Saving Energy This Winter: 5 Tips

Retain heat this winter with these 5 fast tips

Saving Energy in Winter

Improve your home’s heat retention! (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Saving energy –and especially, saving money—is a priority for most homeowners during the winter months. Every time the furnace starts humming, we get an audible reminder that a little more of the paycheck just went up in flames to keep the frigid outdoor temperatures at bay.

Because so much of the year is spent in uncomfortably cool temperature ranges, Minnesotan homeowners have more time to reap the benefits of efficient heat retention strategies. Fortunately, you won’t have to break the bank or spend all your weekends updating your house. Here are five tips that will keep your home warm this winter for less:

1. Update Door Weatherstripping

This is a fast, inexpensive way to stop heat from escaping your house, and for keeping heat out in the warmer months, too. Weatherstripping is the soft, spongey bumper that runs along the threshold of exterior doors and windows. It forms a seal between the closed window or door and the threshold’s trim. The rubber-like material can break down, crack, or come loose from the threshold over time, which lets warm air out and cold air in. Replacing weatherstripping is simple: just pull off the old, and stick on the new! You can find replacement strips at a hardware or home improvement store.

2. Seal up the Fireplace

If you aren’t using your fireplace, seal it up!
A traditional wood-burning fireplace is a heat drain when not in use. If you can’t sit near the fireplace in winter without throwing on a sweater, you’re losing heat up your chimney! While closing the damper (also called a “flue”) is a good start, but the thin metal plates don’t provide very much protection from the cold. You can buy purpose-built inflatable chimney plug balloons online and at various retailers for added protection. If you’d rather make something yourself, you can make a cover for the inside of your fireplace from rigid foam insulation board. With some careful measuring and cutting, the foam has just enough flex around the edges to make wedging it above the fireplace and below the damper an easy 5-minute job.

3. Take advantage of Sunlight

Sunlight is one of the most obvious yet overlooked heat sources for homes in the winter. It’s so efficient, that the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN uses sunlight alone to maintain its balmy 70-degree temperature, even in the subzero Minnesota winter. That’s right, America’s largest indoor mall has no centralized heating: just a lot of windows facing the sun!

4. Use your Ceiling Fans

We usually associate ceiling fans with keeping us cool, but they are also useful in the winter months, too. Hot air that might otherwise be trapped near the ceiling can be pushed back down where it’s useful: around you!

5. Let your Vents Breathe

When possible, move your furniture away from air vents. If you have any vents that are obstructed by furniture, shut them off so that the air passes to the next available vent. Otherwise, you’re just paying to heat the pocket of air underneath the couch, which isn’t saving energy!

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5 Most Scenic Walking Trails In Minnesota « CBS Minnesota

In Minnesota, escape from urban hustle and bustle is just minutes away. With so many parks and hiking and biking trails, it’s easy to retreat momentarily to the great outdoors. There’s nothing like a good hike through these parks and along these trails.

Source: 5 Most Scenic Walking Trails In Minnesota « CBS Minnesota

Fitz Loven Park

7877 Ridge Road
Lake Shore, MN 56468
(218) 825-0410
Fitz Loven Park is always open for outdoor activities: hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Both wilderness and a man-made nature sanctuary, the park has hiking trails, a picnic pavilion, a playground and restrooms. The park is named after the late Fritz Loven, a Minnesotan who developed the 80-acre property he once owned.Visitors can stroll through a canopy of balsam, conifers, Norway pines, fir and black and white spruce trees. The hiking trail surrounds a small trout pond. Camping isn’t allowed. But if you want to go trout fishing, contact the City of Lake Shore first.

Afton State Park
6959 Peller Avenue S.
Hastings, MN 55033
(651) 436-5391
Afton State Park takes its name from Afton Water, a poem the 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns composed. Full of surrounding bluffs and deep secluded ravines, hikers can explore the Saint Croix River and rolling prairies. Trails along the Saint Croix are lush with basswoods and silver maples. Hikers can capture the beauty of the river as they go, or take a break to soak their feet and take in the nature and beautiful scenery around them. The main attractions are a beach for warm weather swimming, bird watching and plenty of prairies and trees.

