Archive | LONGFELLOW

<< 6 feet apart >>

Posted on 04 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

(Photos by Terry Faust)

West River Road is closed to northbound traffic to allow trail users more space to maintain social distancing. Sections of Cedar Lake Parkway, Lake Harriet Parkway, Lake of the Isles Parkway, Lake Nokomis Parkway, and Main Street S.E. are also closed. Because residents are still congregating in groups, playgrounds, skateparks and athletic fields have been closed. Tennis court nets have been removed and basketball court rims blocked. Gatherings are limited to 10 people or less, and trail users urged to stay six feet apart. (Photo by Terry Faust)

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Kids learn through play

Posted on 04 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

While you’re at home during this extended break from school, try these ideas from Free Forest School

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN

Free Forest School Executive Director Anna Sharratt said, “This idea started as an outdoor play group. It has turned into a river I’ve been riding for several years now.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Let them be kids, outdoors. Let them learn through unstructured play in nature.
That’s the cornerstone belief of Free Forest School, a volunteer-led program that operates in 200+ cities across the country.
Right now, their weekly outdoor gatherings are, of course, suspended, but it’s easy to put the principles of Free Forest School to use during this extended break from school.
Longfellow resident Anna Sharratt developed the idea for the program five years ago, when her young family lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. She and her husband had signed their four-year-old up for a pre-K learning program, and the kids didn’t set foot outdoors for a whole month.
Sharratt, who grew up alongside Minnehaha Creek and camping in the BWCA, was stunned. She said, “In my way of thinking, learning and nature are inseparable. I had hoped to meet other families in the neighborhood, thinking we could get together outside of school, chill out, and play. I found parenting in New York City to be very competitive. The idea for Free Forest School grew out of that longing for non-competitive, quality time spent outdoors with other families.”
Two months after Sharratt started the first chapter of Free Forest School in Brooklyn, her family moved to Austin, Texas. Once seeds were planted in those two places, people started contacting her from around the country asking, “How can I start this up in my town?”

“There is no such thing
as bad weather,
only bad clothing.”
~ Scandinavian saying

Focus on supportive communities for parents and kids
The Free Forest School model is straight forward; it focuses on creating supportive communities. Parents can parent in different ways while encouraging child-led, unstructured play.
Sharratt said, “There are so many people who attend our play groups. Adults say they forge a deeper relationship with their kids through unstructured play, because so many of their usual power struggles disappear. There is less adult talking and explaining, there are fewer rules.”
The suggested age range for children is 0-6 years, but the majority of kids are 1-4. Every Free Forest School chapter has a director. It’s that person’s job to recruit parent facilitators from the community and to train them.
One of the ongoing Minneapolis sites is Theodore Wirth Park, where a Free Forest School chapter has met on Monday mornings at a certain trailhead for the past four years.
Sharratt explained, “We have a strong emphasis on place-based learning, so we go back to the same place throughout the seasons. Kids love to explore in the rain and mud of April, the heat and humidity of June, the snow and ice of January.”
Place-based learning might come as something of a relief during this time of staying at home, or close to home. According to Sharratt, young children are just as happy, maybe happier, going back to the same place over and over again.
Now that even playgrounds are closed or discouraged, here’s the best news yet. Find a scrappy patch of woods near your house; any nearby nature spot will do. Take the kids there and, after making sure it’s reasonably safe, led them take the lead in their own unstructured play.
Sharratt encourages parents to think back to their own memories of childhood, asking, “What places in nature were most meaningful for you? It’s probably not the trip your whole family took to a national park, though it could be. It’s more likely a tree you loved to climb by yourself, or a vacant neighborhood lot where you built a fort with your friends. These are experiences that give kids a sense of autonomy, which is especially important in this time of ‘helicopter parenting.’”

