Ole alum/explorer Eric Larsen sets a record in an attempt to ride a fat bike to the South Pole

I’m doing some Wigley and Associates blogging/social media work on the Fat Bike Summit and Festival. One of the event’s sponsors is MN-based Surly Bikes. Back on December 21, Gern Blanston posted to the Surly Bikes blog, The Craziest Man I Know:

Explorer Eric Larsen on a Surly MoonlanderEric 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.

I checked Eric’s journal this morning. Unfortunately, he had to call it quits. See his entry for December 28, 2012 – Day 10: A Tough Decision. Eric made it back home last Saturday, Jan. 12.

The good news? He set a record. See this SF Gate article via PRweb: Polar Adventurer Eric Larsen Sets Antarctic Distance Record by Traveling the Farthest on a Bike toward the South Pole.

Outside Magazine Online featured Eric’s expedition back in November: Expedition Watch: Riding a Fat Bike to the South Pole. It included this video, with his Surly Moonlander featured:

Coincidental sidenote #1:

Eric Larsen graduated from St. Olaf College in 1993 and has friends here in Northfield. Back in Feb. of 2005, he and fellow explorer Lonnie Dupre did a presentation at Froggy Bottoms, raising money for their summer expedition across the Arctic Ocean. See this St. Olaf press release for more. I was there and took these photos:

Eric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre at Froggy BottomsEric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre at Froggy BottomsEric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre at Froggy Bottoms

Coincidental sidenote #2:

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.

Bicycle helmet redux: Carleton College students digging deeper on the research

Neil LutskyI got an email a couple months ago from Carleton College psychology professor Neil Lutsky inviting me to speak to his fall class, Measured Thinking: Reasoning with Numbers about World Events, Health, Science, and Social Issues, about the bike helmet issue that I’ve raised here on LoGro this year. (See all my bicycle helmet-related blog posts here.

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.

Neil Lutsky, Psych class Griff Wigley speaking to Neil Lutsky's Psych class 
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?

Raven Pillmann wants Northfielders at the Carls’ ‘Vote No’ rally on Wednesday night

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 Pillmann Vote No mnunitedrally 005
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.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #12: Erica Zweifel

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

ERICA ZWEIFEL

See the background page on Erica Zweifel and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #11: Susan Sanderson

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

SUSAN SANDERSON

See the background page on Susan Sanderson and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #10: Jessica Peterson White

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

JESSICA PETERSON WHITE

See the background page on Jessica Peterson White and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #9: Kari Nelson

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

KARI NELSON

See the background page on Kari Nelson and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #8: Erin Mayberry

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

ERIN MAYBERRY

See the background page on Erin Mayberry and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #7: Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

REGINALDO HASLETT-MARROQUIN

See the background page on Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #6: Sandi Gerdes

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

SANDI GERDES

See the background page on Sandi Gerdes and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #5: Bonnie Jean Flom

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

BONNIE JEAN FLOM

See the background page on Bonnie Jean Flom and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #4: Father Denny Dempsey

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

FATHER DENNY DEMPSEY

See the background page on Father Denny Dempsey and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #3: Ray Cox

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

RAY COX

See the background page on Ray Cox and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #2: David Bly

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

DAVID BLY

See the background page on David Bly and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #1: Beth Berry

Last November, I blogged about the invitation that several Northfielders got to participate in the American Conversations Program (AmCon) at St. Olaf, me included.

The project ended last spring and I got word last week from Eric Fure-Slocum, Assistant Professor of History, that the Civic Stories Project was now live on the Northfield League of Women Voters site.

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.

BETH BERRY

See the background page on Beth Berry and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

St. Olaf Reunion Weekend: reinforcing the connection to Northfield, not just the college

The weather was perfect for St. Olaf’s Reunion Weekend this past weekend. ReunionLogoGoldSt. 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:

DSC01041 DSC01037 DSC01031 DSC01034

DSC01032 DSC01047 DSC01051 DSC01050

The economic impact of Carleton’s annual Rotblatt softball game carries over to downtown

Rotblatt softball player Rotblatt softball players
Some out of town visitors were at GBM when it opened at 6 am today. Two were awake after playing softball all night. One wasn’t.

The Carleton wiki ("an unofficial, student-run website") says that Rotblatt:

… 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.

