Archive for the ‘South Metro’


Trailer for a City Council Meeting is a Waste?

Here is the trailer that the City of Whitehorse in Yukon, Canada’s community cable station manager created to promote their televised city council meetings. While this has gotten some press as everything from pointless to riveting, one has to wonder whether or not it is really anything more useful than a silly viral video.

Yes, cities in the US fund community cable stations through the taxes paid by residents who choose to pay for cable TV and they need something to do with these dollars but are professional-ish videos promoting council meetings really what they should be spending their taxpayers’ money on?

What would you think if Burnsville or Eagan did something like this? Do you want your fees going to this sort of highlight reel? Would it make you more likely to watch an upcoming city council meeting? Do you think this would increase viewing of local council meetings if you or others in your community were to see it?

Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lakeville 21 Theater: Lakeville, MN

Special Edition: Movie Theater Reviews by Mikeh

Mikeh has offered to post the reviews he’s been writing on local theaters on the site over the remainder of the summer. This is the fourth posted and the rest will come up as he completes them. Enjoy!

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It is turning out that the South Metro Theaters are more alike than they are different (shocking, I know) with a clear dividing line between theaters with Massive Screen sizes vs theaters with Typical Screens. Is the experience worth the price difference? Today I’m reviewing the Lakeville 21 theater and it’s Monster Screen.

So far I have reviewed: Regal Eagan Stadium 16, Carmike 15 – Apple Valley, and Marcus Rosemount Cinema

The lone remaining theater to experience: Paragon Odyssey 15

On Sunday July 14th I visited the Lakeville 21 theater with my son to see the movie Pacific Rim (2D) at the 10:40am showing. This theater has what they bill as the largest theater screen in Minnesota called their Monster Screen. Recently upgraded to 6500 watt 4k projectors, there is now a $2.00 surcharge to view films on the Monster Screen.

Ticket Purchase and Lobby – Ticket price was $6.75 (matinee price) plus a $2.00 upcharge for the Monster Screen per ticket. Their matinee price is the same as Carmike in Apple Valley, but both are $1.75 more than the Marcus theater in Rosemount. Like all the theaters thus far, they also have special pricing days and other offers, check their webpage for more info. Tickets can be pre-ordered via MovieTickets.com and there is a surcharge/handling charge. As you may note from my picture the facade is very large which I believe is to make it visible from I-35. Tickets are purchased from a line of booths just as you enter. We purchased our tickets and entered the massive lobby. I do not know if this lobby is larger than a place like Carmike, but I know it’s taller. The roof height allows for movie posters all along some walls up high in front of you, to the left, and to the right. Below those walls on the left and right are long concessions counters, and in front is the guy ripping tickets to enter the hallways for the screens. In the middle are some benches, and a number of tall tables that you can set your food on if waiting for the theater to be ready for seating. Lighting in the Lobby was pretty good but with all the windows may be affected by the sunlight outside. They do have some video games off to the side in alcoves. Only one side of concessions were open at the time we arrived, but the other side could be seen getting prepared.

The concessions counters were not blocked by anything and were easy to access, their price list though has gone electronic and like at Regal, and at first i couldn’t see what they had to offer because they were showing an add on one of the screens. I saw half the menu but not the other half. I have been here before though, so I knew what to order but in general the animation stuff blocking the list can slow the process for people. And if you’re there on Friday night for a big new release, slow concessions lines is not what you want. Prices include tax and this is a Coke shop so smuggling in your Diet Pepsi is required. You can get free refills all day on a large popcorn and large pop, something my wife appreciates, as she doesn’t go to movies often so we refill when the movie is over and bring the popcorn home to her. Popcorn seemed unsalted, but they have shakers available if you wish to add more salt. Popcorn flavor was similar to the Marcus theater.

