US Pond Hockey Tournament

Posted on 20 February 2017 by calvin


Pond Hockey 01Photo right: A record 275 teams entered the 12th annual LaBott Blue US Pond Hockey Tournament this year. The event was held on Lake Nokomis Jan. 26-29. Considered the greatest pond hockey tournament in the country, the event has been covered variously by the Today Show, Good Morning America, the NY Times, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR. In other words, it’s become something of a phenomenon.

Pond Hockey 07Photo left: Todd Studer played the national anthem to signal the start of playtime on tournament Friday at 8:30am sharp. The morning temperature hovered around 17 degrees. Studer finished playing, put his trumpet away, and went off to ref the first game. A former Edison High School hockey player, he proudly wore his jersey to the tournament.





Pond Hockey 23Photo right: The goal of the event is to break even, after making donations to DinoMights (a Minneapolis hockey youth development program), the Metropolis Foundation, and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.

Photo below: Most pond hockey enthusiasts grew up in cold places, playing hockey on their frozen backyard ponds or those of their neighbors. No paying for rink time, no early morning practices, no fancy equipment. To hear the tournament organizers describe it: pond hockey is just about a pair of skates, a puck, a stick, and for some extra protection, maybe a wad of newspaper duck-taped across shins.

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Pond Hockey 33Photo right: Natalee Wiebe of Claremont, CA, travels around the country sometimes playing on women’s teams and sometimes playing on men’s teams—as she did on Friday. She said, ”I just slide in wherever I can to get ice-time.”




Pond Hockey 53Photo left: Left: Pond hockey is played on a short sheet of ice with no goalie. To score a goal, a player smacks the puck into one of two holes in a wooden goal frame that measures 24” x 72”. Playtime is two 15 minute periods. The action is fast.


Pond Hockey 66Photo right: Charlye McMillan was one of about 200 volunteers that helped out over the weekend. She said, “I don’t skate, but a lot of my friends do. It’s just a fun atmosphere that I love being part of.” Volunteer jobs include set up and take down, score runner, player check-in, ice operator, and indoor or outdoor floater.




Pond Hockey 73Photo right: Brian Herbert (third from left) of Boston, MA, said, “Hands down, this is our favorite weekend of the year. It top birthdays, Christmas, every major and minor holiday. I’ve been skating with these guys since I was three years old. This is a place where we can all be kids again.”



Pond Hockey 86Photo right: In the coldest month of the year, more than 20,000 hardy souls came out to play, watch, cheer, laugh, and shiver together in support of pond hockey.





Pond Hockey 298Photo left: Right: Twenty-five rinks were laid out for competition, as well as two rinks for family skating. Many of the teams traveled from across the country to compete on frozen Lake Nokomis. The teams were divided into five different classes, each of which crowned a champion.



Photo below: There aren’t any Zambonis to clear the ice at the US Pond Hockey Tournament—just shovels.
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Bridge project closes Godfrey Pkwy.

Posted on 20 February 2017 by calvin

Godfrey Pkwy. is now closed to all motorized through traffic for a Hennepin County project that will replace the 46th Street bridge (sometimes referred to as the Godfrey Bridge) over the parkway. The closure will continue through fall 2017. There may be temporary re-openings, including for special events. The parking lots located on Godfrey Parkway will remain open. The Wabun Picnic Area can be accessed from 46th Ave. S. Bike and pedestrian trail traffic will be accommodated under the bridge during most of the construction. The detour for motorized traffic on Godfrey Pkwy. uses Minnehaha Ave., 44th St., and W. River Pkwy. (Illustration provided)


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State of the River talk set Mar. 28

Posted on 20 February 2017 by calvin

state-of-the-river-01So, how is the Mississippi River? Can you swim in it? Is water pollution improving? Can you eat the fish you catch?

