When video cameras show up in Minneapolis neighborhoods, they often herald news crews hungry for the scoop on the latest homicide or other outrage.
But when John Akre shows up with his video cam, it usually means that a neighborhood has something to celebrate. The Minneapolis Telecommunications Network veteran and his camera are ubiquitous at neighborhood events.
This time, Akre has expanded a seven-minute MTN video on the revival of Jackson Square Park into a 30-minute documentary titled, "A Backstop Named Innovation." It will be shown on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Ritz Theater, 345 13th Av. NE. in Minneapolis, and there will be a panel discussion on the role of the arts in building community.
Akre's documentary focuses on the transformation of the park at 2212 Jackson St. NE., kitty-corner from Edison High School. New features include a massive backstop with a solar-lit sign, hydrants that harken back to earlier days of firefighting, and a soon-to-be-installed plaque. The latter will highlight the role of Minneapolis fire Capt. Lewis Rober Sr. in popularizing the game of "kitten ball" by adopting it in 1895 to promote fitness among city firefighters, leading to the standardization of a ball 12 inches in circumference and the sport now known as softball.
"Dancing Under the Stars," TwinWest Chamber of Commerce's 27th annual gala, is scheduled for 7 p.m. until midnight on March 9, and advance tickets are now available at discounted prices.
The event will be held at the Doubletree By Hilton Minneapolis-Park Place at 5000 Park Place Blvd. in St. Louis Park. Proceeds will benefit TwinWest initiatives and the chamber foundation's scholarship fund.
Tickets are $75 each through Jan. 15 and $85 thereafter. Go to www.twinwest.com/gala tickets or call 763-450-2220.
A discussion on the Horn of Africa is planned from 1:30-3 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Lenox Community Center, 6715 Minnetonka Blvd. in St. Louis Park.
"Great Decisions: The Horn of Africa" is sponsored by the St. Louis Park Senior program. It will be presented by Elias Ngeru, who was born in Kenya and participates in the Americorp Program with the Minneapolis Urban League.
For more information, call 952-928-6418.
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen will discuss budget issues upcoming at the next session of the Legislature during the Bloomington Progressive Issues Forum scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Davanni's Restaurant, 8605 Lyndale Av. in Bloomington.
Thissen, a DFLer who represents House District 63A, which includes parts of Minneapolis and Richfield, will highlight legislative goals for the session that starts on Jan. 24.
The free event begins with a social at 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact Addie Mattson at addiemattson@com cast.net.
A benefit concert for The Salvation Army next week at the Old Log Theater in Excelsior will feature former WCCO news anchor Don Shelby and his Bluegrass Band.
Also among those entertaining for the event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday, will be singers Jearlyn Steele of WCCO-AM, Patty Peterson of KBEM-FM, Arne Fogel of Minnesota Public Radio, Diana Pierce of KARE-TV, and Ron and Denise Schara of KARE-TV and WCCO-AM. Butch Thompson of KBEM-FM will play piano.
Tickets for the benefit are $28. All proceeds will go to help the ongoing work of the Salvation Army. The Twin Cities Salvation Army fell short of its Christmas goal by nearly 20 percent.
For more information, go to www.oldlog.com or call 952-474-5951.
The League of Women Voters will sponsor a forum for eight candidates vying for an open at-large seat on the Minnetonka City Council at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at Minnetonka City Hall, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd.
The candidates are Patty Acomb, Joe Bodell, Bonnie Burton, John Knight, Peggy Kvam, Thom Lien, Joel Olson and David Webb. They are running for a four-year term for at-large Seat B on the council, vacated by Amber Greves, who resigned in December. The election will be held on Feb. 14.
This free event is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and Hopkins. The forum is open to the public, and voters will have a chance to submit written questions for the candidates.
Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans will host a town hall meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Farmington Library, 508 Third St., to give residents a chance to share their thoughts on state tax reform.
The discussion will include what makes for a fair tax system and how the state might simplify its tax system.
The stop is part of the commissioner's statewide tour to gather ideas for Gov. Mark Dayton on improving state tax law.
For more information, go to the revenue department's website at http://taxes.state .mn.us/Pages/taxreform.aspx.