Author Archives: Chris Schommer

Advertisements in Close to Home

webpage Our Bi-monthly Newsletter Close to Home is now including  advertising for local business in future issues of our newsletter to help partially offset our costs.

We are now offering two sizes for advertisements: 4” wide by 2” deep or a 4×4″ square option. The cost to place one smaller ad is $65, and $130 for the larger format per issue of the newsletter. In addition, if you purchase on year’s worth of advertisement space we will make your final issue free! That is six advertisements for the price of five. Your advertisement and will be delivered to almost 4,000 homes and businesses in our area. Several hundred newsletters are also available at some neighborhood businesses and gathering spaces. If you are interested in reserving space, this is what we need from you by the deadline which is 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 9th:

  • Reserve space by contacting, Stearline Rucker, FRNNG program manager. Call (612) 721-5424 or email at:
  • Mail or drop off a check payable to FRNNG for your
  • Email a completed digital press-quality PDF or JPEG of your ad to
  • The image must be high resolution at 300 DPI (1200 pixels wide by 600 tall for a standard size ad) or greater. Colors will reproduce better if the original is in CMYK.
  • Advertisements must meet these requirements to be published.
  • If you need assistance creating an ad, there is a one-time charge of $40 for this service and you will be provided with a digital proof of the advertisement. You may also contact any outside designer for assistance as long as they can meet our design requirements.

Thank you for supporting your local neighborhood newsletter!




Artistic Utility Boxes

Bbox art1y Lindsey Feiner

All over the world, artists and neighborhoods have been wrapping utility boxes in an effort to reduce graffiti and beautify their communities. We’ve started out by wrapping three utility boxes in Field Regina Northrop with pre-approved designs provided by the City of Minneapolis, but we have many more boxes to wrap! We want these boxes to reflect FRN’s values, history, diversity and strengths.

The beauty of this project is that the term “artist” is broad; you do not need to be a painter. Woodworking, graphic design, quilting, needlepoint, ceramics, photography, metalwork and more all apply! You could submit for consideration an existing piece or something you want to create just for this project. The artwork just needs to be something we can scale and reproduce into the utility-box format. For instance, if you are a sculptor, we may be able to use a photograph of your work on a wrap.

Any local artist who is interested in learning more about our utility-wrap project can apply by emailing Please tell us about your artwork and how the neighborhood’s values and strengths are displayed in it.

Artists will be compensated with a small stipend and a box description with artist info on the FRNNG website.

Clean Sweep 2015

Signup for Clean Sweep 2015
by filling out this online form.

A previous version of this page with an embedded signup form was causing some people problems. We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Are you tired of the unwanted junk in your alley? Do you have items from spring cleaning that are still sitting around? Would you like to meet your neighbors in a fun, interactive setting while helping beautify our neighborhood? Please come join your neighbors in the October 3 Clean Sweep event!

The presence of debris, litter, graffiti, broken glass, and weedy yards and gardens is sometimes the first indication that people aren’t paying attention to their property or aren’t invested in the overall well-being of their neighborhood. Simply by spending time maintaining and cleaning up property, a community becomes safer as the appearance of the property improves and people become better acquainted. As a result, our quality of life is enhanced.

On Saturday, October 3, from 8 a.m. until noon, neighbors accompanied by trucks driven by city employees will roll through our neighborhood, picking up materials and debris that have accumulated or escaped weekly trash pick-ups and bi-weekly recycling collections. 

Benefits of Clean Sweep

The immediate benefits of Clean Sweep are numerous. Neighbors meet each other and help fellow neighbors toward the common goal of cleaning up properties. Unwanted materials from yards, garages, and homes are properly disposed of.

Among the items that are not accepted during the October 3 pickup are hazardous materials, batteries, tires, appliances, computers, TVs, and mattresses. Hazardous materials may be taken to the drop-off site at the Hennepin County drop-off facility, 1400 West 96th Street in Bloomington. Volunteers will provide vouchers to neighbors to offset costs of disposal at the South Transfer Station, 2850-20th Avenue South.

Who can participate?

Any resident of Field, Regina, and Northrop neighborhoods may participate
in Clean Sweep by filling out our online form or you can also contact Stearline in the neighborhood by office calling (612) 721-5424 or email  to sign up. Participation by four or more homes per block is required, with one neighbor from that block who is willing to load the trucks for two or more hours.