A public presentation on the “State of the River” will answer such questions. The talk by Longfellow resident Trevor Russell will be held at Minnehaha Academy North Campus Chapel, Tues., Mar. 28, 7-8pm. The talk is hosted by the Longfellow Community Council’s River Gorge Committee and will highlight the new State of the River Report.

Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) and the National Park Service’s Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) collaborated to produce the second edition of the award-winning State of the River Report. The new report highlights 14 key indicators of water quality and river health in the metro Mississippi River. The report examines the status and trends of each indicator and highlights strategies for improvement. The report also comes with a Stewardship Guide and Policy Guide to help readers take personal action to protect and restore our great river. (See

Speaker Trevor Russell co-authored the report. Trevor is the Water Program Director for Friends of the Mississippi River. His work focuses on issues related to agricultural water quality, urban storm water, legislative policy and more. He coordinates a coalition of statewide conservation organizations working collaboratively to improve Minnesota’s water quality. Trevor has a degree in economics from the Colorado College and 16 years of experience in environmental advocacy. Trevor is a former board member of the Longfellow Community Council and co-founder of The Longfellow Homebrew Club.

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Dowling principal asks for help with dog problem

Posted on 20 February 2017 by calvin

Dear Neighbors:
As the new principal of Dowling Urban Environmental Elementary School, I am honored to be here. Since my arrival in mid-October, I continue to learn many things about our students, their parents, and this vibrant community. Unfortunately, I’ve also learned about issues that need to be resolved.

Dog on LeashWe have a problem with unleashed dogs running free on our property. This problem is accompanied by several people not removing their dog’s feces after their visit. Despite the signs we have posted to remind people to “leash and scoop” there are some who do not adhere to this request. I write this letter to ask for your support and cooperation to address this problem.

Just like a neighborhood watch, we can all do our part in ensuring that this community space is safe, clean, and remains open to all residents. When we see an unleashed dog running around, please call Animal Control by dialing 311. If you feel emboldened to speak your mind, remind the dog owner that the land they’re on is not a dog park; that it is shared with other dog owners and gardeners in the community; and that it is their legal responsibility to keep the dog leashed and remove its droppings. I think with a reasonable appeal and working together we can solve this problem.

I thank you for your support.

Lloyd E. Winfield, EdD
Michael Dowling School
Urban Environmental Magnet
Image source:

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Friends of Lake Hiawatha formed to protect clean water

Posted on 20 February 2017 by calvin

Trash-Lake-HiawathaThe Friends of Lake Hiawatha was formed in 2016 and became one of the 30 citizen-led lake associations formed in the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) and part of the Watershed Association Initiative (WAI).

Friends of Lake Hiawatha formed, in part, to respond to concerns about trash flowing into the lake from local streets during rain events. Preventing stormwater runoff is a key factor in improving water quality and this group has already made great strides in raising awareness about this issue. Since its formation, a device has been installed to capture trash at the storm drain outlet to the lake and a new storm drain cleanup program is being developed in the surrounding neighborhoods.

“We are excited to see the enthusiasm our residents have for protecting water quality in their neighborhoods,” said Darren Lochner, MCWD Education Manager. “This stewardship at the grass roots level augments the District’s efforts to provide and protect clean water and makes a huge difference helping us achieve our mission.”

WAI provides a range of services to new and existing groups including education, training, networking and engagement opportunities. In addition, the WAI helps groups develop action and lake management plans that guide their work toward reaching achievable goals. “The District’s commitment to assisting residents in becoming active participants in the health of their local water body is a model for others to follow,” said Jen Kader, WAI Program Manager for the Freshwater Society.

For more information, visit

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Native alternatives for popular plants

Posted on 20 February 2017 by calvin

native plants 01Are you looking for ways to make your yard more bee and butterfly friendly? Come to the Longfellow Garden Club Mar. 8 meeting and learn how to transition your yard to attract and nurture not only pollinators and butterflies, but birds, too!

