Randy Fischer of Fergus Falls sends along this snapshot -- taken on Saturday in Texas.
"Ringdahl EMS strike team in Texas assisting with emergency medical needs and medical evacuations. Five ambulances from Ringdahl EMS sites in Fergus Falls, MN, Pelican Rapids, MN, Jamestown, ND, and Lisbon, ND were sent to Texas along with 15 medical personnel, support truck and disaster trailer."
Hurricane Gustav has everyone's attention today.
Says a release from the EMS firm:
In an effort to position emergency vehicles and respond to health, medical and ambulance needs in the Gulf states, Ringdahl EMS was placed on "standby" alert last Thursday morning at 7:00 am for possible deployment of a strike team. At 7:10 PM Thursday evening Ringdahl EMS, under contract with American Medical Response (AMR) was notified to mobilize their strike team. A "strike team" consists of five advanced life support (ALS) ambulances and 22 emergency personnel, according to Randy Fischer, Operations Director for Ringdahl EMS. Fischer said, "the crew was ready to go within hours of call-up, and left for San Antonio, TX late Thursday evening. They arrived and have since been reassigned to Beaumont, TX for evacuation assistance at hospitals in the area. They may be assigned for up to 30 days to various disaster response locations. The crews will stay at their assigned location prior to hurricane Gustav hitting the gulf, and will take shelter and respond to emergency medi cal needs as assigned. "
Famed St. Paul blogger, photographer, and Realtor Teresa Boardman was kind enough to send along this photo of the former Eagle St. Grille, which has been bought for the week by CNN for its CNN Grill. For the week, this spot becomes the place everyone tries to get into, since -- apparently -- it validates them as the powerful people (in the eyes of CNN) they want to be.
Next week, you can get in for half-angst.
In Denver, CNN couldn't possibly have asked for a better location: Inside the security perimeter of Pepsi Center, and right next to the long line waiting to get inside.
On Friday, the morning after the convention ended, workers were already repainting a bright red iron fence from its CNN-red to whatever-the-name-of-the-joint-was olive. (It is actually a restaurant called Brooklyn's)
(h/t: John Nicholson)(1 Comments)
You don't have to actually go in to the Twin Cities to follow the experiences of delegates and visitors. Many of them are blogging the convention.
It's an entertaining way to find out what they think about us and our state.
Here's one today from a delegate from Virginia, who is also the chief of
state staff to that state's governor.
Events include everything from a fashion show supporting the Komen cancer foundation to a jazz luncheon with Pat Boone to a concert with Five for Fighting to a cruise on the Mississippi River (I didn't know it went to Minnesota either) to a meet and greet with Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson to a reception at Nye's Polannaise Room, which was recently voted the best bar in America (Yes, I will definitely attend that one). This is in addition to the dozens of events hosted by and for Republican officials and dignitaries.
Minnesotans, you've got some serious work to do this week educating our visitors.
Or perhaps not, as this blogger from Tennessee has accurately assessed our Minnesota niceness:
Everything is very green, the air remarkably clean and fresh, and lakes and rivers seem to be ubiquitous. I'm not sure if it's just the RNC being here this week or if this is commonplace, but the level of hospitality that we have experienced thus far rivals Southern hospitality. I'm not sure if I can give a higher compliment than that.
As long as we can keep him from experiencing the art of merging on Minnesota highways, we should be OK with this one.(2 Comments)
Posted at 11:48 AM on August 31, 2008
by Bob Collins
MPR's John Nicholson (he's the guy who keeps all the computers and technology humming) has put his iPhone to good use over the last week or so.
Here's a shot he took of the floor of the Xcel on Sunday morning. I'm not sure what that's a picture of, but it appears very unMinnesota.
Somewhere on that floor, perhaps, someone is making a decision whether this convention will even take place. President Bush and VP Cheney are both skipping the convention (I'm still pouring through the history books to find out the last time a Republican president didn't address his party's national convention). The Republican ticket is in New Orleans, where a natural disaster is in the making. They're still scheduled to be in St. Paul this week, where -- if the convention is delayed -- an economic disaster is brewing.
A decision is expected within a few hours. Gov. Pawlenty says it can't be canceled, but will probably have a "less celebratory" tone.
Here's another shot:
Posted at 11:58 AM on August 31, 2008
by Bob Collins
You can probably tell, I'm keeping score between Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The locals won last night's competition between media parties.
But Denver has tied it in today's "convention inflation" competition. Coke Zero at Pepsi Center: $1. At Xcel Energy Center: $3.50.
Next up in the competition: Actually holding the convention.
(h/t: John Nicholson)
Posted at 12:28 PM on August 31, 2008
by Bob Collins
Here's some more video and a few interviews with those inside the St. Paul house that was raided by police on Saturday.