Minnehaha Trail
4801 S. Minnehaha Park Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 230-6400
Wherever your dog likes to roam, that’s where you should go. The Minnehaha trail follows the course of the Mississippi River through a rich corridor of wooded and open areas. For something more venturesome, hike along the bike trail towards Minnehaha Creek near Minneapolis, a canoeing paradise. You can travel Minnehaha Creek by trail or canoe to Lake Harriet.
Minnesota Valley State Trail
19825 Park Blvd.
Jordan, MN 55352
(651) 259-5774
The Minnesota State Trail is part of the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area. Minutes from Twin Cities, this multi-use state trail has a diverse landscape of wetlands, savanna oak bluffs and floodplain forests. Extending roughly from Shakopee to Belle Plaine through Chaska, the trail leads to the Mississippi River. As you go, be sure to keep an eye out for the varied birds and wildlife that inhabit the area.

Cut Foot Sioux Trail
1037 Division St.
Deer River, MN 56636
(218) 246-3474
This trail is wonderful for bird watching and wildlife observation. Operated by the USDA Forest Service, Cut Foot Sioux Trail runs through the Chippewa National Forest. Although lush with foliage and flush with greenery during the warm months, the trail does not lead to any water source, so hikers should be sure to bring their own canteens. The trail has a vigorous 18-mile loop that horseback riders also use. If you want a break from hiking and need a drink of water, retreat back to Deer River.
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Eagan: One of America’s Safest Neighborhoods

In another example of a Minnesota city being recognized as a great place to live, Wendy’s hometown of Eagan, Minnesota was recently ranked as the 5th best city to live in a study by 24/7 Wall St, a business news and opinion website.

US cities were ranked based on the state of the local economy, education performance, housing, employment levels, and crime rates, and it is in these last two categories that Eagan stands out among the other cities on the list. Eagan is exceptionally safe: with a population of more than 66,000, only 24 violent crimes were reported in 2014! In addition, only 3.3% of Eagan residents are unemployed.

City of Eagan Banner

The article also points out several additional highlights of living in Eagan, including its comfortabe proximity to the Twin Cities metro area. This includes major attractions like the Mall of America in nearby Bloomington, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, or any of the major sports events happening year-round.

You can read the full article here.

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The Twin Cities: Top Cities In the US to Live In

Top Cities in the US: Minneapolis and St. Paul


The Minneapolis Skyline (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

The news and lifestyle website Patch of Earth recently ranked the 8 Absolute Top Cities In the US to Live In, and Minnesota’s Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul came out on top!

St. Paul

The St. Paul Skyline (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

The top 10 finalists of seven different “Best Cities in the US”-style lists were compared and combined. They tallied up the cities that finished highly most often, and the Twin Cities came out on top:

First Place Winner:

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN! It shows up on five of the lists below. It’s considered very green, with a great food scene and fantastic job market. Plus it’s a good place to live without a car.

You can read the full article here.

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Halloween has a Capital City, and it’s in Minnesota

In the Northwest suburbs of the Twin Cities, you may be surprised to find a slice of Halloween history. In fact, the city of Anoka is officially the “Halloween Capital of the World.” While our modern version of the Halloween holiday is still relatively new, Anoka has been celebrating it for nearly a century.

Halloween in Anoka: Carved PumpkinIn 1920, civic leaders in Anoka organized a parade for on Halloween eve, purportedly to divert young pranksters from causing trouble. This is beleived to be the earliest recorded Halloween parade in the country, and the city has been celebrating Halloween with parades and other events every year since; excluding 1942-43. In 1937, Congress made it official and declared Anoka the “Halloween Capital of the World.”

The all-volunteer organizers of this year’s events have quite the lineup of events scheduled througought the month of October: there’s a day and night parade, the “Gray Ghost” 5k and 1-mile fitness walk, pumpkin carving contests for kids and adults, and much more. Find out more at the Anoka Halloween event website!