Theater Impressions – We arrived in the theater at 10:20 for a 10:40 and were in our seats by 10:30. Note that if you don’t like walking, the Monster Screen is not for you. The theater layout is in a long run going north to south. Once your ticket is ripped you go left for 8 theaters or right for 11 theaters (actually one is right in front of you, their former main screen). The Monster screen is all the way at the end of the right section. It is so far down that they added another concession stand in that area as well as a set of bathrooms. The concession area was not staffed that morning and didn’t look like it was used much. Lighting in the hallway was somewhat dark, clear enough to see where you are going, but not so much that you notice the quality of the carpet. Digital lighted signs stick out and are visible down the hall with the theater number and show name. Walking into the theater you are in hallway with tall walls and can see just the edge of the screen. While this screen is only about 2 feet bigger than the Carmike Big D, the theater itself appears significantly larger. The theater can seat just under 600 people and has stadium seating with high back chairs that can lean back and the armrests can be lifted out of the way if you want to get closer to your significant other. Seats are covered in cloth and well padded, I noticed no discomfort sitting in them.

When we entered the theater the lighting was bright, and we could easily see the seats as well as all the people (maybe 5 couples) already in the theater. At about 5 minutes before show time the lights dimmed one level, still not theater dark but if you left to get popcorn and then came back you might have trouble finding your seat again. At 10:40 (showtime) the lights dimmed completely, and the full projector started up first showing us that this was a theater used DLP powered projectors.. Once the trailers started I noticed something different here that I hadn’t noticed at the Big D. The sound system was quite loud, and there was an abundance of bass. Both audible bass and sub-frequency as I could feel the floor and chair I was in vibrate especially during the Wolverine trailer. I also noticed a rattle in the top right of the theater due to the heavy bass during the Wolverine trailer. It wasn’t loud like I needed to plug my ears, just generally loud and I was hoping it wouldn’t get too loud during the movie.

The movie started at 10:46, only 6 minutes of trailers which was great since I’d already seen most of them so far and so much better than the endless trailers and Carmike. During the movie I noticed no image issues, with a plenty of detail and not too dark even considering much of the movie is set at night, in the rain, and/or in dark buildings. The sound was excellent, so much so that I felt dragged into the movie more so than i would have expected. I get the feeling that the quality of the sound was due as much with the movie, as perhaps the theater, but it really was stellar. I can’t describe how really good it sounded, but again, it may just be some incredible work by the director and his audio engineer. At a minimum the theater was up to the challenge.

Since my experience at the Regal Theater I was now on the lookout for staff walking into the theater and I did spot a guy once. I did not notice him right away because he didn’t walk under the screen but instead walked up the stairs on my right, all the way to the top of the theater. Again, a clipboard with a white piece of paper was what caught my eye as he moved around. I suggest these guys use a cover sheet of dark paper when moving around to limit the distraction they cause. He didn’t walk under the screen, so it wasn’t as distracting as at the Regal and if he came in a 2nd time I never noticed.

Likes:

    All day free refill on large pop and large popcorn.
    Great sound system.
    Big Screen.
    Fabric backed seats with recline and good padding

Dislikes:

    Staff noticed walking around the theater (white paper is the tell, cover that with something dark)
    Long walk to the theater and for refills.

The follow is a list of prices I noted and include tax.

Prices:

    Matinee Ticket – $6.75
    Monster Screen Surcharge – $2.00
    Large Popcorn – $5.50
    Large Pop – $4.00
    Candy – $3.00 & $2.50
    2 Large Pop and a Large Popcorn – $13.50

Have you been to Lakeville 21? If so what did you think about it? Would you go here over other local theaters knowing their trailers are limited to only a few minutes? Does a long walk to a particular screen bother you? Do you agree that if a staff member walks into the theater they should be doing what they can to hide themselves? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as we’d love to hear what you have to say.

County Commissioner Writes Like a 5th Grader

Dakota County Commissioner Tom Egan for the Third District recently submitted a response to this Letter to the Editor over at SunThisweek where he takes personal offense to his belief that unscientific survey results were manipulated in the public’s view. While he can be as upset as he likes, instead of his incorrect base claim, people should be more concerned with the fact that one of the people making decisions for the county cannot write worth his life.