Master Gardener Ruth Peterson will talk about her experiences learning about the many benefits that native plants offer our landscapes. You will learn how to gradually incorporate Minnesota native alternatives that bring beautiful flowers and structure to the garden and supply food and shelter for birds and insects. These native perennials are better ecological solutions and need easier care than many of the traditional garden plants that we commonly use.

Bring paper and pen to take notes; we will have a handout. The meeting begins 7pm on Wed., Mar. 8: come early and help set up. Epworth United Methodist Church, 3207 37th Ave. S.

More information can be found at

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NENA plans for the future; you can be a part of the good work

Posted on 20 February 2017 by calvin

Neighborhood Revitalization Program plan modification
It’s been a busy time at NENA, and it is only going to be more active in 2017 and beyond. You are invited to be a part of the planning and implementing of new projects.

Come to the General Membership Meeting on Mon., Mar. 6, to learn more about the proposed programming and funding roadmap presented by the NENA Board of Directors.

NENA works on behalf of our community and your ideas and suggestions are needed. Share your ideas about NENA committee projects, annual events, and outreach. This is your time to get involved and make our community an even better place to call home!

All residents, businesses and property owners in the four Nokomis East neighborhoods are strongly encouraged to attend and help NENA plan for the future. In addition to the NENA Road Map and Neighborhood Revitalization Program  (NRP) plan modification, the Board will present proposed amendments to NENA’s Bylaws. Both proposals require a vote and approval from the General Membership.

General Membership Meeting
Mon., Mar. 6, 6:30–8pm
Morris Park Recreation Center – 5531 39th Ave. S.
Dessert provided by Berry Sweet Kitchen

More details about the NRP Plan modification and amendments to the bylaws are available at or call Becky Timm, NENA Executive Director at 612-724-5652.

Green is the color of spring
NENA’s Green Initiatives Committee is rolling out three projects this spring.
Look for new monarch and pollinator gardens on E. 50th St. boulevards in June.

NENA and Metro Blooms plan to install 15 garden patches in a new matching grant program. If you live on E. 50th St., contact NENA to see how you can get involved.

Community gardeners are working with St James Episcopal Church to expand by adding additional food plots and grow food for local food shelves. Lastly, the committee aims to increase neighborhood participation in the city’s food composting program by giving away countertop composting pails.

Attend the March committee meeting on Mar. 8, and be a part of this green work. Visit for more information.

Interested in serving on the NENA Board of Directors?
At the NENA Annual Meeting on Apr. 27, the neighborhood will elect community members, like yourself, to serve on the Board. NENA is hosting a Board candidate information meeting on Apr. 13, at 6pm. This is one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences you will ever enjoy.

Curb Appeal Matching Grant Lottery
NENA’s Housing, Commercial and Streetscape Committee is launching a new program to help homeowners with small exterior projects and front lawn projects. Sign up for the Curb Appeal Grant Lottery and get your upcoming project entered to win a matching grant up to $500! The deadline to enter is May 12, and winners will be announced right before Memorial Day Weekend to start your summer off right. Attend the March committee meeting on Mar. 1, and make a difference in our neighborhood. Visit for more information and to register.

Don’t miss out on Apr. 1 events
NENA will be tabling at the South Minneapolis Housing Fair. Learn more about NENA housing projects like the Curb Appeal Lottery and home improvement loans. This free event is on Apr. 1, at South High School, 3131 19th Ave. S.

The City of Minneapolis’ Community Connections Conference takes place on Apr. 1, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This year’s theme, “Your Voice, Your City, CommUnity,” emphasizes bringing people together to build power and unity across cultures and communities.

11th Annual Grow Monarch Habitat Workshop
Also on May 20, NENA is offering this very popular workshop with a wealth of information for both beginning and advanced gardeners. Learn how to make a difference one lawn at a time. The workshop is free to attend, and you may register and pay for a “Monarch Garden-to-Go” plant kit.
Visit NENA’s community calendar for more event information—

Home Improvement Loan Program
Whether by choice or necessity, start planning your next project now with the help of a home improvement loan from NENA.

