be particularly “on” Turkey…but never mention that ISIL is holding 40 Turkish hostages, and is thus reluctant to provide military support for fear that ISIL may take action against the Turkish hostages. Nevertheless, as I understand it, wading through the “we know it all” Press remarks, Turkey is indeed open to humanitarian assistance.

And finally, why does the Press insist on spreading the message that Obama has “done nothing for Syria yet”….I think $2.9 billion is quite a lot, actually.


Kudos to the Post Bulletin for emphasizing the DMC is on a quest for input regarding the DMC boundary discussion reviewed Thursday night.

We need to be reminded often that conceptual inclusions and boundaries are not “cast in stone” – nor do they mean that efforts for growth and improvements need be limited only to what eventually becomes the boundaries. The boundaries are simply a requirement for government funding and thus a guideline to help us focus.

For over twenty years, I have been involved in redevelopment efforts on the Central Riverfront in Minneapolis. The story of the redevelopment plans is worth reviewing as it captures what often happens in long term redevelopment process.

Originally the target was efforts where Minneapolis was born, on the EAST bank – with Saint Anthony Main. We called it the “Mississippi Mile”. It was a long, slow, arduous process…it moved slowly from the late 70s…and in the 90s, we were beginning to see good progress and even the beginning of the resurrection of East Hennepin. A collaborative effort between the Parks, the City and MHS in the 90s had re-opened the Stone Arch Bridge but West Bank was only a dream with efforts to come sometime “later”. And then Nina Archibal of MHS suggested a new museum on West Bank to tell the story of the “Power of the Falls”.

My personal reaction initially was not to divert attention away from the task at hand – let’s finish what we are doing – and how wrong I was!

First, the Mill City Museum emerged out of the homeless neighborhood of burned out mills; and nearby, the Depot renovation, and then as we focused on a NEW section of park called the “Mill Ruins, a flood of development began. The Guthrie bought into the vision and became a MCM neighbor….and the homeless shelters within the old mills became Million Dollar condos; the Federal Reserve became an important link in refurbishing the old Gateway, the Minneapolis Public Library popped up and further up-river, the Mpls Park and Rec relocated to a new building on West River Road and the rest is history.

And only then did focus return to East Bank…Water Power Park was built; then new shops, and Lund’s and condos and now the renovation of the Pillsbury A Mill and finally, attention is back on Father Hennepin and Pillsbury Park. And further north, the Grainbelt Brewery and its surrounds fed more development “Above the Falls” and when I left, we were revisiting what needs to be done in the NEXT 30 years!

I mention all this only as an example and inspiration for what CAN happen with the DMC if indeed we are open to all options and opportunities-which brings me in a circuitous route back to the current DMC plans.

Another Kudos to Megan Constans of Eyota for her Letter to the Editor yesterday: “Transportation Funding Needed to meet needs, attract young residents.”

I could not agree more! So far, I’m very impressed with DMC/EDC efforts, but I, too, expressed the same concerns at the DMC meeting Thursday night – not about transportation per se, but about the need to hear from the Millennials!

I was rightly reminded that although the Millennials do not necessarily have a physical presence at these sessions, they are engaged in the process through social media. Of course.

As an old Boomer, I am thinking it would benefit the DMC live audiences made up mostly of other old Boomers to hear what the Millennials think; some attending might even be jarred into the recognition of what the community will look like in 20 years. It will not be the gray-hairs of today that will be charged with making this all work – it will be that audience we may think of as “grand-children” and it would be wise to listen to their thoughts and needs.

Perhaps it would be beneficial to project the twitter feed and Facebook comments so the audience can benefit from their input. And ideally, we can figure out how we can encourage their physical presence.

After all these years of involvement on the peripheral of the renaissance in MSP on the riverfront, I have learned to appreciate and listen to the voice of the Millennials. Sometimes it was not “comfortable” but I try to listen before judging….most of the time!



September 10, 2014

Tonight the President is addressing the nation on the topic of Syria and what’s next in the Middle East.

