Who’ll win this p.r. war: Mary Jo “God’s on my side” Copeland versus the city of Minneapolis? An excellent Strib headline gives one clue: “Homers versus Homeless.” Copeland says the city wants to boot her Sharing & Caring Hands as the Twins Stadium supplants the garbage burner as the area’s landmark. But the city said she’s righteously refused security meetings for years, enabling a druggie bazaar. Dogged reporter Steve Brandt notes nearby shelter orgs are cool with the city.
More Copeland: WCCO features the day’s most incendiary quote: A neighboring businessperson calls her “the crack queen of Minneapolis because there are drugs constantly here.” Fox-9 reminds us they found drug deals in and around the building in 2006. The area has long been a homeless hangout – is the shelter a cause or effect? Here’s a 2003 Downtown Journal take on the dynamic. Final thought: Isn’t Twins owner Carl Pohlad a big Copeland backer?
Another worry for the impoverished: the state confirms lead in venison donated to food shelves. The Pioneer Press says 76 of 299 samples positive. Hunters should check their freezers. Strib plays it big, noting officials are “uncertain” whether deer meat is safe to eat, and there could be an effect on herd management. Simple solution: copper bullets, which avoid lead poisoning throughout the food chain. Why isn’t that being done? Cost?
No surprise: St. Cloud will get a new DeSoto Bridge. Strib says the new span, presumably free of bent gusset plates, will open November 2009. Also, a new Hastings Bridge gets moved up a decade and could begin in 2010; the Strib explicitly credits the DFL’s transportation bill for the move-up. PiPress notes DeSoto’s price tag is $35.3 million. Nice, if ideological report on the guv’s St. Cloud atmospherics in Minnesota Monitor.
The Strib plays up the dying-for-years Parker Hughes Cancer Center closing, but buries a bigger story: the state House passes a very different health care bill than the Senate. (Was the latter story late-breaking?) Warren Wolfe reports that Dems dropped a health-insurance mandate. The Health Care Access Fund would be tapped by 2013; Gov. Pawlenty uses it to balance his budget. The guv won’t sign the bill, GOP leaders say; the 83-50 margin isn’t veto-proof.
More health: The PiPress says families of four under $64,000 will get help. House premium caps include 6 percent of income for folks making 300 percent of poverty level, and 8 percent for 400 percent of poverty. The GOP says that’s just not sustainable, and will lead to big MinnCare expulsions in a few years. Of course, that’s a few years of insurance for many; uninsured would drop from 7.2 percent to 2 percent.
Norm Coleman is bummed about fellow Republican Tim Pawlenty’s light-rail veto, according to AP.
The PiPress’s Dominic Papatola says the Minneapolis Schubert Theater’s renovation “will be more expensive and less opulent than developers hoped.” The historically multi-level house might be rebuilt as a single level, with the proposed 1,000-seat capacity cut in half. There’s $12 million worth of taxpayer bucks in the thing, and organizers need to raise $5 million or so in a tough economy to break ground this year.
The PiPress reports St. Paul council members are now more favorably disposed to 4 a.m. bar time during the GOP convention. The Legislature’s scaled-back five-day time frame and permitted permit fees seem to have done the trick.
KSTP reports that the TIZA Arabic Academy now flies an American flag. The station went all patriotic on the charter school yesterday. (Full disclosure: no one has sent Glean a photo of another flagless public school.) Bigger story: school officials said they were inundated with threats and messages of hate following recent media coverage of possible religious overreach. I’d love to see non-ideological print reporters get involved.
The Twin Cities’ oldest city? It’s Edina, at least population-wise, according to the Strib. City planners want more density in part to bring down the median age and Edina’s hefty price point. (The added property tax revenue probably doesn’t hurt). Many residents say things are just nifty the way they are, so who cares if we’re the world’s biggest NORC? The usual fears — crime, drugs — abound.
Minnesota AG Lori Swanson emerges from her anti-union coverage to argue against Bush administration takeover of insurance regulation in the Strib. The states now handle that — a lot more competently than the anti-regulation feds would ever do, she says. Seems like a good localizable story, and maybe I’ve missed one already done.
Ever since my dad took me to his friend’s investiture as a Masonic official, I’ve been fascinated by the group. Well, they get front-page notice for kicking in $65 million to the U for cancer research. The Strib says the gift makes up for shrinking federal funding and support “novel research projects.” The Masons have given the school $100 million in the past-half century. Day Two: a little more about the eternally mysterious — and generous — group?
Strong day for corporate misdeeds. In the big-deal department, the Strib’s Dan Browning details a Spring Park engineering company’s alleged illegal overseas shipping of military equipment. The feds say Global Engineering Associates shipping bills didn’t match the Singapore package’s restricted contents. A pressure indicator and military mounts were valued at $123,191. Criminal charges? Rare in these cases, a fed says. No comment from the alleged perps.
Less-fraught but bigger-dollar corporate crime: the Strib says a Sun Country employee allegedly cut 108 checks worth $214,000 to her boyfriend. The motive? Yup, gambling. The airline better check its cash controls: the suspected fraud occurred over seven years.
The Hennepin County worker accused of selling info about trial witnesses was acquitted of a felony but rung up on a gross misdemeanor, the Strib reports. The entrapment defense seems to deter the stiffer penalty.
The Minneapolis Golf Club is disputing some state findings in the Abigail Taylor case, the Strib reports. Reporter Josephine Marcotty says the club told members “much of the information” is “inaccurate,” including the cloudy water that obscured the pool’s drain cover.
I’ve kinda counterprogrammed against the rape trial coverage of an ex-Gopher footballer, but an interesting legal fillip cropped up during deliberations. According to the Strib’s Rochelle Olson, the jury asked to review a Hennepin County physician’s PowerPoint presentation on alcohol consumption. The judge said no, you have to work from memory. That seems less precise. Legal eagles: What’s the reasoning/principle here?
Alleged cop-beater Carl Eller racked up a couple of felony charges yesterday: terroristic threats and fourth-degree assault. The alleged drunk driving that started it all produced two gross misdemeanors, the Strib reports. The ex-Viking is out on $50,000 bail. (By the way, that’s less the accused Sun Country embezzlers got.)
Got a problem pothole? Minneapolis says you can call 311 to report the wheel-benders from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Friday. (Close-circuit to Strib: not 11 a.m. as stated in your story. I’m not getting huffy about this, having made the same type of mistake in yesterday’s Glean.)
Nort spews: Twins are rained out in Chicago, but harness racing begins in exurban Columbus, Minn., the PiPress reports. Post time is 6 p.m. Conditions: mucky.