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36 posts categorized "Games"

June 19, 2015

Bingo is coming back to Rochester

Get your scorecards and ink daubers ready.

Rochester's Elks Club is bringing Bingo back to the Med City.

"We want to open an old-fashioned Bingo hall," said Sue Foster, the current president (Exalted Ruler) of the Elks Club.

18_black_vector_fan-5-sm_1_1Fans of the popular game haven't had a regular place to play since the Rochester Senior Center closed its Flamingo Bingo in December. 

The plan is to open the club's doors at 1652 U.S. Highway 52 North in the Hillcrest Shopping Center on June 30 and start calling numbers. The Elks will host evening bingo games on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, plus on Sunday afternoons.

The club, which has 378 members, has worked its way through the state's complex charitable gambling process and is almost ready to go.

"We have a charitable gambling manager, an assistant gambling manager, callers and a concession stand," Foster said.

In the run up to the opening, the club will have trial runs for the staff with its members to work out the bugs before allowing the public in to play, he said.

Of course, the Elks already know the rules of the game. Flaming Bingo operated in the Elks Club for about eight months until it closed. It had been displaced from its former building at 2828 Highway 52 North, which was sold to a Twin Cities car dealership and eventually demolished.

With construction of the new Senior Center addition to the Rochester Recreation Center underway, Senior Center Executive Director Sally Gallagher said the center's board of directors decided to focus on that instead of the seven-year-old Flamingo Bingo. In addition, the center's charitable gambling manager resigned and the bingo venture saw declining revenue.

ElksThe Senior Center raised $100,000 in funds in 2013 with the Flamingo Bingo parlor, but the dollars started fading after moving in with the Elks.

"We did not have the visibility we'd hoped for. We had a significant attendance decline after the move. Though, it is a lovely space," Gallagher said last year. 

After investing in creating that "lovely space," the Elks Club saw an opportunity to raise more funds for their organization and other local nonprofits.

"We did this years ago at our old location (at 917 15th Ave. SE). So we thought, why not try something like this and give more back to the community," Foster said. 

April 07, 2015

Rochester Orcas to build $4 million pool

The largest swim club in Minnesota is ready to dive off the blocks to start construction of a new $4 million warm-water pool in Rochester.  Vc9FyKd5

Rochester Swim Club Orcas has plans to build a center with a six-lane, 25-yard pool on four acres on the city's northeast side, said Orcas CEO Autumn Kappes. It will be comparable in size to the John Marshall High School swimming pool.

The Orcas facility will be built on empty land near 37th Street Northeast and East River Road. It's the field where the J&J Vegetable stand is usually set up in the summer.

The club hopes to break ground on the project in May, so it might be ready for use in October. That is about the same time the new Rochester Recreation/Senior Center project should be completed.

KappOrcas_Swim_Club_mediumes said the Orcas' competitive swim teams will continue to call the Recreation Center home. But while the Rec Center is a good fit for the teams, the Orcas cannot offer swim lessons there.

The new facility will be solely for swim lessons. That means it will have warm water temperatures of about 88 degrees versus the 77 degrees of the competitive pool at the rec center.

The new Orcas center will give the organization a home for its popular classes as well as the capability to expand its offerings. The club offers 10 classes a week, year-round. However, Kappes says the classes fill up right away, and the club often needs to turn people away.

"We've shuffled around to pools all over town for lessons. Right now, we're doing some in hotel pools," she said. "This will bring everybody together under one roof. We really need this."

The Orcas, which averages 225 swimmers in the lessons and 365 youth swimmers, has been saving for this project for several years. To help defray the costs, Kappes said the club will lease some gym space in the center to Triton Multisports, a Rochester triathlon training group. Rochester's Achieve Results Physical Therapy also will lease space in the center.

The new center will allow the Orcas to offer many more classes and possibly try some new programs. For example, Kappes is looking into grant opportunities to help fund lessons for kids who can't afford the cost. This new pool eliminates the rental fees involved in using other Rochester pools, which makes it easier to line up lesson scholarships. The Orcas also are mulling over the possibility of starting a water polo team.

