5 x 8: Why Minneapolis is #1

The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) WELCOME TO #1

Matthew Yglesias of Slate is a pretty well followed writer and he’s blown Minneapolis’ cover by suggesting everyone move there.

It has long been the position of this blog that you should move to Minneapolis based on the high wages and low cost of living, but until recently Oklahoma City had a lower joblessness rate. Now Minneapolis is both a place with high wage jobs and a place with plentiful jobs. And, yes, it’s cold. But it’s summer right now so you should really look at moving.

If you expand the sample to include small metropolitan areas you can get even lower unemployment rates, though generally they’re in places (Bismarck, Fargo, Iowa City, Sioux Falls, Amex, Burlington, Grand Forks, Lincoln, Billings, Casper) that are also cold. The exception is the Midland, Texas metro area with an unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, and an average January high of 61 degrees. So if you really hate the cold, move to Midland. But if you’re like me and you’re a fan of bigger cities, then Minneapolis is the place to be.

Why Slate can’t scarf up a more recent photo of the city than the one from 2006 is another story.

Related: Minnesota's new citizens celebrate: "Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door" (Twin Cities Daily Planet).

2) THE PEOPLE WHO CARE ENOUGH NOT TO DISAPPEAR

There was a bit of a dust-up among the local media types on Friday when an employee of a local news aggregator confused his/her personal Twitter account with his employer’s, and ended up revealing an insensitivity to a tragedy. I’m not going to waste time recapping it (you can find it here), beyond observing that it unmasked the occasional contempt some people in the industry have for the communities they are supposed to serve. That’s not right.

That is why this story from ESPN is so very important, not because it’s not a great story on its own; it certainly is. But because the role of the TV producer here is far, far more indicative of the people who don’t get enough attention: the people who really care about the people and stories they’re covering — whether they’re on the clock or off. Telling a story, and caring about it, can change people’s lives.

It’ll be one of the best stories you watch today. Trust me.

Related video: A marathon comeback. After the bomb blast at the Boston Marathon that took most of his legs, Jeff Bauman began his own long and painful journey.

3) THE NEXT PHILANTHROPISTS?

Is there another generation of Douglas Daytons among us and, if so, who are they?

Dayton, the uncle of Gov. Mark Dayton and the man who came up with the idea for Target, died Friday. His business acumen was well documented in the Star Tribune’s story on Sunday, but it this section of the story that leads to the question above:

Dayton served more than 50 years on what is now the board of the Twin Cities YMCA.

“The YMCA was like a religion for him,” said his son David Dayton, an engineer and small-business owner. “He thought the YMCA did such fabulous things for all segments of the community and it was one great way that an affluent guy from the suburbs could connect” with urban youth and families.

Dayton and his brothers established one of the first corporate-giving programs in Minnesota and Dayton said he took great joy in researching and investing in effective nonprofits.

He said donating money was more satisfying than making it.

“You bet your life it is,” Dayton said. “After all, we made our life off the community.”

4) ONE COMMON HOPE

Last year’s terrible floods in Carlton and St. Louis counties left behind a need for permanent relief. So a group of artists has put together a video commemorating what communities did to pull together, and hope to raise funds to provide the relief.

5) THE CITY BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE DRIVERLESS CAR

It’s only a matter of time, the New York Times’ Disruptions blog declares today, before the car you might be driving next to on the road today doesn’t have a driver. Driverless cars will reshape your community. Gone, the theory goes, will be parking lots and parking garages because the car will pick you up and drop you off. What happens to those things in our cities?

Harvard University researchers note that as much as one-third of the land in some cities is devoted to parking spots. Some city planners expect that the cost of homes will fall as more space will become available in cities. If parking on city streets is reduced and other vehicles on roadways become smaller, homes and offices will take up that space. Today’s big-box stores and shopping malls require immense areas for parking, but without those needs, they could move further into cities.

The Autonomous Intersection Management project, created by the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, imagines cities where traffic lights no longer exist but sensors direct the flow of traffic. Although a video showing off the automated traffic intersection looks like total chaos, the researchers insist that such intersections will reduce congestion and fuel costs and can allow cars to drive through cities without stopping.

