Community notebook // Bates and Reimnitz win contested School Board races

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November 19, 2012 // UPDATED 5:48 pm - December 27, 2012
By: Jeremy Zoss and Dylan Thomas
Jeremy Zoss and Dylan Thomas

Minneapolis voters this Election Day gave the School Board’s most veteran member another term in office and narrowly favored a young nonprofit leader over a district parent in another race.

Carla Bates won a second term by a wide margin, taking almost three-quarters of the votes cast in her citywide race against Doug Mann. The results were much, much closer in District 4, where a hand count of ballots in three precincts showed Josh Riemnitz eking out a win over Patty Wycoff.

Two other candidates, Tracine Asberry and Kim Ellison, won seats in uncontested races.

Due to printing errors affecting ballots in three 10th Ward precincts, it wasn’t until the Friday after Election Day that Reimnitz could declare victory. The unofficial tally gave the Teach for America alumnus 12,241 votes (51.06 percent) to Wycoff’s 11,512 votes (48.02 percent) in a district that stretches from downtown to Uptown.

The citywide race saw 89,858 votes (72.93 percent) cast for Bates and 31,318 (25.42 percent) cast for Mann, a licensed practical nurse.

Longtime district observer Eli Kaplan ran a write-in campaign for that citywide seat, but failed to take much of the vote despite an endorsement from School Board Member Rebecca Gagnon late in the race. There were just 2,042 write-in votes cast in that race.

Asberry in Southwest’s District 6 and Ellison in the North Side’s District 2 each took more than 97 percent of the vote. Asberry, a district parent, college instructor and former teacher, is new to the board; Ellison, a community activist and former teacher, was appointed to the board in December 2011 to replace Lydia Lee, who resigned for personal reasons.

This election completed an expansion of the School Board approved by voters in 2008. Then, it was a seven-member board with all members serving at-large. When a new board is sworn-in in January it will have nine members, including three serving at-large and six district representatives.

Minnesota Orchestra cancels December concerts

Citing stalled contract talks with its musicians, the Minnesota Orchestra has cancelled or rescheduled all its concert performances from Friday, Nov. 30 through Sunday, Dec. 23. The Orchestra will be contacting ticket holders directly and offering several options, including ticket exchanges, gift certificates, refunds or donating the value of the tickets to the Orchestra as a tax-deductible donation.

In a statement, Minnesota Orchestra Board Chair Jon Campbell said the Orchestra is very disappointed that a deal has not yet been reached with the Twin Cities Musician’s Union. Negotiations with the union began in April. 

“In consideration of the needs of audiences, guest artists and our performance venue to make alternate plans for the holiday season, we feel we have no choice but to cancel performances through Dec. 23,” said Campbell in the statement. “We make this decision with heavy hearts, and once again ask our musicians to return to the negotiating table with a substantive proposal so our concert schedule can resume as soon as possible.”

Many holiday-themed programs, such as Handel’s “Messiah” and “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” have been cancelled outright. Others, such as “A Scandinavian Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Doc” and “Chris Botti Christmas” have been rescheduled for the 2013 holiday season.

The Minnesota Orchestra has set up a website for ticket holders who wish to explore options for their tickets, minnesotaorchestra.org/change. 

Zenon Dance Company celebrates 30 years

Minneapolis-based Zenon Dance Company will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a pair of weekend-long celebrations at the Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts, 528 Hennepin Ave. The first weekend celebrates works by a new generation of performers, while the second weekend is comprised of some favorite pieces from Zenon’s three-decade run.

The first set of performances, “Repertory by New Generation Choreographers,” runs Nov. 16–18 and includes the world premieres “HOTEL TANGO” by Mariusz Olszewski and “Hello, My Name is Catherine by Netta Yerushalmy,” as well as the pieces “Storm” by Daniel Charon and “Structures of Feeling” by Luciana Achugar. The second set, “Classic Zenon Repertory,” runs Nov. 23–25 and includes “HOTEL TANGO,” “Blessings of the Earth” by Wynn Fricke, “Corrosion” by Johannes Wieland and “Elegant Echoes” by Danny Buraczeski. Tickets are $34 for one weekend or $54 for both weekends and are available through the Cowles Center’s website. 

Zenon’s founding artistic director Linda Andrews said Zenon was born in 1982 when she combined the most talented dancers in two separate dance groups into a new organization focused on modern dance.

“I felt like there was a need for a professional level modern dance company that brought in interesting chorographers, which wasn’t really being done here at the time,” she said. “For me, it was always about artistic excellence and trying to develop the highest quality dance company I could in the Twin Cities.”

Andrews said in Zenon’s early days, many shows were presented in a downtown warehouse. Only recently did the company find a true home in the Cowles Center, and over the years she has watched the local dance community grow ever stronger. As the community has grown, so too has Zenon Dance Company. 

“I have the same artistic vision that I’ve always had for the company,” said Andrews. “It’s just gotten bigger and expanded and has a lot more layers.”

The most rewarding element of Zenon’s 30 years, said Andrews, has been watching three decades of dancers grow with the company. “The dancers are what brings the repertory alive,” she said. “That’s been a wonderful experience, helping these dancers develop their careers.” 

For more information on Zenon Dance Company’s 30th anniversary performances or to purchase tickets, visit thecowlescenter.org. 

Winners of second annual Charlie Awards announced

The best of the Twin Cities food scene were honored with Charlie Awards on Nov. 11 at the Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave. Nearly 200 restaurants participated in the awards program.

