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Corporate giants pony up $13M for Minneapolis schools

AFTERNOON EDITION

A handful of big, Twin Cities-based companies will contribute half of what the Minneapolis school district is losing in state aid. Corey Mitchell of the Strib reports: “Four Twin Cities-based corporate giants announced Monday a combined $13 million in donations to the Minneapolis School District, which is facing more than twice that amount in potential funding cuts from the state. ‘There is an education crisis in America,’ said Laysha Ward, foundation president for Target, which is putting up more than $6 million over the next three years for literacy programs. ‘We all need to come together to provide a first-rate education for our children.’ Cargill is stepping up with about $5 million over three years for science, technology and math education. Another roughly $2.8 million — from Cargill, General Mills and Medtronic — is earmarked for training and development of principals and other leaders in the district.” Did anyone call UnitedHealth?


The drama/melodrama surrounding St. Paul attorney Peter Erlinder and the nation of Rwanda has been ratcheted back up. The AP story says: “Rwanda's Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said he has been strengthening his case against Peter Erlinder since the U.S. lawyer and professor was released from a Rwandan prison last year on medical grounds. Erlinder was jailed in Rwanda last year on allegations that he minimized the country's 1994 genocide. ‘We have built a substantive case against Peter Erlinder and we will file this case very soon,’ Ngoga said. ‘When we summon him to Kigali to attend the criminal proceedings we expect him to heed the summons. If he doesn't do so we will ask Interpol to intervene. Mr. Erlinder's security is assured and a fair trial is guaranteed.’ Erlinder, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul ... has said he would return to Rwanda if charged. But he has also said he has ‘no doubt’ he would be killed if he returns.”

As MinnPost’s Jay Weiner said last week, the buzz, Vikings stadium-wise, seems to be around the so-called Farmers Market site. Today, the Strib’s Kevin Duchschere writes: “The business partners who first identified the site for Target Field have developed a plan for a ‘Sports & Entertainment Corridor’ in the Farmers Market area near the ballpark that would feature a new Vikings stadium. Bruce Lambrecht and Dave Albersman said Monday that their analysis shows the Farmers Market area would be a better fit for a new stadium than the Metrodome site for several reasons. The only place where the Dome would beat the Farmers Market, they said, is in assembling the property needed for the development. The Farmers Market area has at least 15 different property owners, making it a trickier development prospect than the relatively unencumbered Dome area.”

A new U of M study on secondhand smoke looks at the effect it has on the blood pressure of boys. Kerri Scales, on the Third Age website, writes: “Jill Baumgartner, lead researcher and research fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, and a group of researchers collected data from previous studies that concentrated on the effects exposure to secondhand or passive smoke had on young children. Among the 6,421 study participants, the researchers discovered that boys between the ages of eight and 17 who were exposed to secondhand smoke had higher levels of blood pressure as compared to boys who were not exposed to secondhand smoke.”

Riverside Plaza’s $132 million makeover gets attention. The AP’s Tara Bannow writes: “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development views Riverside as a poster child for what it would like to see more of, and is loaning nearly $50 million for the renovation. Multi-family complexes like Riverside are increasingly undergoing massive rehabs nationwide, driven in part by a lack of new public housing and deterioration in older housing. ‘Given its size, it's at the forefront of the kind of things we'd want to see happen,’ said Carol Galante, HUD's deputy assistant secretary for multi-family housing programs. She said the complex is ideal in that it provides its residents with resources like a community school and a grocery store. Riverside's renovation is part of a $132 million refinancing package assembled by the federal government, the city of Minneapolis and more than 14 other public and private sources. Sherman Associates, the company that owns the 11-building campus, is contributing $3 million.”

Our Steve Berg adds: “Construction is expected to take two years and to include a repainting of the panels to the original primary colors, a redo of the grounds, an expansion of the on-site charter school, a remodel of each apartment and a massive overhaul of the mechanical systems — most critically the plumbing, heating and elevators. Local government, for its part, will improve the streetscape along Cedar and Riverside avenues and install new lighting, signs and pedestrian/bicycle links between the existing Hiawatha Line LRT station and a new Central Line LRT station being built at the Cedar/Washington intersection two blocks away. If nothing else, Riverside Plaza is well located.”

So, if I have this right, little New Germany is such a hot spot for bachelor parties they get bused in … and then they brawl? Paul Walsh’s Strib story says: “The toll from the brawl early Sunday at the Down South Bar & Grill in New Germany stands at two men wounded and hospitalized — one with stab wounds — and a 21-year-old Twin Cities man in jail, said Chief Sheriff's Deputy Blair Anderson. ‘The two groups were overserved [alcohol], clearly,’ Anderson said. ‘Something minor like a shove turned into something way worse. It was 'don't push my girlfriend,' that sort of thing.’ Anderson said the two groups came into New Germany on party buses, and there is no indication that they were traveling together.”

Today in Bachmannia:  The Washington Post sent a team to Stillwater for a mini-feature on our favorite congresswoman. The result? A piece that portrays her as — who knew? — an insatiable attention seeker (and getter) but with little to no legislative clout, even for her home district. Phillip Rucker and Paul Kane write:Despite her fame and her skill at attracting controversial headlines, Bachmann has yet to leave her mark as a policymaker or legislator. On Capitol Hill, she holds little sway with her colleagues and has guided no substantial legislation into law. A bill Bachmann introduced last year to clear the way for the new Stillwater bridge — her top local priority — attracted no co-sponsors and died in a subcommittee. One of her biggest legislative accomplishments to date was approval of a 2009 resolution supporting National Hydrocephalus Awareness Month, to bring attention to the brain disorder. Bachmann says there is a reason for this: She is unwilling to adopt many of the skills traditionally associated with success in Congress — inside maneuvering, charming committee leaders and trading favors with colleagues. Instead, she says, she measures her success as a congresswoman not only by what she is able to make happen, but by what she is able to keep from happening.”

We love our “bests” and “firsts” ... this one, though, not so much. Mike Hughlett of the Strib reports: “Of 12 midwestern states, Minnesota is dead last in rental housing affordabilty, according to a study released Monday. And rental affordability is more acute in Minnesota's rural counties, particularly in the state's southwest, concluded the report by the Washington D.C.-based National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Minnesota Housing Partnership. In order to pay rent and utilities for a ‘safe and modest’ two-bedroom apartment in the private market, a Minnesota worker must earn $15.79 per hour and work 40 hours per week for 52 weeks per year, the study said. The typical renter in Minnesota earns $11.61 per hour, and minimum wage employees make only $7.25 an hour.”

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Comments (1)

Bachman's record as a legislator (as compared with her record as a demagogue) says at least as much about the imbeciles who elected her as it does about her.