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Daily Glean: Five a.m. honkfest heralds 35W bridge reopening

In Thursday’s local news roundup, a bridge opens to celebratory blasts and nervousness. Also, the state Chamber opposes the arts/habitat tax. And: Did Norm’s bleep-filled attack ad backfire?

The 35W bridge reopened at 5 a.m. Strib video (with massive 5 a.m. horn-blasting) here. You can watch a replay of WCCO anchors enthusing here. (Caution: The latter is a hefty 10-plus minutes.)

Related: The Strib’s Pam Louwagie talks to a survivor who planned a bridge crossing as a psychological rite of passage; others were allowed to walk the span Wednesday. Another survivor says he’s “sick to my stomach” that commuters will “be on their merry way.” A fellow survivor believes the whole site is cursed. MPR’s Michael Caputo says one neighbor, a pediatric nurse who plunged into the scene, is nervous, too; slide show here. National recognition-chasers should read this New York Times piece.

Also related: KARE’s Scott Seroka says MnDOT might turn that post-collapse “temporary” fourth I-94 lane into a MnPass toll lane. How would they separate paid from free on that now-tightly packed stretch?

Development-disabled adults were improperly handcuffed in a Cambridge state facility, the Strib’s Josephine Marcotty writes. That’s based on an ombudsman’s report. The law permits handcuffing only to prevent harm, but folks were being disciplined “for touching a pizza box, spitting and going outside without a coat.” A state official bluntly admits the problem and says action will be taken. Sensitivity check: Victims are called “retarded” in the story’s lede; isn’t that uncool now?

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MPR’s Tom Scheck reports that the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce will oppose a constitutionally dedicated sales tax for habitat and the arts. The initiative is on the November ballot. Constitutional dedication is bad public policy, the group says, and the causes can be funded adequately in other ways.

In Minnesota, John McCain has outspent Barack Obama 26-1 on TV ads in the week after the GOP convention. Oft-quoted U prof Larry Jacobs tells KSTP’s Tom Hauser the disparity has helped vault the Republican into a tie in the state. The Strib has a nifty chart (print-only) of the state-by-state breakdown; the Minnesota gap is one of the biggest among potential swing states. AP’s Scott Bauer’s story is here, and MPR’s Scheck links to the report here.

A WCCO blog request about Norm Coleman’s bleep-filled Al Franken attack ad generated a site-record comment haul; more than 300. Although Esme Murphy provides an even-handed sample on-air, I was surprised to read mostly pro-Franken comments on the website. (At least as of late last night.) Made me realize you very seldom see Dem-skewing feedback on a mainstream media site. An organized campaign, or are mainstream Minnesotans really bummed Norm paid to fling bleeps at them during family viewing time? Dunno.

Related: The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger reports on the Coleman-Franken back-and-forth, including Franken’s “I guess I get outraged” counter-ad, here.

MPR’s Schek notes former GOP U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger blasted Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin in a recent newsletter. “I resented being lectured by a self styled pit-bull from Alaska. I was particularly angered by her attack on Barack Obama’s work as a community organizer,” writes Durenberger, who takes off from there.

In the wake of the Strib’s fine ATV series, the paper’s editorial page calls for stiffer fines and penalties for all-terrain miscreants. The real problem — one the editorial acknowledges — is that there are so few conservation officers (200) that no one gets caught. Still, editorialists believe penalties are “a more effective deterrent.” Why not bigger fines and more cops? That might mean higher taxes, but perhaps fines could support the enforcers, as one reader suggests.

A U study says gay men with a negative attitude toward their sexuality will have poorer sexual and mental health, Fox9 reports. That’s sort of a “no-duh,” but researchers indicate it shows “homonegativity” should be fought and positive attitudes encouraged among gay men. There’s no comment on whether that applies to the rest of us, too.

Despite congressional agreement, prospects for the Wellstone mental health insurance parity bill remain uncertain, the Strib’s Mitch Anderson notes. There’s barely a week’s worth of time before the election-season break — not quite the “now or never” the headline promises. But still, the timing makes retiring co-sponsor Jim Ramstad nervous. The story notes a compromise allows insurers to decide what conditions to cover, but then they can’t discriminate on co-pays, caps, etc.

Bizarre scene at Minneapolis City Hall: Council Member Cam Gordon, who has criticized policing during the RNC, offered a motion asking police for more info on what prompted a pre-convention “pre-emptive raid.” Two council members reacted huffily; Council Member Don Samuels said he’d vote “aye” only if the council mandated the report be titled “Really a Success,” the Strib’s David Chanen reports. Gordon’s sensible-seeming motion was voted down; MPR’s Brandt Williams portrays this as limiting council interference.

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The PiPress continues to go all-in on bling-purloined Colorado RNC delegate. Day Three coverage promises the Denver lawyer’s TV ad (though I couldn’t find the link on the website) and Ruben Rosario delves into the chemistry of the “Mickey Finn” that may have been used on the man.

MPR’s Laura Yuen and the PiPress’ Gita Sitaramiah detail St. Paul merchants’ complaints about RNC business. (MinnPost coverage here.) Restaurateurs say they were misled about the prevelance of parties and others say they boosted inventories mistakenly. I can’t feel too sorry for the eyeware vendor in the MPR piece who couldn’t sell the elephant glasses. Local officials admit they should’ve hyped less and asked tougher questions, but a Chamber official claims four new conventions were booked as a result of the RNC.

Some Strib headline writer didn’t fully glean Nick Coleman’s column today. The hed: “Prayer does have a place in school — but only if it’s a parochial school,” isn’t really Nick’s point. In a sub-rosa poke at fellow columnist Katherine Kersten, Coleman says Republican critics of voluntary prayer in the Arabic charter school TIZA have a state platform advocating all kids pray voluntarily in public schools. Coleman is against forced prayer and double standards.

Following up on Wednesday’s offshore-drilling approval in the U.S. House, Minnesota Independent features Michele Bachmann’s fruitless attempts to add amendments. In the same venue, longtime Bachmann antagonist Karl Bremer notes Bachmann’s credit-taking for projects she voted against.

Oops: The PiPress’ Emily Gurnon says Ramsey County deputies cluelessly put three homicide co-defendents in the same holding cell. They were also transported together. You don’t want these guys talking to each other post-arrest, and they could hurt each other.

Nort spews: The Twins remained 2.5 back of Chicago after both teams lost; the White Sox’ magic number (I think) is nine. Vikings head coach Brad Childress benched Tarvaris Jackson and named 37-year-old QB Gus Frerotte his starter for the rest of the season.