It’s not all utopia. Another expert says driverless cars could lead people to live farther away from work, or even live in their cars.
(h/t: David Brauer)

Related: Census report on commuting doesn't have good news for Twin Cities exurbs – TwinCities.com.

Bonus I: Listen & Learn – Voices and views from MPR’s audio archive | Poking Around with Mary.

Bonus II:
What happens when the only traditional house of worship in a town burns down? Finland, MN., is finding out. (Duluth News Tribune)

Bonus III: Faces of the Boom: California man ‘unretires,’ moves to Oil Patch (INFORUM)

Bonus IV: Soldier's suicide note goes viral; family demands better for veterans (CNN)

TODAY’S QUESTION
When is it worth preserving historic or iconic buildings?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Can junk food really end obesity? That’s what journalist David H. Freedman claims in his recent cover story in The Atlantic.

Second hour: Synthetic drug use in Minnesota.

Third hour: Seasonal gardening.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, talking about gun control. Taped at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – Looking at what went wrong on Asiana flight 214, the dreams of a man in solitary confinement for 40 years, Egypt’s mystery man: Who is Adli Mansour?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Global warming is already changing Minnesota’s north woods. The growing season is longer, and researchers have seen more southerly tree species creeping northward into the Boreal forest. They’re worried about what it could mean for the existing healthy ecosystem, and they predict big changes — the Boundary Waters Wilderness could be more like Sioux Falls by the end of the century. MPR’s Stephanie Hemphill will have the story.

Dan Olson will have a profile of Minnesota monarch butterfly migration watcher Dave Kust, a classroom teacher and volunteer monarch observer for Monarch Journey North. He watches for the return of monarchs, the butterfly with the longest migratory trip and with a plummeting population.

Contemporary songs of worship have made their way into churches, thanks to popularity gained on Christian radio stations. That’s an unwelcome change for some, who find the rocking praise songs to be too casual. So a crop of modern hymn writers are trying to revive traditional styles in contemporary worship. NPR is on it.

  • MrE85

    #5) It’s not who — or is not — behind the wheel that concerns me. It’s what comes out of the car’s tailpipe. Ozone alert today, folks. Not the best time for a long run outdoors.

  • Alison

    Love that video! You posted that one some years ago and it caused me to look for the album that Emmylou and Mark recorded. It has a lot of great tunes. Thanks for pointing me in that direction!

  • jon

    @ #5 – When cars can drive themselves… will you still own one?
    Would we still buy cars if automated taxis with lower rates (no humans to pay) roamed the streets?
    Figure a dollar per mile (IRS says 55.5 cents per mile for business miles on your car right now, but there will be some administrative costs for maintaining a fleet of cars and scheduling pickups and drop offs etc. and paying for the distances the car travels without a person in it.) is that worth the cost?

    If we still own cars (which given my imaginary numbers above owning would still cost half as much per mile as the automated taxi services) then they still have to park some where… if we move that some where out of the urban core, then we just push the problems of parking into the suburbs…
    If the car just drives home after dropping you off, then we’ve just doubled the cost per mile of getting to work.

    And of course there is the economic upset from self driving cars.
    Taxi drivers are out of work. Maybe long haul truckers too. And of course if we are all sharing fewer cars, than car manufactures will be making fewer cars, and selling fewer cars. Cars that are maintained in a fleet of automated taxis would likely last longer (fleet cars with regular maintenance normally out last individual owner cars which are not always maintained) longer lasting cars means even fewer new cars would be sold. Fewer accidents also will reduce the number of cars sold. Compound that with the fact that mechanics would likely need to work for a company maintaining a fleet of cars rather than individually owned cars…

    any way it plays out it will be an interesting future… dystopian, utopian, or most likely somewhere in the middle.

  • shleigh

    #2 – that ESPN video was fantastic! All three of them are each amazing individuals, and make an extraordinary family! Thanks for sharing the other, under-publicized side of the typical ‘staffer screwed up’.