Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Beyond the Minnesota Zoo May 25, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Apple Valley sign

 

WAITING AT A STOPLIGHT along Cedar Avenue in Apple Valley, I noticed apple-shaped street-side signs. That prompted me to wonder about this south metro community’s name and history.

Mostly, I connect Apple Valley with the location of the Minnesota Zoo. And an Original Mattress Factory store; a brother-in-law is an OMF vice president.

But what about those apples? According to the city website, a builder named several of his plats Apple Valley and then planted an apple tree on each home site in some of his new developments. What a great idea. That was in the early 1960s.

In 1968, residents voted to incorporate the Township of Lebanon as the Village of Apple Valley.

As cities go, Apple Valley is relatively young. I’ve mostly lumped it with other south metro communities like Lakeville and Burnsville. Maybe it’s time to take a closer look, to explore beyond the few businesses I’ve occasionally shopped along and off busy Cedar Avenue. Does Apple Valley have an established downtown? What am I missing that would be worth seeing?

The Visit Apple Valley website uses these words (matched with photos) to describe an Apple Valley experience: serenity, luxury, ahhhhhhh, relaxation, play, indulge.

Interesting enough, it also touts Apple Valley as “the best place to stay when visiting the Mall of America” some five minutes away. That helps the local hotel business. But what about the local retailers who would prefer shoppers stay in town? I suppose, though, those MOA visitors do drop money in local shops…

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Dog gone happy May 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Waiting at a stoplight on Cedar Avenue in Apple Valley Sunday afternoon.

Waiting at a stoplight on Cedar Avenue in Apple Valley Sunday afternoon.

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT A DOG sticking its head out a vehicle window that makes me smile as in, gosh, look at that happy canine.

Still waiting...

Still waiting…

Such behavior also exhibits a carefree spirit. I wish life for humans was as simple as the rush of wind on our faces, the freeing of worries to the wind.

The light changes and, oh, the exuberance of all that rushing air.

The light changes and, oh, the exuberance of all that rushing air.

Why do dogs stick their heads out vehicle windows? I wanted a scientific answer, not just my poetic perspective.

Enjoying the ride...

Enjoying the ride…

My unscientific research (aka google the question) reveals that dogs exhibit this wind catching behavior not to observe the world around them or to cool off, but rather to take in the overload of scents rushing over them. The higher the air flow, the more they can smell. And that, apparently, makes for one happy dog.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling