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Minneapolis is healthiest city in the US

Minneapolis is the healthiest city in the U.S. according to Livability.com. "Minneapolis provides residents with exercise opportunities, good food choices and strong support networks to help live healthy lives," according to a Livability press release. "With this in mind, Livability.com has named Minneapolis the Top 10 Healthiest City, 2015."

The editors studied County Healthcare Rankings data and spending data from Esri to find places with quality and affordable health care. They analyzed several measures of healthy communities such as the adult obesity rate, the percent of residents with access to healthy food and other stats. Also factored in were the number of hospitals, ratio of doctors to residents and more. They also looked into city infrastructure to promote healthy living, like access to farmers markets and parks, walkability, man-made amenities such as golf courses, as well as natural amenities. Additionally factored in was data from the EPA about the environmental components of a healthy city such as clean air and water.   

"With a park system covering nearly 17 percent of the city, it’s no wonder Minneapolis was named our healthiest city," according to the release. "On top of offering activities from hiking and biking to swimming, kayaking and cross-country skiing, recreational centers and health clubs provide even more indoor exercise options. Fewer than 14 percent of residents smoke, while more than 87 percent participate in physical activities on a regular basis. Minneapolis ranks well in health-care statistics, and less than 11 percent of residents are uninsured, and most get annual checkups and health screenings. Recycling, composting, and walking or biking to work is a way of life for many of the people living in Minneapolis, and the downtown farmers market makes it easy for residents to get healthy foods."

Minneapolis 2nd among top 10 best downtowns

In this "golden age of American downtowns," Minneapolis is #2 out of 10 nationally, according to Livability.com.

The ranking criteria included vacancy rate, population increase since 2010, percentage of new homeowners, daytime population, project median household income, walk score, entertainment options and arts/cultural attractions.

"Young professionals between the ages of 22 and 34 are especially drawn to downtowns, where people can congregate, enjoy shopping and dining, walk, bike and, most importantly, live," according to a Livability.com press release. "With this in mind, Livability.com has named Minneapolis a Top 10 Best Downtown, 2015." 

"Our editors focused on small to mid-sized cities, taking into consideration increasing housing values and populations to find cities that are growing and thriving. They looked for areas with new construction because cranes are often a great sign of economic and cultural recovery. They found downtowns with vibrant arts scenes and walkable streets. In addition, our well-traveled editors weighed in with their own opinions. The data drives our short list, but our journalistic judgment helps determine the final rankings," according to the release.

“We’re really in a new golden age of American downtowns,” says Livability editor Matt Carmichael. "Throughout cities large and small, the energy and resources focused on restoring Main Streets and urban cores is paying off.”

"Downtown Minneapolis offers a low vacancy rate, high percentage of new homeowners, walkability and an array of entertainment options. It is also surrounded by parks, lakes and rivers providing residents quick access to a variety of outdoor recreation," the release added.

NE Minneapolis named best art district in U.S.

USA Today's 10 Best Readers' Choice awards includes Best Art District, which went this year to Northeast Minneapolis.

Northeast Minneapolis beat out art districts in Santa Fe, Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia and Detroit.

"Centered around the Northrup King Building," according to the USA Today 10 Best website, "the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District serves as a home or workplace to more than 400 independent artists. Studios, galleries and performance spaces occupy re-purposed industrial building, and the art scene is characterized by its many annual events, like the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association's spring Art-A-Whirl and fall Fine Arts Show, Art Attack at the Northrup King Building in November and Casket Arts Quad's Cache open studio events, also in November."

Minnesota ranks ninth for LEED Green Building

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual ranking of the top 10 states in the nation for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system. Minnesota came in ninth.

“Minnesota has so many committed business and community leaders, policy makers and green building professionals who are using LEED to transform their built environment, producing many innovative spaces that will improve the health of our shared planet, as well as the health of the people who use those buildings every day,” says Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC, in a press release.

Projects in the Twin Cities with LEED include the Wells Fargo Center and Campbell Mithun Tower, both in Minneapolis and both LEED Gold; and Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul (LEED Certified).

Minneapolis rises from 6th to 5th place in creative cities ranking

According to a report conducted using data from the Western States Arts Federation, Minneapolis has moved from sixth place to fifth place in terms of its creative vitality.

The report, delivered to the Minneapolis City Council last week, shows that the city's "creative" jobs and organizations, in addition to residents' spending on books, artwork and performing-arts tickets, helped the city move up the list.

Minneapolis residents spent about $1,165 per year on the arts, the report said, compared to sports-related sales in the city amounted to about $534 million in revenue. Meanwhile, Minneapolis generated another $311 million in revenues from arts-related nonprofits. That total includes grants awarded to organizations or museums and ticket sales for those groups' events. 

