“The bad people stole my bike,” Ruag MacKay tells Leah Beno of FOX9, “I want my bike back.” It’s not the crime of the century, but nonetheless, the theft of a tricycle is getting a lot of play in the local press. Why? Because this particular theft just seems so damned mean. MacKay, you see, is 47 years old and developmentally disabled, and used his red tricycle to get around his neighborhood on St. Paul’s North End, where he does things like pick up garbage. Paul Walsh and Vince Tuss of the Star Tribune note that the police described MacKay as being “extremely emotional about the theft of his bike,” and explain why with a quote from his sister: He was on the bike for an average of four hours a day, and “Routine is how he deals with things,” his sister told the Strib. “To get out and find the bike missing — that was extremely distressing to him.” John Brewer of the Pioneer Press describes the bike: “It is red with a large white basket on the back — an American flag flaps from the basket as he pedals.”
It’s raining dogs, and the Animal Humane Society is desperate for people to adopt them. Mary Lynn Smith of the Star Tribune looks at the sudden increase of dogs surrendered to the Humane Society — far more than are being adopted. The housing crisis may be to blame, as a humane society media relation representative tells Smith: “The No. 1 reason animals come to us is because people are having to move.” Scott Goldberg of KARE11 explains further, quoting the president of A Rotta Love, a Rottweilers and pit bull rescue operation: “You hear all these reports in the news about foreclosures going up, and our request rates for intake have gone right up with it.”
The Associated Press informs us that Tim Pawlenty is about to form a national fundraising committee; he now will be able to solicit donations of as much as $5,000, as permitted by federal rules, which is much more than he could ask from individual donors when he ran for governor. Pawlenty insists that this money is intended to help GOP candidates during the next election cycle, rather than fill his coffers for a 2012 presidential campaign. The federal rules also allow him to solicit from lobbyists while the Minnesota House and Senate are in session, which he otherwise couldn’t do. The AP story notes that “Some watchdogs want him to voluntarily refrain from those contributions until he leaves office.”
Republican candidates for governor are starting the long and entertaining process of publicly undermining their competition; in this instance, it is former State Auditor Pat Anderson taking aim at Marty Seifert for his comments on school vouchers, as Tom Scheck of MPRNewQ relates. Seifert had demurred to discuss the subject during a press conference Wednesday, saying he didn’t “want to get in a situation with vouchers because I just don’t think Minnesota’s constitution allows for it.” Not so, says Anderson: “Marty is simply wrong on the constitutional law in play on vouchers, and I can’t let his error stand to give aid and comfort to the opponents of meaningful parental school choice.” You can read Anderson’s entire response in PDF form here.
Minnesota mayors are also taking part in the race for governor. While they’re not gunning for any specific candidate, they are demanding to know where gubernatorial candidates stand on the subject of Local Government Aid (LGA), and this demand carries with it an implicit critique of Tim Pawlenty. Bob Von Sternberg and Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Star Tribune report that the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities on Thursday has created a web ad designed to point out that Pawlenty’s cutting of LGA has forced property taxes up. It includes the following quote from Pawlenty, from 2002, which he apparently then promptly forgot about: “You can’t run around the state and say, ‘I’m not going to increase taxes,’ and then cut LGA in a way that drives up local property taxes. I understand that.” The ad will be running at mayors’ meetings throughout the state, and asks that candidates for governor clarify their stance on LGA.
Speaking of mayors, Brandt Williams of Minnesota Public Radio looks at R.T. Rybak’s chances in the next election, which are so good that Rybak would be justified in pumping his fists in the air and calling out “Everything’s coming up Rybak!” in the manner of Milhouse Van Houten on “The Simpsons.” Why? Well, Minneapolis is a one-party town, there is no significant Democratic contender for mayor, and Rybak is pretty darn popular. The story does contain criticisms of Rybak, however, primarily from neighborhood activists who see the mayor as having centralized power at City Hall when he replaced the Neighborhood Revitalization Program with a new commission heavily populated by appointees by city officials.
If you’ve never been to Lindstrom, Minn., well, it’s about the most Swedish place in the state, featuring a water tower shaped like a tea kettle and offering a cheery “willkommen” to visitors, who also can sample Scandinavian doughnuts along its main drag, as well as visit the Karl Oskar immigrant home, which is the authentic home of a Swedish immigrant circa 1860. This may not sound especially exciting, although the doughnuts are very good, but there are ways to spice it up. You could ride into town on Harleys, as an example, which allows you to merge a study of Swedish heritage with a 1960s American International Pictures biker movie. According to Kyle Porter of KARE11, that’s precisely what a group of Swedes did this year. The story quotes Jerker Saxentorp, a tour guide: “We love to come back, we are bikers in Sweden.” The group reportedly spent several hours in the immigrant house, politely looking at photos and drinking coffee, which, it must be said, is a lot less than Peter Fonda would have done.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson spoke to the press about a back injury Thursday, saying it’s “not a big deal at all”; as the Star Tribune’s wonderfully named Chip Scoggins points out, the bigger deal is that Sunday’s game is against the 49ers, who were responsible for the worst game in Peterson’s life, holding Peterson to “only 3 yards rushing on 14 carries in 2007.”