Owners of one to four unit residences can apply for up to $15,000 to make improvements to their properties. Owner-occupants and investors may apply. The interest rate is either two or three percent, depending on income. No income restrictions apply.

NENA also has available a limited amount of funds for our emergency repair loan program. Only owner-occupied households are eligible, and income restrictions do apply. There is a maximum loan amount of $7,500 at zero percent interest. The loan is due in full upon sale of the property or title transfer.

For more information or to request an application for one of the NENA loan programs, call our partner, the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation’s Housing Resource Center at 612-588-3033, or visit Loan applications are processed on a first-come, first served basis.

Sign up for NENA News
Your guide to news, events, and resources! Get your neighborhood news delivered to your inbox every other Wednesday. Sign up today at

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Healthy Seniors plan March events

Posted on 20 February 2017 by calvin

“Financial Fitness” will be the topic of the Tues., Mar. 21 Senior Social/Health Talk which starts at 10:30am at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 E. 31st St. Learn how to prevent financial scams and ID theft, live within your means, and stay out of debt. Presented by Suzy Wheeler from Family Means, a consumer credit counseling service.

“Yoga for Structural Integrity” classes are held on Mondays through Mar. 20 and meet at Bethlehem Covenant Church, 3141 43rd Ave. S. from 9:30-10:30am. Classes are sold in a package at a rate of $5/class.

A monthly Diabetes Support Group for adults of all ages will be held Wed., Mar. 8 from 6:30-8pm at Hiawatha School Park Recreation Center, 4305 E. 42nd St.

A Low Vision Support Group will be held Tues., Mar. 14 at 1:30pm at Trinity Apartments, located at 2800 E. 32st St.

Also, we’re looking for volunteer drivers and “friendly visitors” for seniors. Call Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors at 612-729-5799 for more information on activities, services or volunteer opportunities.

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Schuttinga named CCS president

Posted on 20 February 2017 by calvin

Calvin Christian School (CCS) has announced that Dr. Bethany Schuttinga has accepted the appointment to serve as the school’s next president. Schuttinga brings to CCS a 17-year career in education, having served in administrative leadership at Dordt College (Iowa) and Iowa State University before her most recent role building a platform for Christian education in Indonesia.

Schuttinga will start as CCS’s president on a full-time basis on July 1. Until then, she will work closely with CCS’s current president, Randy Kroll, to ensure a smooth transition, and will spend time getting acquainted with the CCS community and area educational leaders.

Schuttinga received her B.A. from Dordt College, a master’s from Minnesota State University in Mankato, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Iowa State University.
Calvin Christian was founded in 1961 and today serves more than 400 students at K-8 campuses in Blaine and Edina and a high school campus in Fridley. As an independent school, unaffiliated with a single church or denomination, the school serves a student body representing scores of churches and more than 45 municipalities in the greater Twin Cities.

Calvin Christian is accredited by the Minnesota Nonpublic Schools Accrediting Association, is a member school of Christian Schools International, and is affiliated with the Minnesota Independent Schools Forum.

Additional information about Calvin Christian School is available at

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Home Energy Squad helps maximize energy efficiency in every season

Posted on 24 January 2017 by calvin

The Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE) is a Twin Cities non-profit that promotes energy efficiency to strengthen the economy while improving the environment. One of the stand-out energy efficiency programs they deliver is the Home Energy Squad.

Stacy Boots Camp is the recruitment and outreach coordinator for CEE. ”So many times people only think about how to save energy in the winter, but we can show you how to save energy all year long,” Camp said.

CEE schedules more than 2,500 Home Energy Squad visits each year, with more than half of them in Minneapolis. The pre-scheduled visit takes 2.5 hours, and the homeowner must be present. A team of two technicians come to the home: one of them does a one-on-one consultation with the owner while taking inventory of products they can opt to have installed. The other conducts diagnostic testing, such as de-pressuring the home with a high power fan to test for air leaks.

