Posts Tagged ‘minneapolis’

Boom! Goes the Neighborhood: Spring means unexplained explosions return to South Minneapolis

For at least four Spring/Summers a series of unexplained explosions have rocked the Longfellow/Seward neighborhoods of Minneapolis.  911 Operators have been inundated with phone calls from concerned residents whose homes are shaken from these loud earth-shaking sonic booms.

These explosion noises began four years ago during  very hot summer and I shrugged them off as transformer explosions as they seemed to correspond to power failures as well.  But they have continued every season since.  A discussion with the Minneapolis Police Department reveals that there has been an ongoing investigation into the source of the explosion noises and while they have been able to rule out certain causes such as a natural source (river/sewer, etc) they have been unable to find a reason, person, cause responsible for them.

The explosions got much more attention when St. Paul was host to the Republican National Convention with Homeland Security very much involved in the investigation, setting up nighttime surveillance by the river.  Obviously neither they, nor the Minneapolis Police Department are willing to divulge specific details regarding the ongoing investigation but the explosions continue so they have been unable to “solve” the case.

While this is disturbing for someone like me, who lives two blocks from the Mississippi River which is the location from which these explosions are originating, between Lake Street & Ford Bridges, I am reassured by who is working on the case. The attention the Bomb Squad and MPD Third Precinct investigators are giving to this matter is the best for which Minneapolis and St. Paul residents (they are just across the river after all) can hope.  They have been thorough and Inspector Lucy Gerold & Sergeant Wally Krueger have been extremely responsive to my inquiries, living in one of the neighborhoods most affected.

Frustrating investigators is that the explosions can only be heard and they have been unable to discover much evidence, which is why they have asked for cooperation from anyone who may be able to help. If you see anything suspicious by the West River or East River Parkways at night you are asked to call police and if you hear the explosions you are also asked to first check  if you can see anything (a light flash, smoke, etc) then call 911 to report from where you think the explosions originated. Pinpointing the location will help investigators and responders.

Saturday, May 15th, the response to the explosions (there were two, one at 10:15pm and another at 11:30) was swift and this time the State Patrol helicopter was sent to the riverfront to circle to determine whether they could see any activity or evidence.

As Twitter expands you will see greater buzz there in response to these noises.  If you search my historical stream (@quick13) you will see a history of how often they have occurred with tweets like “another explosion tonight” dating back over two years.  Last night someone even created a hashtag for them: #bignoisempls.

The explosions follow a pattern, usually beginning at a specific time, like 10pm and if there is a second one, following at a specific time after, like 11pm or midnight. If the first explosion is at midnight then the second explosion is at 1am or 2am. There is always a regular interval pattern, and there are almost always two or three explosions. One explosion is usually louder than the other.  Rarely there are three explosions in one evening.

There is concern there is something dastardly behind these explosions, but after four summers of enduring them, I am beginning to believe there is a more innocuous explanation.  But then again, in today’s world we have too many reasons for doubt, especially when it comes to things being blown up.  Whatever happens, after four years of having disturbed sleep makes me hope that the investigation can be resolved, if not for my own personal health, but that of the foundation of my home, and perhaps the foundation of the fine City of Minneapolis.

How Green Was My Garden: The Big Cover-Up

Last year the biggest trend in gardening & garden supplies was container gardening, specifically in specialty bags (see HGWMG post “Its In the Bag”) for everything from lettuce to potatoes. This year it is crop protection tools, everything involving row covers.  From pop-up insect screens to season extending hoop houses & cold frames, it seems the crop cover business is exploding.

Crop protection tools are exploding because they help gardeners achieve many goals. One of the most important in Minnesota is season-extension.  By using a cover to insulate your plants you can help to warm the soil & keep the plant protected from chillier temperatures, thereby allowing gardeners to plant earlier & get plants to their full potential without as much concern for the weather.

