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Daily Glean: Kling! Kling! Did MPR deliver noisy LRT ultimatum?

MPR will sue unless light-rail is silent and vibration-free — at least in front of its doors, the PiPress' Dave Orrick reports. MPR's Bill Kling delivered the March 1 "ultimatum" that demanded alignment veto power, though the PiPress doesn't quote anything that sounds so absolute. [Update: here's the letter.] An MPR spokesperson disputes the "ultimatum" characterization; MPR's own story is decidedly less brinksmanship-esque. Met Council head Peter Bell won't promise zero harm, but argues $800,000 of mitigation will work. 

More LRT: The MPR spokesperson acknowledges nearby St. Paul firetrucks are already heard indoors, but trains are potentially much worse. The Strib says MPR should pipe down.

Minnesota foundation giving should drop 4 percent this year, reports the Business Journal's John Vomhof Jr. That's based on a new survey of the $1 billion-per-year grantmaking. Overall, 40 percent will give less while 15 percent will increase outlays. The drop is relatively small, compared with the market crash because funders pay out on one- to three-year rolling averages. This means 2010 and 2011 giving may be lower than you expect.

With the nation's unemployment rate topping 7 percent today, the PiPress' Julie Forster notes Minnesota's unemployment-comp fund could be tapped by year's end. The state needed to borrow $443 million in 2003, but it could need $1.3 billion by 2013. Employers could pay more; benefits could also be cut. Meanwhile, the Strib's Jackie Crosby says Best Buy bought out 500 headquarters employees. The voluntary departures won't stress the fund, but if layoffs follow, that would.

Whoa: For years, Mayo Clinic didn't get signed consent forms from patients facing surgery, AP's Steve Karnowski writes. They relied on an oral explanation and consent, clinic officials explain. Unethical, says medical ethicist Dr. Arthur Caplan. Signatures are now required.

Norm Coleman should not contest the recount, say 49 percent of Minnesotans in a KSTP poll; 42 percent are OK with his decision to go to court. All told, 56 percent judged the recount fair; only 31 percent disagreed — "mostly Republicans," reports KSTP's Tom Hauser. Non-shockingly, Coleman and Franken both sport terrible approval ratings: 38 percent for Norm, 37 percent for Al. As for what's next, 44 percent want a Coleman concession; 31 percent want a runoff.

The PiPress' Rachel Stassen-Berger says 381 absentee voters are getting letters telling them campaigns vetoed their votes. These individuals, nixed in the recount endgame, can file an election contest. However, the letter, mailed Wednesday, says voters only have until Monday to do so — hope the mail's on time! The Coleman camp, at least, has been calling rejectees, but one Franken voter will let the matter drop. Detail I hadn't noticed: Franken's forces nixed 26 more ballots than Coleman (201 to 175).

The Texas company mixed up in Coleman's DonorGate wants a whistleblower lawsuit delayed two months, AP's Brian Bakst reports. That's so Deep Marine Technologies can further investigate an ex-CEO's allegations that investor Nasser Kazeminy tried to convey corporate funds to Laurie Coleman's employer. Again, no one claims the Colemans knew about the alleged income subsidy. However, a delay would push the case past the current Senate election contest.

Both dailies cover the plea-bargain of an RNC Molotov-cocktail-assembler; Bradley Crowder could turn a 10-year sentence into as little as 30 months, the PiPress' David Hanners reports. Crowder has been jailed since September, and has apparently become quite the GED tutor for fellow prisoners. "Maybe he's found his calling," his aunt says. The Strib's James Walsh focuses on whether an informant egged on conspirators; Hanners notes Crowder swore in court no one influenced him.

Carol Molnau who? DFL legislators slobbered all over new MnDOT commissioner Tom Sorel at a confirmation hearing, the PiPress' Bill Salisbury notes. He quotes DFL Sen. Steve Murphy, a relentless Molnau critic, telling Sorel, "I believe you're one of the best commissioners (Gov. Tim Pawlenty) has ever appointed." The commitee approved the nomination; the final confirmation vote comes later this month.

Authorities couldn't pull DNA off a "secret cigarette" butt that started a $1 million Farmington American Legion post fire; instead, they used good old-fashioned police work to crack the case, the Strib's Katie Humphrey entertainingly reports. Kevin Kraus was sneaking the ciggie outside the post and allegedly shot it down an air duct, starting the fire. Among the great details: "Flames had begun to shoot out of the vent near his former seat."

The Minneapolis police rank-and-file is fuming about alleged cop assaulter Carl Eller's dramatically reduced charges, but their chief, Tim Dolan, backs prosecutors. Dolan says it was "'the right call" based on the evidence," KSTP's Mark Albert reports.

Slumping sales-tax proceeds force Metro Transit to close two suburban park-and-rides, the Strib's Laurie Blake notes. The system faces a $72 million deficit through 2011; the Minnetonka and Brooklyn Park lot closures will save $38,000 annually. Only 13 folks used the Brooklyn Park lot; 148 in Minnetonka. Nearby ramps and lots can accommodate transit users, officials say, even though overall transit use is rising.

Using recent census data as a jumping off point, Strib columnist James Lileks says city people hate the suburbs and the suburban people hate the city, but city people are worse.

Larry Craig dropped his pants ... er, dropped his appeals of his bathroom sex-sting conviction, the Strib's Rochelle Olson reports. She notes the Airports Commission is out 45 grand investigating the case. The ACLU says Craig would've fared better — judicially anyway — had he admitted he was gay, Minnesota Independent's Chris Steller notes. Story commenters aren't convinced.

Stripper makes 80K in tips a year, doesn't report income, gets newspaper story.

Nort spews: The Gopher's men's hoopsters gutted out a 52-49 come-from-behind win at Iowa; Sore Loser here. The Wild apparently skated purdy but lost to Philadelphia 3-1.

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Comments (3)

Kudos to the Strib's Humphrey and to the American Legion Post spokesperson for blaming the $1 million fire on the idiot who broke the law and dropped a lit cigarette down a vent inside the building, instead of blaming the state's smoking ban.

re: Rejected absentee voters

There's no link to the story. And the Franken-Coleman rejections were 201 to 175.

Mr. Kling should use his ill-gained millions to fix whatever problems he perceives -- maybe even paying to build a new building elsewhere.