Monthly Archives: August 2010

Presses Keep on Rolling at the Great Minnesota Get Together

Photo of a man at a large printing press

Geezers and geeks alike have a chance to capture the sounds, the smells and the stories of Minnesota’s newspapers at the Minnesota Newspaper Museum.  You’ll experience the process of mid-1930’s era news production when Linotype, letterpresses, and a maze of mechanical and manual tools kept Minnesotans up to speed on everything from the weather and the economy to matters closer to home, including weddings, funerals, births and out-of-town visitors.  Scores of volunteers, including many retired newspaper men and women, are more than pleased to demonstrate, explain and even share hot off the press souvenirs with all comers – especially the young who’ve never seen a working letterpress or elders who stop to reflect on the influence of Minnesota’s vital newspaper industry in their lives.

The Minnesota Newspaper Museum, opened in 1985, reflects the commitment of newspaper leaders to their profession.  Earlier this summer past presidents of the Minnesota Newspaper Association pooled their resources, including their normal mileage and pre-diem allowances, to make a generous contribution to the Museum.  Their largesse echoes the spirit of Bernie Shelrud, publisher of the Maynard News, who kick-started the Museum;  in 1984 Selrud sold his letterpress shop and all of the equipment so Minnesota State Fair-goers could remember and learn about hand set lead type and the mechanics of getting the news readers to throughout the state.

This year the story of the Museum and the work of letterpress printers are part of a film being produced with Legacy funds.

Stroll through Heritage Square to the far end where you’ll be treated to a lively learning experience, a great chat with a printing pro, a copy of the day’s newspaper produced right before your very eyes on a letter press that rolls 9-8 every day of the Fair.  Free and open to all, whether you can still smell the ink of the morning’s paper or whether you depend on Twitter for the news that matters.

MnKnows – and you will too if you learn to use the tool

In an earlier era, when time and finances were in greater supply, Minitex, a multi-state network with national and global links, put on a great show at the Minnesota State Fair – a well-staffed welcome to Minnesota’s libraries of every sort.  Today, as information and communications technology redefine the profile of libraries in general and of every library as a local portal to ever-expanding resources in myriad formats.  Today, Minitex shares its tools, strategies and expertise in new-fashioned ways.

For starts, Minitex is promoting a “dig deeper @ your library” tool  that starts with MnKnows.  Tackle your information excavation by digging with this indispensable tool tidily encapsulated on a handy bookmark.  The mine opens to reveal these treasures:

The MnLINK Gateway where you can  place requests for materials – books and a whole lot more delivered to your local library and access to electronic books and journals online.

ELMS, the Electronic Library for Minnesota, an essential guide to online articles and electronic books – try it before you get lost in the everyday search engines.

Minnesota Reflections, a treasure trove of photos, documents and maps related to Minnesota history

AskMN where you’ll find  real-time answers from a real live librarian available 24/7..

Research Project Calculator – a planned approach and a persistent reminder that, whatever the task, there is an approach that involves planning, persistence and an occasional prod from the deadline watcher.

MnKnows – Dig Deeper@Your Library

A sign that says library.

MnKnows is provided by Minitex, an information and resource sharing program of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries

MN Broadband Summit – An Eyewitness Account

The 2010 Minnesota Broadband Summit breathed life into the reality and the future of broadband, not as an end but as a means – a means to economic development, of course, but more important, as a means to creating a state in which a Minnesota resident can live a rich live in a community with the tools of access to health care, civic engagement, lifelong learning, arts and culture. As convener and host, Senator Amy Klobuchar outlined the complex issues inherent in assuring access to high-speed broadband for all Minnesotans.  Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications, the regulatory agency responsible for telecommunications development, outlined the challenges he and members of a divided Commission face.

The intent was for the decision-makers from inside the DC Beltway to join an energetic and committed audience in learning from a truly fine panel of informed Minnesota leaders with unique perspectives on and experience with broadband.  Emphasis was on Minnesotans who are out of the loop because of geography, awareness, digital literacy or cost.

My original intent was to summarize the summit.  Even as I sorted through my notes and my reflections those who are more nimble and better equipped accomplished just that.  TheUpTake posted the video of the full summit on their site.  Blandin Foundation, which has taken the broadband lead in Greater Minnesota, has posted a virtual transcript of the proceedings.