“Kids are hard wired to learn through play in nature, but parents can get in the way with too much structure and over-scheduling.” ~ Anna Sharratt

Every day outside
It is unlikely that Free Forest School playgroups will be meeting this summer, given the current health emergency.
In the meantime, the website is resource rich, and includes a COVID-19 inspired initiative called Every Day Outside on the blog. It’s a place to share ideas, play prompts, inspirations, and ideas for child-led activities. There are also weekly emails that dive deeper into the value of unstructured play for the whole family. For more information, visit www.freeforestschool.org or or email info@freeforestschool.org.
“It may look like we’re educating children, but we’re really educating adults,” said Sharratt. “Kids are hard wired to learn through play in nature, but parents can get in the way with too much structure and over-scheduling.”
So, even though Free Forest School isn’t formally meeting right now, Sharratt said the emphasis hasn’t changed one bit. Today is the perfect day to get outside with your kids. Let them cross a stream on rocks or climb a tree. They might look like they’re “just playing,” (and what’s wrong with that?) but they’re also developing their sense of spatial awareness, large and small motor skills, balance, critical thinking, and much more.

In a nutshell
Free Forest School ignites children’s innate capacity to learn through unstructured play in nature, fostering healthy development and nurturing the next generation of creative thinkers, collaborative leaders, and environmental stewards.

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Brighten somebody’s day with a kind word

Posted on 04 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Belle’s Tool Box will stamp and mail letters to local seniors

39th Ave S, a neighbor donates food during the “Stay Home” pandemic cycle.

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
The crew at Belle’s Tool Box has wrestled with how to best use their “tools” at this time, and has reached out to a senior center in the neighborhood.
They are encouraging children to draw and write messages to an elderly person confined to their home. Place in a plastic bag and leave in the box located on the Belle’s Tool Box gate on 34th St., just south of 42nd Ave. Owner Lucy Elliott will see that the messages and drawings get to homes of folks who could use a little cheer!
Regarding concern about handling items, Elliott said, “I will handle the items appropriately, and am confident the staff of Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors will, as well. Connections between old and young seem especially poignant right now.”
Contact Lucy Elliott with questions or suggestions at belles-toolbox@gmail.com.

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Community response to a global situation

Posted on 24 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Coronavirus Pandemic

Neighbors got outside and built community near Brackett Park on Sunday, March 22, 2020 for the Corona-Cautious Classic biking extravaganza. Above, Hans, Ann, and Eve Thorkelson cheer on the participants. Below Ellen Sharratt participates. One child at a time, at 10 minute intervals, vied for Fastest Lap or Most Laps in 10 Minutes and competed for costume/spirit awards. Drinks, snacks, signs, bells, bullhorns were encouraged.

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
“We are continuing to bake bread because we believe in the power of such a basic food,” said Christopher MacLeod of Laune Bread, a microbakery and bread delivery service in South Minneapolis. “To our subscribers it carries a lot of meaning – it is a weekly ritual for many of them, but it is also nutrient dense and life sustaining.”
As restaurants closed to sit-down customers and with it their pick-up sites, MacLeod and his partner, Tiff Singh, asked themselves what they should do. Should they continue baking and delivering bread? Is it safe and smart?
“We are healthy, but that isn’t a guarantee, and it is scary. It gives us a lot of anxiety,” they admitted. “We have both been sitting in front of our computers hours on end every day corresponding with our subscribers and others who ask for bread, watching the news rapidly change, and trying to develop new logistical systems and also health and food safety procedures.”
They decided to discontinue pick-up locations and do delivery only. They dropped the $1 bike delivery fee, moved to car delivery, and narrowed their delivery area. They made some changes to reduce risk, including heavily cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and their hands during the bake, and wearing food safe gloves and face masks at all times after the bread comes out of the oven and during the delivery.
Their business is flexible because it is relatively small and operates without a storefront.
This week they added a second bake to keep up with demand and to offer people a chance to purchase bread at whatever price they could afford. “In 24 hours, 51 loaves of bread have been donated through our subscribers and the community at large,” observed MacLeod.
“We want to keep offering sustenance, but beyond our regular members – last week we donated 20 loaves (we donated 10 and our members paid for 10) through our members to people who needed them: school teachers, elderly neighbors, hair stylists, and families. It’s a language of humanity – the meaning of our bread spreads beyond the bakery to those who buy it, to those who are gifted it.”
Of those donated loaves, five went to a subscriber who shared them with others.
“Your bread fed: me, my partner teacher who is caring for her mother as she recovers from having her gallbladder removed, a friend of our gym teacher who was in need, the teacher I did student teaching with who just had to adopt the younger (half) sibling of one of her kids, and a teacher who is in treatment for breast cancer,” wrote the woman. “Thank you, from all of us.”
MacLeod and Singh recognize the situation is precarious and at some point they may discontinue baking bread, but right now they’re focusing on supporting their community and are being supported in return.
“We are a small business, but the ingredients we bake with make a big difference to many people,” they said.