Carleton to leave the Medical Arts Building "on the tax roll at this time"

Ed Kuhlman with a 1927 edition of the National Public Opinion newspaper 1927 edition of the National Public Opinion newspaper 1927 edition of the National Public Opinion newspaper 
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

Carleton College seems to run the city.

We laughed because Carleton was in the news this past week for acquiring a commercial property downtown. The Nfld Patch article, Carleton College Purchases Building at 200 Division St., includes an email by Carleton’s VP Fred Rogers. Excerpt:

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.

Explore the wonders of the prairie and wetland complex of the St. Olaf Natural Lands

prgrass006The Cannon River Watershed Partnership invites the public to explore the wonders of the prairie and wetland complex of the St. Olaf Natural Lands with us on May 12th.

When:  1:00-2:30 PM on May 12th

Where:  Meet the student naturalist outside the front door of Tostrud Athletic Center at St. Olaf College.

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.

Information: See the CRWP Upcoming Events Calendar.

Does the Carleton Arb have a new contender for the title of ‘Spooky Old Tree’?

spookyoldtreecoverBack in 2008, I blogged about the demise of the spooky old tree in Carleton’s Lower Arb.

Last week, Robbie and I had breakfast with Northfield newcomers Rebecca Bliss and her husband Don Hasseltine (new VP of External Relations at Carleton). 

When I told their young daughters about the spooky old tree in the Arb, they alerted me to a spooky tree they discovered in the Upper Arb that "only creaks when people walk by."

DSC08669 DSC08666 Tree in the Upper Arb that "only creaks when people walk by." Freaky!
So with moms and dogs in tow, we paid the tree a visit on Tuesday and sure enough, it creaked just loud enough for a hearing impaired geezer to hear.  Freaky.

Something’s happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. So guess.

DSC08370 DSC08371 DSC08373 DSC08374 DSC08375
Construction of a building has begun adjacent to the wind turbine at St. Olaf.

Hint #1: it has nothing to do with the turbine.

Hint #2: the wood under the tarp is an indicator.

Update 3/31: Here’s a photo of the Arnold Flaten Art Barn, which I’ve grabbed from a Jan. 2011 Northfield News story, which they got from a story in St. Olaf Magazine.

Arnold Flaten Art Barn

Only in Northfield: Dance to Country Norwegian music performed by an accordion club this Friday

Todd Nichol and Evan Thomas-Richards The Runestones accordion club  Todd Nichol and The Runestones accordion club  Todd Nichol and The Runestones accordion club
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.

KYMN’s Paula Granquist featured the group on her ArtZany! radio show last week.  Terri Lindgren wrote in her blog post:

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:

The negative impact of disposable coffee cups

disposable coffee cups display at St. Olaf disposable coffee cups white board at St. Olaf Thermos 360° Drink Lid Tumbler 
When I was up at St. Olaf’s Buntrock Commons earlier this week, I noticed a very cool display on the impact of student use of disposable coffee cups.  The top of the white board proclaimed:

There is no such thing as a sustainable disposable cup

The bulk of the notes on the white board focused on the financial waste, not the environmental impact. For more on the latter, see The Basic Problem with Coffee Cups on the Sustainability is Sexy website. The summary:

crushed-cupDisposable 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.

St. Olaf’s Condom Olympics: a competition at which I did not rise to the occasion

DSC08002I came arrived too late for last night’s Condom Olympics in the Lion’s Pause at St. Olaf’s Buntrock Commons.

I was hoping to get photos of the condom relay race but only managed a photo of the sign.

What are the Condom Olympics?

Back by popular demand, the Wellness Center is hosting a team-based competition that tests students’ knowledge of sexual health, reproductive anatomy, and STI statistics.

It all culminates in an intense relay race to properly put on a condom while wearing ‘beer goggles.’

Come and bring your friends!

The wording of that last sentence is an invitation to the bravest of LoGro’s punsters.

Geoff Swanson wants you to laugh: The Second City Improv All Stars are at the Lion’s Pause tonight

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.

DSC06407Hi 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.

Description:

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!

See The Second City web site for more.

Subscribe and Follow LoGro

Subscribe to the blog via email (daily) Subscribe to the blog via RSS Subscribe to the Locally Grown e-newsletter (weekly)
Follow us on Twitter Visit our Picasaweb photo gallery Like us on Facebook

Blog Monthly Archives

Blog Category Archives