Jazz, the community college trap, and why Santa doesn’t stop in St. Cloud (5×8 – 12/27/13)


Saint Paul has a habit of calling its vacant buildings “opportunities,” but few people are looking at the bright side of the closing of the Artists’ Quarter, the hole-in-the-wall jazz club in the Hamm Building downtown. Faced with rising rent (question: How are rents rising in a downtown that has so little?), the owner is closing down at the end of the year and, so far, vows from the influential that the closing won’t happen haven’t led anywhere.

The owner, Kenny Horst, tells the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, typically, that once people realized what they were losing, they supported the club more. But, it’s too late.

“I knew that going-out-of-business sales work, but it’s been booming,” he said. “It’s never been better here. I’m seeing people showing up now that didn’t show up for years.”

Related: Pleased and flipped 24: Memories of the Artists’ Quarter (bebopified).

Arts leaders discuss what they’d like to see in the New Year (Fargo Forum).

Where orchestras succeed.
Hint: It’s not Minneapolis. (MPR News)


More than half the students who enroll in community colleges do not ever get a degree. Says The Atlantic

As the matriculation rate has climbed, so has the number of students who enter college with marginal credentials and other handicaps. The least academically prepared and most economically hard-pressed among them are typically bound for community college, where low-income students—plenty of them the first in their family to venture beyond high school—outnumber their high-income peers 2-to-1. Many of these students are already juggling jobs and family commitments by their late teens

Washington has developed an array of efforts to help struggling students, but the results have been disappointing, The Atlantic reports.

Then again, what’s the use: Space scientists fear a new era of cost limits on big NASA missions, just as the universe is getting exponentially more interesting (The Washington Post).

Related: College affordability: Could peanut butter and jelly sandwiches solve hunger on campus? (Slate).


Santa didn’t make it back to Minnesota this year. The St. Cloud Times says Dick Scott, 72, has stopped dressing up as Santa at a mall in town after his wife died and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“I just loved being with the kids. I just had so much fun with the kids. I absolutely loved being with them.”


“In the fall of 1971, Bill Heinemann and Paul Dillenberger returned to their Crystal, Minn., apartment to find their roommate, Don Rawitsch, sprawled on the living room floor, drawing a map of western America. The three men, all seniors at Carleton College, were student teachers. They spent their days in junior high classrooms teaching math and history in inner-city Minneapolis. At night, they huddled over dinner, sharing tips and debating teaching techniques. Until earlier that day, Rawitsch had been stumped on how to get his eighth-graders interested in his new history unit, “The Western Expansion of the Mid-19th Century.” (Neatorama)

More history: If you asked most Americans what president ordered the largest mass execution in American history, few will know the answer: Abraham Lincoln. Yesterday, Dakota riders completed their ride to Mankato to honor the 38 who were hanged there on the day after Christmas in 1862 (Mankato Free Press).


When I go to a hockey game, I spend much of the time watching the refs. They are marvelous and graceful skaters. What’s it look like from their perspective. At a recent AHL game, one ref wore a camera.

(h/t: Andrew Shipe)

Bonus I: San Francisco on Christmas Eve by quadcopter.

Bonus II: Here's What It's Like to Sell Telephone Poles Door to Door (Wired).

Bonus III: Goodbye, Metrodome. And Good Riddance (Daily Norseman).


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: A panel of entrepreneurs joins Kerri Miller to discuss the things they wish they knew when they first decided to go out on their own.

Second hour: Alok Jha and Andrew Luck-Baker continue to follow the scientists on the ongoing Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013. Ice, the oceans and climate change are the themes this week as one of the expedition scientists makes a troubling finding. Moored in Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctic, the expedition’s oceanographer Erik van Sibble discovers a stunning difference in the nature of the water beneath the sea ice. Although it is a preliminary finding, the consequences for the motions of the world’s oceans and climate change could be dramatic.

Third hour: South Sudan, Iraq, and Bangladesh.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm) – History professor Brian Ingrassia, speaking about the history of college football. He’s the author of “The Rise of Gridiron University: Higher Education’s Uneasy Alliance with Big-Time Football.”

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – A look at the changing norms of privacy across medicine, the Internet and national security.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – U of M students are asking for gender-neutral housing on campus so that they can feel safe and judgment free. MPR’s Alex Friedrich will have the story.

There are a few people who can remember every detail of every day. Its a rare gift that can also be a curse because for some it means reliving their past, day in and day out. NPR will report on the phenomenon known as Highly Superior Memory — and what it teaches us about the importance of forgetting.

  • John

    #2 – what’s the percentage of people who enroll in 4 year programs that don’t make it? I think my starting class in college was around 1000, and something like 600 at graduation, but I don’t know if my school was representative.

    In comparison, I’d say that less than 50% entering community college don’t get a 4 year doesn’t look so bad (2 year nursing degrees, technician programs, etc. aren’t set up as feeders for a 4 year school anyways). Those programs, combined with the number of students in community college who are there just to learn (based on a sample size of the one CC I went to during high school – it’s a significant number), the number isn’t surprising to me.

    we still need to work to set people up to succeed though. It doesn’t do anyone any good to send kids into a challenge that should be greater than high school without the academic and mental toolkit to manage it.

  • MrE85

    #1) Sorry, Mr. Fitzgerald. St. Paul’s Jazz Age is over.
    #3) A St. Cloud woman lost her purse to an armed robber on Christmas Day this year. That sort of thing never happened on St. Nick’s watch.

  • Linda

    @John – that 50% number is referring to the 2 – year degrees. people in CC who don’t get 4 – year degrees are even higher.

    I just graduated with an AAS. I went part-time. The support in the CC world is geared toward high – schoolers and typical college aged students, not working parents, not older adults, not non-traditionals. The school gives lip – service to them, but the support isn’t there. Hours end at 4 or 5 for offices, earlier earlier on Fridays.

    It is a whole different world than than the University system.

    • MrE85

      Congratulations on earning your degree, Linda.

    • John

      Ah, I misread. I thought it said less than 50% don’t get a 4 year degree (though technically, I guess that would be true too).

      I’m still curious about how the attrition rate at 4 year schools compares (and while we’re at it, let’s look at for profit universites as well). I’m sure I could google that, but I probably won’t.

      I went to CC my last two years of high school, and particularly during my first year most of the people who I hung around with were older adults (a healthy number of single parents, GI bill folks, and people just finishing up jail time). They were by far the more dedicated of the students (part of why I gravitated to them I suppose – my second year I slid into a good group of other PSEO students and spent more time playing cards – still pulled a 4.0 GPA though).

      My observation of the CC system is that it’s a pretty easy gig to work in if you can get what amounts to tenure – not a lot of jobs where you can have your first class at 9 or 10 and still be out the door by 4 – and work part time in the summer. I presume salaries are lowered accordingly, but I don’t have anything to back that up.

      Congratulations on your degree.

      • DavidG

        I don’t think there are many CC colleges that offer tenure. I believe the CC model relies heavily on adjunct faculty employment where they are hired per semester/course.

        • John

          I hope you’re wrong, but I suspect you aren’t. sigh.