/Mark Oyaas

About Mark Oyaas

Mark J. Oyaas is a principal in Neerland & Oyaas, Inc., a public affairs consulting company. His work includes advising clients on business opportunities in the public and nonprofit sectors. In addition to coordinating government relations projects, Mr. Oyaas heads up the firm's communications services under the "germ of an idea" banner.

Vol. 23, #06 – 11/21/16

Election Aftermath

There is little to add from your humble editorial staff that will bring additional clarity to a community—not to mention a country—reeling in the aftermath. We stand by the notion that the truth, to the extent we mortals can know it, is round. Our best advice: beware anyone with a corner on the truth because there isn’t one. Beware too of haters, even those who “hate” haters. Yesterday Pope Francis reminded us all that “It is not power defined by this world but the Love of God, Love capable of encountering and healing all things.” Even the most secular of us humanists can find hope in love.

We caught a bit of reader flack for our first ever political endorsement, but it looks like we didn’t exactly tip the election scales in the Paulsen-Bonoff race. If you want to see why we were so sold on Terri, take a look at her post-election letter to voters on her campaign web page. Pure class. [link]

Distraction – Dat Traction

There are so many wonderful theatrical and musical happenings this holiday season it will be hard for anyone not to find a vehicle to get lost in. It […]

By |2016-11-21T15:40:08-06:00November 21st, 2016|Categories: Newsletter|0 Comments

Vol. 23, #05 – 11/07/16

A Shout and a Tout this Election

Since Online began publishing we have steered clear of actually promoting candidates for elected office. A not-so-careful review of the archives brings us to believe this may be a first. Whether or not it is, this is special. We first got to know Terri Bonoff when Sean Oyaas, a former N&O intern from back in the ballpark days, went to work for her at the Legislature. “You guys, I think Terri really is different. She has a plan to work with industry across the state to better match post-secondary training with their needs. Terri drives the special interests–and sometimes Majority Leader Bakk–nuts, voting no on close votes and wedging herself onto conference committees to improve bills.” The training plan did come together. The Pipeline is a partnership with business, through the State Chamber and MNSCU. Students have successfully been placed in good jobs with manufacturing, tech and medical employers across the state. This is one shining example of a stellar track record of accomplishment, made possible by someone willing to do the heavy bi-partisan lifting that comes at our State Capitol.

This Sean guy, with Terri’s encouragement, left her office and accepted a position […]

By |2016-11-07T15:21:53-06:00November 7th, 2016|Categories: Newsletter|0 Comments

Vol. 23, #04 – 10/04/16

Eyes on the Street

For the record—meaning between you and us, Dear Reader—it is the official editorial policy of Online that there is no such thing as “the good old days.” We are not here to make the Twin Cities great again, although we are committed to saving them from succumbing to that stupid generic term “North.” That said, we have noticed a disturbing trend in human behavior that diminishes our collective character: lack of eye contact. Once upon a time it was actually unusual for folks in these parts to not catch the eye of a passerby and greet them with a smile and a nod. This is not ancient history; as recently as the millennium, at the height of popularity of the TV show “Friends” it was common to accompany the nod with a Joey Tribbiani-inspired “How you doin’?” These days averting the eyes is the community standard. People who ought to be present, like the cops and hotel doormen, are always quick to look away and ignore a friendly nod. Taken transit lately? More than half of our downtown coworkers do, and not a damn one looks up from the iPhone when walking up to the stop. […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00October 4th, 2016|Categories: Newsletter|1 Comment

Vol. 23, #03 – 08/23/16

Summer Reading Issue

Last year we took the advice of the Star Tribune’s never shy but soon to be retiring Steve Brandt who urged delay of the summer reading issue so our avid followers could enjoy more active pursuits during a glorious August 2015. Looks like we are facing the same dilemma but this season the show will go on!

When we sent out the bat signal for your summer reading “hacks” (as the kids say) we must have gotten at least half a dozen recommendations for “A Man Called Ove.” Patricia Deinhart-Bauknight puts it this way:

I have two books to share. My favorite books this summer were “A Man Called Ove” and “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.” Swedish author Fredrik Backman has a unique blend of sorrow, glee, loneliness and love that entertained me (maybe that’s just my Swedish DNA) in a fresh way.

Brian Rice, Louis DeMars and Arvonne Fraser were eager to spread word regarding respected political practitioner, author and commentator Norman Sherman’s memoir: “From Nowhere to Somewhere: My Political Journey.” Sherman describes his rough and tumble life beginning with his boyhood, the son of […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00August 23rd, 2016|Categories: Newsletter|0 Comments

Vol. 23, #02 – 08/04/16

The Strange Conversion of an Engaged Wonk

Now that we have been publishing on a more regular basis some of you more careful readers have noticed that Online speaks more and more with one voice rather than the award winning blended voice that has provoked for 22 odd years. It’s true that our senior editor has shifted focus; his diminishing contributions show in inferior prose and narrowed range of topic. Junior editor has colored the tone in a blunt take-no-prisoner fashion that almost presumes we are no longer using Online to market for business. That last remark couldn’t be further from the truth and junior is going to mend his ways, soon.