Annual fish fry attendance drops, church works to
encourage parish family
Each year, hundreds of people line up at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Longfellow for the Friday night Fish Fry during Lent.
But not this year.
As Governor Walz declared a peacetime emergency on Friday, March 13, church volunteers debated whether to continue with that night’s fish fry. “We did go ahead and do the dinner on March 13 because it’s a little like stopping a locomotive on a dime to try to cancel at the last minute,” observed Erin Sim, the church office and communications manager.
“Gallons of coleslaw were ready, and many pounds of fish thawed. We served about 425 people that night, as opposed to the 1,100-1,350 we might have done on a regular third night. But even Archbishop Hebda came, as he hates to miss our Fish Dinners (which one of the local radio stations called ‘The Vegas of Fish Fries!’).”
The loss of revenue will have a huge impact on the church’s budget, as it is one of two major fundraisers held each year, according to Sim. “We miss the ‘fun raising’ as well, because we have such a good time showing our guests a warm welcome and feeding them well.”
The church is considering doing some variation of the dinners when it is safe to do so, perhaps tying fish ‘n’ chips in with its annual Bingo-Rama nights in July.
“Meanwhile, as with all the faith communities, we have cancelled our masses (daily and weekend) and all other gatherings until it’s safe to offer them again. We are live-streaming our Sunday morning 9:30 a.m. mass using Facebook Live on our St. Albert the Great Facebook page and then archiving the result on our website: www.saintalbertthegreat.org, under the Worship with Us tab.
“Our small staff will take turns spending a day in the office, Tuesday through Friday, but otherwise will work from home to keep publishing the Bulletin and trying to keep our parish family informed, encouraged and together in these days when we can’t interact in person.”

Kennedy Transmission offers home pick-up and drop-off
Kennedy Transmission CVT & Auto at 3423 E. Lake St. typically has appointments scheduled one to two weeks out as they are one of only a handful of shops in the U.S. that specialize in repair of CVT (Constant Variable Transmission) and Hybrid Drive systems. Their appointment calendar has dropped off dramatically the week beginning on Monday, March 23.
“I know a number of repair shops that have closed or are expecting to close very soon and this makes me very nervous. I have a small staff of very talented people who very much want to keep working as normal,” said owner Matt Johnson. “At this point we are classified an ‘essential’ sector of the economy to facilitate transportation and as such plan on staying healthy and working through the duration if at all possible.”
He has walled off the customer area from the front desk area with plexiglass, and employees are using the shop service door instead of the customer entrance. They are disinfecting door handles, countertops and hard surfaces throughout the day and doing a thorough bleaching at night. They are wiping down customer’s steering wheels and gear shifters after completing work.
“Although some of these measures slow our workflow a bit, I think we need to do everything practical to mitigate the risk of virus spread,” remarked Johnson.
“I have always said that we have the best customers and this has really been evident the past week,” said Johnson. ”I have received a lot of calls and visits just to check in on us and make sure things are going well. Our hope is that people are able to work and stay safe at the same time; and we can continue to maintain their vehicles. I think it is generally imperative that anyone showing possible symptoms of COVID-19 quarantine themselves to limit potential spread.”
To help those with underlying health issues as well as those who simply want to limit their time in public spaces, Kennedy Transmission has begun picking up customer vehicles and dropping them back off.
“We have also decided we would do whatever we can to provide basic help to our customers at no charge,” said Johnson. “In particular, if someone in the neighborhood needs a tire aired up or a jump-start, I will try and be there in a timely manner and get them back on the road. Although it may be a little thing, I think if everyone helps a little here or there, we will weather this better together.”
He is also making a few supply runs for neighborhood residents who need something from Target or Walgreens, fitting them in between his work responsibilities.
“If Italy, Spain, etc. have any parallel to the U.S. then things will get a lot worse before they get better,” observed Johnson. “Minneapolis is a wonderful community and I think basic best hygiene, social distancing and common sense practices as well as supporting our neighbors will be the key to weathering this crisis.”