Home Energy Squad 07Photo right: Longfellow resident Charlie Rieland safely holds a power strip with multiple cords. A power strip ensures that cords are not continuing to drain power unnecessarily. Wasting standby power, also called phantom load, is estimated to cost the average US household $100/year. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

CEE estimates that more than 300,000 homes in Minnesota have inadequate attic insulation, and more than 139,000 have no wall insulation at all. This represents a waste of energy for homeowners in the summer and the winter, as insulation reduces heat transfer from the outside in—as well as from the inside out.

In R-value, which is something most people have heard of, the “R” means resistance to heat transfer. Different kinds of insulation have different R-values. The higher the value, the more energy efficient the product. “At CEE,” Camp said. “we believe that the best, most environmentally friendly insulation is dense packed cellulose.”

What issues are covered in a Home Energy Squad visit? For starters, measurements of insulation in the attic and walls are taken, using an infra-red camera to see what’s inside.

A safety check is conducted on the heating system and the water heater. This is to make sure that if the homeowner improves the insulation, there’s no risk of appliances back-drafting carbon monoxide.

“We’re there to help educate homeowners,” Camp said, “but also to help them prioritize. For instance, if a customer has an old octopus furnace and little to no insulation, we help them prioritize what needs doing first, so it isn’t so overwhelming.”

She continued, “We almost never recommend replacing windows because the payback time is so long. We strongly recommend getting storm windows though; the double glass makes a huge difference in energy savings.”

Testing houses of any age is recommended from a health and safety standpoint, as well as from an energy efficiency standpoint. Camp commented that “in a newer, tighter home, there has to be some way to exchange the inside air for the outside air. Rather than installing an expensive air exchanger, we recommend an energy star rated bathroom fan that runs all the time at low speed.”

A Home Energy Squad visit is something of a hybrid between a direct install program and an energy audit. Camp said, “To get people started on the path to saving energy, we’ll put in weather stripping, programmable thermostats, high-efficiency shower heads, faucet aerators, water heater blankets and LED light bulbs—and all are included in the $100 cost of a Home Energy Squad visit.

All of the recommendations are compiled in an easy-to-use document called the Energy Fitness Plan (a visual representation of the home’s energy efficiency level). “If a homeowner has an efficiency rating of 96%,” Camp explained, “they receive an Energy Fit Home Certificate which can be used at the point of putting the home on the market for sale. This is something that is gaining popularity as people care more about energy efficiency.”

Home Energy Squad 02Photo left: Home Energy Squad techs will install LED light bulbs (pictured at right) during a home visit. LED stands for light emitting diode, and these light bulbs are the most energy efficient on the market. They use 85% less energy, are mercury-free, and are estimated to last 20 years with normal usage. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Camp added, “A visit from the Home Energy Squad is a great value, and everyone always learns things about their homes that surprise them. When surveyed, 99% of our customers say they would recommend this service to a friend. “

To schedule a visit, call 612-335-5874 or view the website at You can also learn more at CEE’s website,

The Home Energy Squad is underwritten by CenterPoint Energy and Excel Energy, both of which are mandated by the state of Minnesota to increase their energy efficiency by 1.5% each year. This program is one of the ways that they meet that goal.

CEE delivers the Home Energy Squad program and, as Camp underscored, “People trust us. We’re a non-profit agency, and we’ve been around for almost 40 years. We want customers to be happy with their visit, with the service they receive, and with the energy saving products that are installed. If our techs make a recommendation for air sealing or insulation work at the time of the visit, their quote will be honored by participating insulation contractors.“

She concluded, saying, “I think that more and more people have a sense of commitment to reducing their carbon foot print. Maintaining high home energy efficiency is one positive step a homeowner can take. ”

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