At the Science Museum in Minnesota this (Sunday) morning, the political media aristocracy is holding court, discussing the elections and their role in it.
David Brauer is Twittering about it and is providing the salient take-aways.
The people of St. Paul, bless their hearts, have spent a considerable amount of energy in the last few months, reminding the national media and anyone else who would listen, that the Republican National Convention is in St. Paul.
That's not entirely true. The arena at which the nightly sessions are held is in St. Paul; that's true. But a convention is much more than the nightly session. Many of the official events of the week will be at the Minneapolis Convention Center. And the "core" of the convention is usually at "the official convention hotel." That's in Minneapolis (the Hyatt Regency). Moreover, the convention is wherever most delegates end up hanging out. That's not St. Paul either.
Of the 56 delegations attending the conventon, 26 of them are staying in Minneapolis, 18 in Bloomington and only 5 in St. Paul (Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and Texas).
The social center of the convention is likely to be in two locations: the Mall of America and Nicollet Mall.
Looking to meet some rootin' tootin' delegates? Here are the delegate hotels:
Alabama - The Marquette Hotel
Alaska - Ramada Mall of America
American Samoa - Four Points by Sheraton Minneapolis
Arizona - The Saint Paul Hotel
Arkansas - Embassy Suites Minneapolis-Airport
California - Sheraton Bloomington Hotel Minneapolis South & Sofitel Minneapolis- Bloomington
Colorado - Four Points by Sheraton Minneapolis
Connecticut - Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Maple Grove Northwest Minneapolis-Arbor Lakes
Delaware - Best Western Normandy Inn & Suites - Minneapolis
District of Columbia - DoubleTree Guest Suites Minneapolis
Florida - Minneapolis Airport Marriott
Georgia - DoubleTree Hotel Minneapolis - Park Place
Guam - DoubleTree Hotel Minneapolis - Park Place
Hawaii - Embassy Suites Bloomington
Idaho - Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
Illinois - Millennium Hotel Minneapolis
Indiana - Embassy Suites Bloomington
Iowa - La Quinta Inn & Suites Minneapolis Bloomington West
Kansas - Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Bloomington at Mall of America
Kentucky - Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
Louisiana - Crowne Plaza Minneapolis North
Maine - Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
Maryland - Embassy Suites St. Paul-Downtown
Massachusetts - Crowne Plaza Bloomington
Michigan - The Northland Inn
Minnesota - Hilton Garden Inn St. Paul City Center
Mississippi - Embassy Suites Minneapolis-Airport
Missouri - Ramada Minneapolis Northwest & Water Park
Montana - Best Western Normandy Inn & Suites - Minneapolis
Nebraska - Best Western Normandy Inn & Suites - Minneapolis
Nevada - The Saint Paul Hotel
New Hampshire - Hilton Minneapolis
New Jersey - Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America
New Mexico - Holiday Inn Minneapolis Metrodome
New York - Minneapolis Marriott City Center
Northern Mariana Islands - Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Bloomington at Mall of America
North Carolina - Holiday Inn Minneapolis Metrodome
North Dakota - DoubleTree Guest Suites Minneapolis
Ohio - Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis & The Marquette Hotel
Oklahoma - Four Points by Sheraton Minneapolis
Oregon - La Quinta Inn & Suites Minneapolis Bloomington West
Pennsylvania - Minneapolis Marriott Southwest
Puerto Rico - Courtyard Minneapolis Maple Grove/Arbor Lakes
Rhode Island - Hyatt Place Minneapolis Airport-South
South Carolina - Hilton Minneapolis
South Dakota - Courtyard Minneapolis Maple Grove/Arbor Lakes
Tennessee - Ramada Mall of America
Texas - Crowne Plaza Hotel St. Paul-Riverfront
US Virgin Islands - Radisson University Hotel-Minneapolis
Utah - Sofitel Minneapolis - Bloomington
Vermont - Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
Virginia - Radisson University Hotel-Minneapolis
Washington - Crowne Plaza Northstar Minneapolis-Downtown
West Virginia - Crowne Plaza Bloomington
Wisconsin - Minneapolis Marriott City Center
Wyoming - Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis St. Paul-Shoreview
Bottom line? St. Paul was a more hopping place when the national square dancing convention was held in the city in 2002.
The Republican National Convention, which is estimated to cost $84 million, was supposed to drop a pile of cash on businesses and the city economy. The cities and state were to reap the benefit of enormous international attention. That was the plan, anyway.
So far on Sunday -- and keep in mind in Denver one hotel official described Sunday as the "craziest" day of that city's convention activity -- if you take away the cops, the legal observers, a few protesters, and MSNBC in Rice Park, you're left with St. Paul on a Sunday afternoon.