What remains is to internalize and reflect.  Some thoughts:

  • Seldom have I heard a panel provide as much relevant, targeted and specialized information – I doubt that I have ever heard this much data, personal experience and vision delivered within the strict time limits dictated by the venue.  To a person, the spokespersons were “way above average.
  • Attendees included access leaders and visionaries who have been tilling the telecommunications turf for decades. For many present there was an “it’s about time” response. This cohort shares an implicit sense that there is a role for government to regulate (as well as fund) broadband development.
  • Along these lines, the panel touched on social issues generally absent from today’s politics.  They described with clarity specific strategies to ease or eliminate barriers, beginning with but not limited to geographic realities
  • Bruce Kerfoot. President and owner of the Gunflint Lodge, spoke for panelists and audience alike when he reminded the Senator and FCC chair that “the people on the end of the wires aren’t stupid.  We’re ready to roll and we have folks who want to be online.  We just need to be unified in our efforts to get heard.”
  • A consistent theme was collaboration broadly defined.   Kerfoot emphasized that Minnesota communities “just need to be unified in our efforts to get heard.”  Pam Lehmann, Executive Director of the Lac qui Parle County Development Authority, described how collaboration paid off for people in her county to apply where a Computer Commuter mobile tech lab was launched the following day.  More information on a StarTribune piece is available on Lac qui Parle’s site here.
  • Richard (Dick) King, CEO at Thomson Reuters, stressed that “people need to visualize themselves using technology. Stressing the imperative of public-private collaboration, King ticked off the reasons Thomson Reuters cares about broadband:  “We care because of our employees – we’d like for them to be able to work from home.  We’d like to bring other tech companies into the area.  Business needs a continuity plan — if something happens in the office, we still need to be able to carry on.  We need competition and redundancy.”
  • Engagement of local elected officials and decision-makers is a must, according to the panelists. A unified approach demands that local leaders are both informed and involved.
  • Panelists stressed that collaboration means public-private partnerships that are both essential and slow to nurture.  Speakers described in concrete terms the ways that the private sector, whether Thomson Reuter or Gunflint Lodge, depends on access and on collaborative efforts to promote a broadly-defined vision. Pam Lehmann, ED of the Pac qui Parle County EDA, described her county’s collaborative efforts and her vision of the impact of resulting federal funds on her community – proudly reminding the audience that the next day would see the launch of the Computer Commuter tech lab to spread digital literacy throughout the region.
  • Though the front-burner issue of net neutrality received modest attention, the implication was that this had been well addressed in the recent Net Neutrality town hall meeting chaired by Senator Al Franken.
  • Throughout the discussion the reality of cost was implicit.  Still it neither dominated nor stymied discussion which remained more on shared vision and possibilities.  The clear focus was on what was repeatedly described as a “win-win” approach.

In his introductory remarks Chairman Genachowski reminded attendees that, urgent as the issue, it’s not priority #1 with most people or their elected representatives.  His words seemed to me a hint, if not a clarion call, to those assembled to roll up our virtual sleeves.

The awesome volunteers and staff at the UpTake recorded Senator Amy Klobuchar’s remarks.

Midtown Global Market Eateries at the Minnesota State Fair!

A smiling Manny Gonzalez holding a pineapple with the top cut off.

Manny Gonzalez at work

In case you need enticement to take in the Fair more than once, take the culinary route.  Though the diversity and abundance of ethnic delicacies are too much to survey – much less consume, here’s a taste sampler from the Midtown Global Market guaranteed to perk up the laziest taste bud.

In an interesting arrangement that allows all of the tenants to keep the home fires burning while they staff the Fair concessions, MGM restaurants will take turns at the International Bazaar

·         La Loma Tamales proffers their signature pork or vegetarian tamales (2/$5) through Monday, August 30th.

  • Jakeeno’s Trattoria serves their cheesy risotto on a stick ($6). They will also be bringing back their pear and gorgonzola salad with candied walnuts ($5) for $5 and their prosciutto wrapped asparagus (2/$5)   Jakeeno’s  will be at the MGM booth August 31 through September 3.
  • Manny’s Tortas covers the MGM booth September 4-7.  Manny’s blends a non-alcoholic pina colada served in a fresh pineapple ($7) to wash down their classic tortas ($5) each.  Manny’s tortas, Cuban, chicken or vegetarian sandwiches, are replete with cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, avocado, jalapenos, refried beans and chipotle pepper mayo.

Three other Midtown Global Market businesses will be located in the International Bazaar throughout the twelve days of the Fair.

Outside the International Bazaar fairgoers won’t be at a loss for munchies.

Manny, who obviously just can’t get enough of the Great Minnesota Get Together, will be hawking his tortas in the Food Building throughout the Fair.

The Produce Exchange will feature their popular “Big As Yo’ Face” sweet and juicy peaches in the Agriculture Building, across from the entrance to the International Market.

Also in the Agriculture Building Salty Tart bakery will serve their award-winning macaroons.

Bon Appetit!