All day, that speech no one has yet heard has been critiqued by our all-knowing national press. I first heard it happen with Andrea Mitchell this morning; then tuned in later in afternoon to NOW and heard it again and before I could turn the TV off, along came Ed with his rendition of the same story. A little break and then the local news programs started in. Thank you, Brian Williams, for starting your show with something else-even though Obama became subject # 2. And all that brings me to my question of the day.

When did the pundits start thinking they know more about a given national situation than those in charge? When did they stop reporting and become the new judicial branch of government?

Why do I see Obama as doing exactly what I expect a 21st century President to do….the very reason I voted for him in the first place. He is thoughtful, deliberate, always ready to search for input and alternative perspectives, collaborating and building coalitions and consensus – all to ensure that when we act, we act with the best plan possible at any given time.

I am afraid that is still a foreign process for most of the pundits and many of the old-timer congressional members, but for me – I started following this emerging idea back in 2005-2006 and almost ten years later, I have a lot of PERSONAL successes that reinforce that collaborative thought process is indeed a workable one.

Any why do we think we all should be “in the know” and have made up our mind before the situation, options, and the chosen plan is laid out for us? I truly do not understand this.



September 9, 2014

So, it’s been a bit more than two months (or a bit less if I discount the ten (10) days I have spent in Minneapolis) since I arrived.

It has been a whirlwind of activity from unpacking to utility hookups; to a few DMC-related events to visits of friends and a few encounters with family.

There was the usual tornado of Beth Hildebrand’s annual visit to Minnesota and not one, but TWO visits from John Markovich – once with Lizzie and the bike in tow after they vacationed on the Appalachian Trail, and then John alone after he finished judging barbecue at the Olmsted Country Fairgrounds. …just in time to give me a ride to the Kranz/Paul family reunion at my brother Gordie’s -where there was a little time to catch up with Lisa- who was home from Portland for the reunion..

The big happening was an Ojala wedding that brought Elizabeth from Hawaii right here to Rochester for a catch up dinner at Michael’s , then the Groom’s Dinner in Rochester Central Park of the whole “fam damily” -as well as the bride’s family of course, and culminated with wedding and reception in Stewartville, and an after-party at the Hampton Inn South. We still all “played well together “-with a bit less alcohol than in our youth; Fred and Eileen and Grandma would have been proud.

In between all the celebrating, I attended a few DMC-related events, a few community events at the Public Library, became a DMC Ambassador; did my first tour of duty in the DMC booth at Thursdays on First, and walked backed downtown with RT Rybak from a DMC meeting at the Civic Center. He and Bill George are on the Board; they and the RSP Architects folks I know from the MSP Central Riverfront make those meetings seem like I am “home”.

Along the way, I managed to “Celebrate Dakota!” and learn a little about the Native Americans here in the Driftless area of bluffs and hills in SE Minnesota. Who knew Quarry Hill dates back before Rochester? I thought it was just something left over from the State Hospital of my youth…and the only Indians I knew about (except for my aunt and cousins in St. Charles, of course) were the faces on the ”Indianhead Bridge” over the Mississippi in Wabasha on the way up to Chetek and Grandma Bishop’s! So I am looking forward to picking up the Dakota connection from another perspective – although they will always conjure up scenes from Bdote to Nicollet Island for me.

And in between all that, I have tried to walk a new route every day to re-acclimate myself to the town of my youth. Like all towns, it’s grown up and certainly changed along the way. But it is pretty fun to walk down a street that I don’t remember and then all of a sudden recognize something and be flooded with memories of my youth. I walked to Barlow’s Hyvee one day off Civic Center Drive….and almost the whole way, I was flooded with memories of walking to the Brumm’s from RJC with Cheryl …and wondering where they all are today. On a looong walk of six miles the other day through downtown, then along Soldiers Field Golf Course to Apache Mall, and back east to Crossroads and finally home along 3rd Ave SE, I of course, passed several recognizable points that brought back memories….both sisters lived southeast after they were married, but I couldn’t place exactly where for either. Which big old house was Nancy and Doug’s first apartment? And didn’t Rosemary and Nick live someplace near that store, now closed, on the corner on 3rd Avenue SE?