The twenty blocks with the highest levels of interest and participation by residents will be selected to take part in this year’s Clean Sweep. Residents (except for one per block) need not be present to have their refuse picked up, and there is no charge for the pick-up.

The chairman of the Community and Safety Committee, Ben Elliott, along with volunteer coordinators Mike Lyon and Deborah Spiesz, invite you start the day at 7:15 a.m. by having coffee and pastries with neighbors. Meet at the Parents in Community Action (PICA)—McKnight Early Childhood Family Development Center (Head Start) facility in the parking lot on the corner of 4th Avenue South and 42nd Street. See you there!

Updating our Priorities

postcardThe Field Regina Northrop Phase I Neighborhood Revitalization Program or “NRP” was approved by the three neighborhoods and the City of Minneapolis in 1996, and allocated $2.7 million to 24 projects in FRN, including for housing, economic development, community safety, parks, and other projects. The Phase II NRP Plan was approved in 2005 for $1 million. Most of these funds have been expended, and the FRNNG Board is proposing reallocating and consolidating approximately $40,500 of the remaining $100,000 NRP I &II funds into six existing NRP Phase II strategies.

Follow these links for the neighborhoods’ Phase I and Phase II NRP plans or vist the city’s website at and clicking on “Field Regina Northrop.”

The remaining funds will be consolidated in pre-existing six Phase II strategies related to Business, Communications, Safety, Education, Greening and Parks and make it available for current needs of the Field, Regina, and Northrop neighborhoods. This update of NRP priorities does not create any new categories, and it reflects the the fact that many old NRP projects have been completed and have funds remaining. In order to access those funds, FRNNG must re-allocate them to NRP strategies that are still active.

Please join us on Tuesday, September 15, 2105 at 6:30 PM for information and a community vote to approve this reallocation. The meeting location is: Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church – 1620 E 46th Street. Minneapolis, MN 55407.

Table 1: Here is where funds would be coming from. This amount totals to $40,537.32, and would close out the FRNNG Phase I NRP Plan:

Phase Reallocate From Amount Notes
1 1.1.B.1 Economic Development/Technical Assistance $2,913.58 uncontracted
1 1.1.B.1 Economic Development/Technical Assist. $6,070.72 contract 11243
1 2.1.B.1 Resources Promotional Brochure $0.01 contract 11243
1 3.1.A.5 Community and Safety Outreach Worker $1.95 contract 11243
1 3.2.A.2 Parent / Youth Activities $295.00 contract 11243
1 5.1.B.4 Housing Fair $500.00 uncontracted
1 5.1.B.5 Vacant Boarded Housing $0.50 uncontracted
1 6.1.A.1 McRae Playground Improvements/Equipment $1,500.00 contract 11243
1 7.1.A.1 Office Staff Support $0.75 uncontracted
1 7.1.A.1 Office Staff Support for NRP $3,986.55 contract 11243
2 3.4.A.2 Planning, Cit Participation 25,268.26 uncontracted


Table  2: Where the funds would be re-allocated 

Phase Reallocate To Add funds Notes
1 2.1.A.1 Monthly Newsletter $5,052.06 Communications Committee
1 3.2.C.1 Acquire/ClearNW Corner 46th St/4th Ave. $1,184.47 Greening Committee
2 1.1.A.2 Commercial Improvement Program $8,000.00 Business Committee
2 Combine communications strategies 2.1.A.1-3 $11,000.00 Communications Committee
2 3.1.A.2 Block Clubs $5,000.00 Community and Safety Committee
2 4.1.A.2 Field/Northrop Schools Fencing $1,000.00 Education Committee
2 6.1.A.5 Improvements to Open Spaces $6,000.00 Greening Committee
2 Combine 6.1.A.1 and 6.1.A.4 $932.81 Parks Committee

Ray N. Welter Celebrating a Long, Warm History

Ray N Welter_z_frn

If you think the Ray N. Welter Heating Company has been located forever on the southwest corner of McRae Park, for most of us, this assumption is correct. The residential heating and cooling business moved to an existing building at 4637 Chicago Avenue in 1940. In 1960, the building burned down and was rebuilt. The distinctive mural of an outdoors scene that was created in 1981 and was refreshed in 2014 reflects the Welter family’s enthusiasm for hunting ducks and pheasants. In fact, third-generation owner/operator Nick Welter reported that years ago his grandfather hunted ducks in the slough behind the shop that is the present-day McRae Park.

