What would “Fargo” Chief Marge Gunderson say? A female police officer in Champlin got strikingly different treatment during her second pregnancy than her first. The Strib’s Jim Adams tells the story of officer Joni Keiner who was required to take a $5,500 pay cut because the city had no other place to put her during the “light duty” phase of her most recent pregnancy. And then when that job faded out, she had to use up sick time and vacation to cover her maternity leave. There’s no legal action in the wind, but advocates for female officers are upset.
Adams quotes Mylon Masson, past president of the Minnesota Association of Women Police. ” ‘If a guy is hurt playing softball, he gets light duty. But if a woman gets pregnant, they want them to use sick leave or vacation or comp time,’ said Masson, director of the law enforcement program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College’.” Keiner’s boss seems to have legitimate rerasons for his moves, but he gets no points for elegant phrasing when he says, “”we don’t discriminate in employment. Pregnancy is no different than an on-duty injury.” If that’s true, that’s some interesting “duty” they’ve got up there in Champlin.
Charlie Shaw of Finance and Commerce goes into detail on the race to avoid losing a congressional seat. The recession may work to Minnesota’s advantage, though. “Minnesota has historically received fewer newcomers looking for work than states with high levels of migration like Arizona, Texas and the Carolinas. The slowdown in the economy has stunted the growth in people who move to other states for work.” There’s also the Michele Bachmann-census phobia angle at play here. But we’ll let snarky comment ride until another day.
Stimulus money is being spent in Minnesota, just not nearly as fast or as lavishly as everyone would like. The Strib’s Mike Kaszuba talks to road workers rebuilding a stretch of I-35 near Faribault. The good? “Stimulus money has allowed state officials to repave the stretch of highway at Faribault three years ahead of schedule. It has also made it possible to divert state funds to a crumbling bridge near Cannon Falls that needs immediate help and otherwise might not get it.” The not so good? ” ‘This is the worst. … I have never had this many operators out of work at this time of the year,’ said [Lee] Hiller, a union official with Operating Engineers Local 49. ‘There is 14 pages [with] one, two, three, four — there’s 19 guys on a page’ looking for work.”
The Pioneer Press runs an Associated Press story about the $1 million in stimulus money being dropped on a bicycle trail spur track from the Cedar Lake Trail to Target Field, i.e. the new Twins stadium. We’re told, “building a spur off the Cedar Lake Trail will employ eight to 10 construction workers later this year.”
You knew Powerline would be good this morning after President Obama’s health care reform-driven press conference last night. Scott Johnson does not disappoint, going so far as to roll Spinoza and Euclid into his jeremiad about socialist fever dreams and … and … speaking like an exasperated rabbi, Johnson writes, “Children, consider the question brought up by the left blogger in the telephone conference call with President Obama noted here by the Heritage Foundation blog. Investor’s Business Daily has made the case that the House health reform bill will essentially outlaw the private insurance market, and earlier this week it restated its argument. It is at the least highly plausible, sufficiently so that the lefty blogger wanted the president’s reassurance on the point. The lefty blogger asked Obama, is this true?”
Via Johnson’s interpretation, Obama of course intends nothing less than the ruination of the private insurers — UnitedHealth, etc. — selfless companies who work so tirelessly and at such pitiful remuneration to assure us of long and worry-free lives. Still, Johnson at least has a point of view on the matter. Strib? PiPress?
Jennifer Niemela of the Minneapolis-St.Paul Business Journal reports on the “quiet openings” of 23 Target stores, which the company says will add up to 4,000 new jobs. “After the openings, Target will have 1,719 stores in 49 states. (Vermont is the one Target-less state.) Target is on track to open 76 stores in 2009, compared with 114 in 2008. Of the 76 new stores this year, 60 will be net new stores locations, while the others are relocations of existing stores, including two of the 23 to open Sunday.” For everyone with expired sun block, there’s now a Target in Kona, Hawaii.
Mark Steil of MPR breaks the news that residential wind generators never deliver the juice their manufacturers claim. He reports a Massachusetts study that showed, “the state tested 19 home-based wind machines, and all fell well short of their manufacturers’ production estimates. Even the best-performing turbine generated only about 60 percent of what the company said it would. The worst generated a tiny 2 percent. All told, the 19 machines’ electricity production averaged only about one-quarter of the manufacturers’ estimates.” An Oklahoma-based manufacturer responds, saying, “The basic problem there is not with the machines themselves. It’s with average wind speeds that are lower than historical average. Towers that aren’t tall enough. And dealers that were overpromising the performance.” That’s taking responsibility.
CRAVE, the restaurant, currently operating at the Galleria and MOA, is preparing to open a third venue in the Shops at West End which is under … very slow … construction in St. Louis Park. The staff at Finance and Commerce has a short piece with the developer saying predictably upbeat things about the new tenant. The project itself, at roughly I-394 and 100, is scheduled to open this fall with 14 movie screens, a supermarket and … well, let’s just say there’s plenty of room to fill.
Patrick Reusse gets Harmon Killebrew going on the steroid cheats that have passed the Twins legend on the all-time home run list. Alex Rodriguez’s name is out there already, but the 103 other players on baseball’s list of potential users of such substances — whose names have not been leaked to the media should be outed — as far as Harmon is concerned. “I say, ‘Throw the names out there.’ I would think the players who were clean should be telling the union to make the list public.” Killer will be in Cooperstown this weekend, and he and other greats will have their annual conversation with Commissioner Bud Selig. “As far as the steroids guys and their records, he doesn’t know what to do. Do you throw out [Sammy] Sosa’s records and A-Rod’s records because their names are out, and then keep the records of other guys on the list who didn’t have their names leaked?” Good points, Harmon. And while you’re at it, how about the cheats rebating some of their salaries to clean-living old-timers like you and Rocky Colavito?
And the Twins of today? Don’t ask. There’s been talk recently of “red circle” games. Games that might turn a season for good or bad. The local boys had two in three days in Oakland. First, they blow a 10-run lead on Monday. Then Wednesday, they got flattened and humiliated 16-1. Might be time to check in on the latest Brett Favre sighting. The PiPress’s Kelsie Smith writes, “Minnesota threw 182 pitches, allowed 18 hits and walked eight batters in a rout that snapped a streak of five straight road series’ wins and was filled with sloppy pitching from the start.” Go, Brewers!