Mediagenic local anarchists get face time … er, voice time, on Fox9 as they justify their Republican National Committee shutdown plans. Jamie Reese offers KFAI audio in which “Harold, Emma and Tony” talk about their “swarm, seize and stay” strategy for blocking convention routes. Basically, Republicans are war criminals, housing profiteers, etc. and the trio argues, “We don’t think the political elite will stop because we ask nicely, so we advocate a strategy of direct action.” Sorry, no faces available.
In the wake of Norm Coleman’s RentGate, the Strib’s Kevin Duchschere and Emily Kaiser look at how much Minnesota’s other D.C. reps spend on housing. Bottom line: Everyone lays out more than Norm, though Keith Ellison and Michele Bachmann’s costs were unavailable. (Ellison had rented an apartment from his press secretary for $1,600 a month, costlier than the $600 Coleman paid a staffer’s husband. Bachmann shares a studio apartment with a former staffer.)
More housing costs: Jim Ramstad rents for $1,256 a month; Tim Walz for $1,400 a month. Jim Oberstar, Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum and John Kline own D.C.-area homes or condos. Amy Klobuchar spends $3,200 a month on an Arlington three-bedroom home for her family.
No surprise; as fuel kisses four bucks a gallon, more people complain about inaccurate gas pumps. The St. Cloud Times’ Britt Johnsen says investigators once got one call a month; now they get three a week. In Central Minnesota, 6 percent of pumps failed inspections — your gallon has to be within “a quarter of a can of soda.” An inspector blames pump wear and tear, not cheating, but AP notes one station gave 4.5 gallons for the price of five.
The Strib’s Mike Kaszuba looks at whether garage door standards affect tornado damage. The state recently raised its 80 mph standard to 90; some local inspectors say that’s inadequate, but manufacturers counter the 17 percent cost difference isn’t worth it, considering tornados’ freakish occurence in any given place. Safety pros counter that getting up to 147 mph only costs $150 more. One FEMA study shows houses with single garage doors fare better than those with doubles.
The Strib’s Sarah Lemagie says several Met Council-funded “urban villages” are stumbling amid the housing slump. The grants were designed to let people live close to jobs and shopping, but cities like Apple Valley swapped apartments or affordable housing for condos; Chaska somehow erased housing altogether. Last year, for the first time, the council didn’t grant all its funds.
Surging summertime demand will focus the battle for control of Ramsey County’s 911 center. Ubër-aggressive Sheriff Bob Fletcher says the place is understaffed and wants to take it over; Ramsey County officials think he’s wrong. The PiPress’s Mara Gottfried writes there are 25 percent more calls in July than December. The facility meets national response-time standards, but staffing is below optimal levels; there are lots of overtime and pill popping for anxiety, depression and blood pressure, workers claim.
The Strib’s Terry Collins surveys the summertime push for Minneapolis’s upcoming $60 million schools referendum. It’s basically a double-or-nothing bet; the schools currently get $30 million a year; if the November referendum fails, they’ll get nothing after 2009. While previous efforts have won easily, there are myriad obstacles this time: State funding cuts upended promised class-size reductions, and property taxes rose fast, thanks to state and city policy. Backers are confident they’ve surveyed public attitudes accurately.
Yikes: A Northwest flight’s nose cone was heavily dented by a mysterious something. Fox9 offers the photo, and says it happened on a Detroit-Tampa leg; a flight attendant says she didn’t notice anything, but the crew reported trouble with the radar. Compelling detail: A pilot told a passenger he “didn’t think he hit anything” — but covered his name badge as he answered. Sounds like the flight subsequently took off for Minneapolis.
The proposed Big Stone II coal-fired power plant has heated up the atmosphere with controversy. The Mankato Free Press’s Tim Krohn looks at South Dakota’s permission for the plant to draw 3.2 billion gallons of water from a lake feeding the Minnesota River. One Minnesota official says this state would’ve allowed just one-third that amount. Our state’s Public Utilities Commission is still making up its mind on the deal.
St. Paul’s eternal quest for uniform skyway hours may be thwarted yet again. The PiPress’s Dave Orrick reports that at least six businesses, including Macy’s and a key link to the Robert Street ramp, want to close before the 2 a.m. standard.
The St. Cloud Times headline says DFL State Sen. Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark “quashes” a 2010 gubernatorial bid, but Lawrence Schumacher’s story isn’t quite as definitive. The St. Cloud legislator merely utters the bromide: “I don’t want people to think I’m job-hunting, because I’m not.” She’s just back from “a weeklong Canadian government-sponsored seminar for ‘rising state leaders’ ” that probable DFL goob candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher attended last year.
MPR’s Jessica Mador has a finely observed story on the difficulties in treating Somalis for diabetes. Their culture’s starchy diet and “a more sedentary lifestyle than they had in Africa can lead straight to diabetes.” Sure, the rest of the United States is pretty puffy, but studies say Somalis develop diabetes at lower weights than the average American. An outreach worker’s struggles are chronicled.
MPR weather reports have increased almost as much as pledge days, but Dan Olson looks at global warming’s effect on local air conditioning. It’s not the high temps during the day — those are running below historic norms — but the higher temps at night. Twenty years ago, 25 percent of Minnesota households lacked a.c.; now, it’s down to 8 percent. We now live in a narrow 71-76-degree temp band.
Nort spews: The three Twins who deserved to make the All-Star game did. Joe Mauer will start; Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan are reserves. The Twins whacked another All-Star, Cleveland starting pitcher Cliff Lee, for a 4-3 comeback win. And there’s a cherry on top: the Indians traded their ace, C.C. Sabathia, out of the league to the Milwaukee Brewers. A Sore Loser that almost makes you feel sorry for the other guys here. Minnesota remains a game back of the pesky White Sox.