Women’s Equality Day, August 26, 2010

Sorry this is a day late; but it is important so I’m sending it along anyway.

A black and white photo of a group of men and women with signs indicating that they are the League of Women Votes getting people out to vote.  The text under the photo says: "Spread the word about the League this Women's Equality Day".The League of Women Voters of the United States sends this greeting to all!

The day commemorates the 90th anniversary of passage of the Nineteenth Amendment which granted women the right to vote and more.

Women’s Equality Day goes back to 1971 when Congress, with persistent pressure from Congresswoman Bela Abzug and a host of women’s groups, passed a joint resolution designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.  The resolution builds on passage builds on the success of the suffrage movement affirming in strong terms that the work to assure full equality continues:  The first whereas of the resolution reads:  “WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institution, which are available to male citizens of the United States.”  In the words of Elizabeth MacNamara, president of LWVUS, Women’s Equality Day offers “the opportunity to continue to make a profound, direct and positive impact on the issues that matter most to our community and the generations to come.

Kramarczuk’s at the MN State Fair

Kramarczuk’s is “back with a vengeance” in the words of Ordest Kramarczuk who recalls that his dad had a booth at the Great Minnesota Get Together back in 1963.  ThiA photo of Kramarczuk's building at the Fair s year the Kramarczuk family and crew are frantically feeding Twins fans at Target Field.  They’re also back at the Fair.  They’ve collaborated with long-time friends Stephanie and Mike Olson who operate the Blue Moon Dine-In Theater. The Blue Moon is the exclusive vendor of Kramarczuk’s delectable brats, Polish and andouille sausage.   Ordest Kramarczuk is quick to note that all of Kramarczuk’s sausage, is made locally from farm-fresh pork.  Freshness is guaranteed because all of the sausage, made in limited quantities, is sold within just 48 hours.

The Blue Moon Dine-In Theater  has an extensive menu including what Steve Olson describes as an “awesome breakfast.”    It’s West of the Grandstand at the Southeast corner of Carnes Avenue and Chamber Street.  They’re open 6:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. every day of the Fair.

When they’re not vending their prize product at Target Field, Ordest and his son run the family business.  the iconic butcher shop/restaurant at 215 Hennepin (near University Avenue) in Northeast Minneapolis.

How to get to the Minnesota State Fair

As I write it’s just 24 hours and counting till the gates open at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair.  Be still my heart.  Though more about the Fair precedes and will follow this post the pressing issue of the day is getting there – especially getting there without squandering money better spent on bacon-on-stick, a kufta kabob or the Turbo Bungy.

Behold the bus:

  • Check out the State Fair Express service – nonstop to and from the Fair from Express parking lots 8:00 a.m. to Midnight. Closer P&R lots are free.  Far flung lots ($5) operate throughout the metro area and the burbs (some operated by MVTA and SouthWest Transit).  Park ($5)  Hop on the bus, hop off at the Fairgrounds gate and look with pity on hot and hapless families stuck in traffic.  Insider’s tip:  Go to the MTC State Fair site – enter your address and the omniscient system will show you the parking lots closest to you.
  • Regular bus routes are another option — Route 960, a State Fair special, runs frequently from Nicollet Mall. – Route 84 goes North-South on Snelling while Route 3 runs East-West on Como.

Bike or cycle:

  • There are three free secured bike parking areas on the fairgrounds – Check Gate #6 (Como and Snelling), Gate #2 (Hoyt and Snelling and Gate #15 near the West Dan Patch Transitway Gate.  Open 6 a.m. to Midnight.
  • Cyclists may also park, lock and ride the bus free from some of the Park & Ride sites.
  • Motorcyclists can pay $5 to park 6:00 a.m.-midnight for $5 at the secure lot near Gage #7 in Como.

No bicycles or motorcycles may be operated on the fairgrounds during the Fair.

Accessible parking:

A parking lot for people with disabilities and their companions, including wheelchair-accessible transportation to and from the Fair, is located at 1039 DeCourcy Circle, East of Snelling off Energy Park Drive. The bus stop for the wheelchair-accessible Park & Ride is at  Como Loop Gate #9.  Lots more information about accessibility to all of the State Fair on the state fair site, email accessibility@mnstatefair.org, call 651 288 4400 or TTY 651 642 2372.

When in doubt, check it out:

The Minnesota State Fair and Metro Transit websites are treasure troves that will answer just about any question a Fair-goer can pose.   Everything you ever wanted to know about the Great Minnesota Get-Together – schedules, times, fees, competitions, entertainment and food you’ve never imagined is  online or call 651 288 4400. A great resource is Metro Transit’s TripPlanner service – online or call 612 333 3733 (TTY 612 341 0140).