January 16, 2008

January 16, 2007 - NTSB Safety Recommendation

Yesterday the National Transporation Safety Board released a safety recommendation that addressed a design issue related to the August 1, 2007 I-35W bridge collapse.

The Safety Board is concerned that, for at least this bridge, there was a breakdown in the design review procedures that allowed a serious design error to be incorporated into the construction of the I-35W bridge. The bridge was designed with gusset plates that were undersized, and the design firm did not detect the design error when the plans were created. Because of this design error, the riveted gusset plates became the weakest member of this fracture-critical bridge, whereas normally gusset plates are expected to be stronger than the beams they connect. Further, there are few, if any, recalculations after the design stage that would detect design errors in gusset plates. Finally, other programs to ensure the safety of our Nation's bridges, such as the methods used in calculating load ratings and the inspections conducted through the NBIS program, are not designed or expected to uncover original mistakes in gusset plate designs or calculations. (from the Safety Recommendation Letter)


News Release - January 15, 2008

Safety Recommendation Letter - January 15, 2008

Federal Highway Administration - Interim Report - January 11, 2008

Additional resouces are available on the Government Publications Library I-35W Bridge Collapse site.

The final report regarding the bridge collapse is projected to be done by year end.

December 12, 2007

December 12, 2007 - Minnesota Northstar Rail

Northstar Rail

Northstar Rail and government resources.

The federal government is granting $156.8 million for commuter rail service commuter rail service on the 40-miles of track along Highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to Minneapolis. Stations are proposed for Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Fridley, and Minneapolis, offering a connection to the Hiawatha LRT line in downtown Minneapolis.

Transportation Organization Links

Minnesota Rides-
The official web site of the Metro Transitways Development Board (a joint powers board of Metropolitan Counties), it addresses needs, transitways, legislative proposals and rail authorities in the Twin Cities Metro.

Rail Works -
RailWorks Corporation is the leading provider of track and transit systems construction services throughout North America.

Transit for Livable Communities -
A non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of life in Minnesota communities through a balanced transportation system that encourages transit, walking, biking, and transit-oriented development.
Federal Railroad Administration

Federal funding and financial assistance for passenger rail.

Federal publications, studies and reports on passenger rail.

November 28, 2007

November 28, 2007 - Local Government Publications

Sometimes overlooked,
Local cities, towns and municipalities have great sources of government information, research, and data. 4th_St_S_315_Minneapolis_City_Hall-2.jpg
Many in our community be it your undergrad, faculty, or interested community activist can find a wide range of useful civic information sources at their digital fingertips.

One can find reports, plans, surveys, policies and publications on a wide variety of topics such as planning and development, business, education, employment, housing and development, social benefits, the arts, renewable resources, natural resources, agriculture, sustainability and other areas that touch our lives.

Examples of Local Government Information
Minneapolis Reports
Community Planning
Housing reports

City of Saint Paul
Sustainability initiatives
Official Publications

November 13, 2007

November 13, 2007 - Tracking multiracial Census data

An article in today's Minnesota Daily touches on a topic of concern to many researchers who use Census 2000 data for their research needs. In 2000 people filling out the census forms could choose multiple races instead of just one as with previous Census. This allowed for more detailed information on the racial makeup of the United States but has made comparison of data in other reporting systems almost impossible. Most data sources combine mulitracial responses into one catagory of "mulitracial". The article discusses Sociology Professor Carolyn Liebler's research in trying to change this so the nuances of our country's racial breakdown are not lost.

The Census Bureau is looking into these issues as well. Check out:

Questions and Answers for Census 2000 Data on Race

Racial and Ethnic Classifications Used in Census 2000 and Beyond

Race Data

American Factfinder ( is the main source for Census 2000 data, including population counts, race and ancestry, age, sex, household income, and educational attainment. Data can be found for a variety of geographic areas. For example, here are some basic numbers for
Minnesota, Hennepin County, and Minneapolis.

Article: Nordine, Danielle. "University professor explores role of multiracial data." Minnesota Daily, November 13, 2007.

November 12, 2007

November 12, 2007 - Winter Hazard Awareness Week

Join the National Weather Service and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in preparing for the upcoming Winter season through Winter Hazard Awarness Week. Each day this week the agencies will highlight a specific topic:

Monday - Winter Weather Overview
Tuesday - Outdoor Winter Safety
Wednesday - Winter Fire Safety
Thursday - Indoor Air Issues, Insurance
Friday - Winter Car Safety

Check out the current weather conditions at: National Weather Service - Twin Cities or historical data at


October 10, 2007

October 10, 2007 - Federal Government Expenditures to States

"The Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR) is a presentation of data on federal government expenditures or obligations in state, county, and subcounty areas of the United States, including the District of Columbia and U.S.
Outlying Areas. CFFR contains statistics on the geographic distribution of federal program expenditures, using data
submitted by federal departments and agencies."

Consolidated Federal Funds Report for Fiscal Year 2005 (State and County Areas)

Federal Aid to States for Fiscal Year 2005

October 9, 2007

October 9, 2007 - Minnesota Moose Hunt

Moose hunting season runs from September 29th to October 14th this year. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Moose Hunt site provides current season information as well as historical data.

"The moose is Minnesota's largest wild animal, and Minnesota is one of the few states that have moose. The largest member of the deer family, the moose is commonly found in northwestern and northeastern Minnesota, often near the edge of ponds or lakes. A large moose may weigh 1,300 pounds. Its antlers sometimes measure five feet across and weigh up to 40 pounds."

Moose Hunt Archives

Minnesota's Moose Mystery - 1995 Report