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Daily Glean: The Legislature’s $300 million last-day mistake

The PiPress and Strib review the ramifications of a nasty 6 a.m. last-day legislative error: County mandates were repealed for services such as mental-health treatment, employment and library operations. Counties could presumably ax $300 million worth of programs and lose $100 million in federal funds. The guv hopes to scare counties straight by canceling the mistaken provision next year, retroactive to this year. Apparently, lawmakers also screwed up a tax credit for uninsured people.

As expected, everybody but the U voted to run Central Corridor light-rail down Washington Avenue. The planning-committee tally was 11-1; the Met Council said yes unanimously, the Strib reports. The U says it won’t sue, and will try to make the best plan work. MPR’s Laura Yuen says the U still holds out hope for the Dinkytown alignment, but the Met Council will abandon planning for it. The U may still retain its high-powered Washington lobbyist, the PiPress’s Dave Orrick notes.

Hey, Minneapolis! How ’bout some 8-foot by 2-foot banners in your parks? Advertising Lowe’s! That’s the price of $90,000 in equipment and services from the home-improvement chain, writes Minnesota Monitor’s Chris Steller. The cash-strapped board caused an uproar several years ago when a Dairy Queen sponsorship was floated; the full Park Board will consider the wisdom of park ads at its next meeting. By the way, there’s no Lowe’s in Minneapolis; the closest are in Plymouth and West St. Paul.

 

Tornado update: 4-year-old Annika Prindle remains in critical condition at Gillette Children’s Hospital; her 2-year-old brother Nathaniel died as a result of fresh-water drowning, the PiPress’s Megan Boldt reports. The number of damaged homes topped 500. Also, Hugo city officials say the homes were “well-built,” according to the PiPress’s Mary Divine. Officials say they met state and city codes, but nothing could handle a tornado. A St. Paul structural engineer says retrofitting isn’t really an option.

AP reports that northern Minnesota DFL Sen. Tom Bakk is exploring a 2010 gubernatorial bid. He’s a moderate, like the other exploratory candidate, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, and rock-ribbed labor guy. The Senate Tax Committee chair would probably give up his seat to run for higher office, since senators also run in 2010. He tells Forum Newspapers he’d have to raise $2.5 million and would seek endorsement.

If Delta and Northwest merge, flight attendants will probably be unionized, union officials tell the Strib’s Liz Fedor. A recent Delta-only vote lacked a quorum, but enough voted yes to put a merged force over the hump when pro-union NWA folks are added in.

With apologies to Spinal Tap, talk about mud flaps, these guys got ’em. An Isanti County dude faces criminal charges for ripping up his own wetland; the Strib’s Dave Schaffer says 10 to12 jacked-up mud trucks frolicked on the 9-acre parcel, which contained 100 or so yards of wetland. The sound was so loud cops had to question the landowner inside a building. Moral: Don’t anger the neighbors when you’re violating a rarely enforced state law.

Two neat Strib human interest stories: One about a Minnetonka lawyer who took in an Iraqi mom and daughter while the daughter undergoes free spinal surgery here; the other about Spring Lake Park High kids who built most of a 2,300-square foot home as part of a school program. Would you live in a kid-built house? The one they built in 2005 sold for $347,000, but the market isn’t what it used to be.

… and another from the PiPress: Rubén Rosario pens a typically fine tale about a foster family who adopted their foster daughter. What’s the hook? The girl’s boyfriend once tried to kill them. A reconciliation meeting sealed the deal, Rosario writes.

On the flip side, KSTP — becoming your serial killer station — has an interesting piece about a convicted multiple murderer on the hook for a cold case. DNA evidence could link Billy Glaze to the 1986 killing of a Minneapolis woman; he was convicted of killing three American Indian women in the ’80s. A search warrant says Glaze has bragged about murdering more women. Unlike the “Smiley Faced Killer” escapade, authorities are buying this one.

Speaking of: Minneapolis cops caught an alleged U-area rapist thanks to three drops of blood left at the scene. Cops matched the DNA to a registered sex offender database, KARE’s Trisha Volpe reports. The victim broke her ankle jumping out a window May 4 to avoid the knife-wielding rapist.

Would you spend $20 to win a $1.8 million home? A Minneapolis developer staging just such a contest was arrested for holding an illegal raffle, the Southwest Journal reports. Developer Paul Stepnes said state officials signed off on his plan. (The state official tells Glean the plan changed.) Stepnes says it isn’t an illegal game of chance because you need skill to most closely guess the number of fasteners in the house. Did police have to drag the guy out in handcuffs? Expect a lawsuit.

Nort spews: One night after coughing up three runs in the ninth inning to nearly lose the game, the Twins score five in the ninth and beat Kansas City 9-8 in 10 innings. Craig Monroe and Justin Morneau hit key homers. It’s KC’s 10th consecutive loss, so expect bitter, bitter Sore Losers here and, video-style, here.

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