Business organizations,
neighbors support each other
Businesses in the neighborhood are facing the challenge of adjusting to the new information and restrictions that are coming out daily, observed Kim Jakus of the Longfellow Business Association. Those without direct contact with the public are taking precautions for their employees and workplaces. Restaurants and retail locations are being hit harder, reducing hours, laying off workers, transitioning to online orders, implementing pick-up or delivery options, and offering gift cards for later redemption. They’re trying to figure out how to manage expenses, pinpoint which can be delayed and which still need to be paid.
“I see a lot of generosity from the community on Next Door encouraging neighbors to still support local businesses,” Jakus said.
Ward 12 Council Member Andrew Johnson has taken the lead on creating a Google spreadsheet listing all local businesses and whether they are still open or not. Find the link on his Facebook page.
The LBA, Lake Street Council and Redesign are partnering together to provide small businesses with information on resources available to them. They list items on their web sites and share them through regular email updates. Highlights include Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available for small businesses and monthly sales taxes have been deferred a month.
“We’re connecting on how we can work together to support businesses in our geographic scope. Probably a lot of that will come on the tail end of this crisis and figuring out what recovery looks like,” observed Jakus.

Trying to manage life
in a pandemic
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Longfellow resident Don Hammen became selective about when he left his house. On March 15, he took a tape measure to church to ensure there was over six feet between him and others.
He decided to skip the Neighborhoods 2020 meeting the next day, although it pained him. But he was still planning to pull together Elder Voices (Telling Our Stories) at Turtle Bread as usual the fourth Friday of the month.
He stocked up on frozen foods and canned goods, and continued to use Meals on Wheels. As the week went on, he discovered that buying groceries through Cub Home Delivery was becoming harder. He could no longer place a delivery in the morning and get it later that day; instead, a Thursday order wouldn’t come until Sunday.
Being dependent on mass transit, Hammen was confident he could continue to use it to get around. Things changed later in the week when Mass Transit announced new guidelines on how many people could be on a bus and restricting non-essential travel. “I can live with this but if they ever did a complete shut down I would have a real problem,” said Hammen.
Complicating things is that his refrigerator appears to be dying.
He’s wondering how “we are in this together” is actually playing out at the neighborhood level. Will social distancing mean social isolation?
“The fact of the matter is I’m still trying to figure out how to manage my life in this COVID-19 situation,” Hammen said.

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Adopt-a-Drain: simple way to make a big difference and protect state waterways

Posted on 24 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Sweep up, rake up, pick up!

(L>R) City Council Member Andrew Johnson with drain adopters Mandy LaBreche and Jillian Kaster are joined by Minneapolis Public Works Engineer Bryan Dodds at the 10,000th drain adopted by Mandy.

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Everyone knows that trash is no good for lakes, rivers, and streams. But do you know that natural debris such as leaves, grass clippings, and pet waste also pollute the waterways? When these natural pollutants are swept into the storm water system, they end up in the nearest body of water. Eventually the organic matter will break down, release phosphorous, and stimulate the growth of algae.
The Minneapolis Adopt-a-Drain Program was created in 2016 to help address this problem. Minneapolis joined a metro-wide program when it was launched last year.
The concept is simple, and it’s working. Residents learn about Adopt-a-Drain and volunteer on the program website (www.adopt-a-drain.org). Adopt-a-Drain asks residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood, and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution. Volunteers commit to keeping a storm drain unimpeded. Storm drains flow directly into local lakes, rivers, and wetlands, acting as a conduit for trash and organic pollutants.

Minneapolis leads cities
Program Manager Lane Christianson said, “2019 was a year of exceptional growth for the Adopt-a-Drain Program. We’re thrilled to report that Minneapolis is leading all cities in total participants and adopted storm drains. We had 1,561 storm drains adopted with 825 new participants last year. Most participants take care of multiple drains; some do entire intersections. We ask volunteers to sweep/rake/shovel leaves, trash and other debris off the drain surface year round.”
Volunteers can report as often as they like – but are asked to report their observations at least twice yearly, in the spring and fall via an online account. For those who don’t have access to the online system, a reporting postcard is mailed out annually.
Christianson recommends the following tools for making the job easier: broom, rake, gloves, snow shovel or dustpan, pail, and compostable yard waste bag.

(L>R) Mandy LaBreche and Jillian Kaster; drain adopters with the 10; 000th adopted drain.

He said, “Only the surface of the storm drain grate and the area around it should be cleaned. Do not remove the grate or otherwise attempt to clean inside the storm drain. If your drain is plugged, contact the city of Minneapolis at 311.”
As part of the job, waste is separated and placed in the appropriate trash, recycling, or compost carts at the volunteer’s home. Note that sediment or dirt collected in the spring is not compostable, as it likely contains chemical residue from deicers used over the winter and motor oil. Bag it, and put it in the trash.
Once these pollutants get into the storm water system and start to decay, organic matter releases nutrients (phosphorous is the biggest culprit) that feed algae and invasive plants.
When lakes get covered with algae, sunlight can’t reach the bottom and desirable plants start to die off. In the long term, the ecosystem changes so fewer aquatic animals, fish, and native plants can survive.

Make a big difference
Christianson said, “It doesn’t take a lot of time to clean a storm drain, and it makes a big difference collectively. Volunteers like Mandy LaBreche, who recently adopted the 10,000th drain through our program, are eager to do something that makes a positive difference in improving local water quality.”
Minneapolis participants receive a yard sign that helps spread the word about this volunteer program. For more information or to adopt-a-drain of your own, go to www.adopt-a-drain.org.

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Area C not deemed emergency

Posted on 24 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Area C (background), as photographed from the opposite bank of the Mississippi River, is just south of the Ford Bridge. The Ford Motor Company dumped unknown quantities of industrial waste, including solvents and paint sludge, on the floodplain of the Mississippi River below the bluff near its St. Paul assembly plant between 1945-1966. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

But community members concerned

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Over 150 people turned out to hear the latest findings about Area C from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in a packed meeting room at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on Feb. 20, 2020.
The topic of discussion, called Area C, is a dump site where the Ford Motor Company dumped unknown quantities of industrial waste, including solvents and paint sludge, on the floodplain of the Mississippi River below the bluff near its St. Paul assembly plant between 1945-1966.
MPCA hydrogeologist Amy Hadiaris has been monitoring ground and surface water in Area C since 2007. She presented the most recent data and summarized the position of MPCA by saying, “Clean-up is needed, but we do not see this as an emergency situation.”
Community members expressed a deep level of concern about the dump site during the meeting, submitting a half-inch-thick stack of index cards with questions for MPCA staff to address.
Friends of the Mississippi River Executive Director Whitney Clark asked the last question of the evening. He asked, “Is it right for the Ford Corporation to leave their waste for future generations to clean up?”
Someone then called for a show of hands for how many people would have Ford remove it all if they could – and nearly everyone in the room raised theirs, including MPCA staff.
In this investigative stage, nine groundwater monitoring wells will be added to the existing 10. Friends of the Mississippi River and the Capitol Region Watershed District requested and support this increase in monitoring activities.
Hadiaris explained, “MPCA has a set process for evaluating the safety of ground water. We are testing for 65 volatile organic compounds, and 80 semi-volatile organic compounds. One of the big concerns is lead, which was added to all paints of that era.”
At the request of MPCA, the Minnesota Department of Health reviewed site data to assess health risks related to Area C. It was determined that only minimal threat exists if trespassers contact contaminants in soil or other physical hazards. There are no other ways for people to come in contact with contaminants, unless they trespass on the site.
To further discourage trespassing, MDH recommends repairing broken fence segments and adding signage between the Hidden Falls Regional Park walking trail and the southern boundary of Area C.

Waiting for two+ floods
Hadiaris said, “This is a contemplative process. We will wait for at least two flood events before making a clean-up decision and presenting it to the Ford Corporation.”
There will be another community information meeting once MPCA completes its feasibility study. To be placed on the email update list for Area C, contact Sophie Downey at sdowney@fmr.org.

