Yummy: A DFL lawyer is helping a GOP fundraising firm sue Republican National Convention organizers, the Strib’s Kevin Duchschere reports. The Huffington Post notes that the 3 Dog firm, which also raised money for Norm Coleman’s recount efforts, is in effect suing Coleman’s D.C. landlord, Jeff Larson, who ran the convention. Three Dog claims it raised $36 million and is due $1.4 million; RNC types say the payment should be half that. The complaint was filed in January but only surfaced now; what took us so long to find out?
St. Paul’s plan to block alleged gang members from Cinco de Mayo gets lots of press, even if it isn’t the greatest ad for the fest. The city claims the Sureno 13 gang is the fastest-growing in the city, notes KARE’s John Croman, and identified 10 people who can’t associate with each other in the West Side area. The PiPress’ Dave Orrick is dubious, noting the seven adults lack extensive criminal histories (three others are juveniles). The ACLU says the move violates freedom of assembly; Croman notes lefty DFLers disagree. MPR’s Brandt Williams says a judge will hear arguments April 24.
A Minneapolis family alleges cops planted a gun on their son after officers killed him in 2006, the PiPress’ David Hanners reports. While the police call this just another fairy tale, the circumstantial evidence is interesting: The gun identified in the original police report had been held at the local precinct since a 2004 burglary; the report was rewritten to change the gun’s ID. Further, the first cop on the scene in the 2006 crime handled the 2004 burglary. Fox9’s Tom Lyden notes videotape showed no gun, but quotes anonymous police sources saying this was an innocent evidence-room mix-up.
Flood update: Despite 14 inches of snow in Fargo, officials predict a second crest no more than 41 feet, the PiPress’ Andy Rathbun writes. Dikes have been built up to 43 feet. There are concerns wind-driven waves could batter down barriers. MPR’s Stephanie Hemphill says even if the big-city danger has crested, smaller towns up river are still very much in danger. Strib editorialist Jill Burcum notes different FEMA districts handle Minnesota and North Dakota, and without bureaucratic coordination, the Gopher State could get the short end of the stick.
The Strib’s Warren Wolfe rounds up the state’s “tattered” safety net: homeless shelters where cot use is up 40 percent, food shelves seeing a 21 percent rise, cash assistance down 20 percent even as poverty has risen 20 percent. Kids in poverty: up 33 percent this decade. MinnesotaCare use: down 25 percent even though the number of uninsured is rising. It’s a cavalcade of horrors that goes relatively easy on politicians of both parties, not to mention constituents unaffected by bedbugs and social decay … yet.
Related: The Strib’s Chen May Yee chronicles the declining health and rising patient counts at a Minneapolis clinic. Three years ago, 10 percent of the patients were uninsured; now 28 percent are. Inadequate basic care costs money down the road; the clinic once called ambulances once or twice a month; now it’s every week.
A state House chair introduced what the PiPress’ Bill Salisbury calls a “no-frills” bonding bill; the $200 million spending plan is two-thirds the size of the Senate’s. Axed: money for Gillette Children’s Hospital, the U’s Bell Museum of Natural History, and Como Zoo gorilla and polar bear exhibits. (Why does the House hate animals so?) Transportation and college buildings get a lot of the dough.
Speaking of bonding: The Strib’s Joy Powell says one desperate contractor bid 20 percent under budget to expand Inver Grove Heights municipal buildings. It’s unclear whether the low bid — $16 million for the $20 million project — was isolated or if competitors also came in less than forecast. Of course, some Strib commenters wonder why the city should spend any money in tight times.
The Strib’s Steve Brandt has more on the $69.60 house in North Minneapolis, first publicized on the St. Paul Real Estate blog. The puny amount is what the bank cleared; the sellers paid $12,500 and plan to spend another 50 grand on renovations. Neighbors say banks have made pittances on many area homes. Brandt says the mortgage was let by one of the state’s least reputable firms.
The Craigslist killing closing arguments are today; jurors heard from Michael Anderson’s jailhouse buddy who said the defendant showed no remorse, the PiPress’ John Brewer reports. Ahh — that’s what friends are for. The defense called no witnesses. If jurors find Anderson guilty, they can pick between first- and second-degree murder, or second-degree manslaughter.
Do your background check: The PiPress’ Richard Chin says a New Scandia payroll clerk was charged with stealing several thousand dollars from her White Bear employer. Turns out she still owes $281,000 in restitution from a 2003 theft.
The Eden Prairie News’ video of the week focuses on the culinary and the caffeinated — Cooking with Red Bull, from a city park & rec guy:
Nort spews: Nothing huge today; Virginia hired a men’s basketball coach not named Tubby Smith, though Charley Walters notes a pretty funny manhunt that led to St. Paul’s airport.