Eric Larsen is a truly insane man. He came to Surly a while ago with a plan to ride a bike to the South Pole. From the edge of Antarctica directly into the heart of its warn chewy center, he will ride a Surly Moonlander, through 750 miles of ice, snow and the never-ending blaze of the sun…
He’s spent a great deal of time training and preparing for the trip. You can read all about his preparations, exploits, the specifics of each leg of his journey and even follow along with him here.
Lonnie Dupre is currently attempting the first solo ascent of Denali (Mt. McKinley) in January. See the One World Endeavors Expedition page for more. According to posts on the expedition Facebook page, he’s been restricted to his snow cave at 8,700 feet the past few days because of many feet of snow and high winds.
His idea was to have his students take a close look at the relevant research that’s been cited to support or oppose my contention that the promotion of helmet wearing for around-town bicycling is bad for public health.
I spoke to his class on October 5 and yesterday asked him for an update. He wrote:
The class is divided into four groups investigating the questions listed below. They will have reports addressing these ready at the end of the term. That’s where things stand at the moment.
By the way, if you have any suggestions for the question list (which the students are also modifying as they get into their research), please feel free to share those.
I suggested to Neil that I post the four groups of questions here on LoGro and invite suggestions and discussion from interested citizens.
1. Bicycle accident overview
What is the overall risk of injury in cycling?
Who is injured? Where or under what conditions are injuries more or less likely to occur?
How does this risk and injuries sustained in accidents vary as a function of helmet wearing?
Is correct helmet use related to injury outcome?
Do helmets make injuries worse (considering rotational head injuries vs. concussions and abrasions)?
What are these accident numbers like in cross-national comparisons?
2. Helmet use promotion
What laws and programs exist to promote helmet use?
How much helmet use is there? Do people wear helmets correctly?
Do government policies have an effect on helmet use?
What evidence suggests the suggestion or imperative to wear a helmet inhibits cycling?
What are common attitudes toward helmet wearing?
3. Helmet wearing and rider and driver safety
Is the density of ridership related to cyclist safety?
Do cyclists wearing helmets behave in a riskier fashion? Is this due to helmet use?
Are drivers less cautious when encountering cyclists with helmets? If so, why?
4. Health and inactivity
What are the health consequences of inactivity?
What are the health benefits of cycling?
Does cycling make a difference to physical health and the health of the environment?
If people weren’t cycling, what would they do? What alternative forms of exercise and transportation are there?
I got this email from Carleton College freshman Raven Pillmann two weeks or so ago:
I am a Carleton student as well as a MN United volunteer. I have a potential story about an upcoming Vote No rally at Carleton this month. We have a possible photo opportunity and definitely have several students who feel strongly affected by the proposed amendment who would be willing to talk about it. Please let me know if I can call you anytime with more information!
Raven got up early and met me at my corner office at GBM last Thursday. And he emailed me yesterday to send me a photo of he and his fellow classmates preparing for the rally and that they have a Carls Vote NO! Facebook event page which says in part:
Come to the Great Hall on Wednesday, October 17th from 7:30-8:30 p.m. to hear speakers from the Carleton and Northfield communities, eat delicious Firebellies food, listen to Ova Yonder and The Accidentals, and get inspired to become involved in the Vote NO! movement.
St. Olaf students in the American Conversations 102 and Intermediate Photography classes worked in partnership with the League of Women Voters to create these photo essays about Northfield-area community leaders. The fourteen leaders profiled in these photo essays are involved in a range of political, civic, and humanitarian endeavors in the local community and beyond (more about the project).
I’ll blog one photo essay per day over the next two weeks.
The weather was perfect for St. Olaf’s Reunion Weekend this past weekend. St. Olaf schedules many of the reunion weekend events in and around Northfield. This year, venues included J. Grundy’s Rueb ‘n’ Stein, The Grand Event Center, Jesse James Lanes, Northfield Golf Club, Contented Cow, Froggy Bottoms River Pub, Willinger’s Golf Club, and the Northfield Historical Society. Bus shuttle service was available to all off-campus locations.
The big entertainment tent downtown on Sesquicentennial Plaza was also good for Northfield-area businesses. From the last page of the schedule:
Special Thanks To: College City Beverage for its signs and hospitality; the Grand Event Center for providing beer and wine service at the entertainment tent; the City of Northfield for their support and coordination; the Defeat of Jesse James Days Volunteer Committee for its coordination and rentals; and the Quarterback Club for its catering services.
I took some photos Saturday night of the entertainment tent area:
… is an annual drunken softball game played during Spring Term. It has as many innings as the number of years since Carleton was founded. In recent years, T-shirts for people who arrive at Rotblatt early has become a major CSA budget item, exempted by tradition from rules that prohibit spending on personal property.