  

Too much sun & heat can also be an issue, causing delicate plants to wilt or bolt too early so a shade cover can be used to shield those plants from the elements.  For organic gardeners who would like to prevent insects (like the dreaded squash vine borer or cucumber beetle) from attacking plants, covers can be used to help prevent them from landing on your crop, but remember, the covers also prevent beneficial insects from landing, especially bees, so this tactic must be used judiciously.

In some areas birds are the biggest pest, in others rabbits or squirrels, with a crop protecting barrier these pests cannot penetrate to your plants, allowing them to thrive.

Some of the easiest row covers to install are floating row covers, basically specially made fabric you can lay over yourcrops to prevent insect damage or insulate the plants to protect them from extreme temperatures (hot or cold).

There are a few methods for using row covers, you can just float on top of plants & tack into the soil with landscape pins or you can build a structure to lay the fabric upon.  Hoops are the most common support structure, which can be made from several materials, everything from half hula-hoops to more sturdy conduit.  I purchased a hoop bender from Johnny’s Seeds to make tunnel hoops. Garden’s Alive sells different types of protective fabric that can be draped over the hoops from lightweight insect covers to frost protecting fabric.

Also available are numerous ready-made products like pop-up covers & tents that can work like greenhouses or can be kept up all season to prevent damage from insects or animals.  The pop ups work especially well on raised beds, especially smaller ones which can be very convenient for short season extension and seasonal insect prevention and allows for easy storage of the tents when not in use. These also come in different fabrics, the polyeurethane plastic for greenhouse effect and then the mesh fabrics for either insect or bird protection.

If you are really ambitious and have a large garden space you can construct a hoop house, which is basically a permanent structure like a greenhouse, but is made of polyethylene instead of glass. Crops like tomatoes, peppers and strawberries, which generally need hotter, extended growing seasons are grown in hoop houses or high tunnels

Commercial growers have been using the season extending row covers for years and now they have found their way to the home gardener.  With so many options for so many purposes you should be able to find one that suits your needs from container gardening to larger production gardens, so get out in your garden & Hoop it up!

 

Snowy SpongeBob

SpongeBobDon is just a dad who likes to play in the snow, so every year he makes a giant snow sculpture in his South Minneapolis front yard for his children, daughter Victoria (11) and son Donny (10).  This year Spongebob SquarePants on a big chair adorns his lawn and he was performing maintenance on him as I passed by on the way home from the US Pond Hockey Championships so I stopped to ask him about it.  If you would like to see SpongeBob he is just off the intersection of 52nd Street & 28th Avenue in Minneapolis.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ujp9t8X21I[/youtube]

U of M Bike Center

It looks like the University of Minnesota is going to get its own bike commuter store. With as many bikes as I see day in and day out, it really only makes sense. According to Bicycle Retailer:

bikeaccident“Located in a former transit waiting area in the university’s Oak Street parking ramp, the Hub store will be part of a facility designed to make it safer and easier for students, faculty, university employees and area residents to commute by bike. The Bike Center will provide commuters with bike lockers, restrooms and showers and conference rooms for meetings and educational programs. The Hub Co-Op bike commuter store and the U of M Bike Center are scheduled to open in Spring 2010.
Catering exclusively to the needs of commuters, the Hub’s 700-square-foot store will offer repair services and essential products like gloves, helmets, tubes, tires, bike locks, lighting systems, racks, panniers and bags. Due to space limitations, the shop will not carry bikes. The store will also offer bike repair classes for commuters.”

Welcome Iowans Tweetup, Thursday, May 14

iowa_minnesota_tweetup
Some traveling Iowans are in town on Thursday and want to experience a Minneapolis tweetup.

Why should I come?
Come and see a real life Iowan up close.

