The tongue-wagging story of Joe Senser’s wife allegedly fleeing an accident scene after killing a man putting gas in his stalled car took a new turn when the deceased’s family filed a $50,000 wrongful death suit. Abby Simons of the Strib reports: “The lawsuit filed in Hennepin County District Court alleges Amy Senser ‘demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the rights and safety of others’ when she allegedly struck and killed Anousone Phanthavong Aug. 23 as he was filling his vehicle with gas at the Riverside exit. The lawsuit asks for at least $50,000 for funeral and burial expenses, loss of support and damages.” The family’s attorney released a statement saying, “ ‘We are interested in learning why Amy Senser fled the scene, whether there was alcohol involved, whether she was alone in the vehicle, and why she was taking the Riverside exit.’ “
The Minnesota Legislature’s signature achievement from the last session, pushing through a vote on gay marriage, didn’t fare too well in a test run with with State Fairgoers. Andy Birkey of The Minnesota Independent writes: “The Minnesota House of Representatives conducted its annual poll of legislative issues at the Minnesota State Fair this year, and among the questions was how fair-goers would vote on an amendment to the state constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman and barring same-sex marriage for future generations. Poll respondents rejected the amendment with 29.8 percent voting ‘yes’ and 66.5 percent voting ‘no.’ … Both sides of the debate over the amendment rallied their troops to the fair to vote in the poll. Minnesota for Marriage, which supports a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and Minnesotans United for All Families, which opposes the amendment, sent email alerts to activists during the fair urging them to take the poll. The poll had by far the highest turnout ever: 12,549 people took the poll compared to 9,926 last year.”
One subplot to the Vikings’ Sunday season opener with the San Diego Chargers is that the Chargers represent the most likely threat to ruin what leverage the Wilf family has in its bid for a new stadium. The Los Angeles Times is saying: “Although the San Diego Chargers play the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday, the real opponent may be in Los Angeles, where politicians and developers are working to build an NFL stadium and lure a team to relocate. The Chargers seem to be the top target. In San Diego, after a decade of controversy, there is no plan to build a stadium to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium to keep the Spanos family from moving the Chargers from San Diego. … the lack of a push for a new stadium signals San Diego will not be herded into spending millions for a private business that doesn’t share its profits. The editorial page of San Diego City Beat finds the Chargers’ desire for a new stadium nothing less than an extortion ploy: ‘The only reason we’re talking about this, and the only reason [Mayor Jerry] Sanders went on his fact-finding journey to the heart of the country, is that the Spanos family can leverage civic pride in the Chargers to extort money from the taxpayers.’ ” Hey, San Diego, get your own script.
The real estate market is bad, but the pheasant market is worse. The Strib’s Dennis Anderson reports: “Last winter’s severe weather, followed by a wet, cold spring, will put a damper on ringneck prospects this fall, the Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday. The state’s pheasant population index dropped 64 percent from 2010, the DNR said, and is 71 percent below the state’s 10-year average. Contributing factors include:
• A second consecutive severe winter, resulting in hen counts 72 percent below the 10-year average.
• Cold, wet weather during the April through June nesting period, resulting in brood counts 75 percent below the 10-year average.
• Loss of nearly 120,000 acres of grass habitat enrolled in farm programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) since 2007.”
In a move designed to get America’s chubby kids back on bikes, or their own two feet, Jim Ragsdale, now with the Strib, reports: “In Minnetonka, $358,000 in federal funds is paying to build sidewalks near Glen Lake Elementary School. Pierz, a central Minnesota city of less than 2,000, will get $447,000 to build 4,200 feet of sidewalks, as well as improve pavement markings and a ‘dynamic speed display system.’ In the southeast, Eyota’s 64-page study of the town’s ‘walkability’ has resulted in a $356,000 grant for trails, traffic-calming measures and making curbs accessible to disabled students. The national Safe Routes to School program is bestowing $3.8 million to 16 communities statewide for similar purposes.”
How desperate do you have to be to agree to a loan at 782 percent interest? John Welbes’ PiPress story says: “Attorney General Lori Swanson sued five Internet payday lenders Tuesday for illegal lending practices, including charging interest rates of up to 782 percent. The firms are also accused of automatic extensions of the loans, which violated Minnesota laws, or rolled the loans over by paying off an old loan with proceeds from a new one. ‘Many people are living paycheck to paycheck right now, and unlicensed Internet lenders offer easy credit,’ Swanson said Tuesday. ‘This credit comes with a hefty price tag.’ The five companies being sued are Flobridge Group LLC, Silver Leaf Management and Upfront Payday, all of Utah; and Integrity Advance and Sure Advance LLC, both of Delaware.”
At last! A new Target in Inver Grove Heights! Nick Ferraro of the PiPress tells us: “After nearly two years of stalled construction, work on a Target store is expected to get under way again this month, the developer said. “We’re back in the ground completing site work and expect an early fall ground-break for Target,” said Greg Munson, a vice president of McGough Cos., one of two developers partnering on the project. Target is considered the commercial anchor of the planned Argenta Hills mixed-use development north of Minnesota 55 and west of South Robert Trail. Besides nine recently built homes, the project has been at a standstill. Target Corp. spokeswoman Sarah Van Nevel confirmed the Minneapolis-based retailer is moving forward with plans that call for a 135,000-square-foot store with a ‘Pfresh’ format. Pfresh stores include produce and meat but fewer grocery items than a SuperTarget.” Pfabulous.
I’m not sure how much more in the face of the Tea Party you could get than a fiercely liberal lesbian U. S. Senate candidate, but Wisconsin is going there. At The Washington Post, Chris Cillizza writes: “Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) has made it official — she’s running for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D) next year. If she wins, Baldwin will make history as the the first openly gay member of the Senate. But how much will her sexuality factor into the race (if at all)? Baldwin was first elected to represent Wisconsin’s 2nd district in 1998, becoming the first female House member from the Badger State. She was also the first openly gay person to be elected to Congress as a non-incumbent. … If former Rep. Mark Neumann wins the Republican primary, there could be some sparks over gay rights. “If somebody walks in to me and says, ‘I’m a gay person, I want a job in your office,’ I would say that’s inappropriate, and they wouldn’t be hired because that would mean they are promoting their agenda,” Neumann said in 1997. ‘The gay and lesbian lifestyle [is] unacceptable, lest there be any question about that.’ Neumann has avoided recent questions about those comments. He is likely to face former governor Tommy Thompson in next year’s Republican primary.”
They’re all saying the officially proper things, but Our Favorite Congresswoman’s campaign is in turmoil. At The Christian Science Monitor, Peter Grier compares Ms. Bachmann to … Newt Gingrich … and worse, saying: “[T]he real comparison Bachmann might worry about now is not with Newt Gingrich, who is still in the race, but with Tim Pawlenty, who isn’t. Her poll numbers are deflating to the point that her candidacy seems endangered. In a recent Fox News survey, Bachmann was the choice of a whopping 4 percent of Republican voters. That tied her for fifth place with two candidates who aren’t even running: Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. She’s only one percentage point ahead of, you guessed it, Newt Gingrich. … Worse for her, 18 percent of respondents in the poll said her positions are so extreme they would never vote for her. She led that particular category.” Uh, and that was a FoxNews poll, so it knows its extremes.