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Daily Glean: Minneapolis, St. Paul: now the cool kids on metro block

In Thursday’s local news roundup, Minneapolis and St. Paul growth surges as the outer ‘burbs slow. Also, Jesse Ventura’s non-news, a distorted anti-Franken ad, and a Klobuchar call-out.

For most of this decade, Minneapolis and St. Paul have insisted they’re growing even if the Census Bureau hasn’t concurred. Now everyone agrees, writes the Strib’s David Peterson. All three population clusters — central cities, inner-ring ‘burbs, and outer-ring ‘burbs — grew last year, but exurban growth slowed as the others surged. It seems too soon to credit gas prices, and a methodology change for counting college students may help the core. Minneapolis population is still down from 2,000.

I’m searching for some new news glimmers in the wake of Jesse Ventura’s non-announcement Wednesday, and honestly can’t find any. The Uptake’s Noah Kunin offers a great (and visual!) analysis of how the “hair-trigger” media overreacted to Jesse’s NPR gamesmanship Wednesday. Kudos to the PiPress for appropriately burying the non-news deep in the B section.

It’ll now cost $30 to check that bag for a round-trip Northwest flight, everyone reports. For good measure, the airline will lay off 2,500 workers, about 8 percent of its workforce. Frequent-flier tix now cost $25 to $100. The PiPress’s John Welbes says the moves raise $300 million a year; fuel costs were up $410 million in the first quarter from a year earlier. MPR’s Martin Moylan notes that voluntary cuts come first. The Strib’s Liz Fedor write that pilots have furlough protection.

Fox9’s Jeff Baillon probes a $30 million state computer expense that produced no usable system. The technology was supposed to monitor MinnCare eligibility and make it easier for folks to participate. The legislative auditor says the Department of Human Services was not forthcoming about monitoring and terminating a contractor. A DHS spokesperson won’t talk to Fox on-camera. The contractor blames state change orders. The state doesn’t have a date or cost for a replacement.

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WCCO’s Pat Kessler calls an anti-Al Franken ad a “distortion” that “misrepresents legislation that makes it easier for workers to organize unions.” Contrary to the ad’s claim, “the bill does not eliminate the secret ballot election,” though it reduces management’s right to insist on such a ballot, Kessler says. Unions could get recognition when most workers sign non-secret card checks. The ad was produced by business groups. Note: Many WCCO workers, including reporters, are union members.

Nick Coleman dings Norm Coleman for playing footsie with the Big Lie of Chinese oil drilling. Sez Norm: “The Chinese are able to begin operating 90 miles from our shore by working for Cubans.” (This is a story the paper’s non-columnists still haven’t covered.) Norm’s spinner explains China is “in a better position to drill off our coast than we are,” but Nick notes no foreign country drills off Cuba, the Chinese aren’t even searching, and we do pump off our coasts.

If you’re someone who hates the new FISA bill, Minnesota Independent’s Steve Perry argues you should temper your praise for “no” voter Amy Klobuchar. The key Senate vote came two weeks ago, when there was a chance to filibuster the bill, Perry says; Klobuchar voted to keep it alive. After that, Wednesday’s approval was a foregone conclusion. Klobuchar’s spokesperson says the two-week-old vote didn’t block a filibuster, but a local expert disputes that.

A federal judge called St. Paul’s RNC protest time restrictions “a bit tight,” writes the PiPress’ Jason Hoppin. The city has limited first-day protests from noon to 2 p.m. MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki says marchers want a 2 to 7 p.m. window; the Strib’s Randy Furst adds that the city offered a 3 p.m. end, plus a wider route. The city says opponents can jeer from a public viewing area until 11 p.m., but marching muddles transportation plans.

The PiPress’ Dave Orrick says St. Paul decided to limit “sober houses” — groups of recovering adults — to one per block. The regs only affect new sober homes. Arguing that residents are a protected class, sober-house backers plan to sue. The Strib’s Chris Havens adds that new homes in certain areas can have no more than seven residents, with 1.5 parking spaces per resident.

Strib ace Chris Serres discerns that Wilsons the Leather Experts’ assets are being bought by a close pal of Lyle Berman, “who has flipped Wilsons more times than a Vegas poker chip.” However, the story’s kicker notes Berman is “out of the picture.” The new owners, G-III, bought the Wilson’s name, outlet stores and website and will run their business out of Wilson’s headquarters. They boast of saving 1,000 jobs.

The PiPress’ Rubén Rosario offers a nifty advancer on the U.S. Border Patrol’s “first-in-Minnesota” recruiting fair. It’s a growth industry in a slow economy; the Patrol offers $70K after three years, and perhaps 100 recruits will attend. Rosario has some fun with the amped-up recruiting pitch: “We’re looking for people with all their senses in overdrive.” TV folks, go to the fair and feed my senses with sales pitches about tracking people in the desert.

Nort spews: Rough day for the local clubs. Twins stunk out Fenway with an 18-5 shellacking by Boston; they’re now 3.5 games behind Chicago. And the Lynx are back to Stynx after a 73-67 home loss to the terrible Atlanta Dream.