It's a whole different vibe. In Denver, police in riot gear and Secret Service agents in kevlar guarded the perimeter. In St. Paul, private security guards from Travelers are the front line troops.
Most of the police are dressed in more casual attire, as opposed to Denver's "we're gonna bust down grandma's house" look.
Hamm Plaza is relatively empty of visitors, except mostly for the lime-green-shirted National Lawyers Guild protest monitors. You know those folks -- Homeland Security, Secret Service, National Guard -- are out there.... somewhere. But where?
A sidewalk cafe across from St. Paul's Landmark Center was similarly sparse.
There were almost no media people racing about looking for something that smelled like news. This reporter asked these people what they thought of it all. The interviewee said he was most struck by "the amount of security."
MSNBC is setting up shop in Rice Park. A crew moved a table from one side of the stage to the other, setting up for an afternoon show.
... and almost nobody watched.
The Arizona delegation, and Sen. John McCain, will be staying at the St. Paul Hotel.
Maybe they'll stop into some of the skyway shops...
... most of which were closed.
The city tried to rent -- on the cheap -- some of the vacant skyway storefronts, to make the city look a little more retail-lively downtown than it really is. The long-vacant Norwest Bank building is now a "world market."
But most of the new "shops" (which seem to feature kids toys and books), if open, featured a woman sitting on a chair in the corner, waiting for a customer to wander in.
Town Square, the core of the skyway system in St. Paul, looked like any other day at 3:30 p.m. Empty.
For all practical purposes, the Republicans are holding a convention in name only. Even the Democrats sent to "truth squad" the convention are pulling out, leaving St. Paul, at least, to ponder what might have been.(5 Comments)
Another star anchor has ended his one-day love affair with the Twin Cities.
Jim Lehrer (shown here in Denver) has left St. Paul and returned to Washington "to focus on covering Hurricane Gustav from there. We have a team heading to Louisiana," an email from the NewsHour folks reveals. (BTW, if you want to see what good guys the PBS/NewsHour guys are, see Jason DeRusha's blog)
We've lost PBS.
At last check, we still have Jon Stewart.
More cancellations and changes:
Posted at 7:27 PM on August 31, 2008
by Bob Collins
I threw alway almost all of the swag from the Democratic National Convention in Denver, except for the paper card with wildflower seeds, the water bottle, and this little item, which I didn't pay any attention to until today.
An emergency radio to be used in case of a natural disaster.
What did the Democrats know and when did they know it?
It was distributed by ProtectingAmerica.org, a group headed by former FEMA boss James Lee Witt.
The organization is advocating for state legislation to create disaster funds. In Texas, it's lobbying for a privately-financed disaster fund.
You can sign up to get one of the radios, but you're also going to get spam and copies of speeches, which will do nothing to help you in a disaster unless you need something to burn to stay warm.
On the radio -- made of cardboard (how well is that going to work in a flood?) -- it says:
Please keep this FM radio in your home disaster kit so that you can be kept abreast of developments if catastrophe strikes.
With Hurricane Gustav bearing down on the U.S., I finally tried it out tonight: and got a show on MPR about trout fishing.
Posted at 9:03 PM on August 31, 2008
by Bob Collins
Erik Hare of St. Paul found a commentary on the security fence on Chestnut Street in St. Paul.
If you find something particularly interesting, be sure to send it along.
The torch -- and the good seats -- have been passed. Here's the view at the Xcel Energy Center for the Texas delegation to the Republican National Convention. Texas, with its native in the White House, has been a front-row resident at five of the last six national conventions. Those days are over. Arizona and Alaska have leapfrogged to the front. Minnesota, as the host state, also gets prime seats.
No matter, insists Texas delegate Cathie Adams of Dallas, who is also a national committeewoman for the Republican Party, and a deft deflector of questions that otherwise might yield intrigue.
Ms. Adams has been in the Twin Cities for more than a week because she's on the platform committee, whose work will be approved in what little convention business delegates will attend to on Monday.
"It is the most conservative platform -- maybe ever. It's right on energy issues, the life issue, on immigration issues," she told me late Monday evening after another evening of receptions.
Adams knows conservative. She is among the most conservative delegates in Minnesota this week. She heads the Texas Eagle Forum, which was formed by Phyllis Schafly.
As with everyone else, Adams has her attention divided between the Twin Cities and home, where Hurricane Gustav is expected ashore. "I have not heard of one person who would be leaving," she said. "Some (delegates') families might come and meet with them until the hurricane blows over."
Adams almost didn't make the Twin Cities. She and a friend were hurt last December when a drunk driver being chased by police, struck their car on a Texas interstate highway.1 Comments)