Off Beat

What's in a Name

Celebrated in legend and in song (not to mention scores of City Pages articles--most recently "Erector Set," published September 26), the Hollman redevelopment on Minneapolis's near north side now has a name: Heritage Park.

According to a press release from the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, developer McCormack Baron & Associates chose the name based on "principles" composed by a 17-member committee made up of residents, business leaders, and representatives of community organizations. Those principles--cue the violin music--included "the planned renewal of the natural physical beauty of the area," "the remembrance and celebration of the past while building for the future," and "the representation of the life-long learning opportunities in the area for children and adults."

Even if you put aside the fact that "Heritage Park" is eerily reminiscent of Heritage USA, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's erstwhile Christian theme park (Minnesota connection: Jim Bakker served time in the federal pen in Rochester; Tammy Faye hails from International Falls), the developer could have chosen a more suitable moniker. After all, given the projected home prices, access to those lifelong learning opportunities, beauty, and remembrance will be pretty much restricted to folks who can afford them--as opposed, say, to the people who used to live there and got no such thing. A more fitting name would have been "If You Were Rich You'd Be Home Now." Or "This Land Is Our Land." Or perhaps simply "Tara." --By Tom Finkel


Collateral Damage

After three months of deep thinking, we've finally hit upon the silver lining in the terrorist attacks of September 11: the death of Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Well, not literally. But on local airwaves it has become a lot more difficult to tune in the browbeating, moralistic talk-radio shrew. Since the day of the attacks KSTP-AM (1500) has preempted her 8:00-to-11:00-a.m. weekday show in favor of a locally produced call-in segment focusing on the war on terrorism. Hosted by attorney (and KSTP regular) Ron Rosenbaum, along with Mark O'Connell (a frequent presence on The Morning Spin With Babs & the Boys) and retired New York City cop Dan Conry, the program offers an alternative to Katherine Lanpher's Midmorning program on Minnesota Public Radio.

Beginning January 7, the slot will be filled with a new talk show hosted by Ian Punnett, who is relocating to the Twin Cities from Atlanta. A former rock DJ and seminary graduate, Punnett is familiar to national radio audiences as a frequent fill-in for conspiracy guru Art Bell, and locally as a former guest host for KSTP's Tommy Mischke. "It's really a thinking man's radio show, and yet he hasn't lost his pop sensibility at all," trumpets program director Joe O'Brien, adding that the station hopes eventually to syndicate Punnett's show nationwide.

Does this mean the Twin Cities will become completely Schlessinger-free? Well, no. The Dr. Laura Show, which was pulling in only about a 3.5 share in her old time slot (compared with a 9-to-10 share for station heavyweights such as Jason Lewis and Joe Soucheray), can still be heard from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Saturdays. "Since 9/11 a lot of stations have moved Dr. Laura into the nighttime, and sometimes even into the overnight hours," notes O'Brien.

May she rest in peace. --By Paul Demko

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