Community Information

Minnesota is a 'Happy' State

Minnesota is one of the "happiest" states in the entire country. No, I'm not just saying that because I'm biased and because I particularly like Minnesota; according to the website WalletHub, Minnesota ranks as the #2 happiest state in the U.S.

The website used many factors when considering the happiest states, such as physical health, emotional well-being, recreational activities, job security, weather and many more variables contributed to these rankings.

Our "Land of 10,000 Lakes" was edged out by Utah, which scored the highest in the county in both recreational activities and work environment. Plus, it's hard to compete with that landscape; who gets tired of looking onto a mountain range every day?

Notice money wasn't as much of a factor in the study as say, job security or a positive work environment. While money can help make someone happy, this "study "wanted to get to some core ideals of happiness like the factors listed above.

Minnesota always seems to score high on these type of rankings; the state has scored well with some of the Money Magazine best cities to call home, it has scored high on the Forbes business rankings of states, this "happiness" study and so much more. Seriously, do an Internet search and you will find Minnesota consistently in the top tier of state rankings for a variety of topics.

To say the least, Minnesota is a great place to call home.

Now the question I'm sure many of you are asking: where does Wisconsin rank? They are all the way down at #18.

It feels good to finally beat Wisconsin at something.

Photo courtesy of: Matthew Deery


2015 Minnesota State Fair Will Have A Lot of New Foods

The Minnesota State Fair is just around the corner, and each year around this time Minnesotans get excited to hear about the new foods that will grace the extravaganza. While some foods sound delicious, the fair always brings odd food concoctions like "Bacon Ice Cream" and "Burger Dogs" which in turn has people dying to try these fair-only foods. This year is no different, and the new foods this year are nothing short of interesting. This year will bring 40 new foods, including 11 new frozen treats.

The fair is without a doubt one of my favorite events of the Minnesota year, and I am always making a list of the new foods I want to try. Now only days away, I can already taste the new foods, and some of my old favorites. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.

The Burger Dog sounds great, a weiner of ground beef, hot dog, cheese, bacon and just a touch of jalepeño, all tucked nicely into a hot dog bun. You can find this at the Gass Station Grill by the Food Building.

Cowboy Bites are bite-sized mashups of bacon, sweet corn kernels, cream cheese and jalepeños, breaded and then fried. Of course it's fried. It's the fair. You can find this at the Frontier Bar.

Deep Fried Ribs (again, everything is fried) is the one that interests me the most. The Ball Park Cafe is serving these up. The smoked baby back ribs are battered and fried and served with, of course, barbeque sauce.

How about a Mac and Cheese Cupcake? I don't think I need to explain what this is. You can find this at LuLu's Public House.

There are of course so many more to check out. For the full spread, check out the ...

New Vikings Stadium Pairs With U.S. Bank For Naming Rights

The Minnesota Vikings new stadium recently passed the 50% completion mark. 2016 is closer than ever and the Vikings new home is almost ready to host live events. With the stadium really coming together, it was only a matter of time before the naming rights to the new palace were sold to a corporate entity.


'Sharing and Caring Hands' Will Expand to Help Even More People

Mary Jo Copeland working at Sharing and Caring Hands.

Upon seeing the Sharing and Caring Hands building, an organization that has helped countless lives in the Minneapolis community, demolished by bulldozers, one should frown at the tragic site. But this morning, the destruction comes not with any sort of sadness, but excitement for what is in store for this organization with their huge facility upgrade.

The old builidng's destruciton will make way for an even bigger and brand new facility to help those in need residing in Minneapolis. The $5 million renovation will bring more space for youth centers and even temporay housing to help get families back on their feet. 

Located right next to Target Field, this faith-driven organization has provided the needy in the community with food, clothing, temporary shelter, transportation, and so much more for the past three decades. The old building no longer facilitated the ability to properly serve those coming to their door -- this new facility will pave the way to help more of those who need it. 

“I spent a lot of years there, helping millions of people. Now, I’m going to miss my building” said founder Mary Jo Copeland, 72, who has earned national and local accolades for her charity work. “But I’m happy we’re building.”

The new facility is set to open mid-summer and will have family size housing, new children and teen centers and much more space to accommodate all those coming through their doors. During the construction of the new building, no homeless families were displaced -- all good news. 

The next chapter for this facility will surely be bright as they seek to improve the Minneapolis community one person at a time. ...

Get Ready for '612 Brew Fest'

Besides the beauty of green growth and the warmth that spring brings, for Minnesotans it also means a plethora of great outdoor events to enjoy. On May 15th and 16th, the 612 Brew Art Music and Beer festival will be in full swing as part of the Art-A-Whirl festivities in Northeast Minneapolis. The event is open to the public and best of all, free. 

This event features a ton of live music for visitors to enjoy as well as an open studio which showcases the works of three talented local artists. 

On Friday evening, five bands will be featured with Saturday hosting eight bands -- some of the headlining acts are: Loons in the Attic, July Fighter, Nathan Miller and Ash St. John. 

With all this entertainment, visitors are bound to get hungry -- to remidy that, six tasty food trucks will be on site. And to wash it all down, there is going to be plenty of beer. 612 Brewery will be serving its five most popular beers during the festivities. 