Mr. Ed Kuhlman stopped by my morning office at GBM on Friday to show me a newspaper called the National Public Opinion that he found in a recent batch of collectibles he’d purchased. This edition was Volume 1, No. 4, published on July 16, 1927. In true yellow journalism fashion, the headlines scream:
FARIBAULT, MINNESOTA, IS 48 PER CENT TAX-EXEMPT!
NORTHFIELD, MINNESOTA, HALF TAXED—HALF FREE
Faribault, Minnesota, is tied for first place with Northfield, in matter of tax exemptions
The Limit to Tax Exemptions in Northfield, Minnesota is the Sky With the Roof Knocked off
We believe this is a win for Carleton and a win for Northfield’s downtown. The College will effectively acquire new space in central campus, much cheaper than we could construct it. The office and professional uses of this important downtown building will be reinforced and increased. We intend to honor all existing leases and to leave the building on the tax roll at this time.
If Carleton does take the building off the tax roll, I predict the publisher of the National Public Opinion will turn over in his grave and come back to life as an angry blogger.
The walk will take you through the St. Olaf Natural Lands to view wetlands, woodlands, and prairie habitats. The naturalist will talk about wetland and prairie restoration as it relates to water quality.
St. Olaf Professor Todd Nichol is another one of the early morning regulars at GBM. A couple weeks ago, he barged into my corner office to inform me about the 2nd Annual Grand Old Time Spring Dance coming up this Friday night in the Lion’s Pause at Buntrock Commons. He’s one of the faculty advisors for the The Runestones accordion club that will be performing at the dance and last week, I attended one of their practice sessions.
The Runestones is a come-when-you-can, just for fun student group of accordion players. We play mostly Nordic tunes, but you never know what we’ll do next. Think fusion. If you’ve never heard Cajun Norwegian or Country Western Danish, you are missing something.
A dance for everybody! A time to dance the polka, the waltz, and the schottische. Brief lessons will be given throughout the evening. Free. Open to the public. Families with children welcome. Refreshments and parking available.
The guy taking my photo in the left photo above with Todd? Evan Thomas-Richards, an Ole working with the AmCon group that I blogged about back in Nov. Dang paparazzi.
Here’s a 38-second video clip of The Runestones practicing:
Disposable paper cups affect the environment negatively. Besides creating a steady supply of waste, disposable cups also demand a large consumption of natural resources and emit high levels of climate-changing green house gases. Because so many disposable paper cups are used throughout the world, the actual environmental affect can be staggering.
Fortunately, there are alternatives. Reusable coffee cups reduce the impact disposable cups have on our environment. Waste, natural resources, and damage done by green house gases are all decreased by reusable cups after only 24 uses. As an added bonus, reusable cups help cut supply costs for coffee houses. That discount is often passed on to consumers – saving everyone money.
After much experimentation, I’ve used the Thermos 360° Drink Lid Tumbler as my main coffee cup for years, though truth be told, my motivation was initially to avoid spilling coffee on my laptop.
I got this email yesterday from Geoff Swanson, Assistant Director at St. Olaf’s Office of Student Activities. He showed up for the photo this morning at my corner GBM office where he used to work when he was a student.
Hi Griff, I’m just sending a shameless plug for Second City’s performance here at St. Olaf tomorrow (Friday, the 13th) in the Lion’s Pause at St. Olaf. This is the show’s touring improv group and the event should be a riot.
Show starts at 8pm (doors at 7:45) and general admission to the public is $5 each. For more details people can contact myself or follow this link.
The Second City is always original, daring, and hilarious. Based in Chicago this comedy club’s alumni list is a veritable "Who’s Who" of comedy including Bill Murray, John & Jim Belushi, Steve Carell, George Wendt, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Joan Rivers, John Candy, Bonnie Hunt, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Jack McBrayer, Jason Sudeikis and so many more. Don’t miss what is sure to be a hilarious hour of improve-based sketch comedy as five of Second City’s touring comedians take the Pause Mane Stage!
Helen Albers: A big Tree Hug to all of our town tree-lovers! With thanks to all who have responded to express their appreciation of trees! Happy Holidays! Helen Albers
Beth Kallestad: Thank you Helen for your tree planting and reminding us of the need to protect those trees!
John S. Thomas: It truly is a beautiful tree. I am still “sick” of the way the trees on Fourth Street look. It will be MANY years before they mature… and I hope they do!
Marsha Kitchel: What a lovely photo of Helen Albers, beautiful in red, hugging her red maple. Hold on for dear life if “new and improved” means touching this gorgeous tree or any of the trees on Bridge Square. Northfielders would be...