The founding of the family business

In the early 1900s, 5th Street and 3rd Avenue South in downtown Minneapolis was the location of competing home heating companies. One installed and serviced radiators; the other gravity furnaces. Although the founders started off as rivals, their children married and the businesses later merged to become today’s Welter Heating Company.

The founder of the current business was Michael Welter who was succeeded by his son Ray N. Welter. Ray’s son, Nick Welter, the oldest of 12 children, grew up just across the freeway from our neighborhood (before there was a freeway) and guided the company from 1955 until 2008 when his son Rick took over management and operations.

Celebrating more than 100 years

While a banner attached to the building proclaims a 100-year anniversary, it’s become challenging for the Welter family to determine a precise date for the founding of the business. Just as the Welter family determined a date to celebrate, new information became available. Recently a homeowner living on the 3600 block of 14th Avenue South called to report finding a receipt for services performed in 1904!

The services noted on that aged receipt are remarkably similar to those performed currently by Welter’s 25 employees: installation and servicing of residential furnaces. The current lead installer is the son of an installer, and all installers have journeyman or masters licenses from the city of Minneapolis in gas fitting and sheet metal.

What has changed during the years since the early 1900s are the furnaces. The best one has a variable-speed motor that is 92% to 96% efficient compared to the approximately 50% efficiency of the old gravity furnaces. The Welter family and employees discuss with homeowners who are considering replacing their furnace three points: function, safety, and options. Those qualities – plus pride in their workmanship and heritage – form the foundation that will keep this neighborhood business going for the next 100 years.


By Sue Filbin

Crisis Nursery Protecting Children, Supporting Families


In fall 2013, Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery returned to the Field Regina Northrop neighborhood, where it is once again located by Field School at 46th Street and 4th Avenue. This nonprofit – whose mission is to end child abuse and neglect and create strong, healthy families – provides essential services to over 2,400 children each year, serving over 700 families.

We recently talked with Joel Bergstrom, Development and Communications Director for Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, about the many resources they provide to our community.

24-Hour Crisis Helpline

Parents in crisis can call the helpline at 763-591-0100 to access services, where a family advocate will answer to provide support to families in need. “Almost every family initiatives services through the helpline,” said Bergstrom.


The actual Crisis Nursery itself can house up to 20 children – newborns through 6 years old – or residential care for up to three days at a time. During these stays, children receive nutritious meals, engage in playtime in the gym or playground, do crafts and activities, and get individual attention from professional child-care providers. It’s a safe, nurturing environment during a critical time.

Crisis Counseling

“When the children are being cared for in the nursery, we will work with parents to help work through whatever crisis matters they are facing,” said Bergstrom. During the intake process, a family advocate assesses how severe the crisis is and gauges adequacy of basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and income, and provides referrals and an action plan to stabilize the family.

Home Visitation

Through the 4th Day Home Visiting Program, master’s-level practitioners visit the homes of clients weekly for up to 18 months. The program is designed to provide intensive support for families to make long-term change. According to Bergstrom, “This is how we can really work with families, helping them knock down barriers to self sufficiency long term.”

In addition, Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery provides other important services such as Pediatric Assessment and Medical Management (PAMM) to provide medical care for children who may not have regular access to healthcare. There are also many opportunities for parents to participate in parent education sessions and to join support groups.

If you, or someone you know, encounters a family crisis, take that first step. According to Bergstrom, “If anyone feels like they could use our services, they should not hesitate to call our crisis line. Taking that risk and asking for help takes a lot of strength and courage, and we are so grateful that people do.”

The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery Helpline is 763-591-0100. For information on how you can volunteer, see
“How you can help” and visit:

You Can Help

Interested in volunteering time or resources to an organization committed to strengthening families? Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery serves Hennepin County residents – which, as Development and Communications Director Joel Bergstrom points out, “is about a quarter of our state’s population.”

Here’s what you can do. The meal and snack opportunities would be a great way
for groups of families, friends, co-workers, or faith communities to get involved
in community service.

• Make a meal! Groups of up to six can volunteer to cook a meal for the kids at
the Crisis Nursery. The time commitment is just 2.5 hours, plus grocery shopping.

• Organize a snack time. There are three healthy snack times a day for the children –
another great group opportunity. Requiring just 90 minutes, plus shopping for snacks, this is an easy place to start.