Twin Cities among top 10 for Millennials

According to a recent survey by the news and culture website Vocativ, Minneapolis is sixth and St. Paul is eighth in livability for Millennials.

Factors in creating the index ranged from salary stats and employment rates to the price of a ounce of pot. "To reach our top 35, we started with the 100 most populous cities in America and used open-source Internet data to measure vital stats like salary and employment rates, and the cost of rent and utilities, as well as everyday concerns like public transportation, weather and crime," according to the website.

"We also considered lifestyle metrics such as the price of dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings and an ounce of high-quality weed—you know, the important stuff—as well as access to live music and sports."

Matt's Bar makes Thrillist

Isn't it "fun" when outsiders decide which of our heralded eating establishments are "most iconic?" Still, we can't argue with Thrillist's selection of Matt's Bar for Minnesota, especially because of the Jucy Lucy. In the midst of a polar votex, the hot burger stuff with melted cheese is just the antidote for the cold.

Still, the writeup is curious. "Matt's qualifies as a restaurant because a real bar is stocked with hard liquor and is not frequented by families with kids. Most importantly, it's an iconic restaurant because Matt's invented the 'Jucy Lucy'. It's spell differently, here, because someone 'forgot to add the i', but it doesn't matter how you spell it, really, because the burgers have hot, beautiful cheese pouring out of the middle of the patty. Thank you, Minnesota."

Well, okay. You're welcome.

Minneapolis fourth-best city for young entrepreneurs

According to the personal finance site NerdWallet, Minneapolis is the fourth-best U.S. city for young entrepreneurs. To determine the ranking NerdWallet examined cities across the country, and measured such factors as access to funding (“the dollar value of commercial and industrial, or C&I, loans under $250,000 lent per capita in 2013 by banks with less than $10 billion in total assets) and opportunities for networking and mentorship.
“For those just starting a business, the right environment—surrounded by successful business leaders—is key, so we included the number of businesses for 100 residents in a city’s metro area,” Sreekar Jasthi wrote in the report. “To assess the availability of peers for networking, we included the percentage of residents in each city age 25 to 34 as well as the percentage of the population over 25 with at least a bachelor’s degree.” NerdWallet also looked at the local economies of each city, and cost-of-living or affordability.
About Minneapolis Jasthi wrote that the city “has a large population of residents age 25 to 34, who live in the Twin Cities’ business friendly environment—a place with a high number of businesses per 100 people, and a low unemployment rate. Minneapolis also ranked highly on NerdWallet’s list of the best cities for female entrepreneurs, with organizations such as Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota offering a wealth of resources.”

MSP airport concourse becomes an arts corridor

MSP International Airport is finalizing plans for its new “arts corridor” on the C Concourse, The New York Times recently reported. Under the guidance of Robyne Robinson, one of the Twin Cities top jewelry designers, a former news anchor and Airport Foundation MSP’s arts and culture director, the new corridor will create a “gateway” to the abundant arts and culture of the cities.
“We want to make sure that when people get off the plane, they know there’s a place they can go to and get to know us and get onto their flight and have a better understanding of what Minneapolis is, so that the next time they come through, they’ll want to see some film, see some art,” Robinson said.
The corridor includes a new screening lounge that will open in November. The lounge has modular and cinema-style seating with multiple high-definition screens; rotating programs highlighting local filmmakers; and a collapsible stage for lectures or small performances, according to the article.
While commercially run movie houses are available to passengers in Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore airports, the MSP airport’s screening room is the first of its kind in the United States.

Works Progress' "Water Bar" at Crystal Bridges Museum

The Minneapolis-based Works Progress, comprised of Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson, is part of the State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AK. Just inside the museum’s lobby is Kloecker and Matteson’s project Water Bar.
A partnership between Works Progress and the museum, as well as scientific researchers, environmental advocates, public employees, educators and local residents, Water Bar is an interactive installation that invites visitors to sample and compare water from three local sources: Beaver Lake (Bentonville), the Illinois River (Siloam Springs), and an artesian well in Sulphur Springs.
Representatives from the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and local educational institutions are staffing the bar. In addition to serving water, they engage visitors in conversations about drinking water, where it comes from and how to protect it.
The exhibition, with Water Bar, is on view until January 19, 2015. Works Progress is also participating in a State of the Art Symposium on November 14-15 to talk about how they engage artists, designers, organizers and creative professionals to realize public art rooted in place and purpose.
“Works Progress uses place, design and the shared experience of drinking water to focus our attention on local water sources,” says Chad Alligood, curator, Crystal Bridges. “The collaboration with Works Progress and the Illinois River Watershed Partnership represents a convergence of art and advocacy that engages the community in conversations about an issue that affects all of us.”
Matteson adds that, “We hope to install a local version of the Water Bar project in 2015 that will highlight Minnesota's water resources, and are currently seeking collaborators and support.”

