Proposed 35W bridge plans are a joke

“We’re adding 2 lanes.”

That was the sum total of the innovations and creative ideas the state of Minnesota could muster. Yes the first new bridge project in Minnesota spanning the Mississippi in decades is going to be a boring ass highway bridge, despite the fact that residents are clamoring for light rail options (not included), architectural beauty and creating an new icon for our state (not included), and a little patience (also not included).

I am not going to stand by, however. I have written my governor, the mayor of Minneapolis (who is championing these ideas as well), and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. I also plan on attending the public meetings at Roseville High School on Thursday night (4:30pm to 7:30pm).

If you think that our state deserves to take some time and consider some alternative bridge designs please write to you elected officials and come to the meeting tomorrow to voice your opinions.

Thank you Kevin.

goodbye-kg Yesterday the Minnesota Timberwolves lost a basketball player. Yesterday Minnesota’s fans lost something more. Despite the perceived need for a trade, for a change, Minnesotans lost something that could be even more valuable than playoff victories and championships – a sports superstar to believe in – and, even more important – one who believed in Minnesota.

The loss of KG leaves such a big hole in the identity of Minnesota sports that I cannot imagine it being filled anytime soon. To me this is even worse than the loss of Kirby Puckett – the only other figure in Minnesota sports history who came close to meaning what Kevin Garnett did. While other Minnesota sports teams regularly transform themselves and jettison the faces of their franchises, the Timberwolves have never had another identity. KG’s 12 years with one team was the longest tenure of any active NBA player. KG built his home here; made his life here; wanted to play his entire career here.

From an interview in October 2002:

“I’m going to be here until they don’t want me anymore. … I’m ‘Sota, man. This is where I live, 365 days — or in leap year, 366 days — of the year. I’m here. Life is tough. You can’t run from everything.”

In a few words, words that Minnesotans seem to appreciate more than most, KG was one of us.

Kevin Garnett may have been loyal to a fault, but that is why he was so special. In this day it is rare to find an athlete with much loyalty (at all) or even sense of team pride. It is even more difficult to find examples when you are talking about a small market, in a cold city. KG meant more to Minnesota that scores and statistics and we may never, ever be able to regain what he meant. This is why fans are so torn up by this turn of events. I was lucky enough to be a season ticket holder for several seasons and was able to see first hand how great KG was on the court. I remember the first time the Wolves beat the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. I got to see them advance to the conference finals in a game 7 victory over Sacramento. I witnessed the little things, the calls for the crowd to rise up, the pre-game rituals and antics and ensuing dust clouds, the dejected head hung low each and every loss. Some things I never got to see? I never saw KG give up. I never saw KG take a game, a quarter, or a minute off. I have read about KG’s generosity and kindness via his charitable works and the adoption of a troubled teen. Despite all that he gave people, fans, and me these past 12 years, there was never a thought that he might provide his latest gift, another NBA franchise for which to cheer.

It is for these reasons, and so many more, that I wish I could thank KG face-to-face. Because I can’t do that, this post will have to do.

I have a lot of take-aways from the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference but one of the most exciting was the rather unexpected discovery of barcamp. A collaborative (un)conference where everyone participates in discussions and sessions is a great idea and an ideal setting for meeting interesting people, growing community, and exchanging ideas and is something that I decided I wanted to bring to Minnesota. So I have picked a date (May 6th), a venue (local shop Catalyst Studios), some sponsors, and some great participants and started planning for MinneBar.

All the details are at the minnēbar wiki so for now I will just say that this will be a great event and if you are interested in participating add your name to the wiki and, if you want, please add what you would like to speak about or learn about.

Feeling Minnesota

Here’s a few bits of news and links I have been collecting the past few weeks, relating to my home state of Minnesota. Don’t ever say I don’t represent!

  • Christopher Riley plays Radiohead in a piano concerto at Minnesota Orchestra Hall.
  • I almost forgot. MNSpeak is a great (new?) website that pulls together a ton of news pertaining to Minnesota. Who would have thought there would be so may posts to peruse?
  • The Chicago Tribune has a great article comparing downtown Minneapolis with the Mall of America. “Minneapolis has 30 live theater venues, including two that have won Tonys…The Mall has 32 shoe stores.” People who get upset by the those visitors guides to the U.S. that mention only one stop in our poor “fly-over” state, will take heart in this article.
  • Because “more people live in a revitalized downtown Minneapolis today than, we’re told, live in downtown Denver, Dallas, Houston and Indianapolis combined” (quoted from ChiTrib article above) this will be needed: The Nicollet is a huge new residential building set to go up downtown Minneapolis soon. It will still be a foot or two shorter than the IDS Center. Come on!
  • hourcar is up and running in the Twin Cities and with prices as low as $2.95/hour and
    $0.39/mile it may just convince a few to forgo the cabs or sell their second car.
  • A Prairie Home Companion is filming now so there have been several Lindsay Lohan sightings in the cities. I can’t believe this is being made into a movie! But with Robert Altman and now Paul Thomas Anderson taking the directing roles can it be less than good?
  • The Minnesota Center For Photography has, what looks like, an amazing exhibit that opened this weekend called: Musicapolis: scene & seen 1965-2005 that chronicles the rich musical history of the Twin Cities from performances by the Beatles and Bob Dylan to Prince and Snoop Dogg. Here is an accompanying story from the Star Tribune
  • Battleground Minnesota is “hip hop documentary musical starring Chris “Shakademic” Johnson, Glenn Scott, former Vice President Walter Mondale, Senator Norm Coleman, Senator Mark Dayton, and Governor Tim Pawlenty.” If that description doesn’t get you interested, this preview will.

I am off to the “Great Minnesota Get Together” otherwise known as the Minnesota State Fair. Alternatively, you could call it “Gorge Yourself Until You Are Sick” or “This Probably Should Not be Served on a Stick”, but they don’t have the best ring to them.

I plan on eating a lot of deep fried things, window shopping for windows (and other home improvement-type things) and look over some political candidates’ platforms. I’ll try to avoid carnies, large farm equipment, and anything with a sign above it with the words “Beer” and “Garden”.