"We have a whole list of ideas of how to use (the new pool)," she said.

November 08, 2014

The fall of the Flamingo

It may be almost winter with snow in the forecast, but it is definitely "fall" time at Rochester's former Flamingo Bingo/Circus World/ Skateland building

11082014flamingodemo1Demo crews have been chewing away at the empty building at 2828 U.S. 52 North in the past week or two. With about half of the 42-year-old building already gone, it's definitely "game over" for the former entertaonment parlor.

The Twin Cities-based Luther Automotive Group owns the building and it launched demolition plans in October, though the company has no immediate plans for the property.

"I'm simply taking it down because I just don't want to carry the building through the winter. The roof is compromised," said Linda McGinty, Luther's director of real estate and development, last month. "We just don't have a use for it. When we do develop this site, that was a building that we weren't planning on reusing."

The car dealer bought the 42-year-old building for $950,000 back on Jan. 17. Luther also owns Park Place Motors, Rochester's BMW dealership. Since Park Place is nearby, Luther theoretically could use the ex-bingo property to expand Park Place or possibly to introduce a new dealership into the market.

Flamingo Bingo, which raises money for the Rochester Senior Center, moved out of the 2828 building in April and into the Elks Lodge 1091 at 1652 U.S. 52 North in the Hillcrest Shopping Center.

It had operated in that building since 2007. Prior to the creation of Flamingo Bingo, it was the home of Circus World Bingo, which raised funds for Rochester's Catholic schools.

April 14, 2014

Bowling alley upgrade picking up and a new name

A rolling renovation of a long-time Rochester sports venue is picking up speed as well as a new name.
Bowlocity Logo Final-1
Construction has been underway for months to double the size of the bowling alley at 2810 N. Broadway. That expansion is adding much more than just more lanes. A new two-story laser tag arena, a large arcade, three party rooms are all coming soon along with a special eight-lane area with its own bar for private groups.

Gene Glorvigen and his son, Erin, say the more than 50-year-old business is shifting gears so the soon-to-be-completed entertainment center upgrade can keep up with today's fast-paced world.

All of these changes mean the old name, Recreation Lanes, doesn't fit with the updated center. That means commuters will see signs for Bowlocity (sounds like velocity) going up at the end of this month.

"Recreation Lanes has been a great name for us, but we wanted to have something that encompasses everything we are now," explains524fa3b840ece.image Erin Glorvigen. "I think it fits well."

And for the classic neon fans out there, don't worry about the big red sign featuring a bowling pin and the word "Bowl." That retro landmark will remain, though it's moving to the north side of the building.

While they are rolling out the new name now, it will be a little longer until all of the new features are online. Construction is on track for everything to launch by the end of May, according to Glorvigen.

Work on the colorful eight-lane party area is underway now. Specialists are coming soon to create the atmosphere for the laser tag tower. The 45 arcade games are expected to start arriving this week.

While the arcade will allow players to trade in points for prizes, it won't have two things most such arcades have.

"It's a token-less and ticket-less system. You just buy a card and use it to play the games. The card keeps track of your points and you use it to redeem them for prizes," says Glorvigen. 

March 26, 2014

Rec Lanes expansion rolling along

I swung by Recreation Lanes at 2810 N. Broadway on Tuesday to check out how the $4 million expansion project is going.

03252014reclanesexpansionIt looks like it's still rolling along at a good "bowlocity," but not sure how soon soon it be completed.

This project to transform the 50-year-old bowling into a modern entertainment center was launched back in October, when they tore out the putt-putt course and the batting cages.

"You can't just sell bowling anymore," said owner Gene Glorvigen in October. "We want to provide an environment that's fun and comfortable for everyone from 5-year-olds to 60-year-old executives. I think we're going to achieve that."

Index~~element333The bowling alley is doubling in size by adding 1,600-square-feet to the northwest side, where the mini-golf course and batting cages once stood. The addition will house an eight lane "V.I.B." (Very Important Bowler) area with its own bar, a banquet room, three party or meeting rooms, a large arcade and a two-story laser tag arena.

