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Daily Glean: Lost-and-found tale brightens the day

By Doug Grow | Thursday, June 19, 2008
In Thursday’s news roundup, the story of the lost being found overwhelms the dreary news of mayhem on every Twin Cities news outlet.

For a day, at least one day, a story of the lost being found overwhelmed the dreary news of mayhem on every Twin Cities news outlet.

A cell phone call led searchers to Abby Flantz, 25, of Gaylord, Minn., and Erica Nelson, 23, of Las Vegas, hikers found just north of the boundary of Alaska’s vast Denali National Park, the Star Tribune reports. The women had been lost for five days when Ellane Nelson’s cell phone rang. Her daughter’s caller ID showed up on the screen.  “I was told her face looked like it had seen a ghost,” a park spokesman told the Strib’s Mary Lynn Smith.

Heard this story before? Sun Country Airlines, says it needs state help — upward of $50 million — to maintain its “current business model,”the Pioneer Press reports. Sun Country CEO Stan Gadek met with several state legislators Wednesday. Next up, a meeting with the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

Justice still can be mixed with mercy. By telling one vet’s near tragic story, PiPress columnist Ruben Rosario explains a new Minnesota law that encourages the criminal justice system to consider non-jail options when sentencing a vet who can show that combat-related stress played a role in the criminal behavior.

Instant run-off voting is not to be confused with instant voting headache. But the PiPress’ Jason Hoppin reports that St. Paul City Attorney John Choi believes the proposed (and improved?) voting system — which supporters want put on the ballot this fall for approval — may be unconstitutional. Meantime, Minneapolis is plunging ahead with the systems of ranking candidates that most of us sort-of understand.

Also on the subject of our democracy, MPR’s Curtis Gilbert has an excellent report of how Republican presidential nominee John McCain will be able to ask supporters for $50,000 at a fundraiser in Minneapolis tonight even though the gift limit allowed by law is $2,300 during the primary process and an additional $2,300 for the general election

Need your daily fill of speculation as to whether Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be McCain’s running mate? The Strib reports that the governor told the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce that “I haven’t been asked and I don’t expect to be asked.” On the other hand, he also said, “I’m honored to have my name mentioned.”

On the housing front, KSTP reports that police nabbed two boys — 14 and 9(!) — for setting fire to a vacant home in Northeast Minneapolis. On KARE-TV, there’s a report on how Hennepin County will come up with $1.25 million to help Minneapolis raze vacant houses, an open invitation to neighborhood woes.

Also on the subject of urban life: Strib reporter Anthony Lonetree writes of how St. Paul will try to control its robust pigeon population by mixing a contraceptive with cracked corn and grain atop downtown buildings. Animal and bird huggers have approved of the method. Interesting stat: One-third of the amount a bird eats ends up on sidewalks and park benches.

The Winona Daily News reports that state Department of Transportation inspectors found problems with gusset plates on Winona’s Interstate Bridge two years ago but that nothing was done to tackle the problem. The bridge recently was closed, so inspectors could take a closer look. It’s suppose to re-open by Friday  afternoon.

This year, John Olsen will try to cover the 26.2 miles of this weekend’s Grandma’s Marathon on his own two feet. Strib sportswriter Kent Youngblood tells of how Sue Olsen, an extraordinary ultra-marathoner was just two weeks from giving birth to her son, John, when she completed Grandma’s 13 years ago. Now that he’s 12, the beginning age limit for the marathon, John’s eligible to enter the race. Mom plans to stick with her son, every step of the away.

The toughest part of Grandma’s may be just getting there. The Associated Press reports that an earth-scraping vehicle fell off the back of a truck that was crossing over I-35 near downtown Duluth, damaging a guard rail and the left lane of I-35. As a result, that lane of the northbound highway will be closed for six to eight weeks for repairs.

In sporting news, the Twins defeated their distant cousins, the Washington Nationals, for a second successive night and go for the sweep this afternoon. The Twins, once the Washington Senators, left D.C. in 1961 and were replaced by a new Washington team, which became the Texas Rangers. The Nationals, once the Expos, moved from Montreal to D.C. Here’s the Washington view, of the game.