So mostly it’s been fun but not without a few challenges and adjustments. My apartment is in an ideal location for me. Close to downtown business district, along the river, across from Oakland Cemetery, and within a few steps of the great walking/biking trail system…which leads me east to within a block of my brother Gordon’s house or north to Silver Lake Shopping Center.

But then there is the dissembled drain in the bathtub of the bathroom in the 306B “wing” of my house. It fell apart the first shower I took; it has been looked at; photographed, and——-nothing else done in two months. I did get a new faucet for the kitchen sink; but the rest of the things on my list of issues when I moved in have not been addressed. The kitchen is the worst….functional, but! The laminate on cabinets has come unglued everywhere; cupboard doors do not stay closed; the refrigerator freezer “drips” around the door, and the stove is disgusting. All that and MORE including the dirtiest window sills I have ever seen -on a list to them when I moved in and no activity yet. But worse… no garbage disposal. Little did I realize how spoiled one gets when one has modern conveniences. This garbage disposal raises itself as issue every day…even though I daily remind myself I grew up without one, so what’s the big deal? Smell for one, and little black no-see’ums that fly around for another!

And then there is my latest crisis. Thursday, the building maintenance people came to change filter and clean the furnace ducts. Now I have NO IDEA if my latest issue is related to that, but I did not have a fly problem before then, and all of a sudden…..a cloud of little blue/black flies filled my living room. I sprayed, and swatted, and killed almost 30 that first day….but obviously, there were eggs or something someplace…becuz two more days, two more battles with Cheryl thankfully victorious over the flies. Uggghh!

The TV station is truly amateur hour. It is NBC affiliate, so I no longer can access KARE and believe me, I really do not want to hear about every police call in the county and news from every little town – many of which are NOT even in this county! Yikes! And then there is the Post Bulletin. It is an evening paper. Sometimes it comes at 10 in the morning. Sometimes at 1PM like today. But almost never does it come at 4-5 like MOST evening papers. Meanwhile the mailman NEVER shows up before 4PM! Go figure.

Nice window shopping in downtown, but everything you need is at Apache Mall. Keeps all the visitors happy at least, but oh how I miss the downtown TARGET in Minneapolis…and I miss the Lund’s and Whole Foods within walking distance of my house. Rumor has it a REAL grocery store is in the works and at least the Just Rite of my junior college days with the good meat is still in service….and it is not a terrible trek to People’s Coop – just ten blocks – but I hate paying the price of everything ORGANIC. $10.99 a pound for a pork tenderloin is robbery.

So all in all…for most part…good and bad-just like all cities. But then, when I least expect it, it surprises me like this morning.

First, I walked along second street where there was a great chalk artist drawing covering the sidewalk for a block and a half starting at Broadway … it was the invitation and directional sign for the Opening Night Reception for the ”Transform” medical conference that began yesterday. It was fun, colorful, and it made me smile.

And then, around the corner and a block down was UMR (University of Minnesota-Rochester) with the slogan “Changing the DNR of Learning” covering the glass building front and embedded in one of the “cells” representing the DNA was the phrase “Community Engagement”. YES!

Every day, I remind myself: I made this decision to be closer to the DMC and how it moves forward-not only as the Mayo Clinic grows, but how it keeps pace in the creative city making process. Today I learned a new research and design laboratory known as the WELL Living Lab is coming to downtown Rochester. It’s an “open-innovation eco-system for healthy living (which) will simulate realistic living and work environments , including homes, offices, schools, communities and hotels in order to test, monitor and identify the efficacy of wellness-based interventions”. The Mayo Clinic/Delos Living LLC project details are being revealed today at the Transform Symposium. I can’t wait to learn more and for the lab’s debut – scheduled for April, 2015.

Those are the things that make it special here. Those are the things that brought me home.