From the Egan’s Letter to the Editor:

About a year ago, a very unscientific Survey Monkey survey conducted by Dakota County asked people what park uses they would support and one third answered paved trails. This was considered by county staff to be high considering the make up of respondents. The other two thirds didn’t oppose paved trails: They simply had different choices. Based on the findings of this unscientific survey, the writer might want to suggest that if I go out for diner with two friends and I order a steak but the other two order something else that it means two thirds of us are opposed to steak.

Earlier this year a poll was conducted for Dakota County by the National Research Center with a margin of error of 4 percent. When asked what uses they would support in Dakota County Parks such as Lebanon Hills, respondents were given eight specific choices and a ninth choice of “other.” Sixty-six percent selected the choice of “Trail networks for hiking, biking or skiing.”

Those who oppose paved trails in Lebanon Hills have an absolute right to their opinion; but they can’t create their own facts.

There are so many issues here I had difficulty even knowing where to begin:

    1. He uses contractions in his letter. This is a politician writing a Letter to the Editor which will be seen by the 10 or 11 people who don’t use SunThisweek as tinder for their fire pits and as such he should be trying to sound like an adult. “Can’t” may be acceptable for daily speech, text messages and e-mail, but keep it out of formal newspaper responses.

    2. Tom Egan should have asked someone to do a read through so he could have avoided misspelling “dinner” as “diner”.

    3. He should have carefully researched this ‘unscientific survey’ prior to berating the improper use of statistics by the previous letter writer. Egan ended up doing the exact same thing himself, unintentionally; it makes him look incredibly silly and unfit for office.

    4. Egan completely misunderstood the question being asked on the survey he chose to use as evidence that paved trails are a popular choice by County residents. No where in the question he notes does it state ‘paved’ and all of the uses provided as part of the question can and do currently happen on unpaved trails. Talk about creating facts!

Egan should post a follow-up Letter to the Editor where he apologizes for this one. He has proven himself uneducated, misguided, and misspelled and he should really think twice about his future decision-making, up to and including putting himself as a representative of Dakota County residents in the future.

What do you think about this one? Do you think Egan looks like a fool after what he wrote? Do you think public officials should be more careful with what they disseminate? What about his choice to misrepresent the survey question just as he had claimed the original letter had done with the results? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Regal Eagan Stadium 16: Eagan, MN

Special Edition: Movie Theater Reviews by Mikeh

Mikeh has offered to post the reviews he’s been writing on local theaters on the site over the remainder of the summer. This is the third posted and the rest will come up as he completes them. Enjoy!

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I’ve now been to my 3rd new theater and I’m starting to see some of the differences between them as well as starting to identify what I appreciate about a theater and what will bother me. Today I’m reviewing the Regal Eagan Stadium 16 theater, how will it stack up?

So far I have reviewed: Carmike 15 – Apple Valley and Marcus Rosemount Cinema

I yet plan to review the: Paragon Odyssey 15 and Lakeville 21

On Saturday July 6th I visited the Regal Eagan Stadium 16 in Eagan, MN with my son to see the movie This Is The End at the 10:30am showing. This theater does not have a “premium” large screen so we saw the movie on whatever is their typical screen size. Screen size seemed about the same size as the Marcus screen size.