MSP top metro for innovatively solving urban issues

Minneapolis-St. Paul was recently named one of the top 10 innovative cities in the U.S. by CNN Money.

"From technology and infrastructure, to job creation and sustainability," the article stated, the cities included are "leading the pack when it comes to creatively solving urban issues."

About MSP, the article stated, "June saw the opening of a new light rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experts from around the country praised it as an example of transportation infrastructure done right -- it integrated the needs of the affected communities and used the new line to drive economic development."

The Twin Cities were also selected as "early adopters of programs to help immigrants start businesses, artists buy real estate, and enlist local execs in solving community problems. The Cities also get high marks for their public health efforts, including smoking cessation programs, cancer screening and efforts to create walkable communities."

Minneapolis is the new....everything

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, Minneapolis is #5 among "America's Top 5 Cities to Keep on Your Radar." Why? Because "Minneapolis is the new...everything," the article says.

"[I]t seems like there's always a new 'hip' neighborhood or 'it' city to visit," the article continues. "Which had us thinking about the coolest cities to visit right now. After much map-scouring and a sprinkle of savvy" HuffPost selected Minneapolis, as "the city is becoming trendier by the second. Between Minneapolis' awesome music scene, wealth of vintage stores and pro teams in pretty much every league, there is literally something for everyone."

Six MN breweries medal at GABF

Six Minnesota breweries received medals at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado.

Badger Hill Brewing in St. Louis Park won a gold for its White IPA, as did Steel Toe Brewing of St. Louis Park for Wee Heavy, a Scotch Ale.

Indeed Brewing Company won a silver medal in the Specialty Honey Beer category for its Mexican Honey, an Imperial Lager brewed with Mexican orange blossom honey and Amarillo hops.

Bronze awards went to Summit Brewing of St. Paul for its Extra Pale Ale; Bent Paddle Brewing Co. of Duluth for the 14° ESB; and Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery for Buffalo Bock, a wood- and barrel-age strong beer.

With 268 medals awarded in 90 beer categories covering 145 different beer styles to brewers across the country, GABF, now in its 28th year, is the largest commercial brewing competition on the world.  A complete list of all the winners can be found here.


MSP among top job markets for college grads

According to Richard Florida, co-founder and editor at large of CityLab.com, Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of the best places for recent college graduates.

The Twin Cities placed sixth among 20 metro areas studied.

Using economic and labor market data provided by EMSI, Florida and his crew ranked America's 100 largest metros based on Bureau of Labor Statistics figures on full-time regular employment for about 320 occupations that require post-secondary education. They then ranked the data using five key factors:

• Percent change in jobs requiring post-secondary education from 2010 to 2014.
• Percentage of 25-34 year olds who hold these positions.
• Average wages for these jobs requiring post-secondary education.
• Concentration of these jobs based on their "location quotient."
• Share of new jobs requiring post-secondary education that can be attributed to local economic conditions or competitiveness.
"Tech and knowledge hubs lead the pack," Florida writes. "San Francisco takes first place, followed by San Jose, the center of the Silicon Valley. Austin is third, Seattle, fourth, and Denver, fifth. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Boston, Houston, Raleigh and L.A. round out the top ten. Overall the leading metros for these highly-skilled jobs reflect the twin pillars of America’s knowledge-energy economy."


Minneapolis third in Bicycling Magazine's top cities list

Minneapolis came in third in Bicycling Magazine's 2014 list of Top 50 Bike Friendly Cities.

"Minneapolis has long been an exemplary city for cycling—it topped our rankings in 2010 and was second in 2012. Even so, before she became mayor in 2014, Betsy Hodges said the city needed even better amenities for people like her who enjoyed biking but shied from traffic," the article stated.

Last winter, Hodges called out the "the city’s 4,000-plus year-round bike commuters" and "delivered a proclamation touting the city’s progress: 19 miles of bicycle boulevards installed since 2011; one of the country’s biggest bike-share systems per resident; and learn-to-ride classes that have spread the city’s bike culture to its large Somali community."

She also stated that "by 2020, Minneapolis would install 30 more miles of protected bikeways, so people like her, and thousands of others in the city, would feel more comfortable riding their bikes."

St. Paul came in 40th in the survey, and was lauded for "doubl[ing] the number of bike commuters betrween 2005 and 2012, and in 2014 unveiled a bicycle master plan calling for a loop of off-street bike paths downtown."

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