Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Greening Minnesota ~ June 2010

There have been some major green and earth-friendly developments in Minnesota and the Twin Cities recently, including new statewide regulations on phosphates in soaps and the start of a major green job growth initiative in the Twin Cities.

Starting Thursday, Minnesota and 15 other states will ban the sale of dishwasher detergents that contain high levels of phosphates, a source of pollution in lakes and streams. Stores will not be allowed to sell detergent with more than 0.5 percent phosphorous. The bans do not apply to commercial dishwashing products, and detergents for hand-washing dishes generally contain no phosphorus.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman are teaming up to support and attract environmentally-sound manufacturing to the Twin Cities with the Thinc.Green MSP initiative. With Thinc.GreenMSP, the mayors are looking to boost demand for locally-produced green products and services, as well as for the skilled workers involved in their production. The economic development initiative is part of a broader program called the Blue Green Alliance, a national partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to growing the number of green jobs.

Dakota County passed a resolution in 2008 to "go green" and collaborate with cities to utilize energy-efficient facilities and practices. The countywide "greening initiative" is paying off, according to a 20-page study the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club in Minneapolis. The combined efforts of the cities and Dakota County will not only reduce emissions from public buildings by saving energy, it will help save taxpayers at least $200,000 a year.

A green roof has been installed on the garage of Saint Paul's newest fire station. Located at W. 7th Street and Randolph Avenue, the city is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the new building. The 8,000-square-foot green...

What $192,722 Buys in Bloomington MN

Here is MLS #  3909313


This single-family home is located at 7824 W 111th Street in Bloomington, MN. This simply immaculate 1-level house was built in 1986. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,740-square-feet of space.




This home features a full basement, oodles of storage, and completely updated transformed decor.




This Bloomington MN house is built in a neighborhood with only 54 homes, quiet tree-lined streets, and a nearby park. It could be yours for $192,722!

This is not a foreclosure home or short sale!

Browse more Bloomington MN Real Estate.


Minnesota Schools are Tops

Southwest High School in Minneapolis has been named by Newsweek as the top public high school in Minnesota. Four other schools also made the list.

Newsweek and data company Factual generated the rankings by taking the total number of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or Cambridge tests given at a school each year and dividing that by the number of seniors graduating in May or June. The rankings for 2010 are based on the date from 2009.

“I think parents have placed their students at Southwest expecting great results,” [Southwest principal Dr. William] Smith said. “We have kids that come to school anxious to learn and prepared to take the challenges that make those things possible.”

Southwest’s students are expected to enroll to AP and IB classes and then take the associated tests. Mainly though, the school's philosophy is that teachers' and administrators' jobs are to lay a foundation for future opportunity and success.

Southwest Minneapolis came in 115th. Other schools which made the list were St. Louis Park (156), Edina (175), Minnetonka (285), and Eastview in Apple Valley (445).

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Twin Cities Ranked Among the Best - Again!

The Minneapolis - St. Paul Twin Cities metro area has ranked third in each of two new national surveys, one that rated local quality of life and one which rated physical fitness of residents.

First,’s 2010 Quality of Life report analyzed a number of health and economic factors in the nation’s most populous metro areas to arrive at their conclusions. The Twin Cities area ranked high in’s quality of life report, due in part to the residents’ median income, homeownership rate, commute time, low unemployment numbers, and education. The survey listed Raleigh, N.C., Washington, D.C., Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, Bridgeport, Conn., and Salt Lake City, Utah as the best places in the nation to live and work in their analysis of the 67 biggest metropolitan areas.

Secondly, the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2010 American Fitness Index (AFI) report analyzed a number of health factors in the largest metro areas to determine their rankings. The AFI report ranks the Twin Cities metro area high for the number of people involved in regular physical activity or exercise; the number of healthy people; low jobless rate; abundancy of available parkland; availability of recreation centers; physical education classes; and having access to golf courses, bike and walking paths, park facilities, and dog parks. The Washington D.C. metro area was the fittest, with Boston, the Minneapolis - Saint Paul metro area, Seattle and San Francisco rounding out the top five fittest metro areas in the U.S.

Every year, sometimes every few months, Minneapolis and St. Paul are evaluated for one reason or another and the Twin Cities usually come out on top. In a six-month span last year, Twin Cities communities topped lists as the safest Metropolitan Community in the U.S., the second best in...

Midwest Home Magazine's Twin Cities Luxury Home Tour

Midwest Home magazine has kicked off its 10th annual Twin Cities summer luxury home tour this month.

The tour features 15 upscale homes valued from $900,000 up to $5 million. Homes on the tour are sprinkled throughout the metro, from Blaine to Prior Lake, Minnetonka to Lake Elmo.

