Catch-and-release-and-catch

Good morning and welcome to the first Daily Glean. The idea is to combine and contrast info from both daily papers plus after-work reports from local TV, radio and online. We’re information omnivores in case you don’t have time to be. Here goes …

The Strib continues to go gooey over Sara Jane Olson’s abortive parole from Hotel California, leading with the front-page news about how a clerk mistakenly dropped two years off her sentence. The Pioneer Press — which uses the L.A. Times to cover the hometown gal and buries the story in local news — says the mistake happened in 2005. It went something like this: Olson received 14 years for a 1975 plot to kill an LAPD officer, but when a court cut the sentence to 13 years, a reviewing clerk didn’t add on two years for a Sacramento second-degree murder. So what should’ve been 15 years became 13, turning into 12 when a court later cut another year off the sentence. Not that we need many more follow-ups here, but why did the original 14-year sentence shrink (legally) twice? Anyway, the clerk’s union blames overwork. Strib’s Curt Brown gets the money quote from Olson’s husband: “As this thing spins, it’s really important for people not to make inflammatory comments, except in the to and fro of the legal system.”

The tax- and transit-obsessed should check out the PiPress’s gleanable front-page poster on coming county sales tax votes, with prospects, projects and amounts. (There’s an ugly online version here.) The paper says Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey are in; Washington’s a maybe, and Scott and Carver are nos. Projects that will benefit from the quarter-cent tax: Northstar Rail (three stations), bus rapid transit on Cedar Avenue and 35W, and commuter corridors emanating from the two central cities. Ramsey, Anoka and Carver vote today; the rest on April Fool’s Day. A PiPress editorial supports the tax hike for Ramsey County.

Speaking of the transit tax, both papers feature its Joan of Arc: State Rep. Kathy Tingelstad, one of the GOP’s “Override Six,” who abandoned her re-election bid yesterday. The PiPress says Tingelstad was “fairly confident” she could’ve won, but calls the district’s endorsed DFLer, Jerry Newton, “formidable.” She tells the Strib that she fears Republicans will lose the moderate-swinging district. Tingelstad has chilling words for Republicans fearing future overrides this session: “This should be kind of liberating.”

Maybe ditching cars is a good idea: the Strib’s Tom Meersman localizes tougher EPA smog standards, which will mean more air-quality alerts even though the air isn’t necessarily worse. That said, even in our wind-swept Twin Cities, air quality was “good” less than half the year in 2007. (Rochester was similarly afflicted.) We’re really close to violating daily ozone standards, too. The standards were lowered because medical research shows smog is more harmful than first thought.

Fox 9’s Tom Lyden follows up on the Strib’s awesome bending-gusset-plate scoop from Sunday. Lyden shows stress meters stuck to beams near the 35W plates, and a snippet of a MnDOT consultant’s report — written two years after the bent-plate photos — stating “Gusset plate buckling: if this occurs, it is not catastrophic.” Good stuff. [UPDATE: the Strib’s Mike Kaszuba and Pat Doyle featured the same document excerpt in November, but Lyden’s timing and presentation were still excellent.]

Today’s talk-radio chum: the Vets for Freedom Heroes Tour was scheduled to stop at Forest Lake High School, but the Strib says the principal “abruptly canceled” the visit because protesters could turn an “academic discussion” political. “I think it’s extremely unfortunate that a school would bow to the political pressure of outside groups and not bring in a veterans organization,” says the Forest Lake alum who founded the group. Problem is, the Vets for Freedom IS overtly political. The group was organized to buttress support for the Iraq War and is on a national bus tour promoting that cause. Pro-war Rep. Michelle Bachmann was also expected to appear. The Strib can’t find a potential protester to talk to, but the PiPress quotes a sympathetic school board member concerned that no anti-war groups or politicians could attend the event: “It appears like it turned from a discussion about the war to a political rally.”

Nice enterprise from the Strib’s Rochelle Olson: Abigail Taylor’s heart-rending death last week from complications in the pool drain tragedy will likely save the Minneapolis Golf Club and the drain manufacturer money. That’s because they won’t have to pay the staggering bills for Abigail’s future pain, suffering and care. The case is now considered a wrongful death, not personal injury, and “moves damages from the possible blockbuster range down to mere millions,” according to lawyers.

The Strib reports that the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul will become marketing arms for Toyota, in return for $300,000 each and free three-year leases on six hybrids and four other vehicles. The deal will save St. Paul about 40 grand annually, including fuel and maintenance. What does Toyota get? Sponsorship credits at some events and unspecified marketing opportunities. Given the outrage some years back over Dairy Queen sponsoring Minneapolis park pavilions, more details are needed there, hopefully divulged at a news conference this morning.

Curiously attenuated lede from the PiPress:  “Have you received a letter and check for thousands of dollars in the mail saying you’ve won the lottery? It could be a scam.” Could be?

Quote of the Day: Bemoaning the Democrats’ inability to decide a nominee in a timely fashion, Walter Mondale told a forum yesterday, “To avoid the abuse of power, we have rules that ensure that we never have power.”

Whatever Happened To?: Former Minneapolis Public Schools chief Carol Johnson, who left for Memphis in 2003, now heads up the Boston Public Schools. Johnson was named “Tennessee Superintendent of the Year” in 2007 for getting schools off No Child Left Behind sanctions. Still, the Strib reports that she was criticized in Memphis for weak management skills; Johnson blames politicians for a federal probe into how construction contracts were awarded on her watch.

Diversions: The PiPress’s Dominic Papatola reports the Guthrie Theater played to 85 percent capacity this season, and at least four local theaters will perform at the Artistic Ikea next year. George Michael will beat the Republicans into the Xcel Energy Center with a July 7 concert. The only George Clooney-Rene-Zellweger-in-Duluth story you’ll need to see, replete with pigskin … and pig.

Nort Spews:
Twins reliever Joe Nathan signed a big-money three-year extension, ensuring the Twins will have a big name to trade through 2011. (Nathan can blackball three teams.) Speedster Carlos Gomez will start in centerfield, making entertainment-starved Minnesota fans happy but rival Denard Span sad.

Final cut:
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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Maggie Jensen on 03/25/2008 - 11:28 am.

    LOVE the Daily Glean. I read both papers every morning, but skip the stories that have weak headlines. So thank you, David Brauer, for making sure I don’t miss any of the good stuff.

  2. Submitted by Andrew Hine on 03/25/2008 - 12:10 pm.

    There is a rumor that an old image of Norm Coleman was shown on KSTP-TV news Sunday night (3/23/08), in a piece about Kathleen Soliah. Could his hair have been so long that he was mistaken for Soliah, or was this some sort of inside joke? I’ve heard about a service that collects all TV news shows and will sell you copies. Mr. Brauer, if you subscribe to this service, please see if this is so. Also, how does one get images of Norm at the Sperry-Univac protest?

    Thanks for the fun synopsis.

    A Hine
    Norm’s Neighbor
    Saint Paul

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