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Preventive measures pondered to soften future storms' impact

The Star Tribune's Steve Brandt and Eric Roper focus on how Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak “wants to consider a number of preventive measures that could soften the blow of the city’s next major weather event. Those measures could include burying power lines, building sidewalks differently or planting different species of trees, he said as he surveyed the damage. ‘If you have half a million people without power in a metropolitan area for several days, what does that mean for productivity?’ Rybak said. … Burying power lines is expensive. Xcel says they cost between 10 and 20 times more than overhead lines. A state agency recently ordered Xcel to bury lines that would have gone over the Midtown Greenway, at an extra cost of about $17.5 million.”

 Marino Eccher and Marcella Corona of the Pioneer Press update the storm aftermath: “At its worse, nearly 610,000 Xcel Energy customers were without power. By Monday afternoon, that had been reduced to 27,000 in the west metro and 2,400 in the east metro. … St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said more than 2,000 public trees were damaged and 500 trees fell as a result of the storms, with 26 falling onto homes.  The city's 28 forestry workers have been working 14-hour shifts.” They add that the Mississippi River is expected to rise to about 14.1 feet in St. Paul later this week, just above its minor flood stage of 14 feet, and is not a cause for concern.

Good parenting really does matter. University of Minnesota researchers reported “adolescents were less likely to try extreme weight-loss techniques — which are known paths to eating disorders and even weight gain — if their parents focused on healthful eating and avoided discussing their children’s bodies and weight,” says a story by Jeremy Olson in the Strib. “Talking about healthful eating gives children solutions, while talking about weight embarrasses them, said Jerica Berge, a lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the university’s department of family medicine and community health. … Studies clearly show that children are driven to unhealthy weight-loss attempts when their parents tease them or call them fat. But there is less research comparing two more constructive approaches: a serious, straight-talk approach about children’s weight vs. a sensitive approach that focuses on ways to lose weight.”

Martin Moylan at Minnesota Public Radio says Medtronic is closing in on an FDA-approved artificial pancreas with a continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump smart enough to stop pumping insulin when blood sugar levels get low: “For Type 1 diabetics, too much insulin sends blood sugar too low, causing seizures, unconsciousness, brain damage and death. But too little insulin can cause high blood sugar, increasing the chances of damage to the eyes, kidney and heart.  [Study subjects] saw low blood sugar episodes drop by about one third. And no deaths or ‘severe adverse events’ occurred among those patients. [Dr. Richard Bergenstal of Park Nicollet's International Diabetes Center] said the trial results may pave the way for federal Food and Drug Administration approval of the Medtronic device later this year.” $15 billion?

So Surly released its newest renderings of a “destination brewery” to be built in the Prospect Park neighborhood. The Strib's Eric Roper says the $20 million facility should be open next year and will feature a brewery, bar and an event center. The story goes into the history of how Surly got permission to build the thing and whatnot, but let’s just jump to a sampling of the comments:
kingchros: “What is this? I thought it was supposed to be a ‘destination brewery,’ not an upscale museum cafeteria.”
 jamgra: “… Well, we know the beer will taste good in any event. Hopefully, they can bank some profits and build something a little nicer eventually.”
 mnpikey: “Looks like a giant Chipotle restraurant.”
stevenel: “… Exterior could be one of the many cookie cutter academic buildings built in the ’70s on the U of M West Bank. A ‘destination brewery’ needs to be a place people want to hang out. This design says ‘grab a beer, slam it down and get out of there to go to someplace that's actually fun.’ ”

The Minnesota Wild made a smart move by signing veteran goalie Niklas Backstrom to a three-year contract that keeps the team under the salary cap, writes Chad Graff of the PiPress. That the Wild wanted Backstrom and Backstrom wanted to return to the Wild was no secret, but this puts the finishing touches on a deal necessary for both sides.Graff reports:  “A source close to the negotiations told the Pioneer Press [the contract] was worth $10.25 million [over three years]. Backstrom has been with the Wild for all seven of his NHL seasons. The 35-year-old from Finland was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 5."  Graff reports that there weren’t many options for the Wild: The only proven starting goalie on the free agent market is Phoenix's Mike Smith who was unaffordable under the salary cap, and trading for a goalie would cost multiple players and draft picks.

John Fitzgerald is subbing this week for Brian Lambert.

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