Monthly Archives: May 2016

4 Questions with Dwight Gronlund of Nokomis Cycle

By Adam Webster, Member, Communications Committee

Note: On January 6th, we shared a great story on our Facebook page featuring Dwight Gronlund, as a Secret Santa, surprising a customer with a new bike. Since then, that story has now been shared by others more than 3,700 times! We thought it would be a good time to check in with Dwight for this issue’s 4 Questions column. View the original story on Facebook.

Nokomis Cycle

Dwight Gronlund in his shop, Nokomis Cycle, on 46th Street and Bloomington Avenue.

Are you a former professional cyclist? What led you to open a bike shop in the first place

Actually, I’m a former architectural draftsman (and bike commuter) who was looking for a career change in the early 1990s. I’d always enjoyed riding my bike, and so I sought more experience in bike repair at places like Freewheel and REI. I learned about the business side through courses at Normandale College and a friendly internship with a small shop over in southwest Minneapolis. After that, I looked for an area of the city that didn’t already have a bike shop. I’ve been at this location ever since.

Looks like you’ve been in Northrop since 1994. What’s changed in the years since you set up shop?

It was pretty quiet at Bloomington and 46th back then. When I got here, only Overcraft Printing and Don’s Barber Shop were here. Two months after I opened Nokomis Cycle, a stylist shop opened next door, and a version of that has been operating there ever since. In 1997, Sisters’ Sludge opened up on the corner, helping pave the way for more foot traffic at the intersection. And since one of those sisters became my wife (we first met in the trash-collection area in the alley), I’d consider that a pretty important development for the neighborhood!

Minneapolis routinely shows up as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation. How have you experienced this at your shop?

I’ve lived in Minnesota since 1968, and Minneapolis since 1984. I think both Minneapolis and Saint Paul are good for bicycling because they aren’t filled with “city,” so to speak. These urban areas still protect their lakes and rivers, and that means bicycling in the Twin Cities can happen on paths in nice areas removed from car traffic. Recent efforts by local government to expand bike access on arterial roads have helped, but that only works when there is a good reason for leisure biking in the first place. Bikes themselves have really changed in recent years, too. There is much more variety out there now, and it’s just easier to find a bike that meets every biker’s needs. I personally enjoy riding many different types of bicycles, and I have a few different ones to suit my mood.

What’s the biggest maintenance mistake bike owners make regularly?

People can forget that bikes are machines. Over time, every machine needs to be tuned up in order to deliver the experience you want. Chains need to be greased, tire inflation needs to be optimized and cables and brakes need to periodically be recalibrated, especially after our winters. As the snow melts, one of the simplest things bike owners can do is bring their bikes in for a once-over. A professional can spot issues quickly and in most cases can offer an immediate fix that will keep your gears from slipping all summer long.

4553 Bloomington Avenue South
www.nokomiscycle.com

A longtime neighbor – St. Mary’s Cemetery

By Sue Filbin

One of the busiest intersections in our neighborhood – 46th and Chicago – is also among the most quiet. Since 1873, long before traffic became plentiful, the northeast corner of this intersection has been occupied by St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.

St. Mary's Cemetery

One distinctive memorial in the cemetery
honors firefighters from the City of Minneapolis.

With its location near the center of Field Regina Northrop, St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery is geographically part of the community. Its 65 groomed acres provide a resting place for more than 66,000 people, and a quiet space for neighbors and visitors.

The sole full-time employee, Baltazar Cardoso, who speaks English and Spanish, lives nearby. From April through October, seasonal employees help Baltazar maintain the grounds, prepare sites for burials, tend and install markers, repair equipment, clean up storm damage, and place flowers and wreaths.

St. Mary’s is dedicated to being a good neighbor. When pedestrians remarked that it was inconvenient to walk on the 46th Street sidewalk because of the heavy snow flung onto the sidewalk by Hennepin County plowing crews, St. Mary’s purchased a special plow attachment to clear that extra-heavy snow.