Where?
Bulldog NE (401 E Hennepin, Minneapolis, MN)

When?
Thursday, May 14, 2009

What time?
6 – 10pm (or later)

Hashtag?
#msptweetup

RSVP
Facebook
Twtvite

Tony Hawk Easter Egg Hunt Comes to the Twin Cities

picture-1

That Tony Hawk guy still knows how to have a good time. He said something about an Easter Egg hunt, but his idea of something is on a huge scale, and the Easter Eggs were signed boards. Their kinda exact locations were posted to Twitter on Sunday, including two around the Cities. So, in other words, scenes like this were happening all over the country (and Australia, and…?) on Sunday morning. (more…)

Got Taxes? 2009 Tax Cut Rally and Tax Day Tea Party

If you’re feeling overtaxed and underrepresented these days, you may want to gather at the Capitol steps on May 2nd around 2 p.m. for the 2009 Annual Tax Cut Rally, sponsored by The Taxpayers League, Minnesota Majority and KTLK.

Here’s an invitation from Jason Lewis.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekN7GS5-4SE[/youtube]

More details here and highlights from last year here.

Can’t wait until May? The local Tax Day Tea Party event in Minnesota is at the Capitol at 5 p.m. on April 15.

Minneapolis is less manly than 17 other cities

Flickr CC: Don Solo (http://is.gd/oIc0)

Flickr CC: Don Solo (http://is.gd/oIc0)

We hunt, fish, race snowmobiles and sell out monster truck events. But fellow Minneapolitans, we’re not measuring up on the manly list!

Mars Snackfood recently released their list of “America’s Manliest Cities” – a study commissioned by COMBOS and Bert Sperling, the dude behind the popular “Best Places to Live” studies.

Damn it, you guys — Minneapolis ranked 18 out of 50

Well some sissies may argue #18 is better than #49 or #50, but any real man will tell you there’s only one place to be on that list, and that’s #1.

Listen up, men.

Starting today, let’s all make a vow to stop showering, only eat at BBQ restaurants and spend all day Saturday at the hardware store.

Our wives will love it, and we’ll show the whole world just who has the hairiest chest next year at this time.

Just wait and see, Nashville. That’s right. We’re talking to you.

(Disclaimer: Mars is a client of my company, but I don’t work on this brand and didn’t work on this campaign)

Minnesotans at SXSW

Are you headed to SXSW Interactive (March 13-12), Film (March 13-21) or Music (March 18-22)?

Leave a note in the comments and let’s schedule some meet-ups.

Minneapolis Metblog Seeking Authors

The Minneapolis Metblog is having an open call for authors. If you’re a blogger looking for a wider audience, or simply have a desire to write about what’s happening in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, keep reading:

The qualifications:

  1. You need to live in or near the Twin Cities metro area. Metblogs is all about the city from the perspective of people who live here.
  2. An ability and willingness to post at least three times a week. You’ve seen our stuff, so you know an entry could simply be a pic, a review of your pizza joint or a rant about how idiotic our public transportation is.
  3. A desire to cover topics you’re passionate about. We’re looking for unique voices and to more broadly represent the city.
  4. Be a team player. Authors here don’t always agree with each other, but we’re supportive of each other’s contributions.

Besides the wide audience, the best part of Metblogs is the editorial process: there is none. As long as what you write is about Minneapolis-Saint Paul or something specifically relevant to MSP readers, it qualifies. Otherwise, we’re a sandbox for writers to play in, create their own columns and write the stuff they wish existed.

This is an unpaid gig, but you have the opportunity to have your stuff read by our fabulous Minneapolitans on a daily basis. Vloggers, photographers, community journalists, gripers and anyone else with a desire to write about Minneapolis is encouraged to apply.

While already having a blog doesn’t hurt, especially to demonstrate your ability to post frequently, it’s far from a requirement.

If interested, send me an e-mail (with “Minneapolis Metblog” in the subject), telling us briefly about yourself, blog link (if you have one) and what type of topics you’d like to cover. Blog on, people. Blog on.

UPDATE: We have new authors – woot.

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