Oh, the forces of racial division are going to hate this: turns out the victim, not just the alleged perps in the Valleyfair beating, were black. Police released the detail because so many were braying for the six suspects to be charged with a hate crime, the Strib’s Jim Adams reports. The victim’s wife wonders why so many people thought her husband was white. Jason Lewis and KQRS are obliquely blamed for the race-baiting; were they contacted for comment?
The St. Paul Ford plant’s extended life, to 2011, catches some as bittersweet. The Strib notes 1,600 workers took buyouts expecting a sooner shuttering; KSTP talks to some. Beyond that half-empty note, one DFLer says there’s more time to design next-gen-plant subsidies. The Ranger truck’s relative gas miserliness saved the day; the PiPress says the four-cylinder option is booming, even as sales ticked down a comparatively small 4 percent. Workers are paid $14.20-$30 an hour.
More Ford: The plant’s tooling was paid for years ago, but to survive beyond 2011, retooling is needed, squandering that advantage. However, MPR’s Annie Baxter says an imported-truck tariff works in the plant’s favor. However, the Strib says the St. Paul plant is still a ways from Ford’s supply chain and the real estate is still prime. St. Paul officials like the breathing room to study redevelopment.
A new poll showing Barack Obama with a surprisingly narrow 2-point lead over John McCain fronts the Strib but only rates page B5 in the PiPress. While the Strib headline breathlessly translates the single survey into “McCain pulls even,” reporter Bob von Sternberg accurately contextualizes the Quinnipiac survey as an outlier (for now) and nicely contrasts a vastly different Rasmussen survey showing a double-digit Obama lead and a narrow Norm Coleman margin (that last is an outlier, too.)
WCCO’s Pat Kessler says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “will be supportive, we are told, of John McCain” during a local appearance today. Bloomberg, a highly coveted independent, will ignite a media frenzy if he announces a pick. He’s ostensibly here to raise money for the Independence Party — but would be making his pronouncement in a newly rechristened battleground state.
The PiPress’s Frederick Melo catalogs a litany of failures at Ramsey Dakota County’s new 911 center: calls lost during a 90-minute period, others sent into the ether, etc. The center’s director is considering legal action against a software vendor; he adds that technicians are chewing through the problems that he believes aren’t overwhelming. However, with the Republican convention on the way, some are worried.
The U.S. House passed Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar’s $1 billion bridge reconstruction plan. The Strib’s Kevin Diaz says Minnesota officials are mad the bill mandates certain bridges be fixed. Every Minnesota representative voted aye, but Senate prospects remain “unclear.” One bit of context needed: How many bridges conceivably get fixed for $1 bil?
Complicating a partisan narrative, now it’s a GOP Congressional candidate with tax problems. Dr. Brian Davis, the 1st District endorsee, was delinquent on his property taxes 10 consecutive times over five years, the Strib’s Kevin Duchschere reports. Davis calls it an “unfortunate oversight” and says he has no excuse.
Minnesota Independent’s Paul Demko takes an in-depth look at where the money-besotted 3rd District campaign contributions are coming from; DFL nominee Ashwin Madia is getting money from unions, national Democrats, the netroots and Americans of Indian heritage; the GOP’s Erik Paulsen has raised almost all his dough in-state. MPR’s Curtis Gilbert goes into more detail about Madia’s India-American fundraising connections.
Today’s RNC protest update: GOP organizers helpfully scheduled an opening-day afternoon meeting. That means marchers may be able to shout at real humans, not just the Xcel Center’s glittery walls. The Monday session starts at 2:30 p.m.; protesters have to be out a half-hour later, the Strib’s Randy Furst reports.
The Strib’s Emily Johns localizes a national survey showing girls do as well as boys on 2nd-to-11th-grade math tests: Minnesota high school junior girls have slightly lower scores than boys. About 36 percent of 11th-grade boys were proficient on a state assessment, compared to 33 percent of girls.
The Strib editorial page defaults to “more discussion needed” in the wake of an $853 million Vikings stadium concept, but badgers the Vikings and Sports Facilities Commission for a financing plan so it can take a stand.
Finance & Commerce’s Arundhati Parmar notes that 3M will lay off 300 optical workers, mostly in the U.S. The layoffs could come from among Wisconsin and Alabama film plants and the Maplewood headquarters. Meanwhile, the company’s international sales are rising.
Another suburban business is moving to downtown Minneapolis, reports the Strib’s Susan Feyder. This time it’s DLR Group, a 64-person architect/engineering firm formerly in Eden Prairie. Not Best Buy, for sure, but it’s man-bites-dog, and Feyder lists three other firms that have recently relocated. DLR execs specifically mention transit options, but they get a special incentive: they’re redesigning the Nicollet Mall building they’ll only occupy two floors of. Just wondering: How many downtown businesses have fled for the ‘burbs recently?
Excellent stupid criminal story from the always-reliable PiPress: man steals surveillance cameras, caught on tape. After surveying the visuals, police found a dozen cameras at the home of Daniel John Shetka, Mara Gottfried reports. He claims they weren’t stolen from St. Paul’s Arlington Hills library, and has been released pending further investigation. Still, a police spokesman quips, “They’re not smart — that’s why they’re criminals.”
The Strib’s Paul Walsh notes Jessica Lange’s dumping on Stillwater as she tries again to sell her house there: What once “felt like a real place” is now “all gift shops and those terrible condominiums,” she told the New York Daily News in February. Way to talk up the value, Jess. The asking price has slid from $3.3 million in 2004 to $1.95 mil now. Some reader-commenters agree with Lange, by the way.
Nort spews: a much-needed Twins off-day. The Lynx get back to .500 with an 84-80 overtime win versus Indiana; the team ranks next-to-last in WNBA attendance, the Strib’s Roman Augustoviz reports.