The fourth annual "Operation Cleanup" begins today, according to the office of Gov.Tim Pawlenty. A work crew from the correctional facility in Stillwater will be picking up the trash at the intersection of I-35 and Kellogg Blvd in St. Paul this morning, according to a news release from the governor's office, suggesting that photographers for the news media come snap pictures of them.
Here's a better idea. Take pictures of the trash. During "lean" times, the litter tends to pile up on the side of the highways. Let's see what's in your neck of the woods. Grab a camera this week, shoot a picture of the trash (all the cigarette butts at intersections is always a good shot. Then, send it to me.
According to the state's Adopt A Highway Web site, volunteers pick up "litter" along 12,000 miles of Minnesota roadways, picking up 26,000 tons of trash. That number is either wrong, or we're bigger pigs than many of us thought. That works out to two tons of trash per mile per year.(3 Comments)
As much as the world loves to skewer legislators on a regular basis, there simply has to be one truism: It must really be lousy for family life to be an outstate legislator. Mondays can't be any fun.
One can't imagine that a per diem makes up for the privilege of living alone during the week, while your family musters on back home, and your kids get older.
From the sound of the article in the Bemidji Pioneer this morning, that's the reality that led Rep. Frank Moe to announce over the weekend that he's done at the end of this session.
"It's growing increasingly difficult for Sherri and me, with me being away all week for months at a time," Moe told the paper. "Many of the goals that I set out to do four years ago have been accomplished and I guess I want to take my marriage off the back burner."
Moe also got a Bush Fellowship grant that allows him to study at the University of Minnesota for the next 18 months.
Iron Range writer Aaron Brown says on his blog:
It's remarkable that anyone in the legislature can stay married or loved by their children. It's not necessarily a difficult job but the time commitment is vast and you're never off the clock. There are tremendous advantages for any legislator who is either single or whose family has grown and left the house. Anyone with a busy family life or another career faces difficult decisions about time every day. Living outside the metro area only compounds this problem (For my metro friends; Picture the busiest time of your life and add a four hour drive to a home you see once a week). In this regard Moe's decision is quite easy to understand.
These sacrifices aren't a "DFL thing," Republicans are doing the same thing. It is mostly, however, an outstate Minnesota "thing," that makes one wonder why they think it's worth it in the first place.(2 Comments)
In a previous life, I covered the Boston Marathon and at that time the only question was by how much Bill Rogers would win. He was the Tiger Woods of marathoning back in the late '70s and early '80s. Likewise, Joan Benoit (now Joan Benoit Samuelson), was the dominant woman in a race that for a long time did not allow women to race. That they were both New Englanders made the race all the more, well, New Englandy.
Those days are gone. Looking at the leaderboard in today's running of the marathon, we see Kenya, Romania, Russia, Ethiopia, Italy, and Japn well represented. There isn't a North American in the bunch, unless you check the wheelchair division.
Why can't Johnny run?
True, it's a more competitive field these days, and the Boston event got to be too successful for its own good, and is no longer the pretty-much-for-fun, just-for-us kind of race it used to be. But American marathoners aren't even keeping up with their predecessors from yesteryear.
Marathon expert Jim Fortner has done a couple of studies on this, the latest using evidence from races, including Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.
Despite more than double the number of male marathon finishers today, the number of U.S. male sub-3:30 marathoners actually did decline and is about a third less today than it was a generation ago. The front of the men's pack has shrunk in absolute terms.
The women's side appears to be healthier with more than a four-fold increase in the number of sub-4 hour finishers out of more than twelve-fold growth in the total number of female marathon finishers. However, that picture is distorted because there were relatively few women marathoners 25 years ago, as compared to the number of women marathon finishers approaching parity with men today.
Many marathons, the Twin Cities Marathon included, have tried to kick-start Americans by offering prize money only to American finishers.
How'd that work? Meet Ukrainian Mykola Antonenko, who smoked the Twin Cities' field last year, and rubbed it in by pointing out -- through a translator -- that he would've run faster if he'd had some competition. "Psychologically, it's hard to run by yourself that early in the race. I looked back and was surprised, why weren't they running?" The surprise there, one supposes, is that he was surprised.
On the other hand, the "spirit" of the marathons is more aligned, perhaps, to those who are competing with themselves, challenging themselves just to finish.
And that's why we're all rooting for MPR's Tom Weber, who is -- the last time we checked -- on a pace to finish in
4 hours 31 minutes 5:01:30 5:23:34, about 2 3 1/2 hours later than the winner, and about 4 hours and 30 minutes 5 hours 22 minutes more than most of us could run on our best day with the wind at our backs.
(Photo of 2007 Boston Marathon by Elsa/Getty Images)(2 Comments)
Temple Restaurant in Minneapolis has closed, according to WCCO TV. Most of you have never heard of it because if you had, the theory goes, it wouldn't be closed.
The closing is being blamed on higher food costs, the lack of other eateries, and the lousy economy.
Isn't it possible, though, that if you have to resort to offering the opportunities for customers to eat sushi off naked women, that maybe there's another problem?(4 Comments)
Posted at 1:13 PM on April 21, 2008
by Bob Collins
When you end up sitting on an airplane for six hours (much of it on the ground), what's going on up there in the cockpit?
A pilot/blogger at a regional airline offers a fascinating glimpse of his flight during that snowstorm a week and a half ago, full of in-air diversions and on-the-ground gridlock, security agents that go home, and passengers who can't get food or drink.
It's a first-hand account of just how broken the nation's air-traffic system is.
Are you a spendthrift or a tightwad?
On Tuesday's Midmorning on Minnesota Public Radio, we're going to examine some research that recently came out that found:
The theory is that you whippersnappers have never seen hard times, so you spend like there's no tomorrow.
What else could it be? The research shows "a modest relationship" between being a tightwad or a spendthrift; tightwads are only 9 percent more likely to have a bachelor's degree than a spendthrift.
Of course, the poor savings rate in the United States may undermine the conclusions of the research that most people are neither spendthrifts, nor tightwads, and the 40 percent that's left meet the definitions of "tightwad" on a 3-to-2 ratio. The authors admit this in noting that the group they studied may not be representative of the population as a whole.
Which are you? You take this test. Of course, by the time they e-mail you your score, a fix will have been found for the pending insolvency of Social Security. So just take a guess.
I'll be live-blogging the show on Tuesday, starting in the 10 a.m. segment. You can offer up your spending stories and I'll be picking the poignant ones (as well as the poignant comments) to share with the radio audience (Yes, News Cut is going on the radio!).
Still, the first question Kerri Miller is going to want to know, is how the News Cut audience views itself. For now, we'll just leave the Gen Y (or Gen Spendthrift) question out of it.