Category Archives: Mississippi River

Mid-summer Meanderings on the Mississippi

The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book – a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secret as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day. ~~ Mark Twain.

Though summer days and evenings are long and lush, there just are not enough of them – so many opportunities to relax and learn, so little time! The powerful flow and the majestic beauty of the Mississippi flow inspire writers, painters, photographers, musicians, creative spirits and nature lovers to its banks. As the Mississippi flows through these parts it welcomes all of those who live and work along its path to know the influence of the river on its neighbors.

Following are just a few of the  summer activities inspired by the Mighty Mississippi.

One major happening is the FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, set for July 27-29. Over the past decade the FLOW has grown in reputation and attendance; the arts crawl has morphed into a huge three-day community celebration that stretches for over a mile and a half from the Mississippi to Penn Avenue North. The celebration features the range from fine art by over 300 local artists and makers to graffiti created by expressive amateurs – plus  music, music, music!  One feature familiar to FLOW-goers is the “clusters” at Freedom Square and The Capri Theater, Juxtaposition Arts and the KMOJ Stage. FLOW is a program of the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition. (  All the details here: (

Through Labor Day the National Park Service, in collaboration with Mississippi Arts Connection and Friends of the Lock and Dam, will be sponsoring public tours, guided or unguided seven days a week.  Writing in MinnPost Peter Callaghan gives an excellent overview of the locks, their history and current operations, along with details about the tours.

Now that you’re in the mood, grab a camera (any camera) and take a stroll along the banks of the Mississippi Riverfront ( has issued a call for entries to the Mississippi Minute Film Festival.  They’re looking for films that “inform, energize, and inspire people to action – all in 60 seconds!”  Entries are due September 15.  Learn more here:

The dust has hardly settled on the magnificent Northeast Parade and yet the community is priming for Open Streets Northeast.  (It’s Sunday, August 6, 11:00-5:00.  This is a City of Minneapolis event hosted by the Our Streets Minneapolis, formerly the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition (

And you will be right on the river when you visit the Twin Cities Polish Festival August 11-13.   Planners say their mission is to “immerse Minnesotans and visitors in ‘all things Polish” by presenting a kaleidoscope of unique cultural and educational displays, food and top-notch entertainment.” Mere words cannot convey the “feel” of the event – music, dancing, history and culture – all on Old Main Street on  the banks of the Mississippi.  Learn more here:  Free and open!

There’s much more to see and do, but stop now to  take time to relax, find a cool spot – preferably near water – to read these reflections on Ol’ Mn River written by John Anfinson:  It will inspire you to keep  on exploring the wonders – to walk, photograph, paint, write , read or simply be grateful for the Mississippi River in our midst and in our lives.

The Mississippi, the Ganges, and the Nile,…the Rocky Mountains, the Himmaleh, and Mountains of the Moon, have a kind of personal importance in the annals of the world ~~   Henry David Thoreau


Earth Day 2017 – A global/national/local movement!

Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2017 is a celebration of our magnificent planet and a call to those who share this earth to both appreciate and protect this earthly heritage.  In wise and wonderful ways earthlings are embracing the challenge.  A mere sampling of Earth Day happenings!

These articles from Common Dreams describe the global context in which concerned scientists and citizens are taking initiative at the national, state and local levels.

Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2017 is a celebration of this magnificent planet and a call to those who share this earth to both appreciate and protect our earthly heritage.  In wise and wonderful ways earthlings are embracing the challenge.  A mere sampling of Earth Day happenings:

These articles from Common Dreams describe the global context in which concerned scientists and citizens are taking initiative at the national, state and local levels.

In this country, the Earth Day March for Science set for Washington, DC has been well covered by the media.  More important, the March for Science has morphed into a network of state and local marches.  An earlier post about the Minnesota March for Science suggests some relevant links:   (

Earth Day has also inspired countless local initiatives.  The buzz in my Northeast Minneapolis community is the Earth Day 5K Bee Run/Walk and Earth Day River Cleanup. Yes, there is a run/walk – on-site registration at 7:30 with the 5K beginning at 9:00 AM.  Sponsored by the Great River Coalition, the run/walk is just one of several events that will be happening along the Mississippi on Earth Day.

Another goal of the day is to create a pollinator pathway along the Mississippi River.  The local effort is part of a national movement to save the bee population by creating a healthy habitat for the bees.  In the words of U of M entomologist, Dr. Marla Spivak, “our bees (all of them, honey and wild bees), need good clean food (flowers)! Lots of flowers that grow over the growing season will help bees have good nutrition, immunity, and health.”

