5 x 8: Reinventing Rochester


The New Republic is unimpressed with the Mayo Clinic’s plans for expansion and the Minnesota Legislature’s decision to pay for some of its effects.

In an article — Held Hostage by a Hospital — writer Ilan Greenburg takes issue with the plan to “reinvent” Rochester as a bustling city full of Mayo employees, with a nightlife and things to do:

Thing is, Rochester is hardly struggling. In fact, most of Southern Minnesota has weathered the past five years well. Unemployment and crime are low and median household income is about 15 percent higher than the country as a whole; schools are generally good; the local archdiocese has just built a big new high school.

Joe Powers, owner of the Canadian Honker restaurant and a fourth-generation Rochester resident, has a clientele made up almost entirely of Mayo doctors, administrators, and patients and he says he will welcome more. “This is the kind of community you probably will never see again in the United States,” he said to me. “Everyone is supported by one corporation that serves mankind. How can we complain about that? I want growth; I want my three children to be able to stay in Rochester. The trick is to keep what makes us different.”

There are critics of the company’s heavy-handed impulses—Mayo reportedly terminates any employee who leaks the identity of a visiting patient, for example. A county district court judge, Kevin Lund, has pressed city officials to stand up to what he has termed a secretive and anti-democratic process. But in the six months since Mayo began to unveil its plan for Rochester’s transformation, organized dissent has been pretty minimal and it’s not clear how well Rochester’s citizens actually understand what’s to come.

This week, MPR’s Elizabeth Baier reported that downtown business leaders want Rochester to keep its charm when all of this happens. Many of the smaller shop owners are worried the big chains will come in, and push them out.

Related: Ten errors in the New Republic story (Rochester Post-Bulletin)


It’s hard to run for office anymore without a label. In the race for Minneapolis mayor, “progressive” is the phrase that pays, MinnPost suggests. But what exactly is a “progressive?”

“I think a progressive, in the politically correct vernacular, would be a liberal on steroids,” former City Council member Dan Cohen tells Karen Boros.

“If progressive means making progress as a society, where every single person in our society has opportunities, then damn right I’m a progressive,” Cam Winton says. “A goal may be worthy, but we don’t need City Hall to be involved.


What do you do with a city-owned building that’s been vacant and boarded up since 2006? You treat it as a canvas and celebrate West Broadway and the artists, residents, and business owners who live there.


Dirty, disease-carrying, and delicious. A recent report from the United Nations-sponsored Forest and Agriculture Organization says bug eating could be the key to ending global hunger and turning back climate change.

“I told you so, ” says David George Gordon, author of “The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook Revised.” In a CNN project with recipes and reasons, Gordon says bug farming could be more efficient than raising hogs and cows. And it could clean up the planet. “If everyone served rapacious critters like tomato hornworms and vine weevils for dinner, we’d have little need for most over-the-counter pesticide powders and sprays,” he says. “On a global scale, this could make an incredible difference to the health of the environment and to ourselves.”

(h/t: Mary Turck)

Related: Why Mosquitoes Love Me, And Other Mysteries Revealed (NPR)


You whippersnappers and your short attention span are ruining everything.

The makers of Monopoly have decided to get rid of jail and also to make the game entirely playable in just 30 minutes. They’re rebranding it, Monopoly Empire.

APM’s Marketplace quotes a Wall St. Journal (behind a paywall, unfortunately) that describes the notion of fast-paced, over-scheduled kids playing monopoly on the sidelines of a soccer game.

“The story says kids prefer to play short games while on the sidelines of their soccer games or on-the-go to another music lesson,” Marketplace says.

Why don’t they just shorten soccer games and reduce the number of notes on a musical scale?

In any event, Gizmodo notes that kids won’t learn much from this new version.

Some of my most cherished (if not personally defining) moments have come from the hours turned to days turned to weeks that I spent playing a single game of Monopoly. Was it torturous? Yes. Was I miserable? Sometimes. But it’s in that occasional torturous misery that you form some of your most cherished memories, and learn a thing or two about life.

I learned about the corruption buried deep within the United States’ financial system when I realized that my older sister always demanded to be the banker so she could pocket cash while my and my brother’s backs were turned.

I developed critical thinking and a healthy skepticism of salesmen as my older brother attempted to convince me throughout my first ten years of life that buying properties really wasn’t worth it in the long run. And I learned about perseverance; getting up and walking away from the game simply wasn’t an option. Initially because my siblings would beat me if I tried to stop playing, sure, but eventually because of my own sheer force of will. It’s no wonder kids these days don’t have the attention span they used to—they’re never even given the opportunity to develop it.

No society functions without prison, and what are boardgames but a miniature representation of our modern world? Our greatest memories and relationships in life come from bonds formed through hardship and perseverance, and depriving the next generation of that should be a jail-able offense. Which these days, apparently, doesn’t mean anything at all.

The news prompted a bit of an outcry on social media yesterday. The issue got muddier when Monopoly said a smaller version of jail is included in the new game. What’s a smaller version of jail?

Bonus I: “I Bike for Shaina” releases merch to support injured cyclist (City Pages).

Bonus II: Woman forced to wear Ryan Braun ‘fraud’ shirt inside out (WTMJ)

Bonus III: The tall ships enter Duluth Harbor.

The time lapse version:

Bonus IV: There are people going to work today whose job it is to save your life when you get hit on your bicycle. There are people saving lives today because they were inspired by the people going to work today to save people’s lives. (StoryCorps)

Bonus V: Yeah, no offense, Mankato.

How should marijuana be regulated in Minnesota?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Friday Roundtable panelists talk politics; Why the GOP continues its effort to real the Affordable Care Act, what will happen with immigration reform, who will be the next candidate to join the 6th District Congressional race, and what’s the deal with Anthony Weiner.

Second hour: Why people get tattoos.

Third hour: Prisons as psychiatric hospitals.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Should pot be legal?

Science Friday (1-2 p.m.) – Scientists are studying what golfers think about before they swing. Science Friday will run their theories by Phil Mickelson, who is just back from winning the British Open.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Police arrive at the scene of a crime after it occurs. New software promises to get them there before. This predictive policing system claims to be more effective than human crime analysts. And some major cities are already giving it a try. NPR will have the story.