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Daily Glean: Buy the friendly skies

The Strib’s Liz Fedor reports Delta pilots have received new contract terms in the on-again Northwest merger, but NWA pilots haven’t. Deltas fliers get pay hikes to make up for bankruptcy-related losses, but “Northwest pilots would not see financial benefits quickly,” Fedor writes. Delta pilots would be paid off to waive unspecified contract language, but the one-sided incentives could naturally p.o. the Northwest sky jockeys.

More NWA:
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported Delta pilots might picket Northwest. Today, Fedor writes, “Delta pilot leaders are prepared to travel to Northwest hubs in the coming weeks to explain their motivation and the benefits that Northwest pilots would gain from a merger.” I’d like to be a flier on that wall.

Harbinger? AP reports that the feds have given Northwest and Delta permission to operate as one airline on Atlantic schedules. Air France-KLM and two other airlines are also in on the deal. Obviously, this was filed well before the current NWA-Delta merger talks.

Whatever airline flies out of MSP this summer, expect delays. The feds warn we’re on a short list of “airports to watch closely this summer because of severe peaking during part of the day,” reports the Strib’s Steve Alexander. During one 15-minute window, NWA has 56 scheduled departures — triple the airport’s capacity. When is that exactly? Story doesn’t say. MSP officials are surprised, and past performance has been relatively good.

State health investigators blame improper fasteners and a worn mounting ring for the swimming pool problems that wound up killing 6-year-old Abigail Taylor. The pool water was also cloudy, making it hard to see the drain was ajar. KSTP reports that St. Louis Park fined the pool operators before the swim season opened; it’s unclear whether that fine was over drain-related issues.

More swimming: The Strib says pool operators knew the drain was loose. Eight violations equal a $10,000 state fine. The PiPress adds this scary Health Department note: “109 cases of cryptosporidiosis were reported among swimmers at two public pools and a hotel water park late last year.” Uhh, which ones?

The city of St. Paul demands that a national lenders group fix up and fill foreclosed houses. The weapon of choice: letters insisting on action within 30 days. The PiPress’s Jennifer Bjorhus indicates this seemingly weak tea may set the table for a lawsuit, since the city has hired a lawyer who’s done just that. St. Paul is also directing $17 million of state funding to address foreclosure issues. Seems like a lot — where’s it coming from?

KSTP saddles up with Katherine Kersten to bang on an Arabic charter school accused of teaching Islam. The report is a bit breathy — “State law requires the school to fly an American flag during school hours. However no flag flies outside of TIZA Academy.” Hey, that Barack Hussein Obama guy doesn’t wear a flag pin, either, does he? There’ll be a public hat tip to the reader who emails me a photo of another flagless public school.

KSTP’s real news about the Arabic school: “The State Department of Education said they would conduct more site visits and write to the State Department to find out more about the school’s sponsor.”

Smashing victory for labor: Security guards win whopping 25-32 percent wage increases under a five-year agreement reached yesterday, the Strib’s Tim Harlow reports. Some salaries go up over $3 an hour and health care costs for singles plunge from $190 a month to $60, and some down to $20. Someone needs to do a profile of SEIU, the union that got ‘er done.

That suburban strategy is paying off: The Strib’s Mary Jane Smetanka tells of a Bloomington effort to catch red-light runners. It involves white (or possibly blue) lights attached to the back of a traffic semaphore. The light signals an officer hiding on the far side of an intersection to pull over speeders. It’s not as sweeping as Minneapolis’s red-light cameras, nor as humanless, but it ups ticket counts and it’s legal.

PiPress’s Dave Orrick passes along a study saying that buses have to run with LRT along the U’s Washington Avenue. That’s so the project meets federal funding guidelines. The U wants a different route. Someone will have to pay for “new intersections, new traffic lights, new turn lanes and even new streets,” for re-routed cars.

The PiPress reports that a Minnesota House committee passed a medical marijuana bill by a veto-proof 13-4, but one sponsor says full passage will be close. The vote doesn’t break down on party lines. The Strib says critically ill patients can possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot.

Maintaining the Glean’s one-animal-story-a-day pace, the Strib’s Joy Powell details the Minnesota Zoo’s post-bonding bill squeeze. The Zoo got $2.5 million in the bill, about a tenth of what it asked for, and has to spend $1.5 million to staunch water runoff to an Eagan treatment plant. That leaves a mil for basic maintenance; the tigers and koalas will have to wait for fatter times.

Bonding-bill factoid:
WCCO’s Pat Kessler reports that of the Legislature’s $925 million bonding bill, Dems got $894 million of their pet projects versus $31 million for the vastly outnumbered GOP.

I suppose I have to say something about Carl Eller’s alleged officer-assaulting DWI arrest. First, such actions are reprehensible. Second, the Minneapolis cops know how to put on a multimedia extravaganza: photos, videos, officer-grappling re-enactments. Third, the brawling, taser-proof Eller still seems mighty robust at 66. “He apparently ripped the prongs out of himself,” a slightly amazed police spokesman says. WCCO says Eller could face prison time.

Free marketers say the state’s anti-global-warming recommendations would be ineffective and cost too much, according to the PiPress’s Dennis Lien. The not-exactly-neutral American Property Coalition — whose website features this plea: “Debunk/defuse the Global Warming Alarmists!” — paid a conservative group to do the research. “[N]o scientific basis for the report’s claims of cost savings can be found,” the study concludes.

A different kind of detention: The woman accused of being the escort with the gunman who shot a Coon Rapids man in the face turns out to be a Wayzata High School student. Nice PiPress detail: Starsha Swift had an unexcused absence the day of the shooting. But I think she has more to worry about than the vice principal.

The PiPress tells of a $4 million fine levied against Minneapolis-based Ameriprise Financial in New Hampshire because it didn’t report “significant information about securities violations,” including 96 forgeries. The company says its Portsmouth office acted out of the norm.

After a billion years, St. Paul finally gets uniform skyway hours. The covered paths will be open 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., the PiPress’s Alex Friedrich reports. Caveat: City Hall, County Courthouse and Macy’s will get waivers. It starts in mid-July, and the GOP convention gets a hat tip. [GULP: the original copy said 2 p.m., not 2 a.m. St. Paul’s not that uptight.]

Corpse twins:
The Strib and the PiPress run photos of the exact same woman reacting to the Como Zoo’s stinky corpse flower. The rivals had to know they were standing right next to each other.

Nort spews:
Colorado dumps the injury-plagued Wild in OT to take a 1-0 lead and home-ice advantage in the seven-game playoff series. On the diamond? Hey, backatcha! One game after the ChiSox grand-slammed the Twins, Jason Kubel slams them back for a 12-5 win. 

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