Your best repurposed stuff

During the 11 a.m. hour today, Tom Weber will have a conversation with journalist and Minneapolis native Adam Minter. We’re talking garbage, recycling, trash and scrap.  It’s the theme of Minter’s new book “Junkyard Planet.”

Part of the conversation will include how to reuse items we’d otherwise throw out.  We asked you submit your best repurposed stuff – and you did!  We heard especially from several businesses in Minnesota that use re-purposing in their work.

– We were reminded by the folks at Duluth Pack that they reused part of the Metrodome roof that collapsed in 2010 to make bags.  (five designs)


– Relan is a business in Mendota Heights that makes old billboards and banners into several products, including tote bags and business card holders:


– Jewelry maker Katrina Barnett sent a photo of pendants her 9-year-old made, using soda tops and a Starbucks lid.


– The group ReUSE Minnesota passed along a few photos:

A project by student Daniel Loehmann on what to do with old Subway sandwich bags: Make sock liners. This is hanging in McNeal Hall at the University of Minnesota this week.


And a showroom of Miele Concrete & Design in Lonsdale that’s almost entirely filled with reclaimed lumber  and appliances.


– Lily in Grand Rapids makes jewelry from old silver-plated trays.  She says she can cut around damage or corrosion and sometimes doesn’t polish it to leave the vintage look.

photo 2

– Wendy passed along her favorite tip:  “Save your wrapping!  Smooth it down (if it  hasn’t been torn into bits by small children), fold it up and store it in a paper bag for packing postal items.  In other words, use it in place of peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.  When it comes time to ship an item, take out the wrap, crunch it up and stuff around your item.”


    NO…. The U of Mn should have let the contract expire with Tubby working. this is a waste of money. As a degree holder of this institution – this is another of the sports funding boondoggle’s perpetrated on the students. I REFUSE to support the aimless, and idiotic mens sports management at the university of Minnesota. They buy high and sell low. I think we get a massively better value from the womens programs in all sports where both exist.
    This waste of money further degrades the University presidents claim to reduce costs to students and to run the institution in a prudent and economic manner.

  • Do I agree with the timing? No. Do they have the right to do this? Of course they do. Will there be consequences? I suspect there will be.

    What infuriates alums like myself is that Norwood Teague gave Tubby a contract extension a year ago with a buyout clause that went from $1.5 million to $2.5 million. There should have never been an extension in the first place, and I agree with Sid that it is going to take a lot more money and a long-term deal to get someone worthwhile here to replace Tubby. As for a larger payday for Jerry Kill? Only if he gets his squad to Pasadena, not some “Dew Drop Inn” Bowl or other fourth-tier bowl game.

    Other consequences? I won’t be the least bit surprised to see the fallout from this spread over to the State Capitol as budget bills come together.

  • Gary F

    The 2.5 million should come out of Joel Maturi’s retirement fund.

    It would be interesting if all those players who left, e.g. Colton Iverson and Devoe Joseph and the others would tell us the real reasons why they left the program.

  • reggie

    Yes, even at the cost. Although winning is the easy metric, making players better — on and off the basketball floor — is what we should expect of a great head coach.
    Smith has recruited some very talented young men, but individually they
    don’t get better under his tutelage, and as a team they haven’t consistently played together. Smith deserves credit for cleaning up a mess of a program, but he just isn’t the guy to carry it forward.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It’s only a game! The fact that anyone would consider it worth paying someone millions of dollars to do that job, much less to not do it, shows just how far out of whack our priorities are. And don’t get me started on the injustice of the vast sums being made off the unpaid labor of the athletes.

    • Elijah the Tishbite

      That’s what you get when you worship the Baals (Basketbaal, Footbaal, Basebaal, Hockey, etc). They have a way of distorting your thinking in lots of ways. We need to quit sacrificing to them.

      • Sue de Nim

        Amen! Preach it, Brother Elijah!

  • david

    I have no idea if it’s a good idea or not. I wish I could get a job that doesn’t matter with a nice golden parachute like that so it wouldn’t matter if I sucked at it.

  • James

    Huge waste of money. Who is going to do better than Tubby with the following contraints:

    – It’s Minnesota. It’s below freezing the entire school year and all the kids we need to recruit come from the sunny south

    – We won’t cheat, and when we do, we self-whistle blow

    – We have a legacy of losing

    So now we pay Tubby his $2.5 million settlement and pay some new coach millions to wrestle with the same problems.

    We should just accept mediocrity in all sports except hockey an put 100% of our focus on academic excellence.

  • Philip Benson

    Since the public university sold out to private Big Bucks network, I didn’t witness Tubby’s gophers. Although I experienced withdrawal, sports have both kept me from my duties and injured me.

    My respect for liberty precludes me from just saying no to sports, but the public might benefit from sports not being broadcast. Valuing the defeat of another team has no place when it rationalizes valuing the defeat of fellow citizens.

    • TubbyTime

      I’m not a big sports fan, but you’re missing the point of sports. It’s not to celebrate the defeat of fellow citizens. It’s to push both teams to do their absolute best, to give it their best effort. Whosever best efforts succeed on the day they meet is the winner. Of course, this assumes fair play, no ‘hit lists’, etc.