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CenterPoint completing work in Longfellow

Posted on 24 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

CenterPoint Energy is completing work this spring in the Longfellow neighborhood as part of the utility’s pipeline modernization program.
The work on natural gas lines is occurring along selected streets between Dorman Ave. and Lake St. and between 36th and 48th avenues.
Last year crews from Michels Corporation, CenterPoint Energy’s authorized contractor, began the replacement of selected natural gas mains in Longfellow. In March crews returned to finish the remaining gas main installations, connect gas service lines to the new mains and move any inside residential gas meters to the outside of homes.
This work is expected to be finished by early summer. Depending on the coronavirus situation, indoor work to move meters may be delayed. The CenterPoint Energy pipeline work is being coordinated with the city of Minneapolis street resurfacing program.
Customers will experience a short disruption of gas service while their new gas service lines are installed. Crews may also have to dig on customer property in the utility easement to complete this work. Q3 Contracting, CenterPoint Energy’s authorized contractor, will permanently restore the areas affected by this work.
There will not be any major street closures, as crews will work on only one side of the street at a time. However, some lane and parking restrictions can be expected in areas where active construction is occurring to keep both the public and construction personnel safe. Local access will be maintained.
For more information or to sign up for updates, visit CenterPoint Energy’s Construction Zone website at CenterPointEnergy.com/Construction.
Questions can also be directed to CenterPoint Energy at the following contacts. Please refer to the Minneapolis – Dorman Avenue Area project or the number 90934619:
• Information Hotline at csv.constructionservices@centerpointenergy.com
• Restoration Questions at csv.restoration@centerpointenergy.com

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Original wood windows worthy of restoration

Posted on 08 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Why not work with what you already have?

HOME IMPROVEMENT

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Joe Hayes was working as an elementary school teacher in 2009, when he bought his first home. A classic South Minneapolis bungalow, the house had one major problem – its windows.
There were no storms on the outside, and all of the original glazing was gone. Metal pins held the window glass panes in place. The previous owner had cut and removed all the sash cords, and filled the side cavities with insulation. None of the windows could be opened.
The restoration project Hayes had to embark on eventually led to a career change. In the course of making many, many repairs, he realized he had a passion for it. Hayes found satisfaction in producing quality craftsmanship, and in working with his hands.
In the last three years, he has built Hayes Window Restoration into a full-service business providing repair and restoration of pre-1940 double-hung wood windows. Hayes said, “We have a clearly defined niche, and we do a good job of staying in it.”

Don’t discard and replace
In a building industry where “Discard and Replace” has become the moniker, Hayes offers homeowners a better option. Why not work with what you already have? His seven-person team brings knowledge, professionalism, and an ability to troubleshoot the nuances of older homes to every window restoration project.
Many of the older homes which dominate South Minneapolis are architectural treasures, whether they are large or small. Hayes explained, “The materials used to construct these homes were high quality, and the craftsmanship was excellent. Traditional joinery methods were brought over from Europe, and these homes, including their windows, were built to last.”
He pointed out, “The people who find us understand this. They have a sense that their old windows are meant to be there. A lot of our clients see themselves as stewards of their homes. With window repair and restoration, we’re not only doing what’s right for the house – we’re also doing what’s right for the environment.”

Old-growth white pine windows irreplaceable
Many of the nearly century-old homes in Longfellow and East Nokomis have windows made from old growth wood. Hayes said, “The old growth white pine from Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin can never be replaced. Those forests are gone.”
What’s the difference between old growth and new growth wood? Old growth wood had time on its side. Because of its age, it developed tight growth rings, dense heartwood, and is high in pitch – which makes it naturally insect and rot resistant.
The new growth wood used in replacement windows has none of those attributes, because it isn’t given time to develop them.

Original windows can be effcient too
Why are people so quick to replace their original windows? Hayes chalked it up to marketing. He said, “We live at the epi-center of three huge window manufacturers. It’s in their best interest to sell new windows, but how long will the replacements last? Look at the life of your manufacturer’s warranty; you can expect maybe 20 years before you need to replace them again.”
Window replacement companies tout energy efficiency and cost savings, but it’s worth reading between the lines. The general thinking is that it takes decades to get a return on investment. With proper care and maintenance (including weather stripping and quality storms) original windows can rival the energy efficiency of replacement windows at significantly lower cost – while keeping original windows out of the landfill or incinerator.
When considering replacement versus restoration, remember to factor in resource extraction and the energy needed to make new windows, too. The carbon foot print is not small.

