Longing for the suburbs (5×8 – 2/27/14)

It’s the type of thing that can keep a city slicker up at night. A former resident of Eden Prairie, now living the good life in New York, is pining for Eden Prairie.

Jen Kalaidis, writing on The Atlantic’s Cities blog, says it’s not hard to see why city cores are making a comeback. “What more could a young adult want?” she asks.

A lot, she says:

Another area where suburbs often trump cities is in the quality (or lack thereof) of their public schools. From the mass closing of public schools in Chicago to the “dizzying, byzantine system” eighth grade students and their parents go through to select a public high school in New York City, it is as hard as ever—if not harder—for parents to find quality public education for their children in large American cities. And this particular reality seems especially stubborn: students from suburban communities are more likely to graduate high school and go on to higher education than their urban counterparts, which of course in turn makes them more likely to get well-paying jobs as adults.

But the number one way the suburbs beat the city, especially for young people, is in affordability. After living in both Washington, D.C., and New York City, I can safely say that affording basic human necessities, such as shelter and sustenance—not to mention having a little fun here and there—is much cheaper outside of the city center. When paying $1,000 per month to share an apartment is a “good deal,” and when you don’t think twice about spending $14 for a single cocktail, what chance does a young city dweller have to actually save money? Not all cities are as insanely expensive as Washington and New York (Philly! Baltimore! Portland!), but when the mortgage on a spacious, four-bedroom home rivals the monthly rent of a cramped one-bedroom apartment, there really is no competition.

She will be on MPR’s Daily Circuit today and this is what we’re going to hear: We’ll hear city people kneecapping the suburbs, and a few suburban people flamethrowing the cities. This is how we discuss these sorts of things around here and few subjects are more emotional than where other people choose to live.

If people are choosing to live in the suburbs, who are city people to say they shouldn’t? And who are suburban people to say people in the city shouldn’t be living in the city?

Related: Minnesota Suburbs vs. Exurbs (A Day In The Life).

It’s all very hush-hush up north where a man’s trout has been confiscated by the DNR. Rob Scott, 65, of Crane Lake, caught the 52 pound trout earlier this month Lac La Croix. Nobody will say why.

“What I know to date is that on Monday the DNR came by to investigate my fishing on LLC (Lac La Croix) on Feb 8th and the possibility of an over-limit catch,” Scott wrote in an e-mail to the Duluth News Tribune on Wednesday.

But let this be a lesson to you, anglers. If you catch a big fish, don’t take a picture of it and send it to the newspaper. Apparently that’s how conservation officers found out about the unknown problem.

The Internet and snarky TV anchors are never as obnoxious as when they’re making fun of Marilyn Hagerty, the restaurant reviewer for the Grand Forks Herald who was mercilessly mocked a few years ago when she wrote a restaurant review of an Olive Garden.

Now she’s written a review of a Ruby Tuesday restaurant.

I like the cloth-like napkins that come wrapped around the silverware. I did find the carpet sweeper a little off-putting in the early afternoon. And I was disappointed in the ladies room, which needed attention even though it was on a busy day.

I found the fountain drinks are $2.49, which seems like a going rate in these times. Still, it keeps me on a water course.

I was interested in the tables that look square but have leaves on all four sides that can be turned up to create a round table. The restaurant has appealing art and is tastefully decorated.

Ruby Tuesday seems to me like one of the stars in the restaurant scene in Grand Forks.

Places like Gawker did their Gawker thing. Predictably.

God bless Sarah Harper who came to the defense of Hagerty in a Vita.mn column:

All the condescension, which is now reawakening to rear its ironic head once again, begs the question: Would we rather our food critics describe food we can’t afford with words we don’t know? My answer to this is generally “no,” which is why I like Hagerty’s style. If you’d rather read about bourgie donut shops and fancy breakfast spots, she isn’t writing for you anyway (… Vita.mn is). As Hagerty said in an illuminating interview with NPR, “I live in a city of 55,000 people, and if you want to describe what you can eat in Grand Forks, North Dakota or any town about this size, you almost have to go to McDonald’s, and the drive-ins and the truck stops.”

But what have you done for the Minnesota Vikings lately, Minnesota Vikings fans?

Sure, you’ve forked over thousands of dollars to questionable ownership for generations while often watching a substandard product, but what have you done for them lately?

KARE 11 reports on the plight of a family that has had season tickets since 1960, and are now being shaken down by the team for personal seat licenses at the team’s new stadium.

Four of the Parmeter’s seats will cost $9,500 each and two others will close $3,700 each. Their seat license grand total comes to $45,400 which is in addition to the ticket prices which will cost $19,200 per season.

“To have tickets cost this much, it’s heartbreaking because we can’t afford that amount of money,” says Shannon Parmeter.

Joe Kenning of Mankato died a week before a benefit was to be held to help defray the expenses of fighting Stage IV cancer, the Mankato Free Press reports. That left his family with a decision to make: Do you go on with the benefit or cancel it? The benefit went on.

Related: The art of the obituary (continued):

Dirck dealt with the challenges of fairly severe dyslexia in his youth. He tells a story of holding a book upside down in front of him when his father came into the room. His father assumed that young Dirck had hastily picked up the book to cover up something he shouldn’t have been doing, so he asked him to read it to him. Dirck proceeded to read the book to him without apparent problem, he didn’t even know that he was holding the book upside down.

(h/t: Nikki Armstead)

Bonus I: The commercial, appearing to define Americans, dominated the Olympics. Yay, us! We work instead of taking vacations:

“There are plenty of things to celebrate about being American,”Carolyn Gregoire writes on Huffington Post, “but being possessed by a blind mania for working yourself into the ground, buying more stuff and mocking people in other countries just isn’t one of them.”
(h/t: Katherine Lanpher)

Bonus II: Spring is here. You just can’t see it through your tears. .

Should e-cigs be treated as standard smokes?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Air traveler delays.

Second hour: Personal finance with Ruth Hayden.

Third hour: Why a city-living writer in New York misses the suburbs of Minnesota.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm) – American RadioWorks documentary, “Say it Plain.”

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – The Veterans Administration’s painkiller problem.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – This morning the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released preliminary recommendations on whether a 40-year-old state rule limiting sulfate discharges into wild rice waters should be changed. Last month the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency wrapped up a two year long study that examined the impact of sulfate pollution on wild rice. The mining industry and business groups have questioned whether the science behind the standard is sound, while tribes and environmental groups have argued that sulfate discharges have already destroyed wild rice stands. MPR’s Dan Kraker will have the story.

A new study finds that nearly one third of full-time employees in America are teleworking. If you picture most of those people working away from the office as women, parents, or even millennials, you’re going to be surprised. NPR takes a look at who’s doing today’s telework.

MPR’s Alex Friedrich says student research at Minnesota’s community colleges has boomed in the last five years. Once known as places that taught only introductory science courses, they’re now pumping out projects that go beyond the Biology 101 texts. How about Random Transposon Mutagenesis Reveals Gene Functions in Chromobacterium violaceum? It’s a trend that’s happening nationwide as well, fueled by recent government funding, more highly qualified faculty, and a realization that science-oriented community college students won’t stand a chance when they transfer to a university unless they have lab experience.