“No detail was spared to create these homes,” said Kori Meewes, Midwest Home publisher. “You’ll see everything from an impressive 1,500-bottle wine cellar to secret closet tunnels that connect the kids’ bedrooms to a unique siesta deck.”

Tour times are 1 to 7 p.m. on Fridays, June 18 and 25, noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays (June 12, 19 and 26) and Sundays (June 13, 20 and 27). Tickets are available at Caribou Coffee locations and at the tour homes. All proceeds will help to support Minnesota Public Radio.

For further information on the luxury home tour go to


Upcoming Minneapolis Home Tour

Want to buy a home in Minneapolis? There is a home buyer tour of more than a dozen available updated older homes on June 13. The self-guided tour runs from Noon to 3 p.m.

Home prices range from $100,000 to $250,000. They are built in a variety of styles, including Cape Cods, bungalows and Tudors. Many of the homes are foreclosed properties that have been bought and fixed up by nonprofit community developers.

People thinking of buying a Minneapolis home can talk to residents and get a feel for the northeast Minneapolis neighborhoods in which the tour will take place. They also can gain information about available home buyer assistance programs.

The event is designed to help revitalize Minneapolis neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures, said Cherie Shoquist of Minneapolis' Community Planning and Economic Development department. "It's an excellent way for people to meet neighborhood residents who are invested in the community and see the quality of rehabbed housing," she said.

Additionally, the Get to NOMI grass-roots neighborhood organization will hold tours of available north Minneapolis homes on June 20 to promote the area's attributes. But at the time of this posting, their site isn't up yet and there doesn't seem to be much information about it. So for those who are curious, send an e-mail to mynewneighbor(@)gmail(.)com.


What’s in a Name? Carolyn Capalbo Knows

North Virginia real estate professional Carolyn Capalbo's phone has been ringing off the hook. Sounds like a REALTOR's dream, right? Unfortunately, this experience has been nothing short of a nightmare.

North Virginia real estate agent Carolyn Capalbo had been working to build a reputation as a leader within the real estate industry. Through determination, persistence, and moxie, she positioned herself as one of the best real estate agents in the region. For her effort, she gained prominence within the local community and online.

And then all of her hard work was thwarted due to a simple case of mistaken identity.

In real estate, your name is your brand, your reputation. It's what people recognize. The success of a REALTOR is often defined by whether or not people know your name. What happens when someone with the same name is associated with something scandalous?

In 2008 New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign from office due to his association with high end escorts and prostitutes. The escort at the center of this scandal is Playboy cover girl Ashley Alexandra Dupre. And her mother's name is Carolyn Capalbo.

Now, when a potential client performs a Google search for Carolyn Capalbo, instead of seeing the upstanding achievements of our heroine REALTOR, a wash of scandalous information appears on the screen. Real estate agent Carolyn Capalbo is not the mother of escort Ashley Alexandra. That's hard to distinguish, though, when scanning the online search results.

The differences could hardly be greater between Realtor Carolyn Capalbo and her scandalous counterpart. Though she does have a daughter, she is 16, not 22, and her name is not Ashley. Her family resides in Manassas, Virginia, far from where her namesake doppelganger was last reported as living: Wall Township, New Jersey. Carolyn Capalbo is a top producing Northern Virginia...

Strange But True: Giving a Condo to a Veteran Harder Than Expected

The owners of luxury condominium Eagles Point at the St. Croix, in Prescott, Wis., wanted to show their support for Minnesota troops. So they decided to donate a beautiful condo to one lucky veteran. A year later, they still have no takers.

They've tried to find a veterans' organization or other group to help them choose a veteran and arrange logistics. They've contacted more than a dozen organizations - from First Lady Mary Pawlenty's "Military Family Care Initiative" to the Minnesota Military Appreciation Fund to the national Troops First Foundation. They even tried the Minnesota Lottery. No one has come forward to help.

"The most common response we get is, 'It doesn't fit our mission,'" said Ken Miyamoto, sales manager for Eagles Point at the St. Croix, in Prescott, Wis. "We get all these pats on the back, but no one will help us do this. It's been really frustrating.''

Miyamoto and project owner Tom Meehan were watching news of the war in Iraq when they thought of the idea. They wanted to support the troops. They had hoped not only to help out a veteran, but to set an example to other developers to launch a bigger trend.

One of the primary concerns from the military and veterans groups is the possibility for hidden costs, either to the organization or the lucky recipient of the condo. Meehan and Miyamoto admit they're not familiar with the tax ramifications, either. All they know is there is a great place in the 43-unit complex waiting to fill a veteran's needs.

The floors, walls, cabinets and woodwork would be custom finished. Several Twin Cities trades groups have agreed to donate their time to make that happen. Meehan and Miyamoto are hoping that more organizations will step in to help out as well.