Recreation Lanes will remain open through most of the construction. They hope to have it completed by early spring. Part of the project includes expanding behind the center and adding a parking lot.

December 06, 2013

Two Rochester nonprofit "animals" may move in together

Two of Rochester's nonprofit "animals," Flamingo Bingo and the Elks Lodge 1091, are looking to possibly move in together in early 2014.

Both organizations have generally agreed on a plan to have Flamingo Bingo move into the Elk's large Lodge Room at 1652 U.S. 52 North in the Hillcrest Shopping Center.

However, no lease has been signed yet. The proposed project is subject to the final approval from the state, which is needed before anything happens.

Flamingobingo"Both organizations are very excited about this," says Deb Nusbaum, Flaming Bingo's charitable gaming manager.  "We anticipate that we'll eventually be moving there, but there are a lot of details to work through yet with the Minnesota Gambling Control Board."

Flamingo Bingo, which raises money for the Rochester Senior Center, has called games at 2828 U.S. 52 North since it opened in 2007. It is now looking for a new home due to coming changes to its building, which previously housed Circus World bingo.

Nusbaum stressed that Flamingo Bingo is open for business at its current spot along U.S. 52 North and will remain so until it moves, probably in early 2014.

Flamingo Bingo's fund raising efforts are "critical" to supporting the Rochester Senior Center, she says. It's annual financial goal, which it met in 2012, is to raise at least $100,000 for the senior center, according to Nusbaum. The bingo parlor has 16 employees on staff.

For their part, the Elks members see a lot of benefits in bringing Flamingo Bingo into its facility.

"It's multi-faceted for us," says Chris Holloway, the current club president. "We have an excess of space that we don't use on a daily basis. We're both charitable organizations. There's a lot of crossover in our clientele. Plus it brings in additional revenue."

May 22, 2013

Roch. Golf Carts drive across the street to new digs

Rochester Golf Carts took a short jaunt across the street this week to move into a much larger space, which means owner Loran Hoppe and his team have more room to play.

Golfcartcustom1Hoppe's business cruised from 1706 Third Ave. S.E. to 1701 Third Ave. S.E. That little trip gave the growing operation something it really needed — more space.

"We went from 3,000 square feet of space to having a more than 5,000-square-foot building. We've doubled our inventory," Hoppe said.

Nick Pompeian of Realty Growth Inc. worked with Rochester Golf Carts to line up its new home.

It was just three years ago that Hoppe moved his then-hobby business out of his garage. Now, he and four others work in his shop and showroom.

As the name suggests, Rochester Golf Carts sells new and used golf carts. In 2012, it sold about 130.

However, it does more than just sell carts. Rochester Golf Carts can transform a simple cart into whatever the owner wants. Recent custom projects have included turning carts into a 1957 Chevrolet, a 1965 Mustang and a 2010 Camaro.

Golfcart2Hoppe and his team can do special painting, add rear seats, install mag wheels or even put in lift kits to make a humble golf cart into a unique ride.

The shop even offers golf cart limousine services for weddings.

Monday was Rochester Golf Carts' first day in its new club house, and it was a busy one.

"It was nonstop," said Hoppe. "But we're working with toys, so we're having fun."

October 10, 2012

New kids place for parties, toys to be off and running soon

Peg Arnold is surrounded by toys these days, but she's not playing around.

Arnold, who with her husband Wally Arnold is a driving force behind the annual Med City Marathon, is launching a toy store and kids party place called Child's Kingdom in northwest Rochester.

After working at the Running Room for years, why is she lacing up her own shop to chase around children?

10102012childrenskingdom"I've always enjoyed working with kids," she says. "It is kind of a niche we are trying to fill to give parents another option for parties."

The 2,000-square-foot store will carry a wide variety of toy lines including American Girl, Erector sets, Groovy Girls, games, dress-up costumes and other "classic" toys. It is located at 621 North Broadway in the River Center Plaza shopping center.

While some assembly is still required, Arnold hopes to open the doors of Child's Kingdom this weekend for a soft opening, with an official grand opening event on Nov. 14.