Window preservation workshops
Hayes Window Restoration is licensed, insured, lead safe certified, and operates all year long. The turn-around time for full window restoration is about six weeks. They will secure your window openings for warmth and comfort while your windows are being worked on in their shop. Sash cord replacement, weather stripping installation, and other mechanical problems are done on-site, as is spot glazing in the warm months.
Hayes said, “We restore and repair windows in every kind of home from a one-bedroom Longfellow bungalow to a Cass Gilbert mansion on Summit Ave. We offer a range of services that make our services do-able for most homeowners.”
Through a partnership with Rethos (formerly the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota), Hayes has been active in teaching others how to maintain and preserve their own windows. In the past six months, he offered three workshops that covered everything from glazing to sash cord repair.
Hayes Window Restoration is also a proud new business member of ReUSE Minnesota, a non-profit organization focused on bringing visibility to the reuse, rental, and repair sector.
In the interest of promoting restoration, Hayes said, “Do it yourself if you can, and if you can’t – call us.” Their company website (www.hayeswindows.com) has a bounty of DIY tips, reports from the field, and other interesting and helpful tidbits in the section called Old Window Almanac.
“I have yet to meet an old window that I couldn’t restore,” said Hayes. “I’ve seen hopeless parts, but not hopeless windows.” To arrange for a free consultation, call 612.259.7855 or email info@hayeswindow.com.

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Dine outside this winter

Posted on 08 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Patrons clink glasses in a toast. (Left to right) Bill and Lyn Hamlin; Dave Hoppenrath and Anna Sower; and Jan and Scott Lysen-Anton. (Photos by Terry Faust)

Garden Igloos proving to be popular addition on patio

By JAN WILLMS
Minnesota is known for many opportunities, but dining outside in the middle of winter isn’t one of them.
However, that may change if other restaurants follow the trend set by the Longfellow Grill (2990 West River Parkway). Just before New Year’s, the drinking and dining establishment set up two geodesic domes on its patio. The domes or “Garden Igloos” are heated structures, designed to seat eight customers who can enjoy cocktails and dinner outside on a sparkling winter evening.
“We don’t have them active all the time because of the propane usage,” said manager Andy Blankenship. “We basically set them up for the bookings.” That can vary from one to seven bookings per night.
The domes are reserved by the hour. Patrons must guarantee to spend $100 per hour minimum Sunday through Thursday or $150 minimum Friday and Saturday.
“That’s not on top – you just have to spend that much money on food and beverages,” Blankenship said. Although the domes are designed to hold eight people, he said that 12 can fit, with extra chairs brought in.

The Longfellow Grill is leading Minnesota in a new trend: garden igloos that make patio dining a year-round thing.

“The domes can stay warm when it’s 5 below outside,” Blankenship noted. “We had guests when there was a negative wind chill of 15, and there was no problem.”
He said the restaurant staff did some trouble-shooting the first week they had the domes open. “We’ve gone to buy propane gas heaters to keep the gas flowing nicely. We learned we have to open them up and air them out a little bit, because when condensation freezes, and you start to heat you get a rain forest effect in there. We don’t want anyone dripped on,” Blankenship said. “But we’ve worked out a lot of kinks this year, and overall they have been very successful for us.”

Booked for after-dinner cocktails
An added benefit, according to Blankenship, is late-night bookings. “We have never booked a lot of late-night reservations at the Longfellow Grill, although we are open until 11 p.m. But we have had people booking the domes at 9 or 9:30 p.m. for after-dinner cocktails. We did not expect that, and we’re happy it brought some people in at times that we had not been busy before.”
Blankenship said the idea for setting up the domes came from David, the restaurant owner, who was out in Washington, D.C., last year and saw a number of domes set up outside the Watergate Hotel, lined up along the Potomac River. So they tried them at the Longfellow Grill.
“We were going to have them go up right after we took down the patio, but we had to build bases for them and get them off the ground and didn’t get them going until January,” he said. “But the plan is next year, the minute the patio furniture is removed, the domes will go up. We can have them in that more moderate November, when it’s chillier but we are not dealing with negative temperatures and snow.”
He said this year the hope is to keep the domes up until at least mid-March, depending on the weather.

