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Daily Glean: Hamthrax closes Minneapolis, Orono schools

Officials will close Minneapolis’ Emerson Spanish Immersion school and all Orono schools because of suspected swine flu cases. MPR’s Tim Nelson says Minneapolis doesn’t have classes today, but the district says Emerson will remained shuttered for a week; the Strib’s Warren Wolfe only goes as far as Tuesday because results aren’t confirmed. WCCO’s John Lauritsen notes Orono’s prom is scheduled for Friday; does 3M make color-coordinated masks?

More flu: Shakopee Valley News’ Pat Minelli reports that a suspected case in Scott County didn’t prove out.

The PiPress’ Bob Shaw charts the steady evaporation of a mega-lawsuit involving 3M-tainted drinking water in the east metro. Although a similar Ohio case cost the company $300 million, exposure proved to be so low and non-toxic that a judge threw out health claims last winter. Now the only claim in a trial starting today is 3M’s alleged negligence and its effect on property values. The company has forked over $56 million for the clean-up, which the state says has worked.

More tainted water: The Strib’s Tom Meersman notes long-term effects still aren’t fully known and quotes one area legislator who says new PFC pockets are still showing up.

He’s received no small amount of publicity, but Craigslist founder Craig Newmark’s sympathy tour climaxed before 1,200 folks at a memorial concert for a victim lured via the website’s classifieds. The event raised money for a scholarship commemorating Katherine Olson. AP’s Elizabeth Dunbar says Newmark, who donated to the $100,000 St. Olaf-bound fund, warned people to be careful using the Internet, and said he was inspired meeting Olson’s family. The Strib’s Abby Simons writes that Newmark told the crowd he started Craigslist “with genuine community spirit in mind.” City Pages has video.

The Strib’s Paul Walsh notes a Burnsville man goes on trial for the 2007 baseball bat killing of Minneapolis bicyclist Mark Loesch, a case that later “created a difficult moment for police leadership” after investigators disputed supervisors’ allegations that a drug deal was involved. Coincidentally, the Southwest Journal’s Jake Weyer writes that Loesch’s widow will open a wine bar in the Kingfield neighborhood next month. Samantha Loesch and her sister see the 46th & Grand gathering spot as a positive way to move forward after the murder.

The Minnesota Daily’s Andy Mannix and Karlee Weinmann do a big take-out on last week’s U of M riot, noting, among other things, that a pre-Spring Jam Daily headline might’ve fomented the melee by publicizing a lack of extra patrols. There’s a good history of student chaos and the U’s attempts to rein it in, plus a suggestion that Spring Jam could be canceled. By story’s end, that latter development seems unlikely.

The Strib’s Mary Jane Smetanka lists local p.d. recipients of federal stimulus funds. Minneapolis paid for 87 cops with $3.8 million of Hennepin County’s $5.5 million. Richfield will buy a van for its SWAT team, New Hope will install a panic alarm in its City Council chambers, and others will add police overtime, handguns and computer equipment.

Ruh-roh: The Strib reports that Denny Hecker’s lawyer has quit in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings, one week after a court gave the disgraced dealer’s business firm fees but not expenses. How come Hecker’s lawyer can bail but Tom Petters’ criminal defense attorneys can’t? It’s the difference between civil and criminal, I suppose.

The Strib’s Kevin Diaz and Bill McAuliffe foreshadow “showtime” for Congress’ global warming debate, noting how parties plan to put various Minnesota electeds on the spot. While Michele Bachmann has become something of a nuclear reactor on the issue, the Stribites say Dems Collin Peterson, Tim Walz and Jim Oberstar will face heat for potentially raising energy prices. Oberstar’s taconite mines and the others’ farms rely on dirty fuel, even though farmers’ fields might wither if nothing is done. Advocates duel over when benefits will show up.

More global warming:
Diaz and McAuliffe replay a debate over MIT energy research, writing that the study’s authors said Republicans “misinterpreted” higher energy costs from cap-and-trade legislation. The actual word MIT’s John Reilly used was “misrepresented,” a harsher evaluation of GOP tactics.

Pharmacist student Abigail Stoddard goes down to the grass roots to argue against Gov. Pawlenty’s MinnesotaCare eligibility cuts, which will affect 84,000 people.

Nort spews: What can you say? The Twins pitching simply stinks, although there was a false spring Sunday. Scott Baker threw six no-hit innings only to be part of a seven-run collapse as Minnesota lost 7-5 to the — can it be true? — first-place Kansas City Royals. Baker remains winless. Good-hit no-field catcher Jose Morales was optioned to Triple-A. The Strib editorial page says the Vikes shouldn’t get Brett Farve; I don’t know what role editorial page editor Scott Gillespie played, but he is a huge Packers fan.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Alicia DeMatteo on 05/04/2009 - 01:13 pm.

    I would just like to say that this column has the best headlines ever. They’re funny yet poignant.

    Last week I had determined to call the recent outbreak the “piggy flu” in retaliation of the WHO’s giving it the sterile H1N1 moniker. But I think I like Hamthrax better.

  2. Submitted by David Brauer on 05/04/2009 - 04:52 pm.

    Taylor – thanks, but full disclosure, I stole “Hamthrax” from Twitter. I don’t know who gets originator’s credit …

  3. Submitted by Richard Parker on 05/05/2009 - 02:42 am.

    Hamthrax. Hmmm… I’m finding this latest scare somewhere between a joke and a serious menace. Researching family history, I found that a great-aunt died in te 1918 flu epidemic. She was one of very few pharmacists certified in Wisconsin in those days; she treated returning Doughboys, and romantic family lore has it that she was waiting for her beau to return from the war but fell ill and died before they could be reunited.

    So, anyway… Hamthrax is cute but misleading, in that the new flu isn’t acquired by eating pork, ham or otherwise. Too bad people don’t understand that; it looks like there’s a devastating effect on the pork industry. I wish the media — which now include Minnpost — would think twice before oversimplifying and going for the cute headline. I understand — I used to write them for the Tribune and the Strib.

  4. Submitted by Chris Johnson on 05/06/2009 - 12:49 pm.

    Despite protestations from the pork industry, this really is swine flu. The H1N1 virus is one of the influenza viruses most common among swine.

    Next thing you know, the chicken industry will want to rename chicken pox, and the dairy industry will want to rewrite history to eliminate cow pox.

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