A Very Special Birthday: Torching America’s Best Transit System

All in all, June 19th, 1954, was a crazy day. Maybe surreal was a better word.

A regular at the Brass Rail bar on Hennepin sauntered outside and had to do a double take at the passing rail car. Could it be? That sure looked like Hubert Humphrey, our famous senator wearing a Twin Cities Rapid Transit (TCRT) motorman’s cap and driving the eight carriage Oak-Harriet street car toward St. Paul. And as the trailing cars swoosh past, they are filled with well-dressed civic leaders dining on chicken salad over white table cloth tables. The bar patron shook his head and darted back in the bar to get another drink and regain his bearings.

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Where Does Minnesota Rank Nationally as a Caring City?

caring in Minnesota

Everyone has a need to feel like we belong. One of the most intimate ways we express this is caring for one another. We express this in multiple ways by doing things such as helping an elderly person with various tasks around their home, helping a neighbor with a project or just being a friend.

In a recent article, Wallet Hub ranked the most caring cities for 2016 among the 100 most populated cities in U.S. They used several metrics such as volunteer hours per capita, percentage of sheltered homeless people and percentage of income donated to charity. The three categories they ranked were: caring for the community, caring for the vulnerable and caring in the workplace.

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Robert and Erik Enjoying Beer – Burning Brothers Brewing

A Half Pint at Burning Brothers Brewing

One recent start-up that has been gaining interest (and distribution) is Burning Brothers Brewing. Their specialty is gluten-free beer; not just gluten-free in the legal sense, but an actual zero parts per million sense. They do this by brewing in a completely gluten-free facility and by using sorghum, an ancient and drought hardy crop that has changed little through the modern era. We decided to pay them a visit.

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Robert and Erik Enjoying Beer — ‘Urban Growler’

The Shine of Stainless Steel at Urban Growler Brewery

The northwestern corner of St. Paul has followed the lead of nearby northeast Minneapolis and started brewing in earnest. The most notable of these newcomers is Urban Growler; Jill Pavlak and Deb Loch (who is famous among home-brewers for her accolades in beer competition) established this St. Anthony Park brewery over the past summer.

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A New Restaurant Gem on the East Side — ‘Cook St. Paul’


Living on the Eastside of St. Paul, my attention has been brought to Payne Avenue and the rising of restaurants and little shops along the route. Following an East Sider residents’s Facebook group, the new restaurant Cook St. Paul has been getting quite the hype on lots of posts. Cook St. Paul is owned by two cooks, Eddie Wu and Charles Cook. Their restaurant sits where Serlin’s Cafe grew to popularity for multiple decades until the owners closed down for their retirement. I decided to check it out this new place, and interview owner Eddie Wu.

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St. Paul Approves Sunday Taproom Sales

St. Paul Taprooms

The City of St. Paul has taken another step to support its local beer scene. The St. Paul City Council passed an ordinance on Wednesday to allow taprooms to sell alcohol made on site on Sundays.

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City of St. Paul Evaluates Potential Sunday Taproom Sales


This Wednesday marks another effort to make St. Paul a friendlier city to local St. Paul taprooms and micro-distilleries. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., a public hearing will address a motion to allow taproom beer and micro-distillery cocktail room sales in the capitol city on Sundays. Though the oft-mentioned “Surly bill” of 2011 set precedent for the evolution of taproom sales in Minnesota, Sunday sales were left to the same fate of off-sale liquor stores.

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Caroline Yang Photo Exhibition of Tour de France Starts this Weekend

 Caroline Yang Tour de France Photo Exhibition

Minnesota based photographer Caroline Yang is bringing a two-month-long photo exhibition to Grand Central Cafe. Yang, who specializes in documentary photography, covered the Tour de France from 2004 to 2006 (in 2006 her work was featured in the Sports Illustrated – “Best Photos of the Year” edition); her images capturing the Tour’s alluring landscapes, exasperated cyclists and adoring crowds will be hanging in the St. Paul cafe until mid September.[Continue Reading]

Residents Take to Twitter to #BragMpls

Minneapolis - #bragmpls

Straying slightly from our Minnesota Nice mantra, Minneapolis residents have spent the week boasting about their city, using #BragMpls on Twitter. This uncharacteristic showboating was started by Mayor Hodges in an attempt to create a full week of bragging about Minneapolis.

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Minnesota History Center’s New Exhibit: Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s


Although a history museum might not be everybody’s choice of fun, you might find yourself making an exception their latest exhibit. The Minnesota History Center, located near downtown St. Paul, is home to the new exhibit Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.

The exhibit includes more than just the toys on display. Along with the toys are stories of the children who played with them and the tales of the adults who purchased them for collection.

You’d probably be surprised how these toys reflected American culture during these time periods. So even if you were born well after these decades you can learn how toys represented American life and possibly how they influenced the toys you grew up with. That includes seeing the “old school” versions of toys still popular today, like: Hot Wheels, Barbie, Mr. Potato Head, and Legos. The exhibit is divided by decade in three “living rooms.” So not only will you see the changes in toys, but also décor.

The Toys exhibit is on display until January 4, 2015.

Exhibit Hours:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm (FREE for all ages after 5:00pm on Tuesdays!)

Wed-Fri: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Admission costs are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors, military and students, $6 for ages 6 – 17, and free for 5 and under. Also, to reiterate, Tuesdays after 5:00 pm is free for all!

Minnesota History Center

What Else is Happening at Minnesota History Center?

Another exhibit at the MHC is Sights, Sounds and Soul: Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis.

Chamblis was a photographer who documented the Black community in the Twin Cities throughout the ’70s and ’80s. This exhibit is also on display until January 4, 2015.

Aside from exhibits, one thing I personally am sure to attend every summer is at least one of their concerts. Their event 9 Nights of Music takes place each Tuesday night starting July 8th. Each week music starts around 7:00 pm and has a different theme ranging from Somali to Big Band. I recommend attending the Okee Dokee Brothers show on August 19th for a rising folk-styled band that is great for all ages.



Images via: Minnesota History Center — TJ From AZ