Pick your own music, lights
Lighting for the domes is part of the make-it-your-own experience that customers can enjoy, according to Blankenship. “We have LED lights that you can download an app to. You can have stagnant lights or blinking lights or a rain effect. If the lights are all red, that’s a signal for your server.”
Although the wait staff provides the restaurant’s standard of service, they also don’t want to be zipping the dome open because they want patrons to enjoy a private experience.
“We also have Blue Tooth in there so customers can have their own music. When you book a private room in a restaurant, you don’t get that all the time,” Blankenship said. A selection of games is also available, and “newfangled” Polaroid cameras for photo opportunities.
Blankenship said he has not seen any other domes on Lake Street or in downtown Minneapolis. But Hudson, Wis., has some along the river.
“They are untapped real estate for us in the winter,” he added. “There was some suspicion by guests, wondering if you could really eat out there. But now that the ball’s rolling, and there are social media posts, it’s snowballed and is steamrolling. We have been booking a lot.”

General Manager, Andy Blankenship, Longfellow Grill

Kids love the domes
The biggest challenge in using the domes is maintaining the temperatures. “We had some really cold nights, and if it wasn’t for one of my assistant managers recommending these propane heat blankets, I wouldn’t have known they existed,” Blankenship explained. He said staffing was another piece to work on, but he has had dedicated servers for every night of the week.”
He said he needs to thank the youngsters in the neighborhood who have noticed the domes on their way home from school and persuaded their parents to bring them for dinner. “We have had birthday parties and a couple proposals. It has definitely got a new car smell right now, but it will be interesting to see if it becomes a trend and if other restaurants put them up next year.”
Blankenship advised anyone with any questions about dining in the domes to call the restaurant for more information.
“We are making outdoor eating a thing here at Longfellow Grill,” said Blankenship.

COZY HYGGE EVENING
A customer describes her dome dining experience: Jan Lysen joined her husband and two other couples for a recent visit to the Longfellow Grill to experience eating in one of the domes.

“Although we have gone to the Longfellow Grill, this was our first time in the dome,” she noted. “It was in the high 30s on the Sunday we went, and it was a nice experience.”

She said the staff slipped in and out of the dome quickly, never letting in a big blast of Arctic air.

“We went around 6 p.m., and the lights were on, and we did not change them. There also was music on, and we did not change that. You can control the music, but we just had a nice time talking to each other and paid little attention to the details.”

She said a little blanket was also provided if they needed it, and their server popped in and out a few times, nothing intrusive.

“We could hear each other talk, which isn’t always the case in a noisy restaurant,” Lysen added. She suggested other visitors might like to try the options for lights and music at the beginning of their dinner hour.

The friends who gathered were of Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish nationalities. “It was like a Hygge for our environment. It was a nice and cozy and friendly experience.”

 

 

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Longfellow Business Association March 2020

Posted on 08 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

By Kim JAKUS,
kim@
longfellowbusinessassociation.org

Longfellow Businesses:
LBA wants to hear from you
This March the LBA is hosting four focus groups to learn how to support our business community in the Greater Longfellow Area better. If your business falls into one of the following categories, consider joining us. We’re interested in hearing from business owners about the tools, resources, connections we can offer to help your business thrive. We will provide lunch, and all participants will receive a $20 gift card to a local Longfellow business. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Kim at kim@longfellowbusinessassociation.org or 612-298-4699.
Industrial Businesses: Wednesday, March 11, 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon, Du Nord Craft Spirits. Has your business been affected by the demographic and infrastructure changes along the Hiawatha corridor? How is your business adapting, and what can LBA do to support you?
Arts & Entertainment Businesses: Wednesday, March 11, 12:30 – 2 p.m., Du Nord Craft Spirits. The Longfellow neighborhood now hosts numerous venues for dance, literary events, live music, craft beer, and spirits. How can LBA build on this momentum and create a vision for Longfellow as an arts & entertainment destination?
Minority & Immigrant-owned Businesses: Wednesday, March 25, 10:30 a.m. – noon, El Norteño. What are the challenges to operating a business in Minneapolis, and more specifically, in Longfellow? How can LBA better support and market your business or service to community members?
Emerging Business Owners: Wednesday, March 25, 12:30 -2 p.m., El Norteño. Are you a first-time business owner in your 30 or 40s? If so, LBA interested in learning about the challenges facing business owners in the age of social media. How can being part of a business association help you to thrive?

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