Learn, Baby, Learn

Thinking of going back to school? Do the math on higher ed


Post-secondary institutions in Minnesota, including 11 public universities, 30 community and technical colleges, 57 private nonprofit schools, and 80 specialized for-profit programs. A night class in taxidermy? Sign us up!


Number of students living in dormitories in Minnesota. Also the number of students who have learned to go weeks without doing a load of laundry. That odor? It’s the smell of learning.


Number of people who have signed up for the Special Topics in Social Policy class at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute, co-taught by former veep Walter Mondale.


The year most college freshmen were born. Whaddya mean Fritz ran for president? Of America?

$38.6 million

Amount of financial aid offered to Minnesota students each year in the form of work-study jobs.

$300 million

The amount Carleton College hopes to raise in its recently launched campaign. What’ll that buy you? Naming rights for 100 professorships of your choice.


The hourly wage of a student working in food service at the University of Minnesota.


Amount students can expect to pay for books and other class supplies in a typical year. If you’ve got a job scrubbing dishes in the dining hall, that’s only 112 hours of work.


Percentage increase in tuition at the University of Minnesota between 1971 ($522 annually) and 2007 ($9,432). At least the books are cheap, right?

Minneapolis writer Erin Peterson earned $5.15 an hour pasting pockets into library books while she was in college, a job so archaic it no longer exists.

Things To Do Before…

all the Leaves Are Off the trees

Andy Potts


Banjo players and fiddlers don’t exactly move in the fast lane, which may be why it took a year-and-a-half to organize a musical tribute to Bob Feldman, the late founder of Red House Records in St. Paul. But more likely it was just hard to come to grips with the fact that one of the great champions of roots music is now a part of music history himself. The September 9 concert at the Fitzgerald Theater will feature Peter Ostroushko, Greg Brown, Dean Magraw, Spider John Koerner, Tony Glover, John Gorka, and other musicians whose careers Feldman helped launch.

2. If you haven’t hopped on a bike in years, the thought of navigating the streets of Minneapolis on two wheels may not get you geared up. But the city’s Grand Rounds byway offers cyclists both scenery and safety. The first Minneapolis Bike Tour on the byway kicks off September 16 with two car-free routes: a longer 41-mile path that spans the entire park system and a shorter 15-mile circuit around the Chain of Lakes. There’s also a bike expo, a safety event for kids, demonstrations, food, and entertainment. Visit www.minneapolisbiketour.com.

3. The season for local produce may be winding down, but you can still drink like a native at the “Natural History of Minnesota Wine” event on September 29 at the Bell Museum in Minneapolis. James Luby, a U of M horticulture professor, will talk about the state’s history of grape cultivation and winemaking, and participants can taste samples from six Minnesota wineries, including Alexis Bailly and St. Croix Vineyards, that use University-cultivated Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, and La Crescent grapes. For more information, call 612-624-7083 or visit www.bellmuseum.org.

State of Disgrace

Next May, Minnesota will hit the century-and-a-half mark. But not everyone will be celebrating, it seems. The MNMO staff recently came across an online petition demanding that the Land of 10,000 Lakes be ejected from the union. Among the charges:

» “The residents consider themselves [more] proud to be Scandinavian…than…American.”
» “There is an unbelievably high ratio of dirty ignorant yokels to people with brains.”
» “Most residents drink Hamm’s beer.”

The redress proposed by the wag behind the petition? Revoke Minnesota’s statehood, divvy up our 10 congressional seats, post guards on the Wisconsin border, and turn Minnesota into a protectorate of Norway. (Hmmm, wouldn’t Canada be a better fit?)

Tracked down via e-mail, the 32-year-old author, who recently moved to Minneapolis from Chicago and asked for anonymity, confessed he had posted the petition mostly in spite, alleging a generally snooty attitude among Minnesotans. So far, however, the petition has only drawn 26 signatures, so it’s probably a safe bet that the North Star state will last another 150 years or more. To view the petition, log on to www.ipetitions


Germ of an Idea

Her portraits of Jesus and Oprah were nonpareil; her faith that great things could sprout from even a mustard seed self-evident. Lillian Colton, the “seed-art lady” from Owatonna whose work appeared annually at the Minnesota State Fair for four decades, died this spring, but her legacy lingers. A tribute to Colton will be held at 1 p.m. on August 26 at the fairgrounds.


Life Begins at Midnight

Leigh Kamman’s radio career was as improvised as the jazz music he loved, beginning with an impromptu interview with Duke Ellington at a train station when Kamman was just 17. Now 85 and retiring from 34 years of hosting Minnesota Public Radio’s The Jazz Image, Kamman will be honored at the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant on September 23. No word on whether local jazz rockers Bozo Allegro will perform their tribute song, “Lake Hammond.”


The War Hits Home

Luverne, a town of 4,600 near the South Dakota border, is best known for its buffalo chip—throwing contest. But on the evening of September 6 it may be the state’s most glamorous locale, hosting former newscaster Tom Brokaw, actor Samuel L. Jackson, and other dignitaries for the premiere of filmmaker Ken Burns’s latest mega-documentary, The War. What in the name of PBS is going on?

The link is former Luverne resident Quentin Aanenson, whose autobiographical film, A Fighter Pilot’s Story, inspired Burns to feature Luverne as one of four cities profiled in this 14-hour exploration of World War II from the home front. (The others are Sacramento, California; Mobile, Alabama; and Waterbury, Connecticut.) Burns, whose previous work has delved into the Civil War, baseball, and jazz, interviewed numerous veterans and their families in Luverne. But the town may be best represented by a disembodied voice, that of Tom Hanks reading the wartime columns of local newspaper editor Al McIntosh.

Burns called McIntosh’s folksy, poignant descriptions—of men shipping out and mothers fretting, of families receiving telegrams notifying of their sons’ deaths—perhaps “the single greatest archival discovery” he has ever found. The film has inspired one St. Paul publisher to collect the columns in a book and, what’s more, moved Luverne’s townspeople to finish the restoration of their historic Palace Theatre for the premiere.


Mpls: Paris of the West?

The City of Lakes may resemble the City of Lights if R. T. Rybak has his way: Earlier this summer, the Minneapolis mayor unveiled a plan to spruce up one of the city’s more windswept thoroughfares, Washington Avenue, with trees, banners, and a freshly minted name, Washington Boulevard. “It will become as important to Minneapolis as the Champs Élysées is to Paris,” Rybak told the Star Tribune.

Never mind that Washington Avenue lacks a certain je nais se quoi. A bit of scrutiny reveals that the two streets actually have more in common than you’d think. Here’s how the pair compare. Quelle surprise!

For an illustration that compares the two streets, please see a printed version of Minnesota Monthly.