• Volunteer to assist with childcare. For deeper involvement, you can volunteer
direct service to the children. There is an application process, and training and orientation, for people wanting to help in this way. The time commitment is
3-4 hours every-other week.

• Donate. Individual donations make up a majority of the funding of Greater
Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

Visit to learn more about the many ways you can help
Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

By Carrie Shidla

Southside Sprint Puts Neighborhood on Bike Map


2014 ss sprint_273

The Southside Sprint brings bike racing back to the streets of south Minneapolis for the fifth consecutive year on July 19. This year’s event has been named the Minnesota State Criterium Championship, a designation organizers expect will mean more racers, more fans and more excitement.

Amateur bike races are often contested in suburban office parks or country roads with few spectators and few opportunities for family fun. The Southside Sprint is applauded by racers for its urban setting, enthusiastic crowds and plentiful dining and shopping options on the course.
“I was impressed with the crowds, the support, the staffing, the businesses and the neighbors. This is the largest crowd I have seen at an amateur race – and without a doubt the most fan support I have ever been privileged to witness,” noted USA Cycling official, Steve Haugh.

4_july-aug_frn-2-2Championship-Caliber Racing for Everyone

The most popular event of the Southside Sprint schedule is the Family Dental Clinic Dash – the Kids Fun Race. This free event for kids ages 4-12 gives little racers a chance to show off in front of family, friends and neighbors. It’s just one of the opportunities the Southside Sprint provides for racers of all levels. Race officials state that the race brings in the most new race license purchases of any Minnesota race each year. These new riders appreciate the Beginner Racing Clinic offered before racing starts and the dedicated beginner races that put coaches into the race alongside racers.

The event also showcases top Minnesota talent each year, including locally-based professionals, World Masters and US National Champions. Defending men’s Elite Champion, Colin Catlin, has won numerous races around the Midwest, including multiple MN State Championships. He currently splits his season between the Un2014 ss sprint_267iversity of MN team and the NorthStar Junior Development Team—a regional youth development squad. His sister, Kelly, took the women’s Elite prize in 2014 and is preparing to represent the United States at the upcoming Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Family Fun

Outside the fences, the Southside Sprint offers entertainment for everyone. The Twin Six Family Fun Zone includes free kids’ art activities, fitness and lifestyle exhibits from sponsors and other neighborhood businesses and the always-popular snow cone machine. This year, the Fun Zone will include an Athletes’ Village on 48th Street where teams will gather to warm up, cool down and interact with fans. Young race fans can get autographs and pictures with their favorite racers within a few steps of the finish line.

All of these activities bring new visitors to the neighborhood each year. Many racers live in the Twin Cities suburbs, greater Minnesota and neighboring states. For some, it’s their first visit to the Field Regina Northrop neighborhood. St. Paul racer Loren Willis noted, “I came back in the evening for a burger at Town Hall Tap and a scoop at Pumphouse Creamery. None of that would have happened without the Southside Sprint.”

Never-ending legs 

Never-ending legs – that’s every bike racer’s dream. Minnesota racers feed on the energy of the Southside Sprint’s fans and find themselves with “never-ending legs” every summer in the heart of the Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood. Said racer Terra James, “That was the best Minnesota race I have ever raced! A crowd like that makes a race feel like five minutes and gives a girl never-ending legs!”

Racing begins July 19 at 8:00 a.m. and concludes with the final State Championship awards ceremony at 4:00 p.m. The Twin Six Family Fun Zone runs during all race events at the corner of 48th Street and Chicago Avenue. Racers will toe the line just south of the 48th and Chicago intersection. Full race details can be found at:

By Jason Lardy

Editor’s note: Jason Lardy is co-founder of the Southside Sprint. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Northrop.

Help clean up the 35W sound wall

The Greening Committee is working to keep the lands adjacent to the 35W Sound Barrier Walls cut and tended and few volunteers have been able to keep the lands south of 46th Street along 2nd Avenue mowed. However they have been unable to tend the lands north of 46th Street and they are now “out of control.” New Greening Committee Co-Chair Tim Price is asking that volunteers join him in a 90 minute burst of cutting, weeding, raking and bagging along that stretch of land. There will be two opportunities this Weekend:

1) June 6, Saturday morning 8:00 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. and
2) June 6, Saturday evening 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Over time, the Greening Committee will create a work plan with specific dates and times when volunteers can work in teams or individually. The 90 minute ”burst of activity” will aim to mow, rake and bag yard-waste for 1 block with minimal physical effort. Tim will be available at each of those times with bags, rakes, safety cones – allowing us to do our work safely.

