Community notebook :: Give to the Max sets record

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December 6, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott
Second Annual Give to the Max Day breaks previous mark

On Nov. 16, more than 42,000 donors logged onto the website to donate more than $10 million, in just one day, for more than 3,500 nonprofit organizations all over the state of Minnesota.

On top of what donors raised, GiveMN gave the top two nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities, as well as the top two nonprofits in Greater Minnesota, two prize grants totaling $30,000. For the Twin Cities, Second Harvest Heartland was first place, receiving a $20,000 grant, and the Animal Humane Society came in second place, accepting $10,000.

Throughout Give to the Max Day, an individual donor was randomly chosen every hour to have $1,000 added to their donation.

Give to the Max Day was established to generate the number of donations to nonprofit organizations across Minnesota by as many donors as possible. All donations are made through, which is a joint venture to help change philanthropy in Minnesota by amplifying contributions and transitioning more of the donation process online.

GiveMN is also in partnership with Razoo, an online fundraising platform that powers fundraising campaigns. It provides easy-to-use tools for these campaigns, ranging from large community events to personal “friend-to-friend” giving.

This year’s annual Give to the Max Day broke last year’s record by more than 4,000 donors and has helped raise more than $27 million for nonprofits across Minnesota since its launch in 2009.


Opponents of waste facility hire counsel

HOLLAND — The group “Don’t Dump on Northeast” has hired an attorney to help it block a proposed hazardous waste facility at University & 27th Avenue Northeast.

Their attorney’s argument will hinge on whether the city has proper zoning for the facility — opponents say the center would be a “transfer station” and isn’t allowed at the site. City staff maintain that the zoning is fine.

Meanwhile, supporters of the facility are starting to speak out. They aren’t quite as active as the opponents, who are door-knocking and distributing yard signs. But the supporters have a Facebook page, and they’re trying to convince the rest of Northeast that the facility will not, in fact, be a “dump.”

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts,” said Northeast resident Aaron Neumann. “That’s why I started the Facebook group ‘Rethink Recycling Northeast,’” just to get the actual information on the project out there in a positive way.”

The city and county are partnering to build two new buildings that would collect household construction debris and hazardous waste like paint and oil. The material would be sorted and transported elsewhere for processing.

Neumann said he thinks Minneapolis needs a drop-off point like this, and he thinks similar sites in Bloomington and Eagan don’t look too bad. He said the old steel corrugation plant that previously operated on University wasn’t doing the neighborhood any favors.

“It was actually quite loud, had lots of semi traffic, and had a pollution factor,” he said. “No one complained about it, and people in that neighborhood seemed to buy and sell houses there just fine.”

Neumann is looking forward to seeing a green buffer zone along the site, rather than a fence, and he doesn’t think the facility would create any health risks.

“The federal laws are weighted towards the end-of-life of these household products, so these facilities have super-tight regulations on how it’s all temporarily stored,” he said. “Unless Godzilla made a visit to the facility and destroyed it, it’s a completely safe site.”

A few Northeast neighborhood groups have weighed in on the debate, including the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association. The Holland neighborhood voted in opposition, citing concerns about the proximity to residential property and potential issues related to noise, odor, safety, public health and property values.

Neumann said he’s looking for an honest community dialogue about the facility.

“After all, no matter what happens, we’ll still be neighbors,” he said.


First Ave honored

WAREHOUSE DISTRICT — First Avenue made the list of Gibson Guitar’s top 10 rock venues of all time. Listed next to other historic theaters, such as the Apollo Theater in New York, 40 Watt Club in Atlanta and Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles, First Ave’s Mainroom and the 7th St. Entry have been a legacy here in Minneapolis.

Although not the most glitzy or glamorous place in the city to hold an epic rock concert, First Ave was marked by Prince’s forever-memorable performance with the Revolution from the film Purple Rain. Its main stage also became a starting point for many bands to try out their new material throughout the ’80s and a platform for these artists to hone their craft in front of enthused fans. In the meantime, First Ave’s sister venue spot, 7th St. Entry, provided a hotbed for The Replacements and other Minneapolis-based bands.

“One wonders if the Midwest alternative explosion would have occurred at all were it not for this cornerstone venue,” said Russell Hall a Gibson representative.

First Avenue definitely proves that musical progressions can arise in the unlikeliest of places — in other words, don’t judge a book by its cover.


NE co-op gets new solar panels

AUDUBON PARK — The Eastside Food Coop recently installed the “Rolls-Royce” of solar panels on its rooftop.

When the panels are turned on (they’re slated to go live during the holiday season), customers will be able to monitor how much energy the system is producing at any given time.

The co-op spends nearly $100 a day on electricity, and the solar power is expected to save the building $2,775 per year, earning back the investment in a little over four years.

The 20-kilowatt solar array cost $167,000 to install, but with the help of pending applications for a U.S. Treasury grant and rebates through Xcel Energy and Sundial Solar, the co-op’s share of the bill should be $11,900.

Four volunteers helped install the solar panels in early November.

The panels will continue to capture rays on overcast days and throughout the winter, when the angle of the sun is low.


HGA Architects and Engineers moving to Ford Center

NORTH LOOP — United Properties has signed a lease with HGA Architects and Engineers for 80,000 square feet  in the Ford Center, a historic office building near Target Field.

United Properties has also received approvals from the National Park Service and city officials to renovate the building, according to a Nov. 23 news release.

The current home for the Minneapolis HGA office is at 701 Washington Ave. N. The office will move into the first four floors of the Ford Center in the summer of 2011.

“This is one of our most unique locations and renovation projects — and a commitment to help redevelop the ballpark neighborhood,” said Frank Dutke, president of United Properties.

The 11-story, 265,000-square-foot Ford Center was built in 1912 and was originally home to a vertical assembly plant and car showroom for the Ford Motor Company.


Depot skating rink opens

MILL DISTRICT — The Depot’s indoor ice skating rink has opened for its 2010–11 season.

It has been named one of the top 10 best places to ice skate in the country by USA Today and MSNBC.

Depot Rink is also a historical landmark for the city — what used to be a city train shed now hosts a modern-day indoor rink with floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for juniors (17 and under) and seniors (62 and older). It’s $7 for skates and $2 for a skating trainer. Skaters with a college ID or military ID get $2 off admission on Thursdays. Guests of The Depot Minneapolis, A Renaissance Hotel or the Residence Inn at The Depot get a 25 percent discount on admission and skate rental.

For more information, visit

— Gregory J. Scott, Michelle Bruch, Vanessa El-Hakeem and Sarah McKenzie