Community notebook :: Northstar Rail

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November 23, 2009 // UPDATED 8:33 am - November 23, 2009
By: Amanda Kushner
Amanda Kushner

North Loop

Northstar Commuter Rail opens

On Nov. 13 around 5 p.m., those waiting at Target Field Station could see a light shining in the distance. For the first time, after more than a decade of work, the Northstar Commuter Rail was roaring toward Downtown with passengers on board. As passengers exited the train the key players in the commuter rail’s launch shared the same sentiments, “It’s finally here.”

When Metropolitan Council Chair Peter Bell opened the program he stressed that the $317 million project is 10 weeks early and $10 million under budget. Speakers at the event included Rep. Jim Oberstar, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. The many speakers stressed that the 40-mile commuter rail is only halfway done and upon completion will extend to St. Cloud.

Klobuchar ended her speech with a story about the movie the Polar Express and knowing where the train is going then referring to the Northstar’s route. “It is going to Fridley. It is going to Coon Rapids. It is going to Elk River. It is going to Anoka. It is going to Big Lake. And ultimately it will go to St. Cloud.”

Peter Rogoff, of the Federal Transit Administration, said the extension can’t take as long as the rail initially took to build. On opening day, Nov. 16, when the Northstar launched and the Hiawatha extension opened, 1,207 passengers boarded that morning. About 3,400 people are expected to ride the rail each week.


Ballpark Watch: Seat installation nearly done

The installation of seats at Target Field is nearly complete.

Twins spokesman Chris Iles estimates that less than 1,000 of about 38,500 seats remain to be installed.

Some of the installed seats are chairs with wood backs, the first installed in a stadium since World War II. Iles called the seats classic, and a lot of the ash wood is from Michigan, which has been impacted by the emerald ash borer.

Also in the past couple of months a flagpole from the Metropolitan Stadium was installed at Target Field. The flagpole ended up at an American Legion and when a baseball historian found it, the American Legion donated the pole to the new stadium, Iles said.

In the past month a piece of public art — a large glove — was added to Target Field.

“The idea is that kids can crawl up into it and have their picture taken,” said Dan Mehls, Mortenson construction executive.

Then later in the spring statutes of Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew will be added to the plaza. The statutes are currently being fabricated, he said.

Minor adjusts were recently finalized on the stadium lights.


New stadium and a new look

In accord with changes at Target Field, on Nov. 16, the Twins announced new uniforms and logos for the inaugural season. An inaugural season logo will include the roof canopy and Downtown skyline at Target Field. Then an anniversary logo will commemorate the teams 50 years in the state. A throwback uniform will be worn on Opening Day and at Saturday home games, and the retro uniforms look similar to those worn during the Twins first season in the state. New primary road uniforms are grey and without pinstripes, and they’ll sport Minnesota in a script inspired by the player’s jackets from 1961–1986.


North Loop and Loring Park

Bike thefts on the rise

Bicycle thefts in Loring Park and the North Loop have increased over the past few weeks, particularly thefts from underground garages, according to a police advisory from the Minneapolis Police Department.

In many of the incidents, a white male of medium height and build wearing a coat or hoodie was seen in the area. The department advises cyclists to park their bikes in a locked bicycle storage area or bicycle locker if possible and not in garages, or if left in garages to lock it to a stationary item. Also the department suggests waiting for overhead doors to close behind cars before proceeding to avoid people slipping into garages. Also take note of the bike make, model and serial number, so if a bike is stolen it may get returned to the proper owner.


Loring Park

Love Loring

Citizens for a Loring Park Community will host their first annual benefit on
Feb. 11. Love Loring, an event including entertainment and a silent auction, will be from 6­–9 p.m. at The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, 410 Oak Grove St.


Curry buffet holiday party

The Loring Neighborhood Holiday Party with a curry dinner buffet will be from 6­–8 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the “Mansion on the Hill,” 228 Clifton Ave. It’s an opportunity to meet your neighbors, celebrate the holidays and tour the historic mansion. A $10 donation will go to Citizens for a Loring Park Community. For more information contact 874-9002.


Light Up Loring Park

Light Up Loring Park, a tree lighting at the park will be from 6­–8 p.m. on Dec. 9 at 1382 Willow St. Following the 6:10 p.m. tree lighting there will be free horse drawn carriage rides from 6:30­–7:30 p.m. and then music, refreshments, an outdoor bon fire and a performance from Kairos Dance Company will follow from 7­–8 p.m. Light Up Loring Park is sponsored by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Friend of Loring Park and Citizens for a Loring Park Community.



Cans for a Cause offers discounted hotel rate at Hyatt

The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis will offer a discount of up to 50 percent off room rates for customers donating non-perishable food items as part of Cans for a Cause food drive. The Hyatt is teaming up with Second Harvest Heartland, the largest hunger-relief organization in the Upper Midwest, to help provide food for those in need. Second Harvest works with more than 960 local food shelves, programs and shelters. Hyatt customers will receive a 5 percent discount on the Hyatt daily rate for every can, up to 10 cans, that they bring to the front desk at time of check-in. The food drive will run through Dec. 30.


The Scene launches at In the Heights

A new group for theater-goers ages 21–39 will allow members to network, contribute to the arts, learn and participate in service activities.

“There is so much talent and capability, especially in the Twin Cities area, within the arts community,” said Hennepin Theatre trust spokesman Karen Nelson describing the young people in the group.

The Scene will officially launch at the “In the Heights” premiere, but so far the group had a preliminary event as part of a tech rehearsal at 101 Dalmatians and taken tours of the Orpheum Theatre.

Interim Board Chair Erin Harney said she’s attended Broadway shows since she was 10, and it’s the first time she got to watch a tech rehearsal.

“This is all what the scene is all about — is these exclusive opportunities to do stuff that normally you wouldn’t get to do,” Harney said.

It’s a great way to meet people that enjoy seeing Broadway musicals, going to comedy events, or seeing musicians in smaller venues, she said, stressing that the group focuses on arts and entertainment and not just musical theater.

Membership is $45 or there is an $80 couples membership, but those attending the “In the Heights” kick-off event on Dec. 1 will pay $60 for a year membership, event tickets and tickets to a pre- and post- party. The Scene is connected to Hennepin Theatre Trust and is run by a volunteer advisory board of young professionals in the Twin Cities.


Celebrate Movember

Joe Wilkie shaved his moustache on Nov. 1 and for the past month he has been slowly growing it back to raise money for prostate and testicular cancer.

Wilkie, sales and marketing manager for Shout House Dueling Pianos in Block E, 600 Hennepin Ave., found out about the fundraiser — called Movember — through Facebook.

Shout House funds will benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The Shout House will host a mo party Dec. 3 to celebrate the efforts and moustaches. The 12 members on the Shout House Team are competing with other local teams including The Moustaches Make Veterinarians More Attractive and The SlyJackets.

This is the first year the Shout House has participated, but it already has plans to continue the Movember tradition.

Wilkie said the team hopes to raise $500.