Griff Wigley: Northfield City Engineer Joe Stapf sent me these photos today of the repairs to Armstrong Road and the adjacent Mill Towns Trail. Joe wrote: The trail paving is complete (still being rolled so not yet open), and the roadway is...
Doug Peterson: Hi Griff, After reading Jan Hill’s reply, I realize my mis-understanding on “riding the rails”. You got me. Can I blame that on getting old?
Jan Hill: I knew this was a send-up, Griff, having investigated possible routes ourselves (and knowing you!) But I thought for sure the cyclist on the rail was a fake–until I watched the video. Now that’s scary.
Griff Wigley: Nick, I’ve heard from another Northfielder on this who wrote via email: The part where you suggest that riders go on to the active rail line does not make good common sense to me. I have worked on the railroad as a head...
Nick Benson: Your non-pussy readers should note that trespassing on railroad tracks, as shown there, is both dangerous and illegal; trains can be surprisingly quiet when approaching on smooth welded rail like that, which doesn’t...
Ross Currier: I just walked through Bridge Square and ALL THREE of the tables were occupied. It didn’t look like they were playing chess, though, more like eating lunch… …and what a day for it, in beautiful downtown Northfield,...
Griff Wigley: The three picnic tables were installed last week. Each has an inlaid backgammon and chess/checkerboard. I’ve added photos to the blog post above.
Griff Wigley: Joe, thanks for that explanation. And if your eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Gentilini, is still around, I think she might approve of your communications style.
kiffi summa: Joe or Mr. Stapf… Thanks for the explanation; I think its/they’re great, and long overdue… I just didn’t want anything to put off the Bridge Square redesign implementation … and often it’s...
Joe Stapf: Ah-h-h-h, yes, The Gaming Tables… Question #1) Who authorized them!!!??? I did. The picnic tables (if you recall, a trial) were deemed by me to have been a success. We received absolutely 100%, pure, unadulterated positive feedback...
Griff Wigley: Two new parking-related blog posts: A bicycle field trip with Dale Gehring to get smarter about ‘making the connections’ http://northfielddowntownparki ng.org/2013/08/30/a-bicycle-fi eld-trip-with-dale-gehring-...
Griff Wigley: New blog post: Proposed layout of directional and way-finding signs for public parking
Griff Wigley: New blog post: Washington St. lot restriped to optimize parking spaces
Griff Wigley: Blog post update: recommended downtown parking management action steps for Aug. 13 Council work session
Griff Wigley: Blog post update: July 31 parking management planning meeting at City Hall
Griff Wigley: There is a Prayer Walk for the Northfield School District today, 4-8 pm: By Maria KayLynn Olson and Kiersten-Kiwi Williams Bielenberg Schedule: 4:00-4:25 Prairie Creek 4:30-4:55 Arcadia 5:00-5:25 Greenvale 5:30-5:55 Sibley 6:00-6:25...
Griff Wigley: Hi Marie, thanks for asking. I’ll contact you via email.
Marie Wright: I’d like to use this photo on my website. My theme is vintage Main Street USA. I feel that I need your permission to copy this photo and use it. (Julia Rose Grey is my pen name for my genre of novels.)
Griff Wigley: Dave, I like the two-prong attack, too. Can you let us know when the short-term task force is due to meet? I’d like to attend, and I’m sure some of the neighbors would as well. And make sure that pizza with mushroom...
Griff Wigley: Nfld News article on Tuesday’s Council action on this issue: Subcommittee to explore fixes for tax-forfeited land acquired by Northfield During heavy rain, water has overtaken the yards and basements of Karen Moldenhauer and...
David DeLong: Griff, I’m told there’s over 50,000 cubic yards of dirt in the pile which translates to over 2,500 dump truck loads. I think there’s enough to go around. The problem is moving all that over residential streets, if we sell it or...
Griff Wigley: At last night’s meeting, the City Council opted to A) form a 4-week task force of 3 council members plus engineering staff and citizens to deal with the runoff problem in the neighborhood; and B) ask the Parks & Rec...
kiffi summa: good to know, Griff… I trust that you’re correct about the amount of dirt needed for the create of a bike park. Maybe if there’s so much more than needed, a berm could be created between the park and the houses, if...
Nancy Averill: Ah KDWB. THE best radio station ever. We had the KDW-Beatles. We had the KDW-Beach Boys. We were color radio. We had leaky billboards. I maintain that Professor James Francis Patrick O’Neill is the very basis of my humor. We...
Griff Wigley: Paul/George, they reopened the old culvert and put in a new larger secondary one. I’ll try to get photos.
Griff Wigley: Thanks everyone for your kind comments about the photos. I’ve added a few of downtown to the blog post above. See Rob Hardy’s comprehensive listing of links related to the flooding on Northfield.org.