No sooner had we dodged the first run of swine flu and shaken off a four-month stupor of Brett Favre-malaise. Now we’ve got a death from a deadly tick. The Strib’s Paul Walsh has the story that will have every helicopter parent bathing their children in DEET. There are actually two diseases involved in the story, both exceedingly rare. How rare?The first, Powassan encephalitis, “was first identified in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, about 50 cases have been reported in the United States and Canada. The patients in Minnesota represent the western-most human cases identified in North America, state health officials said.” Fifty cases in 51 years. Expect the TV kids to be in full nuclear alert today.
It goes without saying that Sixth District Congresswoman Michele Bachmann enters the next election cycle wearing a large, bright target around her neck. Democrats, (who will miss raising money off her if they beat her in 2010) added a third candidate Wednesday with the official announcement by Sen. Tarryl Clark, a DFL heavyweight, that she will make a run at Bachmann. Bob Von Sternberg files a brief piece for the Strib, and Rachel Stassen-Berger drops in Clark’s announcement video on the PiPress’s “Political Animal” blog. MinnPost’s Eric Black takes pains to note that he predicted as much two weeks ago. He wrote then, “Among the reasons Clark has been considered so promising in DFL circles is that in 2005, in a special election, she won that Senate seat in a district that had been solidly Republican, then held the seat by a double-digit margin in the regular 2006 election. Articulate and attractive, Clark has often been the public face of the Senate DFL caucus.”
Tad Vezner of the PiPress has a St. Paul local-local story this morning. Yarusso Brothers Italian Restaurant, a bona fide East Side institution, suffered a fire in February but is now reopening. The official restart is Friday. But, as Vezner reports, a few of the locals are priming their pumps. “Some regulars are already settling into old habits. On the patio outside, Helen Morelli, 94, sits sipping a beer in a short glass. Three times this week, she’s walked a few blocks with her walker to grab a bite from the restaurant’s half-constructed kitchen.” If that image strikes you as odd in any way, you’re clearly not hip to how life rolls East Side style.
The folks at The National Arbitration Forum — the St. Louis Park firm allegedly in business to negotiate mutually acceptable repayment from individuals to creditors but now exposed as virtually a wholly owned tool of the major credit card companies — got slapped with a class action suit Wednesday. MPR’s Anne Baxter files a report. In case you missed an early phase of this story, here’s a link to the Wall Street Journal reporting an age and gender discrimination suit filed by a woman the company fired in ’08.
You gotta love the woman’s assertions — all denied by the company. She asserted that the Forum, guaranteed, um, good service to its best customers, called the “Famous Parties” in-house, was in the habit of routinely … instructing arbitrators to change decisions they had issued that were adverse to the Famous Parties; ensuring that arbitrators who had ruled against the FPs did not get more cases; and drafting claim forms for the FPs.
New details in that terrible SUV-dump truck head-on collision that killed four people in Independence. The Strib’s Heron Marquez Estrada reports that the SUV had been pulled over an hour and a half earlier out by Litchfield for erratic driving … after cops had been tipped by other drivers. The driver got off with a warning because the officer didn’t personally witness the craziness … weaving, speeding, driving on the shoulder. “The driver, who was given a warning but no ticket because the deputy hadn’t seen the reported behaviors, said he was rushing to get his grandmother to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.” Then there are the parts about no one wearing seat belts … and the bullet holes in the rear of the SUV. (The deceased driver had told police they came with the vehicle.)
Burl Gilyard of Finance and Commerce reports on the latest expansion plans of Trader Joe’s, this time in Minnetonka, in a space vacated by Cost Plus World Market. “West Ridge Market is a 260,000-square-foot retail center with tenants that include Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Staples, and Michael’s. The property is at Interstate 394 and Hopkins Crossroad at 11500 Wayzata Boulevard.” In other words, easy off, easy on. Gilyard reminds readers that Joe’s is still battling neighborhood activists and liquor licensing issues over a spot in the Wedge area in south Minneapolis.
Details of the proposed Southwest Metro Light Rail line were revealed Wednesday. Strib transporation writer Laurie Blake reports that two routes are still getting the most attention. “One, known as 1A, would run from the new Twins baseball stadium in downtown Minneapolis between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles and on through St. Louis Park, Hopkins and Minnetonka to the SouthWest Transit Station in Eden Prairie. It would be built along a light-rail corridor owned by Hennepin County and used now as the Southwest Regional Trail. … The other route, known as 3A, would start out along the same path but veer south in Minnetonka near Shady Oak Lake to run through Eden Prairie’s Golden Triangle business district and past the Eden Prairie Town Center to the SouthWest Station.” There is still talk of a route through Uptown, which would be good for ridership but tough on costs. Costs, by the way, won’t be revealed for another couple of weeks.
The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal is running an (unscientific) survey about what to do with the foundering “entertainment complex” known as Block E. It’s asking readers to vote on what they’d like to see on the block … instead of the, um, entertainment thing. Not to step on the punchline, but prevailing sentiment seems to be for … grass and trees.
The day after Brett Favre finally (sort of) said “no”: Sean Jensen of the PiPress has Vikings coach, Brad Childress, essentially saying, “Forget about it”, to Favre jumping aboard somewhere later down the line. In case you missed it (and how could you, really?), Favre told Sports Illustrated Wednesday that maybe if someone called around Nov. 1 … who knows? (That guy is worse than a teenage girl picking a dress for prom night.) Jensen has Childress saying that “he was not aware of Favre’s comment to Sports Illustrated leaving open the slight possibility of changing his mind down the road. But when asked if the door was definitely closed to adding Favre, Childress said, “You know what, there’s not a chance from my standpoint.” For the record he also seemed to say the same thing about Michael Vick. I think. For now. Maybe.
In other sports, written off for dead by loyal fans (me) after that West Coast trip, the Twins have electro-shocked themselves back to life by sweeping the White Sox. Rookie Brian Duensing pitched very well and the White Sox miserable defense helped the Twinks to a 3-2 victory last night. Spacey Alexi Casilla was a key offensive component. Joe Nathan was a little shaky closing the thing out. But hey, four in a row! Two games over .500 … clearly a threat to the Yankees and Red Sox. Here’s Kelsie Smith’s story from the PiPress. Oh, and that veteran second baseman, the Pirates Freddie Sanchez, there were rumors about last week? Gone. To San Francisco. For a prospect. I’ll bet there was chatter about that in the locker room.