The PiPress’ Charley “Shooter” Walters says Vikings owner Zygi Wilf is preparing to sweeten the proposed stadium deal with … $13 million more of his own money: “Look for an announcement that … Wilf, who has pledged to pay $407 million of the cost of a proposed $1.1 billion stadium complex in Arden Hills, will increase his contribution to slightly more than $420 million. Wilf hopes that will encourage Gov. Mark Dayton to call a special legislative session this fall to approve a stadium financing plan. Dayton is said to be aware of Wilf’s increased contribution.” Don’t call me for accounting advice, but I think that’s roughly 1.2 percent.
Dayton — saying his earlier remarks, which appeared to support the idea of a referendum on the Vikings stadium tax were, well, misunderstood — is positioning himself to facilitate whatever happens. Rachel Stassen-Berger and Rochelle Olson of the Strib report: “Dayton said Tuesday that he’s neutral on whether Ramsey County voters should get to decide on a sales-tax increase for the proposed $1.1 billion stadium. He said he just wants to make progress on building the team a stadium. And Dayton dangled the possibility of calling a special legislative session to address the stadium issue in November. ‘I don’t have a problem with [a referendum], but I’m not advocating it,’ Dayton said. ‘I want to get this stadium project done.’ “
Dave Orrick and Maria Reeve of the PiPress covered Tuesday’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon and got a load of stadium quotes: “At the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce panel discussion, Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo, responded to an audience question about a special session by emphasizing lawmakers ‘just came through a really tough session.’ And with a budget that borrows from schools and takes a loan from tobacco proceeds, ‘it’s a challenging thing. I don’t anticipate a special session.’ … Sen. John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul, sees it differently than Lillie. He said the state should take advantage of ‘a $450 million investment brought into the area.’ On the question of the roads, Harrington said the roads would’ve been fixed anyway. ‘Fix it now,’ he said, adding that given the double-digit unemployment in his district, he welcomes the 13,000 jobs the buidling of a new stadium would bring. Rep. Rena Moran, DFL-St. Paul, said she, like the majority of Ramsey County lawmakers and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, doesn’t support a proposed .5 percent sales tax increase that would pay for the county’s proposed $350 million share.”
Not that “facts” are ever the real issue, but the AP takes the time to fact-check Our Favorite Congresswoman’s claims about energy reserves and production, A sample:
“BACHMANN: With untapped oil reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and oil shale in Western states, ‘the United States is the No. 1 country in the world for energy resources,’ Bachmann said.
THE FACTS: A March report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service backs up Bachmann’s claim about energy resources, with some important qualifications, including the fact that the fossil fuel with the largest U.S. supply by far is coal. The report says the United States has the highest total endowment of fossil fuels in the world. The U.S. has the equivalent of 973.1 billion barrels of oil in fossil fuel energy. But coal accounts for more than 90 percent of the U.S. total. The U.S. share of the world’s proven oil reserves is less than 2 percent.
Without counting coal, the United States would fall below at least eight countries. …
BACHMANN: ‘We have resources from coal to oil to natural gas,’ she told The Associated Press. ‘The problem is, under the EPA, they’ve been busy locking up (supplies), especially under President Obama.’
THE FACTS: The Interior Department is the main federal agency that regulates oil and gas drilling, not the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA does not issue leases for oil and gas production, although it does monitor air and water pollution from drilling activities.” Again though, in fairness, she is not selling “facts.”
Former WCCO reporter Caroline Lowe, now working for KSBY-TV in San Luis Obispo, gets an exclusive interview with The Runaway Dad: “He said he a thousand dollars in his pocket and hope to make enough money working at a Cambria deli to put in a college fund for his son. ‘I didn’t want him to remember his dad as homeless,’ said Cross, who was an architect in Minnesota. Cross’s son awoke to a note on July 18 from his father, saying he had taken off. Steve Cross told his son to take his Play Station to a neighbor’s house. Cross also left a note for the neighbors, asking them to take care of his son. Cross told KSBY news he thought this would be the best place for his son to grow up since he was close to their family and it was near his school. ‘I tried to take care of him the best I could with what I had,’ said Cross, as tears rolled down his cheeks during the interview at the San Luis Obispo County jail.”
Maricella Miranda of the PiPress continues her coverage of Cross’ related troubles: “Cross left his financial troubles and his son to hide out in a California artist colony, working at a deli a mile from the sandy beach of the Pacific Ocean, authorities say. Meanwhile, while looking into his disappearance, Lakeville police said they discovered evidence prompting a fraud investigation into Cross, who was arrested Monday afternoon in Cambria, Calif. … When Cross left Minnesota, police used his computer to trace a possible reservation dated Aug. 1 for a stay in Morro Bay, Calif., a Dakota County criminal complaint said. An email from Cross to an ex-girlfriend later led police to Carmel, Calif. … Cross, an architect, currently lists himself on a social-media site as employed at Steve A. Cross Architects. He used to work at Vanney Associates, an architecture firm in St. Paul, the company confirmed. He also worked at 3M as an architect, said Mark Fahley, who worked in the same office as Cross at the time. Fahley said Cross ‘always lived way beyond his means.’ ‘I really didn’t consider him a nice guy,’ said Fahley, a former structural draftsman.”
Bison 2, the $157 million North Dakota wind farm has received the go-ahead from the Public Utilities Commission. David Phelps of the Strib says: “Bison 2 will generate 105 megawatts of power when it comes on line next year, the Duluth-based utility said. It will consist of 35 Siemens direct-drive wind turbines. … The company said Bison 2 will reduce its market purchases of electricity and reduce carbon emissions by 90,000 tons a year and cut 70 tons of sulfur dioxide and 60 tons of nitrogen oxides. Plans for a similar size Bison 3 project were filed with the utilities commission in June.”
On the subject of North Dakota, an AP story by Derek Kravitz on national unemployment rates says: “Unemployment rates fell in a majority of U.S. cities in July, despite a weak economy that is producing few jobs. The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates dropped in 193 large metro areas, increased in 118 and were flat in 61. That’s a sharp change from June, when unemployment rates rose in more than 90 percent of metro areas. … Bismarck, N.D., had the nation’s lowest rate, at 3 percent. It was followed by Fargo, N.D., at 3.7 percent, and Lincoln, Neb., at 3.8 percent. Eight of the 10 metro areas with unemployment rates less than 5 percent were in the upper Midwest. North Dakota, in particular, has been helped by a boom in its oil drilling industry.”
Meanwhile, Jennifer Bjorhus and Wendy Lee of the Strib cover the upward movement of retail prices in the Twin Cities: “The cost of living in the Twin Cities is heading higher, despite a faltering economy that’s not putting a lot of extra cash in anyone’s paycheck. Inflation in the Twin Cities, which actually went negative during the Great Recession in 2009, has been rising at its fastest pace since 2008, according to the latest Minneapolis area consumer price index, which comes out twice a year. … Local prices on all goods were 3 percent higher in the first half of this year than a year earlier, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s a number that has been pushing higher along with the national rate of inflation, which was about 2.8 percent for the same period. Food and energy, two areas that tend to be volatile, accounted for much of the local increase. Gasoline prices in the 13-county metro area shot up nearly 30 percent; food rose 4.6 percent.”