The Charlie Awards are named after the iconic restaurant Charlie’s Café — a downtown Minneapolis restaurant until the 1980s. Veteran food writer Sue Zelickson came up with the idea for the awards program. 

This year’s winners include:

Lifetime Achievement: Lenny Russo of Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market-

Community Hero: Brenda Langton of the Mill City Famers Market and Spoonriver restaurant

Outstanding Chef: Doug Flicker of Piccolo

Emerging food professionals: Birk Grudem and Christina Nguyen of Hola Arepa

Outstanding Pastry Chef: Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart

Outstanding Restaurant Service: Meritage

Outstanding Restaurant: Tilia

Outstanding Restaurant Design: The Bachelor Farmer

Outstanding Bartender: Johnny Michaels

Outstanding Neighbor: Randy Stanley of Parasole and Uptown Restaurant Taskforce

Outstanding Cup of Coffee: Moroccan Mocha from Cahoots Coffee Bar

Outstanding Local Craft Brew: Summit Saga IPA from Summit Brewing Company

Food Truck Item: Hola Arepa’s slow roasted pork arepa

Outstanding Restaurant Food Item: Masu Robata’s Masu Roll.

People Serving People brings Thanksgiving to those in need

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, People Serving People (PSP) will hold its annual Thanksgiving meal giveaway in its headquarters, 614 3rd St. S. Through a partnership with Cub Foods, PSP will distribute 2,000 free turkey meals to formerly homeless families. 

The program serves clients of PSP, Simpson Housing Services, Project for Pride in Living and St. Stephen’s Human Services. To be eligible for a meal, a family must contact PSP in advance to secure a voucher. 

While PSP has secured the meals through donations from Cub Foods, PSP’s Lauren Rimestad said there are still ways for members of the public to help.

“We need help in handing out bags of turkey and bags of groceries,” said Rimestad. “And we need financial support more than ever.”

Donations to PSP can be made through its website, peopleservingpeople.org. 

Minnesota Twins holding Winter Warm-Up Coat Drive

The Minnesota Twins have announced the Winter Warm-Up Coat Drive, a joint project with Delaware North Companies Sportservice and the Minnesota Chapter of Disabled American Veterans. The drive hopes to collect new or gently used coats to distribute to local disabled veterans or their families.

Coats can be donated at any Twins Pro Shop, including the Twins Majestic Clubhouse at Target Field. Additional Twins Pro Shops are located in Apple Valley, Minnetonka and Roseville. Anyone who donates a coat at a Twins Pro Shop location will receive 20 percent off a Pro Shop purchase.

The Winter Warm-Up Coat Drive runs from Nov. 1–30. 

Guthrie Theater launches ticket program for younger audience

The Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St., has announced a new ticket program aimed at audiences under 30. The “30 Below” ticket program allows patrons aged 30 or younger to buy tickets at rush prices without waiting in line. Those patrons can also purchase up to three additional tickets for guests.

As with rush tickets, 30 Below tickets are subject to availability and vary in price depending on the date and production. Tickets through the 30 Below program are priced the same as rush tickets. Guthrie Theater director of marketing Trisha Kirk said rush tickets are typically priced at $15 for studio shows and $25 for main stage shows during the week. On weekends, main stage rush tickets are generally $30.

Kirk said the program is an effort to reach out to younger professionals who may not have the means to visit the theater as often as older patrons. 

“Versions of this idea exist in other ways in other theaters,” she said. “We’ve just been thinking about doing different things. We already have people of this age in our rush line, and we wanted to encourage young people to come back.”

The 30 Below ticket program is in effect now. To enroll in the program, visitors must show proof of age at the Guthrie box office. Once signed up, participants can purchase tickets in person or by phone the day of the show and will receive special offers throughout the season. 

Justice Alan Page to speak at Northeast Harvest Gathering

Thanksgiving festivities begin early in Northeast, where the neighbors will gather Nov. 19 for the seventh-annual Northeast Harvest Gathering, featuring music, refreshments and a celebration of the community.

“It started out as a religious festival gathering but over the years it has become essentially a civic celebration,” said Ron Handberg, one of the members of the planning committee behind the festival. “… Even though it occurs during the thanksgiving week, we treat it as a time to get involved in the community, promoting dialogue, promoting a sense of togetherness in this extremely diverse Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood.”

Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Alan Page gives this year’s keynote address.

“We look for speakers who they think can speak to the philosophy of the event,” Handberg said. “Justice Page and his wife are very active in the field of education and they have done some great work.”

The Northeast Harvest Gathering runs 7 p.m.–9 p.m. Nov. 19 at Northeast Middle School, 2955 Hayes St. N.E.

Kenny Chesney returns to Target Field

One of the first performers to hold a concert at Target Field will return to the ballpark next year. Kenny Chesney, who co-headlined Target Field’s first concert with Tim McGraw, will return to the venue for another performance on July 12, 2013.

The show is part of a 17-stop stadium tour that also features Grammy winners the Zac Brown Band. 

“Kenny Chesney’s performance in last summer’s inaugural concert at Target Field was historic and unforgettable on so many fronts,” said Twins president Dave St. Peter in a statement. “With those special memories in mind, the Twins are honored to have Kenny Chesney’s “No Shoes Nation Tour” visit Target Field. We expect this to be another great concert at Target Field, a place on its way to becoming the best outdoor music venue in the region.”

Tickets for the concert go on sale a 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, only at twinsbaseball.com/concerts. Twins season ticket holders have access to an exclusive pre-sale opportunity at the same site, which begins on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

— Hemang Sharma and Sarah McKenzie contributed to this report.