Marion Renault


A comeback on University Avenue

When Central Corridor light-rail construction began along University Avenue in 2011, city officials warned the Textile Center that their business would see a 30 to 50 percent drop in foot traffic. They were right. For the Center and other businesses along the Central Corridor line, construction has brought detours, parking headaches and a dip in business. As heavy construction wraps up, these businesses sought a comeback with their Return to the Avenue sales event Saturday.

Hopeful entrepreneurs pitch ideas

It took Abbe Hyde less than 90 seconds to convince a panel of entrepreneurs that she had a $1,000 idea. To be fair, a minute and a half was all she had. In the University of Minnesota’s “Shark Tank”-style Biz Pitch contest Wednesday, eight undergraduates pitched their ideas for new businesses. Hyde took the grand prize with her presentation of NotKnotted, a retractable device that would keep headphones untangled. The management junior said the competition highlighted the importance of creativity on campus.

Poverty awareness tour visits U

As Zach Ingrasci watches footage of his body slowly emaciate — 18 pounds worth over a two-month trip to Guatemala — he is viscerally reminded of the summer he spent living on a dollar a day. “I’d never actually been truly hungry before,” he said of the experience he shared with two friends the summer following his sophomore year of college. For 56 days, the group lived in a shack in Peña Blanca, Guatemala with a budget of only a dollar each day to better understand extreme poverty.

U falls short in sexual health report card

  The University of Minnesota is still one of the worst schools in the Big Ten when it comes to sexual health, according to Trojan brand condom’s 2012 Sexual Health Report Card. Following a major drop last year from 10th place, the University of Minnesota climbed 13 spots to claim the 55th spot. It was once again the second- lowest-ranked Big Ten school behind the University of Nebraska, which ranked 75th. But sexual health advocates on campus say they remain confident in University efforts.

Students face extreme poverty to highlight microfinance

The University of Minnesota will host a screening of a documentary by college students who spent two months living on a dollar a day to experience extreme poverty firsthand.    “Living on One Dollar” will make its campus debut Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at the Bell Museum. The film follows four college students — including one Minneapolis native — who decided to spend the summer of 2010 living in poverty in a rural Guatemalan village.

SECIA struggles to stay afloat

Though the Southeast Como Improvement Association approved budget changes intended to alleviate its financial burdens at its meeting Tuesday, its future is still uncertain. SECIA has recently experienced a 75 percent budget cut, according to its most recent newsletter. Neighborhood coordinator Ricardo McCurley said unless the group finds a way to increase its funding stream within the next eight months, it will be forced to reduce staff and will ultimately lose its ability to afford office space by 2014.

Light-rail project 74% complete

The University of Minnesota will be relieved of heavy Central Corridor light-rail construction by the end the year. “The work next year will be quiet and tidy,” said Laura Baenen, spokeswoman for the project. “All the earth-moving will be done.” She said roadways, sidewalks, curbs and gutters for all 18 new stations — including the four stops near the University — will be completed by the end of December. According to the Metropolitan Council, the Central Corridor is now more than 74 percent complete.

Community concerns lead to changes in UTEC plans

The Dinkytown area can expect more than luxury housing from the project that will replace the University Technology Enterprise Center in 2014. Increased parking and a public walkway are among the site’s new features approved by the Minneapolis Planning Commission  Monday. The changes follow discussions between area businesses, the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, developer GEM Realty Capital and the city. MHNA President Doug Carlson  said this type of cooperation is a recent trend that benefits all involved.

Confirmed meningitis cases grow in Minn.

Minnesota health officials reported that 129 clinics  in Minnesota have purchased drugs from the New England Compounding Center, which is now closed and under investigation for its link to a deadly national meningitis outbreak, according to the Star Tribune. Monday, the Food and Drug Administration  warned that several of the company’s drugs had been contaminated. Now the Minnesota Department of Health plans to contact each affected clinic to inform them of potential risks.