On the heels of Tuesday’s rising-poverty report comes word that Twin Cities homelessness is up 21 percent in a year and doubled from five years ago. MPR’s Jessica Mador gets the data from the Minnesota Housing Partnership. There were 8 percent more homeless kids in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school systems in 2010-11 than the year before, which adds a bit of depth to the recent school test score results. Related: the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute says the Twin Cities have the nation’s worst employment disparity between blacks and whites, MPR’s Dan Olson writes.
It doesn’t sound like the Pagami Creek Fire grew on Wednesday, when snow and sleet “slowed the advance to a crawl,” the Strib reports. Five hundred firefighters are on it, and warmer, drier, gustier days later this week could expand the 150-square-mile area. The Duluth News Tribune has log home owners desperately creating fire lines; they say 325 firefighters are in action. There’s a good back-and-forth on why authorities helped the fire initially burn, only to be overwhelmed by brisk winds and unseasonably hot temps.
Not really sure this could’ve gone a different way, but the Ramsey County Medical Examiner has ruled chef Anousone Phanthavong’s hit-and-run death “accidental.” Amy Senser has said she was driving, and the case is hot enough the Strib turned comments off. Reporter David Chanen says the ruling will have “little effect” on the ongoing investigation. Phanthavong’s camp has complained about overly solicitous coverage of Senser; City Pages’ Mike Mullen got around to calling the Star Tribune about “spiking” an op-ed from the dead man’s employer. Editorial page editor Scott Gillespie says they did not reject the piece, and are still considering it. (“Spiking,” by the way, is assigning/accepting and then not publishing.) He admits he didn’t get back to author Anna Prasomphol because “we don’t get back to everyone.” Given the grief in this situation, the Strib should have done at least that.
Your Michele Bachmann Minute: University of Minnesota prof Steven Miles craftily offered $1,000 for medical proof that a girl allegedly became mentally retarded after getting the human papillomavirus vaccine; Bachmann relayed that story Tuesday on the “Today Show,” to the horror of public health advocates everywhere. The Strib’s Jeremy Herb says Ms. Reckless “somewhat walked back her comments” on Sean Hannity’s radio show, saying she was only the messenger. Personal responsibility! Ex-U bioethicist Art Caplan promptly raised Miles’ offer to $10,000.
Gov. Mark Dayton has toyed with the idea of unionizing Minnesota’s in-home child care workers by executive order, a seeming overreach especially considering their disparate and seemingly independent nature. Republicans abhor the idea and contend the governor lacks authority. MPR’s Tom Scheck says Dayton might split the baby by ordering an election run by the Bureau of Mediation Services.
You may want to save this until you get your property tax bill, but the PiPress’ Bill Salisbury provides an excellent primer about the axed Homestead Market Value Credit, a GOP idea accepted by Gov. Dayton that will raise p-taxes $538 million over two years. Republicans make the point the state never fully reimbursed localities for the credit. The approved alternative, the Homestead Market Value Exclusion, cuts out the state middleman but also the tax base, leaving locals to raise the tax rate or cut spending.
Has Minnesota’s House speaker shut down a Vikings stadium? Kurt Zellers tells the Grand Forks Herald’s Ryan Johnson that “there is absolutely no way we’re going to be able to go to the finance commissioner and say, ‘would you write out a $300 million check to Zygi Wilf, and put in the little memo section ‘roof for the new stadium.’ ” Since the state’s $300 mil is key, does that mean the Arden Hills Dome is dead? The Z-man’s wiggle room: The team must tie financing to “the game, something that as a fan, you as a participant at the game, are willing to do. I’m not really sure what this is just yet.” Zellers doesn’t think the Vikes will move. Meanwhile, WCCO says Gov. Dayton said Arden Hills is the only site the Vikes will consider. That’s not news; the notion that he expects the team’s ultimate contribution to approach $500 million for the $1 billion palace might be.
They are still building housing! You can see pretty pictures of the 287-unit development for the former Downtown Jaguar site near the Mississippi riverfront in downtown Minneapolis. The Business Journal’s Sam Black says financing for the block-wide $70 million development is “yet to be determined.” Ruh-roh. However, given how fast it’s moving through city approvals, groundbreaking could happen by year’s end.
This sounds cool: Ninety-minute tours of the state Capitol Thursday night where you can get up close and personal with the gorgeous golden rooftop “Quadriga” statue. Five to eight bucks, reports the PiPress’ Maja Beckstrom.
Sadik Warfa won’t get to sit under “Quadriga,” but his strong showing in Tuesday’s Minneapolis state Senate special election indicates there will probably be a Somali-American in the Legislature before too long. Minnesota Independent’s Jon Collins notes that Warfa picked up more votes than winner (and heavily favored House member) Jeff Hayden in six of 23 precincts.
The Strib’s Jon Tevlin reports former DFL power broker and convicted fraudster Pat Forciea is now marketing director for Minneapolis restaurant Hell’s Kitchen. Tevlin notes owner Mitch Omer has a history of alcohol abuse and mental illness, making him sympathetic to the bipolar Forciea. Omer and wife Cynthia Gerdes retained some fondness for Forciea’s Wellstone work, which led to the job.
Nort spews: The Twins — wait for it — lost, their fifth in a row, to Kansas City, with Trevor Plouffe making two errors. Sigh. Sid Hartman says Target will re-up as the name sponsor of Target Center. No word if this means the Wolves unis will be Missoni stripes.
Glean creator David Brauer returns to fill in for vacationing Brian Lambert.