Archive for May, 2008

Small group is on for tonight…our original plan was to meet at the Cedar Lake Park on the West side of Cedar Lake, the northern peninsula. We will meet there and then if weather is poor we can cruise over to the Chipotle/Caribou off of Excesior Blvd and Minnetonka Blvd-where Lake St. splits. Meet at the park at 6:30pm.

Give Kristofer a call if you have questions . We are going to do dinner picnic style-on your own. If you want to pick up some grub, there are a few places on Lake just south of where we are meeting. Grab some food and we will see y ‘all at 6:30pm.

Hope you all had a great week.

A Minneapolis school used grant money to purchase exercise balls for the entire classroom to use. Used both as a desk chair and form of exercise they have become a critical part of the daily routine.

During my visit, several students told me that sitting on the balls while they work helps them concentrate. During the recent Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) exams, students begged Hartman to try to change the start time of the test so they could get their morning workout in. They felt it would help them do better on the test.

They are used for positive reinforcement, the kids will do almost anything to keep their balls. I must say this a pretty innovative idea for a classroom and it is great to see teachers really thinking outside the box to create safe and fun learning environments for our kids to learn in – and throw in some physical activity too!

There is a nice video that goes with the article but it isn’t embedable so you’ll just have to go look at the site for yourself!

From the Minnesota Press

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The Genocide Intervention Network released this video today featuring all 3 Presidential Candidates talking about the horrible, continuing genocide in Darfur.

It is a pretty short video, but it makes a great statement about the need to change our policy towards Darfur.

Go here to take action!

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I started writing about this adventure awhile back but got really busy and didn’t get a chance to finish it, so hopefully I will now!

We spent sometime getting the camera working again before heading off to Maple Island which was actually mostly underwater. I’m not really sure if there was much to see there but there was the bridge and lots of water!

We then drove back out to Big Eddy which was going to be the starting point of our big adventure for the day! It is a funny name for a scenic destination – there wasn’t anyone there named Eddy, but I’m guessing it was named after a water feature which was an Eddy. With all the snow melt and rushing water it is hard to be certain but there was a lot of foam.

There was also a sign stating that the trail crossing was closed, which would have been pretty obvious to anyone walking by! The map actually says that the crossing is only open for a few months each year!

We had a good time hiking along the Kettle River. It took us a few tries to get on the right trail. I must say that the trails were easy to find but the maps were horrible so you didn’t really ever know which trail you were on for sure or if it was just a deer trail or something!

Since we were hiking on the bluff we figured the trails would be pretty dry, not the case at all! The trails were pretty much flooded with several inches of standing water in places. We were able to circumvent the first few fairly easily but at some point we realized we just had to keep forging forward because it couldn’t get too much worse and we’d have to backtrack around all the other “puddles”.

If you look closely at a couple of the pictures you can see what we had to go through! The one shows a bridge out in a swampy area. We had to scamper across some fallen trees to make it across that one! Another place we had to leap a creek that was swollen out of its banks. We each got our feet a little wet, but nothing too bad. The bottom-left picture is our stop for lunch. Like I mentioned the map wasn’t very good and so we somehow ended up guessing which way to go at some of the trail junctions. We ended up finishing the loop on a horse trail – which was very dry. Gaining the dryness though meant we didn’t have as much scenery. I’d take scenery over dryness anytime! Well, at least for a day hike!

We finally made it back to our car and knocked off a few more of the “scenic attractions” along the way back to the campground. The only one worth noting was the Firetower. It was pretty windy and cold at the top but worth the climb. It was kinda dull up there since the trees were missing their outer layers (leaves) but it meant you could actually see the ground. It was a quick detour and my quads hurt a little bit after the climb down!

We finally made it back to the campsite, quite happy with our decision to just car-camp instead of backpacking in. Our detours would have been quite difficult with our packs on! We bought some firewood – thanks to the Emerald Ash Bore you can’t bring firewood from anywhere outside the local vicinity. We made a fire, walked around the campgrounds and enjoyed our evening together!

We made it through another chilly night and took a couple of short hikes along the St Croix River to top off the weekend. We had a lot of fun!

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I finally gave in to the idea of Twittering. We’ll see what happens!

You can follow my tweets here or signup for the RSS here.

Not sure why you should get Twitter, this article convinced me.

My tweets are also available on the sidebar of both blogs and in my Facebook account. This is just one more social networking piece so we’ll see how long it lasts or if I get addicted!

Update: I’m addicted. After signing up for my account I went to a non-profit technology meeting and about a 1/4 of the people there had accounts and we are now all following each other and there is a small running community on Twitter.

It has a lot of uses and can get pretty technical, but I really like what Common Craft had to say:

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As Bike to Work week draws to a close I found two newspaper articles quite intriguing.

The first comes from the Star Tribune which says that Minneapolis is ranked second in the nation for the number of bike commuters. While the other comes from the Indy Star which says that Indianapolis is ranked second from last in bike commuters! Quite the contrast.

Part of the reason is that Indy just doesn’t have the infrastructure – bike lanes and trails – to really support widespread bike commuting. Indianapolis has 6 miles of bike lanes and 13 miles of bike trails while Minneapolis alone has 40 miles of on road bike lanes and close to 80 miles of off-road paved trails. Indy also is missing other elements that make Mpls a great place to bike commute – shower facilities, downtown gym facilities (for showering etc), bike lockers, and ample bike racks.

Don’t get me wrong Minneapolis has a long way to come in being bike friendly, but it is a lot of small stuff that improves safety like street cleaning roads with bike lanes first, enforcing parking restrictions in bike lanes, etc. There is a strong biking culture here in Minneapolis that supports biking and attracts bikers. Did I mention that people bike to work even in the winter? Yea, that’s hard core!

It is a little crazy to bike in -34 wind chills but people were out on the Greenway (I guess its a little crazy that I was out there running and saw them!!). They tend to ride bikes with wider tires and some people even have a summer and winter bike. So yes it is a pretty strong bike culture!

Here are some random links I found, I haven’t looked through them all.

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I had the pleasure of racing in a urban mile road race in downtown Minneapolis this past week. It was fabulous. I only missed a $10,000 prize by 1:27!!

Check it out at Team Cross Runs.

An excerpt:

Thursday was a beautiful day but as it got closer to evening it looked like it might rain and the temperatures dropped. Walking from the car to packet pickup I was chilly in my t-shirt and shorts but once we started warming up I wasn’t cold again until leaving the restaurant on the way home!