Minneapolis Star Tribune, Oct. 7
Don't give up on plans for a Paisley Park museum
Ideally, all of the details would have been worked out before the first ticket to Prince's Paisley Park was sold. However, because a final "t'' wasn't crossed, a wrench was thrown into plans to open the Minnesota rock icon's studio to the public — a glitch that could disappoint hundreds of fans eager to get an inside look at their beloved Purple One's creative space.
Hopefully Paisley Park managers and Chanhassen city officials will work together to resolve zoning concerns and allow the museum plan to move forward.
Prince was known for throwing impromptu, late-night dance parties at Paisley Park, and his family and associates say the rock star always wanted his studio to become a museum. But the late musician didn't leave a will spelling that out. Since his death last April, a court-appointed trust has been working through the disposition of his estimated $300 million to $500 million estate.
Graceland Holdings, the company that oversees Elvis Presley's museum in Memphis, was hired to manage Paisley Park and started selling tickets for tours. A request for rezoning was approved by Chanhassen's planning commission and city staff. But on Monday the City Council tabled a final decision, casting doubt on whether the announced Oct. 6 opening day would occur.
Fortunately, a "Purple Reprieve" was granted. Council members approved a temporary, three-day permit to allow visitors Thursday and Saturday as well as Oct. 14, the day after an all-star tribute to Prince is scheduled at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Three dance parties in Prince's honor are also scheduled to be held downtown next weekend in connection with the museum opening and tribute.
The temporary opening was great news for those who traveled to the Twin Cities to see Paisley Park on or close to those three days. But it remains uncertain whether others who bought $38 to $100 tickets (and in some cases purchased airline tickets) will be able to use them. On a 3-2 vote, council members delayed the rezoning because of concerns about public safety, traffic, parking and the need to gather more information about the facility's impact on the community. When the museum is up and running, it could attract an estimated 600,000 visitors a year.
Under city rules, Chanhassen officials have until Dec. 20 to respond to the rezoning request. The city and Graceland Holdings should try to resolve any outstanding issues before then. The "Purple Reprieve" dates should give them an idea of the impact of museum on the community and help them make a final decision.
Paisley Park can become a tourist attraction that would benefit the entire Twin Cities region. Once residents can be assured that their concerns have been heard, the Chanhassen City Council should act to minimize possible losses for fans holding tickets and allow U.S. and international visitors to honor the legacy of their beloved Purple One.
St. Cloud Times, Oct. 3
Adventurists show BWCA's true value
Can you imagine ...
— Pitching a tent under the stars for 365 straight nights — through full moons, mosquitoes and bone-chilling blizzards?
— Spending a year canoeing, sled-dogging, skiing, snowshoeing and portaging about 2,000 miles?
— Cooking every meal for a year on a campfire or cook stove?Educators and adventurists Dave and Amy Freeman did all those things and more from Sept. 23, 2015, until Sept. 23, 2016.
The Grand Marais couple spent one complete year — technically 366 days and 365 nights — in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in a nationally recognized effort to protect the BWCA and adjoining Voyageurs National Park from the risks of heavy-metal mining proposed just outside of both pristine wildernesses.
Their goal is one that should be embraced by the state of Minnesota and supported by the federal government. And their yearlong adventure shows why. (Get all the details at https://www.savetheboundarywaters.org/ .)
Minnesota's BWCA and Voyageurs are simply too valuable as ecosystems (and tourist attractions) to risk they be polluted — probably forever — from heavy-metal mining.
Yes, no mining there will have consequences. The generation or two of people who would work the mines will have to find other employment. An economic boom that would last 20 to 30 years will not happen. And prices of products needing those materials might rise.
Still, those costs pale in comparison to how much pristine air, water and wilderness could be polluted from this kind of mining. And to be clear, the likelihood of pollution is extremely great.
America and nations worldwide are pockmarked with heavy-metal mines that have polluted ecosystems long after they close. It's what happens when sulfides in the rock are exposed to air. Some studies show three of every four such mines have major pollution problems because of it.
Granted, the businesses pushing these mines in Minnesota believe they can avoid those problems. But there is no concrete proof to back them up, not to mention the cash and confidence they can somehow fund centuries of containment systems needed to treat mine waste before its risk of sulfate pollution dissipates.
When you think about how devastating pollution would be now or even in 100 years to the BWCA and Voyageurs, you realize the short-term financial gains simply are not worth the long-term risks.
The Freemans spent a year raising that awareness. Stand with them in not risking the loss of such opportunities for future generations.
Post-Bulletin, Oct. 1
Business snapshot offers partnership opportunities
As Election Day looms, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon is keeping an eye on the state's business opportunities, as well as his more visible role as overseer of elections.
His office announced the launch of the Minnesota Business Snapshot, a new initiative to provide critical economic and demographic data regarding the state's businesses.
"The Minnesota Business Snapshot is going to make it easier and more convenient for small-business owners to identify potential partners, for consumers to target their spending, and for the public and educational institutions to better understand the economic and demographic makeup of our state's business community," Simon said in a press release. "This is an important step to better serving Minnesotans."
A voluntary five-question survey will gather input from businesses throughout the state. Created with the help of business owners and researchers, the requests seek to identify staff sizes, diversity of ownership, types of business, revenues and the level of participation of the owners.
It's all good information for helping gauge business in Minnesota and establish new partnerships.
When Simon spoke to the Post-Bulletin Editorial Board as a candidate two years ago, he noted the need to provide more resources for businesses, especially with newcomers. "Their introduction to our state is through the Secretary of State's office, because they can't transact business in the state until and when they register," he said of out-of-state businesses.
By building connections early, the business snapshot has the potential to attract new endeavors of all sizes while helping existing businesses find new partners and grow.
We encourage all new and existing businesses in Minnesota to complete the survey as they file each year with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.
It's a snapshot to provide new focus on the state's economic future.