Please contact Tim Price if you are available to help out at 612-385-2297 or at

If you are unable to join in but are willing to devote some time any day or time June 4th – Thursday – June 7th – Sunday, let Tim know and he will make sure to get the tools to you to do a “burst” of activity at your time.

photo by Flickr User edkholer 

6th-Annual Classic Car Show at 48th & Chicago

carshow 2014 019 The South Chicago Avenue Business Alliance (SCABA) will hold its 6th-Annual Classic Car Show on Sunday, June 7, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the intersection of 48th Street and Chicago Avenue. The car show will feature a wide variety of classic cars and trucks from the 1940s through the 1980s—and even some cars older than that! Admission is free! Everyone is invited to stop by and “stroll through the past” while dreaming about the cars from yesteryear!

Street Kings Car Club of Minneapolis-St. Paul will again co-host the car show. “Last year’s car show was our best car show ever in terms of the number of cars that participated,” stated Mike Kmiecik, president of SCABA. “We had some cars displayed on Chicago Avenue for the first time, instead of just having cars on 48th Street on the east and west sides of Chicago Avenue. We like being able to spread out the car show, if we can. Hopefully, this year we’ll be able to spread it out even more.”

carshow 2014 020The car show is open to anyone who wants to exhibit their classic cars or trucks. The show will also feature a “bounce house” for kids as well as a D.J. who will be spinning classic ’50s–’80s tunes, plus a beer garden operated by Adrian’s Tavern. The “paint car” will be available again this year for the kids to turn into a “work of art” – for free! Of course, all of that will be in addition to the great restaurants and other businesses around the 48th and Chicago intersection that
will be open that day.

There is a small registration fee for each vehicle participating in the show: $10 for pre-registered vehicles; $20 for day-of-show registrations. Anyone interested in entering the car show should check out SCABA’s website at for more information.

FRNNG Historian, Gerry Sell

gerryGerry and George moved to Minneapolis in 1965 from Boston. The couple has five children: Mark, Marie, Paula, Thomas and Eric. Gerry worked as a volunteer coordinator at South High School for many years. In her role, she recruited volunteers and trained them to assist teachers in classrooms.

Gerry retired from this position in 1992 when her mother took sick. Gerry traveled back and forth from Minneapolis to Ypsilanti, Michigan, to take care of her Mother. Gerry recalled driving from Minneapolis to Michigan seven times in two weeks, and on the last journey to Michigan, brought her mother to the Twin Cities where her mother died in 1994.

Gerry’s mother was Italian and her father was Polish. Gerry’s mother spoke French. Gerry recalled that growing up in Milwaukee, her family had to hide their Italian identity because her father’s mother thought that her son’s wife was Polish because she spoke French.

Gerry stated that during her childhood, the families never talked about nationality because her father did not want his Polish family to know that he married an Italian woman. Gerry was an only child. However she was raised alongside her eight cousins in Milwaukee. Gerry remembers that four boy cousins expected her to do their homework because she was very smart.

Gerry met her husband George while grading papers at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee in 1955, and the couple married in 1958. Gerry wanted to become a medical doctor, however, the medical school told her that the scholarships were only reserved for men and not women. So within 20 minutes, Gerry decided to change her major to mathematics. Gerry and her husband’s college teaching career took them all over the United States before arriving in Minneapolis in 1965, coinciding exactly with the 50-year neighborhood celebration.

Gerry has held many positions in the neighborhood association for many years as follows: a founding member of FRNNG in 1965, chair of the education committee, Field community representative, secretary, editor for the newsletter, and most important: historian for the neighborhood. Gerry has been a member of the League of Women Voters for more than 50 years. As a devoted wife, mother and community volunteer, Gerry and other residents organized and lobbied to have a state bill passed to allow community banking in Minneapolis, and there was born the first neighborhood bank place in Field neighborhood on the corner of 48th and Chicago Avenue South.

As part of the Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group family, Gerry and George will always be a member of our family. Thank you, sons and daughters, for allowing your parents to give of their time and leadership skills to our community.

by Stearline Rucker