Archives For Chaska

We had another great turnout for our National Night Out in historic downtown Chaska this year. It was our third annual event for the neighbors in West Downtown Chaska, and it’s been fun to see it grow year over year.

The Chaska Herald came out to snap some shots and WCCO-TV sent a camera guy to get some footage for their Good Question segment about if we really know our neighbors.

Per the topic, our neighborhood uses a combination of offline and online techniques to connect. Although our email list is getting to a substantial size and it’s been fun to watch the Facebook Group for the neighborhood grow, we still take time to chat to one another on front porches, festivals or at the park. We share tools, produce from the garden and schedule play dates for the kids.

Arguably, the people you live near have a more direct impact on your day-to-day life than national and global news. Knowing your neighbors is just the first step of contributing and living in a community. And National Night Out is a fantastic catalyst for creating those connections.


This weekend I’ll be slinging Pork Chops on a Stick at Chaska’s River City Days in historic downtown Chaska on behalf of my church.

If you’ve never been to historic downtown Chaska, this annual community event is a great reason to come check it out.

Nestled on the banks of the Minnesota River and about a 15 minute drive from the Twin Cities, downtown Chaska is a genuine gem.

Century-old “Chaska brick” buildings and historic homes dot the streets, antique shops and locally-owned restaurants serve up malts, burgers and enchiladas, and the entire area is walkable. There’s also the picturesque Chaska Cubs Ballpark, the soaring Guardian Angels Church cathedral and Greg Swan’s house. (ha).

River City Days features model racetracks, bouncy castles and face painting for the kids, a 5K Fun Run and beer garden for the adults, and a community parade, bands, craft and food vendors galore for the whole family. See you there!

Until Matt’s Bar and their AMAZING “Jucy Lucy’s” (only Matt’s Bar spells it w/o the “i”) move across the street from my house, I will gladly settle for Tommy’s Malt Shop in historic downtown Chaska serving up their new menu item — the Tommy’s Juicy Lucy.

I saw a post about new Spring menu items on their Facebook Group (they’re still struggling with a Facebook Page strategy) yesterday, and we immediately made plans to go sample them.

Tommy’s has two Lucy’s — the Tommy’s Lucy stuffed with American Cheese, fried onions and pickles, and the Smoky Lucy stuffed with jalapenos and pepper jack cheese, topped with fried onions and chipotle mayo. Both are served in baskets with frieds, and the Tommy’s Lucy is only $2 more than a normal burger.

All of Tommy’s burger buns are buttered and grilled, just like an old fashion diner. Their fries are always crisp (just be sure to ask for the sweet potato fries not to be too crisp – they sometimes overcook them a bit), and we’ve never had a bad meal there.

After being warned by both the kitchen manager and our waitress to be careful with our molten cheese-filled burgers, my wife and I dove into the oral orgasm that is the experience of eating two beef patties crimped around a puddle of piping hot cheese.

They were amazing. I’m not a food critic so lack the adjectives to share with you. Let’s just say, they were amazing.

Matt’s Jucy Lucy will always be the best. But I don’t live across the street from Matt’s, so this is more than sufficient!

(note to Brett and Emily, I would love to sit with you for an hour and volunteer some help in setting up your Facebook strategy and profiles. You’re missing out on great word of mouth and organic social media opportunities by not having your channels properly set up. Let me know! We love Tommy’s and are big advocates!)

Grant was more than a little excited about Guardian Angels’ annual AngelFest fall celebration…

Games for the kids…

Crafts for the adults…


A polka band playing, “In heaven there is no beer, that’s why we drink it here…”

Someone please explain this game to me…

Water balloon fight in the street…

And a tour of the historic Guardian Angels church, including an exclusive look at the 1902 pipe organ…

And some videos:
Playing the 1903 pipe organ at Guardian Angels Cathedral
The one where the AngelFest music is shaking all the windows in our house, and Grant is concerned
Backyard fire + James Brown = awesome

My team at work took a boat cruise…

I attended the MIMA event on mobile trends (yes, apparently mobile has not yet “arrived” as a trend)…

Arrived too early so enjoyed some coffee on the riverfront…

Grant’s soccer team has more fun off the field than on…

The kids picked out some enthralling bedtime stories…

I performed my weekly duty of gluing back together cheaply-made Transformers…

We took the kids to Chaska’s annual Touch a Truck…

Full article.

National Night Out is “an annual event designed to strengthen our communities by encouraging neighborhoods to engage in stronger relationships with each other and with their local law enforcement partners.”

What a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors even better!

I’m helping to organize NNO for our neighborhood in downtown Chaska again this year (west of 41).

Hope to see you there!

You’re invited to National Night Out
Date: Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Location: Hickory Park, downtown Chaska
Event Specifics:
Come to Hickory Park, meet your neighbors, let the kids play, and meet Chaska Police, Firefighters and McGruff the Crime Dog.

Want to help with the event? Contact: Greg Swan,, 304-449-GREG

Photos from our 2010 NNO event:
.Greg and McGruff


McGruff on the Seesaw

NNO Neighbors

NNO Neighbors

Ringing the bell

Last week in pictures

July 25, 2011 — 1 Comment

I presented at the Social Phonics Summer Camp…

I took Grant to swimming class…

It was 101 degrees…

More after the jump!

Continue Reading…

I was quoted in a two-page Chaska Herald feature on civic government communications discussing the opportunity of utilizing social media:

The highs and lows of social media

Social media is a powerful way for civic government to connect with its social-savvy citizenry,” wrote Greg Swan, a Chaska resident and vice president of digital strategy for Weber Shandwick. “The city of Minneapolis uses Facebook and Twitter to announce snow plowing. Stillwater residents promote community garage sales via Facebook. Shakopee posts video from their music in the park series on a city YouTube channel. The Chaska Police Department uses Nixle to send SMS text alerts about breaking news in town.

Jumping on the Bandwidthwagon

Greg Swan, a Chaska resident and vice president of Digital Strategy for Weber Shandwick, would agree for the most part, but he still has some constructive criticism for the city.

“Like many organizations and businesses, the city of Chaska jumped on the Facebook page bandwagon, but hasn’t had a strategic communication and community management strategy to ensure updates are timely, questions are answered and that the page adds value to its fans,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Podhradsky gets that, acknowledging, “We gotta be better at this.”

While critical, Swan also understands the challenges cities like Chaska face.

“To be sure, Chaska government officials have plenty on their plates, and in an era of limited resources, we taxpayers want them to prioritize their efforts,” he wrote. “Yet, in many cases, a dormant social media profile is worse than a non-existent one … It’s of-ten difficult to justify return on investment in moving resources into social media, but the opportunity cost of not participating in conversations about your community can be high.

I also put together a “5 Social Media Trends to Embrace/5 Social Media Trends to Ignore” sidebar that ran within the feature.

Five social media trends to embrace

* Online monitoring of what people are saying about your community

* Social community building and engagement with two-way conversations

* Real-time event coverage (photos/video/news) on social channels

* Social focus-grouping, letting your online advocates get involved

* Live streams of public meetings with real-time chats

Five social media trends to ignore

* Establishing social media channels without a content and community management policy

* Outsourcing social media management to vendors

* Editing Wikipedia, which is against site policy for affiliated organizations

* Focusing so much on ROI that you miss out on the conversation happening today

* Google+, which hasn’t yet set guidelines for non-humans

It was a fantastic round-up by the Chaska Herald with stories on the faces behind city social channels, the role of public safety in social and interviews with social channels from Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Chaska, School District 112, Carver and Carver County. They should enter it for an award. I’m serious.