  • Doug Duwenhoegger

    Tubby’s biggest issues were not successfully recruiting in state prospects, failure to develop players, failure to retain players, complete lack of an in bounds play, looking totally disinterested. For those complaining about the money, basketball, football and ina minor way hockey, (men’s only for all sports) generate positive cash flow. All other sports are basically a drain. Although how can you trust a university that fails to make a profit selling tap beer at a football game.

  • Ann M

    $800,000 was given to NC so that MN wouldn’t have to play them.(according to reports) Now millions to Tubby. I would like to know if schools in other states waste this much money.

    • TubbyTime

      I don’t care if schools in other states waste this much money. I only care that the school in MY state wastes this much money – and they do.

  • Not a fan of Norwood Tweeks

    SHAMEFUL! I believe Tubby got us to the NCAA tournament 3 times in the last 6 years. Isn’t that a better record than any other coach in the last 20 years? Do players feel an extraordinary amount of pressure to save their coaches jobs?

  • Jim G

    I don’t worry about Tubby. He’ll be just fine. $2.5 million goes a long way in soothing hurt feelings. As a graduate of the University of Minnesota I wish they would put more emphasis into the academics of the institution and less into the men’s sports program. I worry about the young men who are being abused by the NCAA and the college sports/media industry they’ve created. The student-athletes are essentially unpaid workers making millions for the sports programs that are then squandered. This buy-out and the others that have come in just the last decade shows that the money goes not to ensuring that the student-athletes get their diplomas, but to their millionaire coaches.

  • RJ

    Who’s Tubby? Why should I care?

  • Nancy

    $2.5 effen million? I feel like screaming. I’m glad people have a hobby but people are impoverished, starving, imprisoned and mislead as the 1 percent screw the muddled class and grind the poor out of existence.

  • TubbyTime

    What really frosts my cookie is that they call this an ‘investment’ – in what and how will it pay dividends? That’s ridiculous. Tubby should have been kept on to finish his contract.

  • Winning is everything in collegiate athletics. Good enough is not acceptable. You need to be the best. Big donors speak very loudly.

  • Glen Enander

    Frankly, this question demonstrates, to me at least, how far MPR news has fallen of late.

  • georges

    To Michael Olson………….

    The recent post by Glen Enander reminds me to suggest to you that MPR start a “Current Events” board on these pages.

    Just a simple little board where the regular posters here can post about the issues of the day, and not be locked in to only the Todays Question. Nothing need be archived……..the most recent 50 posts are visable, and when a post reaches number 51, it disappears forever. This would promote a MPR community of regular posters, conversing about the News of the Day. A friendly exchange of ideas, flowing with the news.
    Think about it.

    • Steve the Cynic

      In other words, you want a continuous rant fest.

      • georges

        Being an altruistic sort, I sponsor such a board so that you can shout “bigot!!!” and “racist!!!” at everyone who thinks clearly and honestly, logically and rationally, so that the immense intolerance and hatred does not continue to be bottled up inside.

        You’re welcome…………


        • Steve the Cynic

          If you sponsor such a board, MPR doesn’t need to duplicate your effort. Just publicize yours.

  • Carrie

    Any way you look at it, sports contracts are a joke.

  • Lawrence

    Although this question asks the public to pick sides, I’m pretty sure there isn’t an easy answer to the question should the Gophers have fired Tubby Smith. Although Tubby amassed a winning record and kept a clean basketball program, most of his wins came before Christmas in several nonconference contests. The Gophers rarely finished above 6th place in the Big Ten, and the last two years were extremely inconsistent. During the 2011-2012 season the Gophers jumped out to a great record, couldn’t find a win in the Big Ten, crushed the field in the National Invitational Tournament, before failing to show up in the NIT Championship Game. During this year’s 2012-2013 season, the Gophers did the same thing, jumped out to a huge winning record, couldn’t buy a victory in the Big Ten, THEN stunned Indiana, only to close the season with losses to Nebraska, Purdue, and Florida. One could argue that allowing Tubby to finish his contract would have been the more prudent thing to do, but Tubby loses quite a few starters from this year’s team, and would have been starting over with another group of untested players, especially in the front court; thus, if the squad IS going to rebuild, why not start now?

  • georges

    Yes, Tubby Smith should have been fired.

    He should never have been hired.

    He is not big time NCAA basketball coach material. Never has been, not likely ever will be. His teams quit on him, on the court and off. The previous two seasons were the worst. When players, en masse, refuse to play their best, it is always the fault of the head coach.

    It is his job to motivate them. He couldn’t. Goodbye.

    It is unfortunate that the money wasters at the U gave him a new contract, and the big buyout. Tubby was the highest paid employee of the State of Minnesota. That says it all about the whole sorry mess.

    And, for those who whine that it is unfair to the “student-athletes”…….nonsense………..They are not “student-athletes”. They are athletes. Most cannot do college level studies, and most cannot make it in the NBA (or NFL). So, they get a free ride, and go to classes like Basket Weaving, as the students call American Native Studies courses. A giant fake we have built and sustained…..get rid of it………..Have the teams made up of REAL students….you know, the ones who are going to the U to get an education….the others can go to the NBA or they can wash dishes. And pay the coach no more than Governor Goofy gets.

  • lj

    Go away, Gopher sports is not needed. Nothing but trouble. Can’t even make money selling beer.

  • ReUSE Minnesota

    Great story, Tom! Relan is also a member of ReUSE Minnesota, Minnesota’s new non-profit association of reuse, rental, and repair businesses.