To find more information, check out 612 Brewery's website

Image courtesy of: 612 Brewery 


MLS Awards Minnesota a Professional Soccer Franchise

The MLS announced today they would be awarding Minnesota with an expansion team in 2018. The young sports league is growing fast, and Minnesota is the latest addition. MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced at a press coference at Target Field in Minneapolis the news that is sure to make Minnesota soccer fans ripe with glee. 

Garber made the announcement alongside Minnesota United (a minor league soccer team) owner Bill McGuire, one of the biggest proponents for the pro soccer franchise. At the announcement, Garber said the Minnesota soccer market had the "perfect recipe for success" for the MLS. 

Now, the team and the state needs to figure out their plan for a stadium. Many residents of this state scoff at the notion of publically funding yet another sports stadium, especiailly in the wake of the Vikings new billion dollar facility.

Governor Mark Dayton spoke on the funding of a potential new stadium: 

“They need to fully realize that this is something they’re going to have to pay for out of their own private resources.”

The new MLS team plans to focus their efforts on a spot in Minneapolis near the Farmer's Market. McGuire has many partners in this MLS venture, including the Minnesota Twins owners, the Pohlad family and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. 

This franchise will slowly come to fruition in the coming years, leaving the thousands and thousands of soccer fans in the state with a smile on their face for what is in store. 

Photo courtesy of: MLS



Turbo Tax Suspension on Minnesota Lifted

On Saturday afternoon Minnesota taxpayers breathed a sigh of relief -- last week, the Minnesota Department of Revenue announced they would not accept Turbo Tax prepared returns because of an apparent security breach of the very popular tax software. Over the weekend the MN Department of Revenue stated they would allow residents of the state to again use the software for their 2014 tax returns. 

Two Minnesota residents reported their taxes already being filed on Turbo Tax, leading many to believe the tax software had been breached. But after checking their system, Intuit, the manufacturer of the software Turbo Tax, claimed their system was not breached and they believe the personal data was stolen elsewhere. 

Because Turbo Tax is such an inexpensive and easy method of filing taxes, this news of Turbo Tax's reinstatement in Minnesota means many residents can easily take care of their taxes before the April deadline. Users of the software can take comfort knowing that Turbo Tax is still safe and effective, and that Intuit "implemented new and targeted security measures." 

Tax season is never fun or easy -- but for those who use Turbo Tax, it just got a little easier. 


Minnesota Couple's Epic Christmas Tree Goes Viral

Around the holiday season, there are definitely those who get into the Christmas spirit more than any of us can imagine -- Jon and Brittni Wawra from Greenfield, MN, are two of those type of people. The not only set up a massive, 10 foot Christmas tree in their living room, but they decorated it with over 7,000 lights and then set up a system to control all the lights electronically to coordinate with popular music from 2014. 

They posted their tree flashing to music on YouTube and now it has over two million views -- this will definitley put them on Santa's "nice" list for spreading so much Christmas cheer! 

Jon has a computer engineering background which set him up to make such a marvelous tree. He is a modern day Clark Griswold, but with a lot more flare. Their video is gaining steam across the country and bringing a bit of noteriety to Minnesota's celebration of Christmas. 

Photo via: YouTube Screenshot 


Two Minnesota Teens Honored For Saving Fishermen

In Minnesota, ice fishing is a huge deal. For those who partake in the recreational activity, falling through thin ice is always a fear. For fishermen Bruce Halvorson and Paul Monahan, that fear became a reality on Long Lake when the pair broke through the ice and were unable to pull themselves out of the water. 

Thankfully, two Minnesota teenagers, Cody Clements and Alex Stark, both 16-year-olds, heard the fishermen's cries for help and promotly ran to the source of the pleas for help. Stark used a shovel to help one man out of the freezing water, while Clements used a rope from his portable ice house to save the other. 

For their heroic efforts, both teens were presented with citizens' awards for bravery by Long Lake Fire Chief James Van Elyll. 

Without these two teens acting fast, this story would have definitely ended tragically. 

Photo courtesy of: Petritap 


Carrie Underwood Set for the 2015 State Fair

The 2015 Minnesota State Fair is shaping up to be magical for country music fans, specifically those who love country music superstar Carrie Underwood. The beautiful singer with the powerful voice will play a concert at the famous Grandstand come next fall. 

Who is Carrie Underwood? Come on, seriously? She is only one of the most successful musicians of the past decade, after winning American Idol in 2005. Since then she has won six Grammys, has more than 64 million worldwide record sales and 18 number one singles. Her accolades don't stop there -- and come August 2015 Minnesotans will be able to soak in all this superstar has to offer. 

Even though us Minnesotans can hardly fathom the warmth of an August evening, fans of Underwood will need to be ready to get their tickets for her 2015 State Fair concert (set for Saturday, August 29th) in the coming week -- tickets go on sale December 15th and are priced from $50-$65. Fans can buy tickets at the fairgrounds themselves, visit,, or call (800) 514-3849.

Even though I myself won't be attending the concert, just the fact that I will be in the same state as the wondrous Carrie Underwood, even if for just one day, I consider that a win. 

Photo by: MrHairyKnuckles