Minneapolis Park Board seeking public input on next superintendent

Categories: Outdoors
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Photo by Mulad
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted earlier this year to start a search for a new superintendent. Now the Park Board is now asking for the public's input as it begins the official search process.

Superintendent Jon Gurban's contract ends June 30. We wrote about Gurban and his controversial tenure last month. Check out the story here.

If you've got an idea of what you want out of the park's next leader, there are several ways to have your voice heard.

Check out your options below.

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Minneapolis chops ash trees before emerald ash borer strikes

Categories: Outdoors
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We've heard from a couple concerned residents who saw what seemed to be healthy trees meeting their fate shortly after being spray-painted with the green ring of death. Apparently the city decided to clear out the ash trees in the city before the emerald ash borer even has a chance to strike. It's kind of like killing off your potentially alcoholic friends before alcohol does it for you. Sort of.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is taking a "proactive" approach to the nasty little bug using a $98,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Emerald Ash Borers are invasive beetles that attack ash trees by feeding on the tree's inner bark. The beetles have killed more than 40 million ash trees nationwide and there is no cure.

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Jon Gurban, Minneapolis parks superintendent, won't seek contract extension

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Jon Gurban, Minneapolis Park and Recreation superintendent, will end his contact June 30 as planned, but he won't be gone from the Park and Recreation Board just yet.

The Board voted last month not to renew Gurban's contract after its June 30, 2010 expiration. Gurban has been a controversial figure in the Minneapolis parks since his hiring in 2003. He was hired by the board on a 5-4 vote after not applying for the job. He has since caused tension between park advocates and staff members for his trouble dealing with public criticism and handling controversial projects.

Check out the City Pages feature story about Gurban's tenure here.

Board President Jon Erwin was considering a plan to keep Gurban on as interim superintendent until the board completed the formal search and hiring process of his replacement. Gurban submitted a letter to the Board last week saying he will not seek a contract extension.

The Board is considering an option to keep Gurban on as a consultant for the next year and hire former superintendent David Fisher as the interim replacement until the search is complete. Fisher served as superintendent from 1981 to 1999.

Both items are on tonight's Park Board agenda. Read Gurban's letter and consultant contract here. The proposal to hire Fisher can be found here.

Only in Minnesota: Speed dating on skinny skis

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Photo: Fil and Al/Flickr
Rick Howell says he's a bit taken aback by the sudden interest in the Nordic skiing speed-date event he helped plan for 6 p.m. at the Elm Creek Reserve in Maple Grove. He and a friend, Kati Campbell, just wanted a way for folks with similar interests, and who were in the market for companionship, to break the ice, as it were.

"We thought it would attract a few people," he said. But that was before notice of the event made it onto skinnyski.com, a popular Web site for Nordic skiers in the Twin Cities. Then it was posted on gearwest.com, and eventually at twincities.com. "It just snowballed from there."

Here's how it works: Nordic skiers of any ability are welcome to show up between 6-6:30 p.m., and pay for a trail pass and a $10 entry fee. They'll get paired up according to age, ability and other factors, and then light out for an easy 2 kilometer loop and get-to-know-you moment. Maybe phone numbers and waxing tips will be exchanged. Then they'll return and repeat the experience with a new partner, again and again, as long as they can hold up (one guesses).

Want to know more? Check the links above. And be careful out there.

Teenagers arrested after ice fishing houses are blown up

Categories: Outdoors

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Photo by whatshername/Flickr
Rochester police say they've arrested several teenagers after two ice fishing houses on Cascade Lake were blown up early Sunday morning.

It doesn't sound like anyone was injured in the explosions, but one of the shacks was destroyed.

According to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, police were after a witness saw the suspects run from the scene to a nearby underage party.

"This is a relatively serious offense," Rochester police Sgt. Mike Drees told the newspaper. "They could be charged with arson."

Add teenage terrorist bombings to the list of "why ice fishing sucks." Here's another:

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Minneapolis beaches, pools, water parks announce closing dates

Categories: Outdoors
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(photo by chippenziedeutch)

It may be hard to believe with the humid, sunny weather we have had lately, but in about two weeks Minneapolis pools, beaches, and other water-based facilities will be closing. Pour some beer on your sidewalk tonight for your favorite beach or wading pool. Summer, we hardly knew ye.

A complete list of locations and dates follows the jump.


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Beware of Minnesota's deadly ticks


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Photo by Waldo Jaquith

Beware of the ticks.  One child has been killed and two people have been sickened by the freaky little bug.

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Minneapolis sets opening dates for water parks, beaches, pools

Categories: Outdoors
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(photo by chippenziedeutch)

This Thursday MPRB announced the dates and times for the summertime openings of their water parks, beaches, pools, and wading pools. Check out hours and locations after the jump.
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Minnesota Zoo bears destroy fake campsite, freak out campers

Categories: Animals, Outdoors
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Photo by Stefatty
When you decide to "get away from it all" this summer and conquer some wilderness for a weekend, remember that the creatures that live there will likely check out your goods and steal what they please.

The Minnesota Zoo helped campers see what could happen to their own campsite if they don't store food properly. Zookeepers set up a mock camp site and let three brown bears go to town on the poorly stored food. Maybe you'll think twice about bringing a smelly bedtime snack into the tent with you this summer unless you'd like an unexpected giant visitor to slash through the top of your tent wall.

There's a video below to help drill it in.


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City of Minneapolis offers residents $25 trees for their yards

Categories: Outdoors
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Photo by Jason DeRusha
Interested in beautifying your yard, adding home value and maybe knocking off a few bucks on your energy bills? Minneapolis is offering 1,000 residents a tree for their yard for $25.

You can choose from Black Hills spruce, Korean mountain ash, prairie fire crab, accolade elm, bur oak, and mount royal plum trees.

Who doesn't enjoy a cheap tree? And if you think trees aren't worth it, Arbor Day Foundation gives you the details on their benefits.


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