Ticket Purchase and Lobby – Ticket price was $7.50 per ticket (weekend matinee price), the highest matinee price thus far for a movie at a normal (non-super sized) screen. Not well publicized but their weekday matinee prices are $6.00 per ticket. You can pre-order via Fandango.com (there is a surcharge) or get the tickets at the entrance. We paid for our ticket just inside the entrance where they have a person in a glass faced room. Once you pay you go through some more doors into the main theater lobby. The lobby seems more open than at the Marcus theater and has a single concession counter along the far wall. Entrances to the theaters are on either sides of the counter, 8 to the left and 8 to the right. Along one wall were videogames and off to the side were some tables and chairs for those waiting for their show, or others they are meeting. Like Marcus this theater has an abundance of extra stuff on display like candy and such. So much so that at one location some of it actually blocked access to the counter requiring you to lean over it to interact with the staff. This theater has Coke products, so the Pepsi folks will have to sneak it in. Prices include tax and overall seemed to be higher than I’ve seen thus far. One issue I found was they use HD television screens for their concession listings and prices. They cycle through an animation that causes all the screens to not show any items they have or their prices. For me that meant an uncomfortable answer to the clerk who asked what I would like, and I had to say I do not know, what do you have. Eventually the screens calmed down and I was able to see prices, and we settled for 2 large pops and a large popcorn. When asked, I was told that large popcorns did get one free refill, but not pop. Though I did notice on the screen when it stopped that it says large pop or popcorn get free refills. So, maybe I had a new guy? A large popcorn is about the same size as the Marcus large size. One further note, popcorn seemed to be well salted but seemed to taste more like Carmike than the Marcus flavor. Also if you want to add salt, your only option is salt packets. They don’t have salt shakers available to salt your popcorn. They do sell flavored popcorn salts and I did see someone buying some.

Theater Impressions – We arrived in the theater at 10:06 for a 10:30 movie due to having an unexpected number of green lights. No one was in front of us as we got our tickets, or as we picked up our concessions. We were in our seats in the theater by 10:10 finding ourselves all alone (turned out we had the theater to ourselves, almost). Lighting in the theater was good. When you walk in the lights are up enough to see clearly the seats and the stair treads were lit by orange LED’s. The size of the theater is what I would now call standard for a non-huge screen theater. Seats at the floor level and then seats rising up like a stadium with stairs on either side of the seat rows. This theater did seem a bit longer vs tall in the last normal size theater. The seats looked like a newer style and the first theater with seats (that I noticed) where the armrests could be lifted up to make one large seat. When I sat down I was surprised to find that in this theater seats do not move, there was no recline to the seats. On top of that the back of the seat seemed thin and did not support my back fully. The thin backs along with lack of recline did have me noticeably shifting in my seat during the movie. Seat covering was fabric and the seat backs were not high, but a bit higher than the typical back heights I have seen for normal theater seats.

The standard package of pre-show stuff wrapped up right at 10:30 at which time the lights dimmed a bit, and movie previews and the turn off your cellphones videos started up. At 10:45 the lights dimmed all the way and the feature movie started. 15 minutes of previews was not too bad. Overall the movie display and sound was good. During the pre roll there was no indication for the type of projectors or sound system they have. I assume it was Digital and DLP, but nothing was indicated. The only real issue I ran into was staff from the theater distracting me during the movie. Twice during the show a staff person walked into the theater and then under the screen and then stood in the far corner with a clipboard that had some white paper on it. He would make some note and then walk out. Since it was just me and my son in there the extra guy walking around by the screen was definitely distracting. I have no idea what he was doing but I haven’t seen that activity and any other film I’ve been at before, maybe I just haven’t noticed at other theaters.

Likes:

    One free refill on large pop and large popcorn.

Dislikes:

    Seats without recline and thin padding on backs.
    Staff walking in during the movie
    High weekend Matinee prices

The follow is a list of prices I noted and include tax.

Prices:

    Matinee Ticket – $7.50 (Fri/Sat/Sun) $6.00 (Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur)
    Large Popcorn – $8.00
    Large Pop – $5.75
    Large Water $5.25
    Large Slurpee – $6.75
    Couples Combo Large $18.50

Have you been to Regal Eagan Stadium 16? If so what did you think about it? Do you sometimes wish you had waited for a rental when the seating isn’t as comfortable as your furniture at home? Do you think that staff members should be walking in and out of movies while they’re playing? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as we’d love to hear what you have to say.