Minnesota Native Landscapes will also be on hand with pollinator-friendly plants, seeds, local origin perennial plants, native wildflowers and grasses.  There will be prizes galore and, best of all, native plant experts to answer questions!


  • Registration opens at 7:30 AM  ($40 on race day, kids 6 and under free)
  • Fun Run/Walk starts at 9:00 AM
  • River cleanup starts at 9:30 AM – bags and gloves will be provided
  • The Run/Walk/River Cleanup will wrap up @12:30

Follow the day on Facebook @


Drinking and Thinking Water in Northeast Minneapolis

Just when Northeast Minneapolis was running out of corners locals have a new watering hole where they can gather to guzzle, gaze and gab in unique environs.   The Water Bar & Public Studio, ( is opening soon at 2516 Central Avenue NE, just North of Lowry. The Water Bar & Public Studio is a unique gathering spot with a serious mission – “to create a welcoming and generative social space around the life-sustaining, precarious, communal activity of drinking water” These visionaries see the space as “an art and sustainability incubator for Northeast Minneapolis and the Mississippi River watershed.”

A free and open preview happy hour is set for Thursday, May 5 when it’s Neighborhood Night, 5:00-7:00 PM at the Water Bar & Public Studio. Councilman Kevin Reich, Holland Neighborhood Board members, and other recognizables will be on hand to serve local tap water and brews. Though much has been written about the Northeast newcomer, here’s the chance to grasp the goal and to parse the action plan.

The Official Opening of The Water Bar & Public Studio is set for Art-a-Whirl, May 20-22. AAW event hours are Friday, 5pm-10pm, Saturday, 12pm-8pm, and Sunday 12pm-8pm

Promotional materials describe the Water Bar & Public Studio as “a collaborative public art project” led by Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson ( of Works Progress Studio ( in partnership with the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association (

The Northeast Water Bar is just one of several projects these creative folks are launching this season in the Twin Cities. To follow the action at this vibrant initiative, including their penchant for pop-ups,  you’ll want to check out the website at http://www.water-bar.organd get on the mailing list.





MNopedia – An Evolving Encyclopedia of All Things Minnesota

Charles Van Doren once observed that “Because the world is radically new, the ideal encyclopedia should be radical too.”  MNopedia, the digital encyclopedia of all things Minnesota – significant people, places, and events – deserves the “radical” appellation on several scores.

A production of the Minnesota Historical Society and funded by a Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund grant, MNopedia is a work-in-progress.

The call is out for Minnesota scholars, librarians, teachers, history buffs and people with good memories to critique the Beta version of the resource that is currently available online. The whole production process is interactive.  Readers are actually encouraged to let editors know what else they would like to know about the publication’s content and format.

The technology itself is a matter of public discussion.  For example, editors write that “the Minnesota Historical Society has chosen to put MNopedia content into a flexible, standards-based database that’s query-able via APL. As a result, MNopedia content eventually can be used beyond this browser-readable Web site – in mobile apps, audience- or situation-specific products, as a component in other Web projects, in print publications, and more, whether these products are created by the Minnesota Historical Society or by other individuals or entities.”  Radical, huh.

Discussing their timeline, editors indicate that they are now in an “expanding” phase where they will “continue building on what we’ve learned from users and expand MNopedia.  We’ll add new features and consider new ways to deliver content. We’ll also explore content partnerships with other organizations, find more experts to contribute, and integrate new articles.”

The initiative to find more experts and integrate new articles involves a call for input.  Editors maintain “that’s what ‘beta’ is all about, after all…testing, improving and expanding a small working model.”  The MNopedia team invites ideas on eras and topics to cover next, features to add, contributors and more.

Presently the eras covered in the MNopedia begin before European contact, i.e. pre-1585, and continue through the new global age, 1980-present.  Topics included are African Americans, Agriculture, American Indians, Architecture, The Arts, Business and Industry, Cities and Towns, Education, Environment, Health and Medicine, Immigration, Labor, Politics, Religion and Belief, Sports and Recreation, Technology, Transportation, War and Conflict, and Women.

Predictably, several of my arbitrary searches dead ended.  Others led me to great articles by serious scholars who write for readers who thirst for good information,well written and comprehensible to mere mortals.

A check of recently added articles led me to an article on the early history of the Minneapolis Waterworks, another on the Origins of the School Safety Patrol (first in the nation) and a very helpful piece on the Mennonites of Mountain Lake.  Each was concise, readable and full of stuff about which I had wondered but never known.

Though “radical” may an overstatement – and politically problematic –  MNopedia is definitely not your grandparent’s encyclopedia.



Northeast Neighborhood News.

Windom Park Citizens in Action

Windom Park Citizens in Action (WPCiA) will meet Tuesday, January 17, 7 p.m. at the Pillsbury School park addition, 2251 Hayes Street NE (enter on the north side of the building)

The full agenda includes the following items:

  1. Representatives of local Minneapolis public schools will offer updates and take questions and comments.  Confirmed guests include School Board vice chair Laura Cavender and Northeast Middle School Principal Padmini Udupa or her assistant principal.
  2. Presentation of a written draft of the Neighborhood Action Plan.  The Windom Park Neighborhood will present a draft plan for allocating $563,000 in Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds.  Based on neighborhood input, funds are proposed for safety, parks, transportation and housing initiatives.  Final input will be taken in February with the final report up for a vote in March.
  3. Additional items for discussion will be a review of top priorities for future work with the Minneapolis Police Department, committee updates and other news  Free child care.  For additional information contact WPCiA, 612 788 2192 or

Mississippi Watershed Management Organization

The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (NWMO) will open soon open their new headquarters at 2522 Marshall Street Northeast in the Marshall Terrace neighborhood.  (612 465 8780) The staff is already on site; the public will be welcomed in late January or early February.  A grand opening is planned for Spring 2012.

The mission of MWMO is 1) to foster stewardship on the Mississippi as it runs through Minneapolis., and 2) to foster stewardship of the land that drains to the river; that land includes all of Northeast and Southeast Minneapolis as well as portions of the cities of Lauderdale, St. Anthony and St. Paul.

The work of the MWMO ranges from educational programs for students, residents and businesses to regular monitoring for water quality and emergency response to immediate threats to water resources in the watershed.

Located on the banks of the Mississippi, the new headquarters will serve as a demonstration of MWMO’s principles of best management practices for supporting water resources and treating storm water.

Some of the features of the headquarters will include rain gardens, bio-swales and porous pavers.  A ramp will allow visitors access to the river itself.  A cistern will collect up to 4000 gallons of rain water for reuse during dry spells. The first floor of the headquarters will feature interactive exhibits, classrooms and other educational resources for students and the general public.

More information about the headquarters opening, options for public access and photos as soon as that information is available, probably late January or early February.  Meantime, check the MWMO website for the latest on the move, funds available for community-initiated water quality projects, and more.  MWMO is actively seeking volunteers to serve on the Citizen Advisory group.  For questions or current update contact Zhenya (Zee) Stone,


Northeast Happenings

“Talk and Taste” – It’s all about urban gardens

“Talk and Taste” is the whimsical title for a Sunday afternoon talk about urban gardens and soil contaminants.  It’s Sunday, December 4, 3:00 p.m. at Children’s Library, Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

The talk will be followed at 3:45 by a food tasting featuring restaurants that provide local ingredients for urban diners.  At 4:15 the Student Organic Farm at the University of Minnesota will discuss their work and the intent of the Organic Farm.Time: 3:00pm – 5:00 p.m.

“Talk and Taste” is presented in collaboration with the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and Gastro Non Grata.

Holiday Rides and More at St. Anthony Shopping Center

Do you need some old – and new – fashioned winter and holiday spirit in your life?  Explore the Holiday Festivities in the Village, the shopping center in St. Anthony Village to be precise.  The center is at 2945 Pentagon Drive, where Kenzie Terrace meets Highway 88 and St. Anthony Boulevard.

The Holiday Festivities are Friday, December 9 (6-9) and Saturday, December 10 (9-4)

Highlight of Friday evening is the chance for a Carriage Ride between the shopping center and Autumn Woods.  Santa will be on hand along with a light display of the ride route.  Local merchants will feature their services and wares.  Stop for a free sample of chai at TeaSource or a taste of products from local vendors at Annona Gourmet.

Bring a donation for the food shelf, ride, sample, and learn about  the shops and friendly merchants of St. Anthony Shopping Center.   Free and open to all!