Welcome

Neighbors are welcome to walk on the paved roads and to take in the tranquility of the site. Artists sometimes sketch the rolling landscape and historic, sculptural markers. School children rub tennis balls on rubbing paper to transfer decorative images from grave markers to paper. Dog walkers are welcome when they keep their dogs leashed and pick up after their dogs.

Each year, St. Mary’s hosts a Memorial Day celebration that includes a parade, recognition of veterans of past wars, Mass, and refreshments. This special observance is part of a long partnership between the Knights of Columbus and the cemetery.

History

St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery was originally established as the parish cemetery for the Basilica of St. Mary (located in downtown Minneapolis). It is now one of five cemeteries owned and operated by The Catholic Cemeteries, an independent, self-sustaining religious corporation. In the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis, 110 cemetery properties are owned and maintained by their respective parishes.

The cemetery’s designation as a Catholic cemetery means that it is considered by Catholics to be sacred ground due to its having been blessed by a bishop. Catholics are welcome to be buried at St. Mary’s, as are their non-Catholic spouses and family members. Friends and neighbors who live nearby have also been buried in the cemetery over the years. Between 100 to 125 burials now take place annually.

In the fall of 2015, one of the less-used paved roads was closed to make space for 100 conventional graves and 100 cremation spaces. In addition to traditional burial plots, 600 crypts and 300 cremation niches are available in St. Mary’s Garden Mausoleum that opened in 1994. One of the most striking markers in the cemetery is a tall memorial to firefighters who served in the City of Minneapolis.

The dedication to the cemetery and neighborhood from those responsible for St. Mary’s became apparent during a conference-call phone conversation with John Cherek, director of Catholic Cemeteries, and Jon Louris, operations manager for the Catholic Cemeteries and supervisor at St. Mary’s Cemetery and Calvary Cemetery, St. Paul. John Cherek said, “If any neighbors have any ideas as to how we can be a better neighbor, please let us know.” (651) 228-9991

New Director at McRae Park

By Chris Schommer

McRae Park welcomed new full-time director Heather Susag in December. Heather first started working for the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) as a 16-year-old and has been involved ever since. For the past nine years, Heather has been working full time for the MPRB in the area of youth development and the “Youthline” program that provides youth mentorship, education and recreation programs all over the city of Minneapolis. Heather also has experience working at several local park programs. This is Heather’s first opportunity as park director.

Heather Susag

Heather Susag became the director of McRae
Park in December 2015.

When asked what she was looking forward to in her new position, Heather said she is excited to, “Hone in and develop programming that has a wide spectrum.” Heather says her experience so far at McRae has been very well rounded and she hopes to support the local community by making McRae a neighborhood destination no matter your age. In addition to supporting the youth sports community, there are opportunities to pilot new senior programs and host more programing for pre-school children (such as the new indoor playground on Mondays for pre-K children). She has already expanded youth programming with the return of RecPlus, a summer child care and education program, after a 10-year absence from McRae.

The upcoming athletic field replacement project that is scheduled to begin later this summer and last through 2017 will be a big challenge for McRae Park but Heather says she is excited about it. “I know how tough it has been to play sports in the past. I am excited that [this project] is not only going to re-shape sports but will make the land more usable for everyone.” This includes new multi-sport athletic courts, additional warm-up basketball hoops and completely re-built athletic fields. Heather said she is also very excited about one overlooked aspect of this project – new walking paths, shady areas, benches and lighting that will allow guests to circumnavigate the entire park. “Now you can walk your dog, seniors can walk, and small kids can bike all around the park!”

If people want to contact Heather with their ideas for programming at McRae or for more information, please email mcrae@minneapolisparks.org or call the front desk at 612-370-4909. McRae is open 3-9 p.m. during the school year and 12-8 p.m. during the summer.

Programs at McRae Park

Indoor Playground on Mondays
Mondays from 10:30-12:30 6 month-Pre K Register online or register in person.
Kids can play with newly purchased tunnels, bikes, and listen to music. Free. Starting in the spring there will be a one-time cost of $5.

Summer Rec PLUS
Summer childcare. Includes swim lessons, field trips, naturalist programs and other activities.
Age: Must have completed kindergarten through 6th grade 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Registration starts March 15