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Minnesota Trivia: 50 Fun Facts

Minnesota Trivia: 50 Fun Facts

Minnesota has been a part of the United States since 1858, and since then it has collected a substantial amount of “firsts”, both nationally and internationally. Whether it be scientific breakthroughs like the CDC 6600 Supercomputer (#35), prominent cultural centers like the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or Guthrie Theatre (#8-9), or inexplicable oddities like the world’s largest concrete pelican (#7), you’re sure to be surprised by some of these fun facts!

This article was originally posted to and credits  Phil Douglas and Ward Blumer. 

  1. Minnesotan baseball commentator Halsey Hal was the first to say ‘Holy Cow’ during a baseball broadcast.
  2. The Mall of America in Bloomington is the size of 78 football fields — 9.5 million square feet.
  3. Minnesota Inventions: Masking and Scotch tape, Wheaties cereal, Bisquick, HMOs, the bundt pan, Aveda beauty products, and Green Giant vegetables
  4. The St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 allowing oceangoing ships to reach Duluth.
  5. Minneapolis is home to the oldest continuously running theater (Old Log Theater) and the largest dinner theater (Chanhassan Dinner Theater) in the country.
  6. The original name of the settlement that became St. Paul was Pig’s Eye. Named for the French-Canadian whiskey trader, Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant, who had led squatters to the settlement.
  7. The world’s largest pelican stands at the base of the Mill Pond dam on the Pelican River, right in downtown Pelican Rapids. The 15 1/2 feet tall concrete statue was built in 1957.
  8. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.
  9. The Guthrie Theater is the largest regional playhouse in the country.
  10. Minneapolis’ famed skyway system connecting 52 blocks (nearly five miles) of downtown makes it possible to live, eat, work and shop without going outside.
  11. Minneapolis has more golfers per capita than any other city in the country.
  12. The climate-controlled Metrodome is the only facility in the country to host a Super Bowl, a World Series and a NCAA Final Four Basketball Championship.
  13. Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
  14. The nation’s first Better Business Bureau was founded in Minneapolis in 1912.
  15. The first open heart surgery and the first bone marrow transplant in the United States were done at the University of Minnesota.
  16. Bloomington and Minneapolis are the two farthest north latitude cities to ever host a World Series game.
  17. Madison is the “Lutefisk capital of the United States”.
  18. Rochester is home of the world famous Mayo Clinic. The clinic is a major teaching and working facility. It is known world wide for its doctor’s expertise and the newest methods of treatments.
  19. The Bergquist cabin, built in 1870 by John Bergquist, a Swedish immigrant, is the oldest house in Moorhead still on its original site.
  20. For many years, the world’s largest twine ball has sat in Darwin. It weighs 17,400 pounds, is twelve feet in diameter, and was the creation of Francis A. Johnson.
  21. The stapler was invented in Spring Valley.
  22. In 1956, Southdale, in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, was the first enclosed climate-controlled suburban Shop50states.
  23. Private Milburn Henke of Hutchinson was the first enlisted man to land with the first American Expeditionary Force in Europe in WWII on January 26, 1942.
  24. The first practical water skis were invented in 1922 by Ralph W. Samuelson, who steam-bent 2 eight-foot-long pine boards into skies. He took his first ride behind a motorboat on a lake in Lake City.
  25. In Olivia a single half-husked cob towers over a roadside gazebo. It is 25 feet tall, made of fiberglass, and has been up since 1973.
  26. The first Children’s department in a Library is said to be that of the Minneapolis Public Library, which separated children’s books from the rest of the collection in Dec. 1889.
  27. The first Automatic Pop-up toaster was marketed in June 1926 by McGraw Electric Co. in Minneapolis under the name Toastmaster. The retail price was $13.50.
  28. On September 2, 1952, a 5 year old girl was the first patient to under go a heart operation in which the deep freezing technique was employed. Her body temperature, except for her head, was reduced to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Dr. Floyd Lewis at the Medical School of the University of Minnesota performed the operation.
