It’s Election Day! MPR’s Tom Scheck offers a good primary-watcher’s guide. Will convicted wife-batterer Mark Olson win his GOP state Senate primary? Will Dean Barkley, Jack Uldrich or endorsee Stephen Williams drain votes from Al Franken and Norm Coleman in the U.S. Senate Race? Will Dick Day or Brian Davis face Tim Walz in the 1st Congressional District? MPR’s Tom Weber notes six school districts have referenda on the ballot today: Red Wing, Brooklyn Center, Fairmont, St. James, Osakis, and South Koochiching.
Franken and Coleman continued sparring like they already won. Franken unveiled a five-year, $48 billion plan to give a $5,000 tuition subsidy to college students whose families earns under $200K a year, AP’s Patrick Condon notes. Franken says upper-income tax hikes will pay for it; Coleman says that won’t be enough. Franken nailed Coleman for repeated votes to cut student aid and end tuition tax breaks; Coleman touts his votes for Pell Grants. Via MPR, Franken’s press conference here.
KSTP’s Chris O’Connell fingers an inaccessible $700,000 observation deck underneath the 35W bridge. Why build it? You might need it for the future, officials say. There are also no current plans to use a pedestrian bike tunnel and light-rail lane, either, but those things seem more necessary to build now and use later. WCCO’s Jason DeRusha answers the “Good Question” of when, exactly, the bridge is considered done: when all work that impacts traffic is finished.
RNC aftermath: The PiPress’ Dave Orrick says St. Paul will have some kind of policing review. However, “whether the review will be independent or internal, or whether it will involve a blue-ribbon commission or city officials, remained unclear Monday,” Orrick writes. An announcement is expected “within days,” a mayoral official says.
Minneapolis cops review? The Strib’s Randy Furst and Chris Havens say Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak used the term “formal review” on MPR, but a spokesman pulled back from the “formal” designation.
Thanks to a newspaper photo and two tipsters, police arrested alleged RNC window-breaker Jason Sparks, the PiPress’ Tad Vezner reports. The First Bank Building pane was valued at $17,000. Authorities say an un-bandanna’d 23-year-old was also seen on the Capitol grounds. Fox9 has an image here.
Fox9 has lots of details on a couple of Texans who allegedly planned to throw Molotov cocktails, but a key facet is missing: What does their “Austin Affinity Group” believe in, exactly? The FBI says the duo was mixed up in an earlier plot to firebomb the Texas governor’s mansion.
The PiPress’ Mara Gottfried reports some arrestees had trouble getting their stuff back Monday, several days after they were rounded up. As you tut-tut the insult-after-injury, remember many will never be charged and some may not even be guilty.
Here’s an unlikely source for another journalist-arrest story: Daily Variety. Reporter Ted Johnson was nailed on the John Ireland Bridge. Who says those Hollywood types won’t get in the foxhole? Johnson was taken to jail despite indications he wouldn’t be, and chuckles ruefully at the notion police were restrained. Note to local arrestees: Johnson says he had to contact a criminal attorney to get his stuff back in time to leave town Friday. An arrested Fox editor says police herded people in a “deceitful” manner.
Several outlets report vendors will get refunds for the hideously unsuccessful CivicFest, but via a local activist, Minnesota Independent’s Chris Steller points out a real downer: the city of Minneapolis kicked in $200,000 for the failed event.
Courtesy of Minnesota Independent’s Paul Demko, local security guard Avi Steinberg writes up a “highly entertaining” account of RNC partying for Salon. As noted by Demko, Steinberg’s “purely anecdotal theory” has it that Giuliani, Romney and Paul supporters knocked off drinking around 1 a.m., but Huckabee supporters “stay out the latest and come back the drunkest.”
Sun Country Airlines continues its cutbacks, suspending Minneapolis-San Francisco service for fall and eliminating some L.A. flights, the PiPress’ John Welbes writes. It was a strategy to attract business travelers, but succumbed to high oil prices. The airline recently instituted a $12 checked-bag fee. Meanwhile, AP notes Northwest is cutting fuel surcharges for cargo routes. Fuel prices have fallen about 10 percent from recent record highs.
Load yer shotguns: The Strib’s Dave Shaffer says $300,000 DNR officials misspent on a national conference came largely from a “special fund that gets its money from hunting and fishing license fees.”
The Strib’s Lora Pabst and Pat Pheifer localize a national effort to raise the driving age to 17. New Jersey, the only state that makes kids wait that long, has lower death rates but more parents fed up with carting their teens around. (Kidding, I think, about that last part.) Minnesota recently restricted new licensees from driving between midnight and 5 a.m. The Governors Highway Safety Association will take up the matter today.
The PiPress’s Chris Hewitt has a fun piece on a 65-year-old “featured extra” in the Coen Brothers flick that just started shooting here. Edina flute teacher Claudia Schnitker — and doesn’t that sound like a character name in a Coen Brothers film? — will get a credit and a paycheck but no lines. She was told, “You have to be OK with people doing goofy things to you,” for her role in “A Simple Serious Man.”
There’s not much more to say about this than to run the KSTP headline: “Ramsey hotel clerk robbed of her hair.”
Nort spews: The Vikes didn’t look very Super Bowl-y, Aaron Rogers looked a bit like Brett Favre, and that Packer fan you work with will be a huge pain in the butt today as Green Bay beat Minnesota 24-19. Adrian Peterson was decent, Jared Allen was not, and Tarvaris Jackson looked like he was playing checkers while Rogers was playing chess. Today, we’re the sore losers.