July/August 2010
in this issue...
Join WTS in 2010!
We want your news!
President's Column
Gangster Bus Tour
2010 Challenge Update
June Program: Northstar Walking Tour
Gangster Bus Tour
Who is WTS Minnesota?
Summer Reading List
Don't Hold Off...
Join WTS in 2010!

Are you a non-member who has been considering membership in WTS?  There is no better time than 2010 to take the plunge.

Through 2010, new (or renewed expired) members will be eligible for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. The winner will be drawn at our annual WTS Minnesota Holiday Party in December.

For a membership application, click here or contact Molly Stewart.

Calling all Members: 
We want your news!

Have you recently...

    earned a certification?
       changed jobs?
          grown your family?
              run a marathon?

WTS Minnesota is on the lookout for all kinds of member news--professional or personal--to publish in our bimonthly newsletter.

Send your news to Katie Roth and keep your colleagues in the loop!
Has your email address changed?

Please email Molly Stewart with your new address and don't forget to update your email address with WTS International as well.
Join Our Mailing List
2010 WTS Minnesota
Board of Directors

Amber Nord

Vice President
Kristin Thompson

Joy Miciano

Christina Miller

Past President

Scholarships & Recognitions Director
Angie Christo

Programs Director
HunWen Westman

Membership Co-Director
Molly Stewart

Membership Co-Director
Karen Allen

Marketing Director
Katie Roth


2010 WTS Minnesota
Advisory Board

Donna Allan
WTS Past President

Laura Amundson
Parsons Brinkerhoff

Gina Baas
Center for Transportation Studies

Biz Colburn
WTS Past President

Sandy Cullen
University of Minnesota

Judy Hollander
Hennepin County

Ann Johnson
University of Minnesota

Connie Kozlak
Metropolitan Council

Jessica Laabs
Kimley-Horn & Associates

Stephanie Malinoff
Center for Transportation Studies

Laurie McGinnis
Center for Transportation Studies

Dan Meyers

Sam O'Connell
Dakota County

Kristin Asher-Osberg
City of Richfield

Lisa Raduenz

Kate Sanderson

Dawn Spanhake
Center for Transportation Studies

Amy Vennewitz
Metropolitan Council

Charleen Zimmer
Zan Associates

Amber 1
President's Column 
Amber Nord
I hope all of you are enjoying your summer!   I am glad to have seen many of you at our summer programs. We have done some fun and interesting things, as you will read later in this newsletter. 
As we enter into fall, our Scholarships Director and committee swing into high gear to put together our scholarships information for distribution to students. Awarding scholarships is a cornerstone of our chapter. As most of you know, our chapter is raising money to fund our scholarships in perpetuity. We are in the home stretch of our fundraising, and would like everyone to consider a donation so that we may meet our goal. The 2010 Challenge gives you a lot of ways to give--rise to the occasion and help us Fuel the Fund!
Also, I would like to introduce our new Regional Director, Nadine Lee, to our membership.  WTS International Board elections took place in May at the Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.  Nadine is a member of the Denver, Colorado chapter and works for RTD-FasTracks. And interestingly, Nadine was also the recipient of the WTS International Member of the Year.  More about Nadine in an upcoming newsletter.

Amber Nord
WTS Minnesota President
Upcoming Events...Mark your calendars!

August 25:  AGC Gubernatorial Candidates Forum
A Members-Only Opportunity!
Join WTS Minnesota and other sponsoring organizations for the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota (AGC) Gubernatorial Candidates Forum. We invite WTS members to come and learn where candidates stand on job creation, economic development, and infrastructure investment.

Wednesday, August 25th  |  8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Northland Inn & Conference Center  |  Brooklyn Park
Attending:  Mark Dayton (DFL), Tom Horner (IP), Tom Emmer (GOP) (pending)
Moderated by Lori Sturdevant
, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Pre-registration is REQUIRED by TODAY, August 23.
Check your inbox for a registration form. 

::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::   ::

August 26:  Reception for Laurie McGinnisLaurie McGinnis
Help us celebrate the accomplishments of WTS member Laurie McGinnis, including her recent appointment as director of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota!

