Grand Rounds plans meet Como opposition

Residents fear loss of homes, businesses to ‘missing link’ project
Residents of Southeast Como are concerned that proposed routes to complete the Grand Rounds Scenic Parkway could eliminate homes, businesses, yards and sidewalks in their neighborhood. Como stakeholders were among the nearly 200 people were packed the gym in the Northeast Recreation Center on Sept. 20 for a meeting about the 3.5-mile between Northeast and Southeast, currently a “missing link” in the Grand Rounds, a 50-mile circuit of walking, running and biking trails through the city’s lakes, parks and riverbanks. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is heading up the missing link project, with consultation from the HNTB Corporation and citizen and technical advisory committees. Plans are not final, and city officials and project planners seem to be leaning away from the more controversial routes, according to recent reporting in the StarTribune. Continue Reading

A kind of ‘relationship coffee’

Samuel Ngwa’s Minneapolis-based coffee company is tied to his African homeland
Brooklyn Park resident Samuel Ngwa took a business trip this summer to his hometown of Bamenda, a picturesque city in Cameroon characterized by plenty of hills and fair weather. While there, Ngwa, who has lived in the U.S. since college days, arranged for boatloads of the region’s high quality Arabica beans to be shipped to a secluded warehouse in North Minneapolis. That is where he single-handedly runs a small business called Safari Pride. At his factory, Ngwa roasts and sells coffee beans from all over the world, including those harvested by farmers he has known his whole life. Premium beans thrive in Bamenda’s shade and altitude. Continue Reading

Measuring water quality in Minneapolis, St. Paul lakes

Natalie Casemore, a student at the University of Minnesota, was lying on the Lake Calhoun beach on a 90-degree mid-June afternoon. She said she was unaware of the PFCs that have recently raised concerns about Calhoun, but she didn’t think it was a huge deal. For her, the best thing about Lake Calhoun is, “At neck-deep, I can still see my feet.”
Alongside her, Andy Gickling, a student at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, a self-proclaimed beach enthusiast, declared “It’s a wonderful beach to come to, better than others in Minneapolis and St. Continue Reading

PFCs from 3M: an ongoing source of debate

For a half-century, ending in 2000, 3M produced some kinds of “perfluorochemicals” (PFCs) for use in stain resistant, anti-grease household products, most notably Scotchgard and Teflon (eventually sold to the Delaware-based DuPont Company), among others. Through the 1970s, the company dumped PFC wastes into local landfills, as was conventional and legal back then. From there, some PFCs seeped into groundwater, migrating into municipal and private wells in Lake Elmo, Oakdale, Cottage Grove and Woodbury. Numerous residents of these communities claim PFC contamination of groundwater has had a negative effect on their physical wellbeing while also causing their property values to decline. Recently, PFCs also turned up in Lake Calhoun, but the source of this contamination is yet to be determined. Continue Reading

Preserving the Great Lakes

Recently Minnesota became the first state to approve the landmark Great Lakes Compact – some say it’s a step in the right direction, but others claim it doesn’t go far enough ?A Canadian company’s 1998 proposal to siphon millions of gallons of water from Lake Superior to send to Asian countries in the form of drinking water sparked so much debate that eight U.S. states and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario came together in an agreement to safeguard the Great Lakes. To take effect, the deal must garner full support from each of the eight states and the U.S. Congress. In February, Minnesota became the first state to enact legislation that endorses the Great Lakes Compact. Water levels dropping
Concerns centering on the future of the Great Lakes abound as water levels are dropping to lows unheard of since the 1920s. Lake Superior alone is shallower than usual by two feet, researchers said at a conference at the University of Minnesota, sponsored by its Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Initiative, in partnership with the School of Journalism in May. Continue Reading