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Daily Glean: Did MnDOT, DFL override one of the Override Six?

Did someone “double-cross” a Republican who helped reverse Gov. Pawlenty’s transportation veto? Also, details about Todd Bachman’s Chinese murderer emerge. And: an in-Glean editorial!

The Strib’s Mike Kaszuba says MnDOT and the DFL may have screwed an “Override Six” Republican who helped reverse Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s transportation veto. Mountain Lake Rep. Rod Hamilton thought his district’s Hwy. 60 got priority status in the bill. MnDOT says the text isn’t clear and won’t make a commitment; a DFL committee chair says Hamilton “misunderstood” the road’s status. The Dems may be motivated by District 22B’s swing status: Hamilton won his 2006 election with 51.5 percent of the vote.

Day Three of florist CEO Todd Bachman’s murder in China. First, the good news: Bachman’s wife and fellow victim, Barbara, was upgraded from serious to stable condition, the PiPress’ Sean Jensen writes. The suicide-committing murderer, Tang Yongming, was an unemployed ex-security guard “unable to find himself in China’s surging economy,” says the New York Times’ Andrew Jacobs. Tang arrived in Beijing a week before the murder, and had no criminal record, but was hot-tempered, Hangzhou neighbors say.

More Bachman: The family has released a statement thanking friends, Twin Cities well-wishers, the Chinese doctors and government, and American diplomats. You can read it here.

MPR’s Laura Yuen says a University Avenue community group has retained a lawyer and may sue over bus-killing, parking-stripping LRT plans. The Aurora-St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corp. has joined with the NAACP and Community Stabilization Project, partly because transit-dependent clients favor the Route 16 bus, which stops more places than light rail will. Losing 85 percent of parking to LRT will hurt neighborhood businesses, they add. They’d rather not sue, but say complaints haven’t been heard.

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A small Hastings animal shelter’s owner says the Animal Humane Society kills too many animals, reports the PiPress’ John Brewer. Animal Ark has a 99 percent “save rate,” compared with the Humane Society’s 61 percent. The Humane Society says it could get the percentage higher (some communities hit 85 percent) if state vets will let it provide low-level vet services. Most animals killed are too sick or aggressive, though healthy cats are put down. Still, the Humaners say Animal Ark cherry-picks.

Longtime PiPress columnist Don Boxmeyer is eulogized by ex-colleague David Hawley. Boxmeyer spent 42 years working for the paper, and sounds like he had fun doing it, reading mayoral schedules upside down to get big stories, while chronicling the exploits of “Ribs Gordon, Tone the Fone and Charlie the Belgian.” Ex-PiPresser and current MinnPost news editor Don Effenberger says, “He was the epitome of the philosophy of telling big stories in small ways.” Some greatest hits here, and his CaringBridge page here.

If you need a day-brightener, check out Nick Coleman’s piece on a caregiver who married a 20-year survivor of ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Dickie Steele, a former construction worker, communicates only with eyebrow raises and a keyboard, but his bride, Joan Kennedy, says he has a “fabulous smile and a great twinkle in his eyes.” Steele would lose medical assistance if they got officially married (Kennedy’s salary wouldn’t make up the difference) so they opted for a church service only.

It is, to put it mildly, a slo-o-o-w Monday, so I have space for an in-Glean editorial. Every so often, people tell me they’ve dumped their Strib subscription; some think I’ll be pleased. I never am. I understand folks who reject a diminished product — especially today. But you only have to go back one day to discover what a talented bunch of diggers still achieve. The Sunday Strib wasn’t spectacular, just deep and solid the way a fulfilling paper should be. I’ll still pay for that promise. Here are the highlights:

Tony Kennedy’s dissection of systemic Homeland Security problems after disgraced MnDOTer Sonia Pitt’s hiring. James Walsh’s piece on a local employment agency placing undocumented workers. Pat Doyle’s examination of Gov. Pawlenty’s overhyped E85 plans. Mike Kaszuba’s tough-as-nails vetting of David Carr’s new book, easily the best journalistic dissection of its claims. (Disclaimer: I have one noncontroversial quote in Kaszuba’s piece.) Susan Feyder’s analysis of a customer bust threatening the local hotel boom. More of this, please!

Nort spews: The Twins cough up the final game of the Kansas City series 5-4 in 12 innings; they’re back in second by a half-game. A three-game home series with the Yankees begins tonight, part of a nine-game homestand. The Vikings lost defensive lineman Jayme Mitchell for the season in Friday’s exhibition game; linebacker Heath Farwell’s year ended in the same game.