Thursday, August 26th  |  5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Ginger Hop  |  201 E Hennepin Ave
Free for WTS members, $10.00 for non-members
Includes hors d'oeuvres - Cash bar available

RSVPs to HunWen Westman appreciated by August 24, but not required
2010 Challenge Update
Kristin Thompson

As of August 15th, WTS Minnesota has raised $1,664 as a part of the 2010 Challenge. Your help is essential to meeting our goal of raising $7,000 for our scholarship program in 2010! Remember, WTS Minnesota will match every dollar donated, up to $3,000, in 2010.

 Gas Gauge

Did you know you can donate to WTS Minnesota scholarships online? It's just as easy as shopping at your favorite website--with a much more rewarding outcome.

All you have to do is visit wtsinternational.org and click on DONATE NOW. Be sure to direct your donation to the Minnesota Chapter Scholarship. The website will walk you through the payment process.
June Program:  Northstar Commuter Rail Tour
Kristin Thompson

On June 22nd, WTS members and friends were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the region's newest transit option, Northstar Commuter Rail. Ed Byers, Director of Northstar Commuter Rail for Metro Transit, led a walking tour of Target Field Station and a Northstar train.

A beautiful day for an outdoor tour!
Northstar Platform

Byers shared the "hows" and "whys" of many facets of the service. For instance, the bike racks in Northstar passenger cars differ from those used on Hiawatha LRT because Northstar, like all commuter rail services, is regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The FRA has stricter guidelines about securements than does the Federal Transit Administration.
Program attendees were full of questions about Northstar. One member asked what the biggest surprise has been since operations began in November. Byers responded that ridership on Twins game days has far exceeded expectations, and that Northstar has had to rapidly expand capacity to accommodate fans. Northstar trains serving Twins games now have eight passenger cars, necessitating two stops at each platform.
The tour concluded with a unique opportunity: to climb into the engineer compartment of a Northstar locomotive. A number of intrepid WTS-ers made the ascent. Lunch at Darby O'Ragen's, with a view of Target Field Station, followed the tour.

Ashley Ver Berg climbs up for a look around; Michael Corbett looks right at home behind the controls
Ashley Ver Berg / Michael Corbett

2010 Social: Gangster Bus Tour
HunWen Westman

On Thursday, August 5, twenty-five WTS members, friends, and family boarded a vintage bus for a ride through St. Paul history. With "Dapper Dan" Hogan as our guide, the group learned about a scandalous period of the city's past, when local police officers betrayed other law enforcement agencies and made deals with criminals. 

Dapper Dan welcomes WTS aboard!
Dapper Dan oversaw the O'Connor System during the Prohibition era, under which criminals could hide out in St. Paul, as long as they promised not to kill, kidnap, or rob within city limits--and paid a small bribe. It's no wonder he had so much insider information, and could point out sites such as the Lexington Avenue apartment building where Public Enemy #1 John Dillinger had a shoot out with federal agents; the former home of William Hamm, where the Hamm's Brewery chief was kidnapped by the Barker-Karpis gang as he headed back to work; the bar where Bonnie Parker quietly ate and drank on a rare break from hiding from the authorities; and a few homes where Ma Barker and her musician sons (or at least they were always carrying instrument cases) very courteously paid rent every month.

The group also learned a lot about non-gang-related local history, extending from the pioneer days when West St. Paul and South St. Paul received their geographically-puzzling names, to the more recent contributions of local celebrities F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Schulz, and Jesse Ventura. After the tour, many attendees enjoyed a legal drink with honorable colleagues and law-abiding friends, appreciative of the respectable city St. Paul has become.

Riding in style...
Who is WTS Minnesota?

As of August 2010, WTS Minnesota chapter membership is...
Membership Breakdown
Blogroll:  Transportation Reading

Looking for some transportation-related end-of-summer reading?
Here are a few of WTS board members' favorite blogs:

  • INFRASTRUCTURIST:  National blog with frequent posts on a wide range of transportation and infrastructure issues
  • The Transportationist:  David Levinson's take on local and national transportation topics
  • The Transport Politic:  Timely analysis of national transit, high speed rail, and transportation funding issues
  • Human Transit:  Excellent analysis and discussion of public transit issues
  • Fast Lane:  The official blog of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood
  • Twin Cities Streets for People:  Local bike and ped news and discussions
  • twin city sidewalks:  A sidewalk-level look at (mostly non-motorized) transportation in Minneapolis and St. Paul