Beyond toys, the shop also has a party room to host theme birthdays and other celebrations. Arnold says she'll meet with the kids to determine what kind of theme will best fit them. The children will also choose games and crafts to have at the party.

"We do it all, when it comes to the party," she says. "By having it here, parents won't have to clean up their house just to get it dirty again."

Kids will also be able to sign up for an online gift registry that will show possible present choices. People will be able to come in the store to buy the gifts or order them online, which Arnold thinks will be a good option for long-distance relatives.

Choosing to open her new place in the River Center Plaza was child's play, she says.

"Having the (Minnesota) Children's Museum here is a big draw," Arnold says.

September 26, 2012

Roch. golf course won't re-open in 2013

Here's some from my article on the end of Meadow Lakes Golf Course:

As the leaves start to turn, area golfers scramble to squeeze in as many rounds as possible before snow flies.

Autumn's surge on the links is bittersweet for Rochester's Meadow Lakes Golf Club, because this is expected to be its final season. The 18-hole course at the intersection of Second Street Southwest and West Circle Drive does not plan to reopen in 2013.

Meadow Lakes, which is owned by a group of local investors, recently notified its roughly 60 members of its pending closure.6052167E

"In a nutshell, the land it sits on is worth more than the business," Meadow Lakes General Manager Steve Scholl said. "Everybody feels rotten about this. This is a trend that's happening across the U.S. Golf is changing and not necessarily for the better."

The course's 130 acres of land and its clubhouse are up for sale. A few developers have looked at sections of the property, Scholl said. Representatives from Rochester's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1213 took a tour of the clubhouse, though no offer was made. There doesn't seem to be much hope for a buyer to purchase all of the land and keep it as a golf course.

Meadow Lakes is not alone in shutting its doors after years of struggling to survive. About 157 U.S. golf courses closed in 2011, according to the National Golf Foundation. During the same period, only 19 courses opened.

The golf industry boomed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. More than 3,000 golf courses were built nationwide between 1990 and 2003, including area golf courses like Meadow Lakes, Oak Summit, Somerby in Byron, The Jewel in Red Wing and Pine Island.

Since 2006, there has been a cumulative net reduction of about 358.5 golf courses in the U.S., according to the Golf Foundation.

"It is a fact of life today that people have less time and less money to spend on playing golf," says Scholl. "After family, work and everything else, recreation is at the bottom of the list. We're the first to go."

September 25, 2012

Roch. pizza slinger one of best in state

A Rochester man's dough-manship recently earned him a spot as one of the pizza slingers in Minnesota.

"It was kind of exciting for us. We were all cheering for him. He was on the big screen and everything," says Shannon O'Neill of O'Neill's Pizza Pub in the Crossroads Shopping Center.

296832_305744182866879_1576712576_nCam Kvittem of O'Neill's soared to second place in a pizza tossing contest at the U.S. Foods industry show in the Twin Cities earlier this month.

"If he had been able to use to the dough for our cracker crust, I'm sure Cam would have gone all the way to first," says O'Neill.

He had to use the officially sanctioned "Throw Dough," which is used at all professional pizza competitions.

This is not your mother's pizza dough tossing. This is a true athletic competition.

To set the stage, the "Food Fanatics" convention featured a dough throwing demonstration by the official U.S. Pizza Team. Yes, there really is a U.S. Pizza Team, which travels around the circuit of official dough tossing competitions.

This culinary sport puts a new spin on pizza preparation with fancy moves, spins and elaborate routines.

Once the dough pros left the state, Minnesota's best pizza slingers stepped up to show what they could do. The big crowd of hopefuls quickly thinned out as the panel of judges trimmed out the less graceful of the pizza throwers.

Soon it came to down to the final three, the O'Neill's crowd cheering Kvittem.

"He can do it all…rolling it down his back and the fancy throws," she says. "That's what the free-style contest comes down to…who can do the most tricks."

His moves impressed the panel, which awarded Kvittem the silver pepperoni medal (OK. I made the pepperoni medal up).