  29. The first Aerial Ferry was put into Operation on April 9, 1905, over the ship canal between Duluth to Minnesota Point. It had room enough to accommodate 6 automobiles. Round trip took 10 min.
  30. Rollerblades were the first commercially successful in-line Roller Skates. Minnesota students Scott and Brennan Olson invented them in 1980, when they were looking for a way to practice Hockey during the off-season. Their design was an ice hockey boot with 3 inline wheels instead of a blade.
  31. The first Intercollegiate Basketball game was played in Minnesota on February 9,1895.
  32. In 1919 a Minneapolis factory turned out the nations first armored cars.
  33. Tonka Trucks were developed and are continued to be manufactured in Minnetonka.
  34. Hormel Company of Austin marketed the first canned ham in 1926. Hormel introduced Spam in 1937.
  35. Introduced in August 1963, The Control Data 6600, designed by Control Data Corp. of Chippewa Falls, was the first Super Computer. It was used by the military to simulate nuclear explosions and break Soviet codes. These computers also were used to model complex phenomena such as hurricanes and galaxies.
  36. Candy maker Frank C. Mars of Minnesota introduced the Milky Way candy bar in 1923. Mars marketed the Snickers bar in 1930 and introduced the 5 cent Three Musketeers bar in 1937. The original 3 Musketeers bar contained 3 bars in one wrapper. Each with different flavor nougat.
  37. A Jehovah’s Witness was the first patient to receive a transfusion of artificial blood in 1979 at the University of Minnesota Hospital. He had refused a transfusion of real blood because of his religious beliefs.
  38. Minnesota has one recreational boat per every six people, more than any other state.
  39. There are 201 Mud Lakes, 154 Long Lakes, and 123 Rice Lakes commonly named in Minnesota.
  40. The Hull-Rust mine in Hibbing became the largest open-pit mine in the world.
  41. Minnesota’s waters flow outward in three directions: north to Hudson Bay in Canada, east to the Atlantic Ocean, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
  42. At the confluence of the Big Fork and Rainy Rivers on the Canadian border near International Falls stands the largest Indian burial mound in the upper midwest. It is known as the Grand Mound historic site.
  43. Author Laura Ingalls Wilder lived on Plum Creek near Walnut Grove.
  44. Akeley is birthplace and home of world’s largest Paul Bunyan Statue. The kneeling Paul Bunyan is 20 feet tall. He might be the claimed 33 feet tall, if he were standing.
  45. Hibbing is the birthplace of the American bus industry. It sprang from the business acumen of Carl Wickman and Andrew “Bus Andy” Anderson – who opened the first bus line (with one bus) between the towns of Hibbing and Alice in 1914. The bus line grew to become Greyhound Lines, Inc.
  46. The first official hit in the Metrodome in Minneapolis was made by Pete Rose playing for the Cincinnati Reds in a preseason game.
  47. Polaris Industries of Roseau invented the snowmobile.
  48. Twin Cities-based Northwest Airlines was the first major airline to ban smoking on international flights.
  49. Alexander Anderson of Red Wing discovered the processes to puff wheat and rice giving us the indispensable rice cakes.
  50. In 1898, the Kensington Rune stone was found on the farm of Olaf Ohman, near Alexandria. The Kensington Rune stone carvings allegedly tell of a journey of a band of Vikings in 1362.

This article was originally posted to and credits  Phil Douglas and Ward Blumer. 

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The Twin Cities from a New Perspective

Whether you’ve lived in the Twin Cities your entire life, or if you’ve never set foot in the “land of 10,000 lakes”, photographer Chad Halvorson’s unique image compilation is sure to change your perception of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The artist’s new video, Twin Cities in HDR, is the result of a summertime visit and a lot of time-lapse photography. Halvorson used a technique called HDR, which stands for “High Dynamic Range,” to capture wide variety of colors and the crisp, high-definition look of the images.

Twin Cities in HDR from Chad Halvorson on Vimeo.

The video features some of Minneapolis and St. Paul’s most iconic landmarks, including the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens and Minnehaha Falls, as well as some lesser-known locations that cast an intriguing and positive light on Minnesota’s largest urban center.

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