As far as senior goes we thought it was time to share the “dramatic” nature of the shift. Once upon a time there was a Charles S. Neerland, always natty down to the bow tie and occasional beret. His compact build and winning smile belied remarkable athletic prowess and competitive drive. Mr. Neerland had passion for community. He always provided clients with direct, honest and optimistic advice that was underpinned with the notion that their best interests should always be in line with the best interests of the greater […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00August 4th, 2016|Categories: Newsletter|4 Comments

Vol. 23, #01 – 07/01/16

Firecracker of the Year

The office landline had a rare intermittent tone come the first Tuesday In June. What in the heck? Could it be there is opportunity waiting in the form of a voicemail? *99: “You have one new message and you better retrieve it!” (Even the machines tell us what to do.) BEEP…” Hola, you stumble bums, the siesta is over, you better get out from under your sombreros and dust off the publishing computer. This is the official self-appointed spokesperson for the Firecracker of the Year Committee. One of you jackasses needs to get on your donkey and ride over to the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Specifically we want you there at 6:45 am on June the 23rd. Marianna at Untiedt’s will have our report. She is not coming to find you deadbeats this year so we trust that you can follow through on one simple assignment.

At the appointed time and place we met up with aforementioned Queen of Strawberries and Ambassador of Good Will sent here each summer by Ukraine’s Minister of Peace and Understanding. Smiling brightly as is her wont, Marianna handed over the familiar Red Owl grocery bag offering the traditional “drobry den” greeting. It […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00July 1st, 2016|Categories: Newsletter|2 Comments

Vol. 22, #06 – 11/25/15

Holiday Gathering Opportunity

We can all agree that our spirits need an extra bit of “joyful” to get lift-off into the holiday mood this year. The Moving Company, a theater group that has its roots in the storied Jeune Lune, is staging “Liberty Falls” at the Lab Theater through December 20. Featuring the talents of Nathan Keepers, Steven Epps, Christina Baldwin and Jennifer Baldwin, directed by legendary Dominique Serrand, “Liberty Falls” is irreverent, raucous and guaranteed to bring laughter when we could all use a large dose. Word of mouth is working its magic. This is the hottest production in town. That said, the Lab Theater’s big boss lady, Mary Leer, tells us that there is still room to book blocks of tickets for business or family group outings. If you are interested call the Lab Theater Box Office at 612-333-7977.

Keep it Sharp

We are long-time fans of the crew at Eversharp, the Twin Cities’ foremost cutlery emporium, located at 344 Taft Street Northeast in Minneapolis. If you haven’t brought your knives in for a tune-up you procrastinated to the right moment. Through Saturday, November 28, if you bring in a bag of nonperishable food items or donate […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00November 25th, 2015|Categories: Newsletter|2 Comments

Vol. 22, #05 – 7/22/15

Firecracker Follow-up

Last issue we took editorial liberties with our Firecracker of the Year Committee’s annual missive. They placed two very worthy individuals into the Firecracker Hall of Fame and—given the length of the issue—we saved these for the special attention they deserve. From the Committee:

In 2014 and now in 2015 your Committee found two very special candidates for our Firecracker Hall of Fame. Both, sadly, are posthumous, but richly deserving of the honor.

  • 2014 saw the passing of two great contributors to this community. State Chamber of Commerce leader David Olson, just a few weeks after the death of his father Glenn. David’s accomplishments were well chronicled by the media. Because your readership skews to such young demographics we wanted to recognize the elder Olson whose contributions, in part because of his humble personality, have flown under the radar screen. Glenn Olson embodied civic activism in its most altruistic meaning. He became active in politics with the legendary GOP mafia that controlled Minneapolis south of Lake Street for decades. Many remember Popham, Flakne, Schwartzkopf and their crew. Glenn was elected to the Minneapolis City Council representing the Eleventh Ward. He was a voice of moderation concentrating on […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00July 22nd, 2015|Categories: Newsletter|2 Comments

Vol. 22, #04 – 7/01/15

The Canadian fires had cast a veritable June gloom over our Union Plaza digs. Even the office mercury vapors had a gray haze about them. The door opened and everything brightened up. “Dobry den…Hello? Good day?” The bright brown eyes and big smiles were all too familiar: Oksana and Marianna, the ambassadors of good will who come each summer from Ukraine to spread cheer while selling flowers and vegetables for Untiedt’s at area farmers markets. “Oh, the Firecracker Committee. They were very mad at you. We delivered last year’s award to Young Quinlan; office was empty,” said Marianna with a bit of a scolding tone to her voice. Oksana, ever the peacemaker, quickly added: “But then they became VERY worried. Online, like its editors, seemed to vanish.” It was none other than Farmers Market cohort Danny Tollefson who picked up the scent and contacted the Committee when Online resumed publishing and your editors launched their spiffy new website.

So we set the well-worn Red Owl grocery bag on the conference table, carefully removed the Arco coffee can, popped the lid, and unwrapped the missive from the Firecracker of the Year Committee; taking care, of course, to preserve the section of […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00July 1st, 2015|Categories: Newsletter|3 Comments

Vol. 22, #03 – 06/05/15


Whither the Downtown YMCA

We were able to confirm what we have overhead in elevator talk over the last couple of months: that the Downtown YMCA building on Ninth Street is for sale. While the current Y building was constructed in 1990, the “Y” has been a fixture on Ninth and LaSalle since the original, the Central Building, was constructed in 1918. Into the 1970s that facility was a hub of civic and athletic activity. The new “Y” was constructed as part of the Frauenshuh redevelopment of the entire block that resulted in the LaSalle Plaza, a revitalized State Theater and a brand new YMCA. The Central building now hosts 121 apartments.

The Downtown YMCA still hosts athletic facilities and a robust daycare program as well as summer youth activities. We have heard, but cannot confirm, that one possible new home could be in the United Properties development on the pad atop the Target Station transit interchange. That facility, we understand, would not include athletic or child care amenities.

May the Wind be Always at your Back

We guess it is just the stage we are at in life but since our last newsletter we have attended two more retirement parties of […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00June 5th, 2015|Categories: Newsletter|3 Comments