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October 29, 2002 // UPDATED 1:32 pm - April 30, 2007
By: Skyway News Staff
Skyway News Staff

Mayor hands out popcorn, asks 'What's the Rush?' One woman looked almost shocked as the slender, gregarious man handed her a bag of popcorn and asked her to go to the movies.

"You're the mayor?" she whispered.

Mayor R.T. Rybak wasn't asking for a date. He was handing out bags of popcorn near the skyway above the IDS Center's Crystal Court pitching the grand opening of the Crown Theatre on Block E, 600 Hennepin Ave.

The gimmick was the first of what Rybak says will be a handful of promotions he's calling "What's the Rush?" The Nov. 1 promotion was tied to a $4 twilight movie special for final matinee shows screening before 6 p.m.

The idea of "What's the Rush" is to keep workers and shoppers Downtown a little longer in the evening to keep them off the jam-packed freeways.

"You're going to be seeing more promotions like this," Rybak said, "but the general idea here is instead of getting stuck in rush-hour traffic, go and see a movie."

Dan Crown, president and CEO of Crown Theatres, said the Block E Crown will have matinee pricing seven days a week for shows starting at roughly 4 p.m. He said the theatre opens daily at around noon.

Sam Grabarski, president of the Downtown Council, said the "What's the Rush" promotion is "particularly relevant" to the 167,000 Downtown workers and 90,000 visitors and shoppers he said make their way to the area every day.

"Just about the time that they're going to face the rush-hour traffic, we're going to start offering them reasons to avoid the rush hour, enjoy shopping, enjoy being entertained, enjoy live events, enjoy Block E, enjoy these movies," he said.

Grabarski said the promotion would continue in the coming weeks with a push for the city's "Fly-buy" program, under which shoppers buying $100 in gifts during the Christmas season will get 100 flight miles from Northwest Airlines. Shoppers will have the opportunity to redeem up to 4,000 flight miles through the promotion, he said.

"That's going to be a big promotion," Grabarski said. "We're prepared to redeem up to $2 million in retail sales this year. Last year, we redeemed $1 million." -- Kevin Featherly

Help plan Central Library details As Downtown's new Central Library design moves into the details, the public is invited to public meetings to offer ideas. Design Development Month, which runs from Wednesday Nov. 13 to Dec. 14, is a chance for the public to meet with architects and library staff to look at building uses and individual rooms and to give feedback on physical arrangements, design details and building features.

The workshops last 90 minutes and will begin with a schematic design presentation and plan update. All workshops are held in the 4th Floor Board Room at Central Library Marquette, 250 Marquette Ave. S. For more information, call 612-630-6200 or go online to

The following is a schedule of meeting times and focuses: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 8 a.m., Business community

Thursday, Nov. 14, 5 p.m., Arts/Music community

Saturday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m., Children/Families

Saturday, Nov. 16, noon, Older adults

Saturday, Nov. 16, 2 p.m., Planetarium

Tuesday, Nov. 19, noon, Homeless/social services

Thursday, Nov. 21, noon, Technology-driven users

Thursday, Nov. 21, 5 p.m., Researchers/Special collections

Friday, Nov. 22, 11:30 a.m., Older adult

Friday, Nov. 22, 5 p.m., Teens (ages 12-18)

Saturday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m., New Immigrants/ELL: Spanish

Saturday, Nov. 23, noon, New Immigrants/ELL: Hmong

Saturday, Nov. 23, 2 p.m., New Immigrants/ELL: Somali

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m., Children/Families

Tuesday, Dec. 3, noon, Business community

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 5 p.m., Technology-driven users

Saturday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m., Downtown residents

Saturday, Dec. 7, noon, Teens (ages 12-18)

Tuesday, Dec. 10, noon, Researchers/Special collections

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 5 p.m., ADA/People with disabilities

Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m., Educators/Literacy tutors

The public can also ask questions or provide comments by:

  • Filling out a comment form available at any Minneapolis Public Library;
  • Leaving a message on the library comment line at 630-6263;
  • Submitting online at;
  • Writing to Minneapolis Public Library, 250 Marquette Av. S., Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401.

    -- Ellen Nigon

    10 years ago in Skyway News Validated parking program gets fairly good marks

    The three-month-old "Do the Town" validated parking program is working well, according to participating merchants and parking ramps.

    But some customers would like to see the program extend to all day on Saturday, rather than starting at 4 p.m., as it does now. Shopping-center participants are evaluating whether the investment, which could mean millions of dollars, would be worth it.

    "It's more than just our decision," said Tom Clairmont, vice president of operations for Brookfield Development Inc. "We need to get others to agree. It's very important the program be consistent throughout [Downtown]." --Skyway News, Nov. 10, 1992

    25 years ago in Skyway News The man behind the Grinch

    Theatrical designer Jack Barkla is the man responsible for designing Dayton's Christmas fantasyland display this year, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Jack's talent has been enjoyed by the Children's Theatre Company since the mid-'60s... including the Italian bakery/stage at the Renaissance Festival. He's also designed sets for Guthrie, Chimera and the Minnesota Opera Company, including their current production of "Christopher Columbus." -- Skyway News, Nov. 15, 1977