Invasive bugs and beetles ravenous and ready as spring arrives

The emerald ash borer has arrived in Northeast, Dutch elm disease never left, and the next fearsome pest on the horizon just might be the Asian longhorn beetle, big as the first joint on a human thumb, with antennae that measures two inches across. That beetle, by the way, isn’t so fussy about its diet and shows a fondness for many different types of trees.

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Art-A-Whirl profile: “Niche genre” bronze from myths and games

Matt Sturgis turns myth and reality into bronze sculptures.As visitors to his Casket Arts studio soon discover, his subjects include monsters, mythological figures, dinosaurs, video game and comic book creatures, frogs, trees, voodoo spirits, and mermaids. Although some are large, most of his statues are small and relatively portable, averaging six inches high and weighing about five pounds or less.“I don’t worry about people coming in here and breaking anything,” he said, “but I do worry that they might drop something on their foot.”Intricately detailed, his dinosaurs, bugs and various monsters are realistically scary, not whimsical. His bowls have legs; his hydra, a plethora of heads. A voodoo spirit, Papa Ghede or Baron Samedi—the god of sex, death and secrets—wears a rakish top hat. The sculptures are mostly dark, with green or black patinas.Sturgis sculpts in wax, using a soldering iron to meld the pieces together. Continue Reading

Art-A-Whirl profile: Central Avenue inspired ‘lonely in crowd’ street scene work

Originally inspired by watching people on Central Avenue, Teri Bloch found herself drawn to painting street scenes.“I am interested in human nature and body language,” she said. “I want to create psychological tension in my pieces. Artistically, I play around with colors, shapes, and light.”She favors muted colors: grey, blue, black. Her subjects’ features usually are blurred and non-distinct. “One of my friends accused me of not being able to draw faces,” she said, laughing. Continue Reading

Art-A-Whirl profile: Open to earning a living making jewelry

When Rebecca Wicklund took her first metals class five years ago, she was on a quest. “I was always looking for jewelry that I liked and could afford. I wanted to see if I could make things for myself.” After learning the basics of soldering, drilling and piercing metal with a jeweler’s saw, she made her first pieces. As she grew in experience, she gave earrings and necklaces to friends and family as gifts.“It was fun for me to see them wear it,” she said. She took more classes and did some experimenting on her own, striving to create clean, contemporary pieces for every-day wear. Continue Reading

Art-A-Whirl profile: Houseboat turning Art Ark

According to sculptor Zoran Mojsilov, an “Art Ark” is coming to Northeast for Art-A-Whirl. He said that when boat owner Cory Parkos, captain of a 60-foot houseboat, contacted him about participating in Art-A-Whirl, Mojsilov agreed to collaborate.“We’re going to have some art on the boat. I’ll bring some smaller stuff, some of my drawings, and I’ve talked to some of my friends. We’ll have about 10 artists showing things on the boat and on the lawn between the Grain Belt warehouse and the river. I’m going to be the curator and the judge.”Mojsilov’s studio is in the Grain Belt warehouse, 77 13th Ave. Continue Reading

Is Minneapolis in or out of the development business?: Reflections from Community Planning and Economic Development Jeremy Hanson Willis

Jeremy Hanson Willis, City of Minneapolis CPED (Community Planning and Economic Development) executive director since April 23, 2012, said he has spent the past year doing a lot of listening. “I had worked for the mayor [R.T. Rybak] for seven years, and I came into CPED with a real agenda for change. However, I wanted to do it in a way that respects people and the work they are doing. People who work for the city do noble work every day, but our governmental systems are broken and we need to fix that.

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Hot meals program relies on about 500 volunteers

Eve Frank, Meals on Wheels coordinator, tells the story of an older client who fell down at home in the early morning hours. The client later told her daughter, “I tried to be as calm as I could, because I knew that my Meals on Wheels volunteer was coming.”The story had a happy ending: “When the client didn’t answer the door, the volunteer looked through the window and saw her on the floor. The client was conscious and able to talk; she asked the volunteer to call 911 and also told her how to get into the house. She asked the volunteer to stay with her until the ambulance came.”Frank added, “Many people have told us that they are very happy that we check on our clients.”Meals on Wheels, also known as Hot Meals for Shut-Ins, covers Columbia Heights, Fridley, Hilltop, and Spring Lake Park. On April 26, the organization will host a 40th Anniversary fundraiser dinner at First Lutheran Church in Columbia Heights. Continue Reading

Public Functionary to bring “new professionalism” to Northeast Arts District

Contemporary visual art gallery Public Functionary, 1400 12th Ave. NE, will open its first public show this month.Curator Tricia Khutoretsky said the gallery’s goal is to bring something new into Northeast. “We were thinking about what’s in Northeast, and we tried to think about what’s missing here. There are a lot of artists’ collectives, but there is not an open community hub type of space outside of artists’ studios. We’re trying not to be a closed-off arts space. Continue Reading

Minneapolis: Meeting April 9 on replacement for St. Anthony Parkway bridge

At the other end of the Camden Bridge, there’s another new bridge and detours in the future, and there’s a meeting soon to discuss the design.Tearing down and replacing the old St. Anthony Parkway bridge that goes over a railroad yard can be complicated, it turns out, as said bridge is historically significant.Residents, primarily from the Marshall Terrace and Columbia Park neighborhoods, started meeting with city officials in 2009 to discuss the project. After all eventually agreed that the old bridge needed replacing, the city presented several design options. While some neighbors favored a newer, sleek design, others preferred a more historic look that they said better fit the neighborhood. One option, a cable stayed bridge, was initially a front runner in 2010, until a similar type—the Martin Olav Sabo Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge on Hiawatha Avenue in South Minneapolis—failed in 2012, five years after it was built, and needed repair.The city has proposed a new option, a hybrid tiered arch with girders. Continue Reading

Meet the Third Ward DFL candidates: Caucuses April 16

Incumbent Diane Hofstede, running for a third term, and Jacob Frey, an attorney who said he is passionate about community service, have announced their candidacy for the 3rd Ward Minneapolis City Council seat. Hofstede lives in the St. Anthony West neighborhood; Frey lives in the Nicollet Island East Bank neighborhood.The precinct caucuses are April 16, and the Ward 3 DFL convention will be May 4. Because the Nov. 5 general election uses Ranked Choice Voting, there won’t be a primary. Continue Reading