5/14/08 Headlines: Media reform in Mpls; Red Ballon bookshop; Bike beats car; Short sales in Twin Cities



Media reform convention coming to town
by Mary Turck, TC Daily Planet
The National Conference on Media Reform is coming to Minneapolis June 6-8, with more than two thousand participants expected. The conference, sponsored by Free Press, focuses on diversity and democracy in media. Key issues include net neutrality, media consolidation, the future of the internet and the quality of journalism. [Full disclosure: the Twin Cities Media Alliance, parent organization of the TC Daily Planet, is involved in planning the conference.]

Red Balloon: An independent bookstore for the child in all of us
by Deb Pleasants, TC Daily Planet
It’s 10:15 on Tuesday morning. More than sixty moms, dads, grandparents and nannies have brought their infants to the Red Balloon Book Shop—one of the few remaining independent bookstores in Saint Paul. Adults and babies sit on the floor, eyes transfixed on storyteller Sara Walker as she energetically moves across the room, weaving stories, music and games together. Tuesday morning is story time for infants and the audience is mesmerized.

Biking Rybak wins kick-off race; commuter rides and Sabo bridge dedication still to come
by Jeremy Stratton, The Bridge
Minneapolis has taken the May 14 “Bike/Walk to Work Day” a bit further this year, with the first-ever “Bike/Walk to Work Week,” May 12–18.

Foreclosures and short sales make up nearly 30 percent of all Twin Cities home sales
by Molly Priesmeyer, Minnesota Monitor
A new report by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors reveals that foreclosures and short sales accounted for 27.6 percent of all closed sales in the first quarter of 2008. During the first quarter of 2007, these types of sales made up only 9.3 percent of the total market share.


An unlikely mix: agriculture to veterans’ issues
By Lee Ann Schutz, Session Weekly
Lawmakers in every state will be talking about Minnesota’s biodiesel initiative, and “we will be viewed as a model.” That’s the prognostication from Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) about a provision contained in the omnibus agriculture and veterans affairs bill now on its way to the governor.

History and stories of Asians in Minnesota date back 130 years
by David Zander, Asian American Press
As Minnesota begins a year long “Sesquicentennial” celebration to mark 150 years as a state, with events at the State Capitol and throughout the state, this is a good time to pause and reflect on the history and stories of the over 40 different Asian Pacific Minnesotan immigrant and refugee communities. Here are some questions that could guide our search for data and stories.

Knowledge is power on transportation issues
by Conrad deFiebre, Minnesota 2020
On the theory that 300 million Americans can’t be wrong – and even if they are, the customer is always right — politicians and public policymakers pay careful attention to opinion polls. Where else would recent calls by presidential candidates for a federal gasoline tax holiday have come from?


Central Corridor: our transit to nowhere
by Scott Halstead, TC Daily Planet
About a year ago, Shoreview Green Community decided to look at the Central Corridor LRT proposal, to learn the process of obtaining rapid transit, so we could advance transit in the northeastern part of the metro area. It quickly became apparent that the $900 million Central Corridor will not be a wise transit investment, given the fact that the corridor already is well-served by bus transit, that 75 percent to 90 percent of Central Corridor riders would come from existing bus service and that the Central Corridor LRT would be very slow and not extendable.


A few of my favorite new words
by Todd Melby, Building Minnesota
One of my favorite sections in World’s Away: New Suburban Landscapes, the book that accompanies the current show on suburbia at the Walker Art Center, is the lexicon of new words and phrases collected by Rachel Hooper and Jayme Yen. I’ll list a few here, along with the definitions provided in the book, which was edited by Andrew Blauvelt, design director at the Walker. By the way, at the Walker’s website you can add your own creations or do it in the comment section of this blog.