Barack Obama sits down for another local-newsie one-on-one — this time with Fox9 anchor Marnie Hughes. Couldn’t Fox deploy its political reporter? The interview is a whole lot of nothing, partly because Obama speaks in bromides, and partly because Hughes seems out of her depth.
Related: A new Quinnipiac also shows Obama narrowly leading John McCain in Minnesota, 47 percent to 45 percent, MPR’s Tom Scheck notes.
Norm Coleman leads Al Franken 49 percent to 42 percent in the same Quinnipiac survey. The poll does not include Dean Barkley; surveys with Barkley show a closer race.
The dailies only sniff at Franken’s charge that Coleman failed to investigate Iraq War contracting abuses while heading a Senate investigations subcommittee. The Strib’s Kevin Duchschere quotes Franken saying Coleman avoided looking at $15 billion in missing funds to protect George Bush; Coleman’s team says it was someone else’s responsibility. AP helpfully, and crucially, notes the subcommittee chair is the only senator with sole power to issue subpoenas. KARE’s John Croman has a nicely balanced report.
The PiPress’ Dave Orrick previews Wednesday’s “listening session” about RNC policing in St. Paul. He notes cops handed out a pre-convention pamphlet stating, “If marchers stay on the sidewalk and obey traffic and pedestrian signals, their activity is constitutionally protected even without a permit” — a direction not followed on Thursday’s bridge roundup. Police say there were weapons among the demonstrators, necessitating the action. Orrick also notes none of the official reviews include subpoena power to look wherever they want.
Related: Fun piece from the PiPress’ Richard Chin on the state Historical Society collecting RNC artifacts. They include those plastic police “flexicuffs,” tire-puncturing caltrops, the “Minnesota” delegation floor sign, credentials, badges and red carpet John McCain walked on. They’re looking for more stuff, and given the, ahem, liberalness with which police distributed future souvenirs, perhaps you have something the historians want.
Police have identified a light brown Jeep Grand Cherokee as the car that struck and killed a 54-year-old bicyclist near Minneapolis’ Lake Calhoun. The Strib’s David Chanen says it was built between 1996 and 1998.If you see a vehicle with front passenger’s-side damage, call 612-673-3410 or 612-673-3400.
The Census Bureau released detailed 2007 data on Minnesota. Percentage-wise, PiPresser Mary Jo Webster says we’re tops among states in home ownership, high school grads and non-seniors in the workforce but have the fewest disabled seniors and below-average commute times and household sizes. We’re the 11th least-diverse state and the sixth-best in low percentages of folks below the poverty line. Complete list here. (PDF)
More Census: MPR’s Bob Collins goes more local with a great list: For example, 18 percent of those in the Minneapolis-area 5th Congressional District speak a language other than English, but only 3.4 percent of those in the northeast 8th District do. Also while 9.5 percent of Minnesotans live below the poverty level, 23 percent of St. Cloud residents fall beneath that standard.
The Strib’s Mike Meyers says 2 percent of all Minnesota bank loans were more than 90 days past due as of June 30 — double last year’s rate, but at the national average. MPR’s Martin Moylan notes local bank stocks are back on the downslope of the market roller coaster.
Target wrote off nearly 10 percent of its credit card portfolio in August, nearly double a year earlier, the Strib’s Susan Feyder notes. That’s above company forecasts, and spokesfolk aren’t talking. The company’s stock fell 6.6 percent Monday, and one analyst downgraded the company to “hold” from “buy.”
Silver lining! Locally based investment bank Piper Jaffray could profit from the Wall Street meltdown, the PiPress’ Nicole Garrison-Sprenger writes. Piper has “no liquidity problems and no long-term debt,” one analyst notes. The company did have a miserable second quarter, and fees from deals have fallen off the table, but if the stand-alone investment-bank model has any continued relevance, there will be a lot less competition.
Minneapolis school enrollment is still falling — but by less than half the predicted number, the Strib’s Patrice Relerford notes. The 2 percent drop is better than a recent run of 5 percent declines. Middle schools and high schools did the best, relatively. No one is really sure why, but officials credit a new strategic plan and unspecified academic rigor. Slowing drops mean a more stable budget.
State school nurses see a shortage in their ranks, according to the Strib’s Emily Johns. The state ranks 30th nationally in nurses-per-student, with 1 per 1,400 kids, far above the 1-per-750 a nursing association recommends. A nurses’ organization wants a one-cent tax on soda to fund 600 new nursing positions. The story doesn’t say how many nurses there now are.
MPR’s Annie Baxter notes the Mayo Clinic is treating Colombian soldiers injured in that U.S. ally’s civil war. A D.C. nonprofit helps fund the treatment; couldn’t tell if they are an instrument of U.S. foreign policy in the region.
Is turning glass bottles into road-paving material recycling? I say no, but giant hauler Waste Management says yes. The Strib’s Jenna Ross — who was all over a fascinating recycling dispute in Plymouth — follows up with a great piece on WM rival Eureka Recycling. Eureka turns glass into glass, and has boosted recycling rates with an education campaign. Still, Plymouth opted for the cheaper, less collecting, less full-recycle option.
You know Election Day will bring polling place controversy nationwide, and Minnesota Independent’s Steve Perry looks ahead with an in-depth interview with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. There have been a lot of laws passed since 2004, and this is a good way to get to know them before you have to.
Bizarre murder allegation in Andover: A 33-year-man allegedly staged a motorcycle fatality to cover up beating his girlfriend to death. His brother was arrested as an accessory, the PiPress’ Brady Gervais reports. The victim’s body was found with red tie-downs wound around her body and arms — I guess the perpetrators figured no one would notice that. The Strib’s Lora Pabst says one Anoka investigator had never seen such an elaborately concocted alternative scenario
Nail the pimps! That’s one of the conclusions of a state Human Trafficking Task Force report on sex trafficking, the Strib’s Pam Louwagie writes. Activists say trafficking doesn’t always involve coercion or foreigners. The PiPress’ Mara Gottfried writes that there are no firm data on sex trafficking in the state. Our laws appear better than the feds, but the group wants local law enforcers to devote more attention to the crime and arrest more johns.
MPR’s Tim Nelson offers an interesting look at Minnesota’s first mobile field hospital — an 18-wheeler with eight beds. With disasters seemingly everywhere, its time had come, state officials say.
Nort spews: A Twins off day, but they open a crucial three-game set with the White Sox at the Dome tonight. It’s Minnesota’s Scott Baker versus Chicago’s Javier Velasquez. One White Sox win and it’s all but over.