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Daily Glean: Summertime living is easy for some, queasy for others

By Doug Grow | Monday, June 23, 2008
In Monday’s news roundup, life is good if you like happy endings, follow the Minnesota Twins or applaud the success of sports arenas.

Summertime and the living is easy, especially if you like stories with happy endings, are a fan of the Minnesota Twins or think that public subsidies for sports arenas such as St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center are a good idea. This summer’s living isn’t so easy if you live near the Crosstown Commons construction project or were a fan of Theatre de la Jeune Lune.

For the second time in less than a week, there’s been a happy ending to what seemed a futile search story. On Sunday, Keith Kennedy, the 25-year-old man with autism, was found, a mile from the camp he’d left. Strib reporters Rodrigo Zamith and Amy Simons talked with one of the St. Paul firefighters who discovered Kennedy. “We were sent in for a body recovery, and to come across somebody that’s still alive after seven days is amazing,” said firefighter Gary Ruiz. Last week, Abby Flantz of Gaylord, Minn., and Erica Nelson of Las Vegas were found just outside Alaska’s Denali National Park.

Double Crosstown? The Strib’s Steve Brandt has a story on highway construction and promises seemingly forgotten. According to Minneapolis city officials, the state promised it would follow city night noise restriction laws when re-constructing the Crosstown Commons. But when the city tried to enforce those laws, the state said it was just kidding about earlier promises. Now it says it doesn’t have to follow city regs and that the feds agree. Those near the project are now trying to sleep through noise and shaking beds.

Ready for the worst when Republican National Convention comes to town? MPR’s Tim Pugmire wasn’t asking about bad speeches. He was asking if the region’s hospitals could deal with an emergency on the scale of the 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid. The University of Minnesota’s Dr. Michael Osterholm paints a vivid — and grim — picture. “Our health care system in Minnesota, like the rest of the country, has been gnawed to the bone,and frankly we’ve been sucking calcium.” Hennepin County Medical Center’s Mark Lappe is a little more upbeat, noting that collapse of the I-35 bridge proved region’s hospitals are ready for almost anything.

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The last act at Theatre de la Jeune Lune is a downer. The Strib and television stations all chased PiPress’s Dominic Papatola, who broke the story of the demise of the Tony Award-winning theater on Sunday. The only way for the 30-year-old theater to cover its $1 million debt is to close down and sell its building.

In more sad entertainment news, comedian George Carlin is dead at 71. The Strib gives scant coverage of the man who unleashed a routine that included “the seven words you can’t say on television.” Turn to PiPress for more thorough coverage, plus an amazing photo of Carlin being led from Summerfest grounds by four Milwaukee police after he used those seven words in a 1972 performance.

It’s been 10 years since the first shoveful of dirt was turned for the construction of St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, reports the PiPress’s Jason Hoppin. In that time, the publicly financed arena has been home to hockey players, Prince, Springsteen, Dylan and, soon, thousands of Republicans.

But another project that was supposed to change the look and feel of St. Paul’s downtown hasn’t been quite so successful. The 1980s era Galtier Plaza has constantly struggled. Now, according to the Strib’s Susan Feyder, the building will be home to St. Paul Preparatory School. The 130-student school is moving from Hamline to Galtier, where it will be among the building’s largest tenants. Even with the move, Galtier will be at only 72 percent of capacity, below the St. Paul average of 78 percent.

Not-so-fast food is being served up at St. Paul’s Sonic drive-in, according to the Strib’s James Walsh, who reports that there are long lines outside the heavily advertised national chain, which opened on St. Paul’s Suburban Avenue two weeks ago. Walsh admits that coverage of the chain restaurant brings back memories of the hype surrounding ill-fated Krispy Kreme.

Northwest CEO Doug Steenland is back in D.C., this time to talk about what the rest of us are talking about: High fuel prices. MPR’s Martin Moylan reports that Steenland will tell a House committee that speculators are driving oil prices sky high. Steenland will ask for oversight of the speculators.

The U.S. Women’s Open begns this week at Interlachen Country Club, and KARE-TV’s Greg Vandegrift has a nice piece about club caddy Micky Millburn, who will be toting the bag of South Korean Kyeong Bae during the tournament. “I’ve sold insurance and I’ve tried other things,” Millburn said. “Working inside isn’t for me.”

In other sporting news, the Twins get a day off after winning their sixth successive Dome game, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 on Sunday. Key play in the game came in the bottom of the fifth, when Arizona leftfielder Conor Jackson lost Delmon Young’s fly in the dome roof. A sure out became a double, which opened the door to a five-run inning. The drab losers’ account of the series can be found here.