Push to rename Lake Calhoun gains momentum

REUTERS/Eric Miller
Lake Calhoun

Leaving aside the merits or lack thereof of noted slavery proponent John C. Calhoun, what do you change the name to?  But that’s getting ahead of ourselves, as the Star Tribune’s Steve Brandt reports: “The perennial question of renaming Lake Calhoun has been revived with a new directive to Park Board staff to look into the issue again as an online petition against the name topped 1,700 signatures. … Efforts to change a name that honors a champion of slavery and states rights date back more than a decade. In 2011, the board was advised by its legal counsel that it lacked the unilateral power to change the name. … Asked about that, [Park Board President Liz] Wielinski responded, ‘That doesn’t mean in today’s climate that wouldn’t happen.’ ” 

Speaking of racist icons, City Pages reader Matthew Rian Steen wrote a Letter to the Editor expressing dismay over St. Paul’s Gopher Bar’s decision to display the Confederate flag: “I fancy myself something of a dive-bar enthusiast, and the Gopher Bar was just about the last feather to place in my Twin Cities cap. Having spent the entire drive down talking to my friend about how troubled I was with the church shooting and resulting racial insensitivity, it seemed almost surreal to walk into Gopher Bar and see the Stars n’ Bars flying proudly. Upon asking the bartender about it, he replied with an (almost self-aware?) ‘Man, that doesn’t mean anything.’ All I could squeak out was, ‘I beg to differ on behalf of nine families in Charleston’ and walked out.”

Hennepin County takes a step toward addressing child-protection deficiencies. KSTP’s Stephen Tellier reports, “Minnesota’s largest county is on the verge of hiring more than 100 additional staff to help protect some of the area’s most vulnerable kids. … Issues plaguing the state’s child protection system have been at the forefront of a public debate that has played out for much of the past year. The fear is that too many Minnesota children are dying after their cases come to the attention of child protection services. Many believe the problem boils down to too many cases, and not enough staff to handle them.”

If you see writer Brad Zellar around town, be sure to offer him your condolences/congratulations: he recently moved to St. Paul. In a Star Tribune commentary, he describes the experience: “I am writing these words at a table in St. Paul, where I am in exile, and where, late on a Saturday night, I could likely run naked through the streets of my new neighborhood and not disturb the peace. Because the “most livable city in America” can feel like the puzzling and permanent peace of a diorama in a small-town history museum. And as I ran naked and unnoticed through the streets of St. Paul I could spit into the manicured shrubbery of a church or college along virtually every block of my route.”

In other news …

A woman jumped to her death from a bridge over I-35W this morning. [Pioneer Press]

Why even bother serving in the Legislature if you can’t improve the cellphone service at your cabin from time to time? “Hidden nugget: will ranger tower dish improve cell phone service at Tomassoni’s lake cabin?” [Bluestem Prairie]

Your daily Walker: “Inside Scott Walker’s $20 million push to lay groundwork for presidential run” [Washington Post]

A quote you don’t expect in a story about a man who is circumnavigating Lake Superior on a stand-up paddleboard: “He’s at a blistering pace right now” [Duluth News Tribune]

One-time Minnesota Senate candidate and current Fox News host Pete Hegseth should really work on his ax-throwing skills. [Mediaite]

Slate’s Atlas Obscura took a moment to appreciate “Minneapolis’ Marvelous Manhole Covers.” For more on these, check out Andy Sturdevant’s 2013 Stroll column: “Minneapolis’ sense of itself revealed in artist-designed manhole covers”

Twins fans: relatively grammatical. [Mashable]

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 06/23/2015 - 01:46 pm.

    If one digs…..

    deep enough there are plenty more examples akin to the naming of Lake Calhoun that have been swept under the rug by the revisionists.

  2. Submitted by elliot rothenberg on 06/23/2015 - 06:24 pm.

    How about renaming Lake Calhoun…..

    Lake Hubert Humphrey.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/23/2015 - 07:47 pm.

    This reminds me

    of the time Coon Rapids wanted to change their name so they had a contest to come up with a new one. The entry with the most votes was Coon City.

  4. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 06/23/2015 - 08:52 pm.

    Any Minnesotan tempted to fly the Stars and Bars

    Needs to learn a bit of history, they need to learn what The First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment did to save the battle of Gettysburg and how the lost 82% of their regiment in a single day. If they still want to fly the stars and bars they should be shipped off to Wisconsin.

  5. Submitted by paul srothenbe on 06/23/2015 - 09:19 pm.

    Lake Zygi Wilf

    We’re already building a billion dollar stadium for him. Why not throw in a lake?

  6. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 06/24/2015 - 11:57 am.

    it’s so very easy to make something “trend” on social media. Swipe a finger, and there you go! How many of those petitioners are actually residents of Minneapolis–does anyone check? Does being from some other city or state or country matter, for the validity of a petition to change Lake Calhoun’s name?

    Is there a place for the thousands who don’t want to change the lake’s name to clump together as a “trend” or “meme”? Or, do those people have to contact all the elected officials separately?

    I would ask the Minneapolis Park Board to consider that an on-line petition is not enough reason to pretend that Lake Calhoun has the weight of a Confederate flag or a statue noting the glories of a former Cabinet member and Vice President. I mean, the name dates to about 1815–WAY before the Civi War.

  7. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 06/25/2015 - 12:01 pm.

    Confederate Flag

    If people want to offend others with a flag or be offended by a flag that is on them only and no one else. We learned in high school that slavery was not the only cause of the civil war and if we used that as the cause we got no better than a D. The flag is also not a symbolism of racism either any more than slavery was the cause of the civil war. One person in charlston decided to use it to offend others and cause harm but that doesn’t mean his meaning of the flag should extend to everyone else.

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