Snowshoeing on the Riverfront

The longer snow enthusiasts wait, the more eager they are to slap on those skis, skates or, in this case snowshoes, to enjoy the Winter as only a Minnesotan can.  On Sunday, December 11, 1:30-3:00 p.m.   The Mississippi Riverfront Partnership and the Lind-Bohanon Neighborhood Association will lead the pack with the next in their “Great River Outing” series – “Snowshoeing North Miss.”

The Outing is at North Mississippi Regional Park, Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, 4900 Mississippi Court.

If weather permits, it’s snowshoeing – if not it’s a walk in North Mississippi Regional Park, exploring natural wonders and the history of the park.



Northeasters Cool Off at Gatherings toTalk Business, Bike Trails and the Riverfront

In the next couple of weeks two priority items appear in close proximity on the public agenda in Northeast Minneapolis.  In addition, the Board of Directors of Windom Park Citizens in Action will hold an important meeting in the neighborhood.

So, dig under the heaps of swimwear and the accoutrement of Summer – the end (of summer) is in sight, time to get down to BUSINESS!  Ease in with some cool topics discussed in cool environs that will make you forget the heat!

The Windom Park Citizens in Action (WPCIA) Board of Directors will meet Tuesday,July 26, 7:00 p.m. at the association’s office, 2314 Lowry Avenue Northeast.  The meeting is open to all; Board members invite community members to get the season off to a good start by participating in this and the following gatherings:

RiverFIRST is the sole topic on the agenda on Thursday, July 28, 7 p.m. at the Bottineau Park building, 2000 2nd Street NE.  The gathering is actually a community meeting in which attendees will participate in a visioning process for the upper riverfront in Northeast/North Minneapolis.  The session is sponsored by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.  Because the residents of the City of Lakes does share the Mississippi with the Saintly City those who are concerned might want to peruse a recent report from an 18-month planning study for the Great River Park.  This is St. Paul’s initiative to increase accessibility to St. Paul’s seventeen miles of Mississippi riverfront property.  The complete plan is available on the web (

Come early for a slot on the bike rack for the East Side Bike Summit.  It’s Monday, August 1, 6-7 p.m. at the Ritz Theater, 345 1113th Avenue NE (just East of University)  City and County staff assigned to develop bike trains on the East will be on hand to report ad to listen.  The agenda includes these developments/plans:

ü     18th Avenue NE, Phase 2-Monroe Street NE to the Quarry Shopping Center – should there be a tunnel under the railroad tracks?

ü     Central Avenue – 37th Avenue NE to the Mississippi – Update

ü     East Hennepin and 1st Avenue NE bike lane study – Update

ü     5th Avenue NE to Broadway, Broadway to Lowry – Idea of using empty railroad tracks from Scherer Brothers lumber site as future North/South bike trail

ü     Marshall/Main Street bike lane – Update

ü     1st Avenue NE to Broadway, Broadway to Lowry, idea of using empty railroad tracks from Scherer Bros. umber site as future north/south bike trail.

Questions? Contact Michael Rainville 612 378 0431

Minneapolis Pops Brightens Nicollet Island Mornings with Music and Motion

Though the usual summertime home of the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra is the Lake Harriet Bandshell  the versatile musicians are changing the venue and the schedule in the weeks to come — much to the delight of folks for whom South Minneapolis is a Destination.  They’re also changing their repertoire, again to the benefit of new listeners in riverfront setting.

On Tuesday morning, July 19,10:30 a.m.  the Orchestra moves to the Nicollet Island Pavilion for “Saturday Night (actually it really is Tuesday) at the Movies.’  The program includes music from films and music suggested by films.  The sparkling program  includes a host of musical delights – consider John Williams’ “Harry Potter Suite” from The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) or John Philip Sousa’s “Liberty Bell March” from Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969), or the most recent, William Walton’s “Crown Imperial” from The King’s Speech (1910).

On Thursday morning, July 28, the Pops Orchestra returns to the Nicollet Island Pavilion for a focus on music that makes listeners want to move – dances by Dvorak, Brahms, Lecuona and Josef Strauss plus concertmaster Michal Sobieski’s flying fiddle and “Ascot Dances” with “Minnesota’s premiere accordionist Mark Stillman (an unlikely name for a musician who is clearly in motion!)

The Minneapolis Pops Orchestra features forty-five professional musicians who, during the non-summer (I can’t use the “w” word) play with the Minnesota Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and other Twin Cities groups.  Music Director Jere Lantz, now in this twenty-fifth season with the MPO, is host for the summer concerts and “well known for his ability to communicate the ‘story behind the music.’

Concerts are free and open.