Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Greening Minnesota ~ October

Including North St. Paul and Anoka, 12 Minnesota cities have begun installing wind turbines. Buffalo, Le Sueur and Faribault have had wind turbines installed already. Anoka, Arlington, Brownton, Chaska, East Grand Forks, Olivia, Shakopee and Winthrop are up next. If everything goes as planned, all of the Minnesota Municipal Power Association wind turbines will be up and running by mid-November.

The St. Paul Convention & Visitors Authority has rolled out the "50-50 in 2" program. It is meant to cut trash output at the RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center in half and push the recycling rate up to 50% in two years.

Three Minnesota schools took top marks on a national report card that measures colleges' sustainability efforts. The University of Minnesota, Carleton College in Northfield and Macalester College in St. Paul were three of 26 schools to score an A- on this fall's College Sustainability Report Card.

To meet federal clean water standards,...

Got a Few Million Sitting Around?

Southways, the 13-acre former Pillsbury estate located on Lake Minnetonka's Smiths Bay, is being offered for sale in an auction. The 40,000-square-foot mansion stalled while listed on the market at $53.5 million.

The home includes a pool and tennis complex, smoking house, tea house, caretaker's cottage/greenhouse and caretaker's maintenance shop. It is available in its entirety or as five separate parcels of two-plus acres.

The 1918 property was originally owned by John S. and Eleanor Pillsbury, son and daughter-in-law of the co-founder of the grain producer and food-making giant. Eleanor Pillsbury died in 1991 at age 104, at which time James Jundt and his wife, Joann bought Southways.

Got the cash laying around? The sealed-bid deadline is December 9.

If that's not quite your style, please take a look at much-more reasonably priced Lake Minnetonka homes....

Community Highlights ~ Richfield MN

Richfield MN is one of the largest suburbs of the Twin Cities metro area, with a population of over 40,000. Named in 1908 for its fertile soil, Richfield still offers a rich and fruitful lifestyle more than a century later. Located nearly in the heart of the Twin Cities metro, Richfield offers a diverse range of activities to its residents.

Residents can easily hop on the freeway and be in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Bloomington, or even at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport in minutes.

Richfield MN offers the pleasures of upscale urban living with convenient access to the great local natural and green spaces. There are activities for anyone in the community to enjoy nearby at the 460 acres of parkland the City maintains. Their amenities include playgrounds, hiking trails, biking paths, pools and picnic areas. Richfield also has a state of the art community center, an outdoor waterpark, and a brand new skate park.

Raising a family...

Data Post October 22, 2009 - Forced vs. Unforced Registration Test

Website Data for October 15 - October 21, 2009

This is the 3rd week reporting our data and the results continue to be interesting.  Most pointedly this week is the total visitors and uniques are nearly identical for this reporting period.  The unforced site, continues to set new records for weekly traffic.  Just 3-weeks ago the unique visitors were 752, then in week 2 they increased to 964 and now they are at 1,103.  Could this be a result of the efforts of the SEO guru's at Real Estate Webmasters?  I think so...

Raw Data: (Unforced) (Forced)


Minneapolis and Saint Paul Among Best Cities for Families

The 100 Best (and Worst) Places to Raise a Family by Children's Health magazine ranks 100 American cities according to their family-friendliness. St. Paul came in at 12th and Minneapolis was 18th. Detroit was dead last. The magazine's editors developed the ranking formula assessing 29 quality-of-life variables including household income, unemployment, air quality, infant mortality, home prices and even the number of fast-food restaurants per capita.

Residents of the Twin Cities of course know that Saint Paul and Minneapolis are great places to live. Residents of other local communities and regular readers of this blog would also know that more Minnesota towns have appeared in similar lists this year.

In July, Sperling's Best Places and McDonald's Happy Meals ranked Minneapolis as the happiest, family-friendliest city in America. Also in July, Money Magazine named Chanhassen as one of the best places in the nation...

Saint Paul’s Downtown Neighborhood

Downtown St. Paul is bordered by the Mississippi River to the south, Marion Street to the west, University Avenue to the north, and Interstate 94 to the east.  With the Capitol just a few blocks, downtown St. Paul is an ideal location for government workers. Additionally, many state offices are located in the area.  Industrialized areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul are within short driving distance.  Easy access to I-94 connects you quickly with the rest of the Twin Cities.

Downtown St. Paul, which is also known as “Lowertown,”...

Photo Friday - Fall Colors Along the Mississippi River

It has been cold. It has even been snowy. And not only did we get a crummy summer, we've almost been gypped out of fall, too.

But there have still some great autum colors in the trees, even if they are a little harder to spot around the Twin Cities right now.


These pictures were taken along the Mississippi River in northern Minneapolis. Or was it St. Paul? Actually I was standing on the bridge in between, so... take your pick!



The Pros Advantage is Taking Advantage of You!

Warning: Stay away from The Pros Advantage!

Today we received an inquiry through our website: that was alarming.  Someone thought we had stolen their website architecture...but the reality is they were swindled!  What's even worse, the person who was swindled is a local agent in our company.  Unbelievable.  I feel bad for the agent who was ripped off because he had no way of knowing that the Pros Advantage is a bunch of deadbeats.  Help us spread the word! Read more about what happened here.

Be warned:  "The Pros Advantage" is nothing more than a scam company that rips off designs and sells them as their own.  The reason I give this as a warning is that when you buy one of these ripped off designs, you risk being sued by the copyright owner! Don't believe me?  Click...

Data Post October 15, 2009 - Forced vs Unforced Registration Test

Website Data for October 8 - October 14, 2009

We are only 2-weeks into our 3 month test and the results are already getting pretty interesting.  If you would like to review our Week 1 results, please Click Here.  A HUGE thanks to Cal Carter for posting his comments and some of his own numbers last week!  Below are Week 2 Raw Data and some thoughts from our perspective.

Raw Data: (Unforced) (Forced)

 Total Visitors

 1,189 1320
 Unique Visitors

Minnesota Schools in the News

Minnesota's students are near the best in the country when it comes to math, according to test results from the 2009 "Nation's Report Card," released by the U.S. Department of Education. Minnesota's fourth graders are in a statistical tie for first place with four other states, and the state's eighth graders are second only to Massachusetts. The math and reading tests are administered every two years. The reading results will be available in 2010.
Last year, Minnesota's fourth- and eighth-grade students were found to be near the top of the world in math and science on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). It showed that Minnesota's students were outperformed by only four of 36 countries in fourth-grade math, and five of 49 countries in eighth-grade math.

Also, check out the No Child Left Behind scores!

In the Twin cities metro area, St. Paul school district has also made headlines. Interim schools...