Although supporters of legislation to restrict basic rights to other citizens complain they may suffer harassment, the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board is going ahead with disclosure rules for ballot initiatives. Sasha Aslainian at MPR reports: “[T]he board approved definitions and guidance to support that decision, which has implications for a constitutional amendment on next year’s ballot defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Even before today’s meeting got underway, the National Organization for Marriage distributed a press release to say the board was ‘acting illegally in attempting to force NOM and other pro-family nonprofit organizations to disclose the names of donors.’ NOM attorney Cleta Mitchell said the board’s action was confusing and had no basis in statute. ‘I think the intent is to limit the scope of NOM’s involvement and to essentially rattle some sabers by the government, saying to this citizens organization, people who support your organization, might inadvertently trigger disclosure of their support of NOM,’ Mitchell said. NOM’s individual donors fear reprisal if their names are disclosed, Mitchell said.”
The feds may have found money for wolves. John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “The federally funded wolf-trapping effort in Minnesota that ran out of money and shut down Friday could be running again within days after the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture pledged new money for the program. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told the News Tribune today that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack pledged to use money from the agency’s operating budget to restart the wolf trapping and killing program. … Klobuchar said her focus is to push forward an effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ‘de-list’ wolves off the endangered species list by the end of 2011 and hand management back to state and tribal natural resource agencies. Then the state can begin more aggressive wolf-management efforts that also allow the public to shoot trouble-causing wolves.”
Three members of a Woodbury family died at the Grand Canyon. Joy Powell of the Strib reports: “A Woodbury man and his two children were found dead Monday after their recreational vehicle burned during a family vacation in Arizona, stunning a Washington County school with its second tragedy in just over two weeks. Killed were Jersey and Jace DeHaven and their father, Anthony Dehaven, 35. Jersey, a girl, was in kindergarten and Jace, a boy, was in sixth grade at Skyview School in Oakdale, officials said Tuesday. The National Park Service has yet to determine what caused the fire, which occurred in a parking lot outside an entrance to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.”
The AP reports that the two Somali women now on trial for fundraising for al-Shabab (which claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s massive bomb attack in Mogadishu) are presenting themselves as Good Samaritans: “[A]n attorney for one of the women told jurors during opening statements that Amina Farah Ali, 35, was just trying to help her fellow Somalis and didn’t know the U.S. considers al-Shabab a terrorist group. … defense attorney, Dan Scott, said his client was an avid fundraiser who collected money and clothing for the needy. Scott didn’t outright tell jurors that Ali gave money to al-Shabab, but he did say she was raising money for people in Somalia fighting against ‘invaders.’ “
Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, dares to go there. He compares the Catholic Church arguing for, essentially, restricting marriage to straight people to … Martin Luther King campaigning for civil rights for all. In his Strib commentary, Adkins writes: “The church’s public witness in helping to shape a public order that is just, protects authentic rights, serves the common good and promotes human flourishing is not in any way different from what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. did when he, a Baptist minister and theologian, fought for just laws. His civil rights advocacy was grounded in biblical conviction, the natural law, and the Declaration of Independence, much like Catholic advocacy today. In his words, ‘a just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God’. Would the Star Tribune criticize Dr. King for imposing his religious views on others?”
Far North property owners battling to control copper leases on/under their land are headed for a last stand. Josephine Marcotty of the Strib says: “Private property owners from the Ely area will make a final appeal Wednesday to the state’s top leaders to stop exploration for copper on their land, which lies in a part of the state cherished for its clean lakes and stately forests. The state’s Executive Council, made up of the governor, the attorney general and other elected officials, is holding a special meeting to hear out citizens who have been fighting the state’s decision last April to sell 50-year mineral leases on their land. Residents and cabin owners in what may become a new copper mining district near Ely say they were shocked that the state’s century-old minerals law seems skewed to favor mining companies over property owners.”
A multimillion-dollar shopping-apartment area near the UnitedHealth campus in Minnetonka is moving closer to reality. Says Janet Moore of the Strib: “A $75 million retail and apartment complex has been proposed for the busy corner of Shady Oak Road and Excelsior Boulevard in Minnetonka — near the anticipated Southwest light-rail transit station as well as UnitedHealth Group’s budding corporate campus in nearby Eden Prairie. Minnetonka developer Richard Anderson will present his preliminary plan for the 17-acre patch of land to the Minnetonka Planning Commission Thursday night. Anderson calls the project Ecostation 2012 and envisions an intersection that marries commerce, housing and transportation.” … And reliably startling insurance profits.
The Lakeville City Council is not exactly standing behind Lakeville’s mayor. Jessica Fleming of the PiPress writes: “Lakeville’s City Council issued a statement at its Monday meeting denying the mayor’s recent accusation that a staff member had lied. The statement was a summary of an executive session held last week to discuss the performance of senior center coordinator Linda Walter. The session was called by Mayor Mark Bellows after he accused Walter of lying at a Sept. 19 council meeting. The first part of the statement is as follows: ‘The mayor’s reference to a lie at the Sept. 19 council meeting was intended to reflect a perception in the community that he is opposed to the senior center and was not attributable to Ms. Walter.’ During that meeting, the mayor said, ‘I feel like we were lied to by a staff member … and don’t want to set a precedent among our staff that says that type of behavior can continue.’ Bellows went on to say he was ‘ashamed’ and ‘embarrassed’ by the project, which he said ‘was shoved up our butt.’ “ Never mind the butt stuff, he’s “ashamed” and “embarrassed” … by a senior center?
That butt-ugly sign on the side of Target Center is coming down. “The advertisement for Sanford Health that caused such a kerfuffle when it appeared last year on the side of Target Center will be history by month’s end,” says the Strib’s Jackie Crosby. “When Target Corp. renewed naming rights to the Timberwolves arena in September, the retailer also gained access to what has become a coveted piece of real estate for advertising — the area Twins fans see from inside Target Field. The large and illuminated ad for Sanford Health, a nonprofit health system based in the Dakotas, drew ire from civic leaders. City Council Member Lisa Goodman said she was ‘just disgusted by it.’ Hennepin County Board Chairman Mike Opat said the 2,800-foot sign would ‘cheapen’ the public art and spirit of Target Plaza. Timberwolves President Chris Wright said the Sanford moniker will be down Oct. 31.”