Property forfeiture, because of non-payment of taxes, have more than doubled in Ramsey County over the past year. Frederick Melo of the PiPress reports: “Chris Samuel, manager of the county’s Property Records and Revenue division, notes that although the number of past-due notices to taxpayers have decreased, the increase in forfeitures is likely to become worse in the years ahead. Forfeitures are the result of nonpayments years earlier. ‘It takes a while, and we’re seeing increases in taxpayers unable to find ways to pay up,’ Samuel said. Ramsey County sent out 8,857 past-due notices last month to owners who failed to pay their spring taxes by the May 15 deadline. That’s a 6.5 percent decline from the 9,477 notices the county sent in June 2009. But the county recorded 142 property forfeitures last year, compared with 54 in 2010 and 10 recorded in 2005.”
The Strib’s Dee DePass has an encouraging story about a handful of Minnesota companies bringing jobs back home from abroad: “The hassle of operating abroad has triggered several Minnesota companies to move production stateside, a move called ‘reshoring’ by some. Coming home not only bolsters the speed, quality and simplicity of doing business, it’s also more economical than it used to be. Average wages in China have jumped 10 to 25 percent a year, hitting $4 to $6 an hour in some plants. Add in shipping and high fuel costs, and offshore manufacturing is no longer such a bargain. The return of offshore production to America has emerged as a surprising silver lining in the U.S. economic recovery. The government doesn’t track corporate reshoring efforts, but experts say they are hearing of more companies bringing work back to the States.”
Ten of Xian’s terra cotta warriors are coming to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts this fall. Says the AP: “Rare works from the tomb of China’s first emperor go on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts this fall. ‘China’s Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy’ features more than 120 objects excavated from the tomb complex of Emperor Qin Shihuang and other sites. … The tomb was first uncovered by Chinese farmers drilling a well in 1974. In all, the tomb’s three pits are thought to hold 8,000 life-sized figures of different ranks, together with horses and chariots.”
In an editorial, the Strib boldly suggests … someone … tell the story of alleged Aurora, Colo., gun man James Holmes: “[I]t’s the role and the responsibility of the press to tell the whole story, however uncomfortable. A horrific crime has been committed, and the public deserves to be informed about all aspects of it. That includes providing a full profile of the suspect, however distasteful. Mass murders invariably prompt public debate. A national dialogue about gun control has already begun (at least by pundits — President Obama and Mitt Romney have shirked their responsibility to join the debate). Others have wisely weighed in on the issue of mental health, and what can be done to reach those unable or unwilling to seek treatment. Questions are being raised about what role, if any, the ‘Batman’ movie played in the shootings and whether the excessive video violence found in games, film and TV was a contributing factor. And some have even questioned whether midnight movie events are appropriate. These debates will be productive only if we have a full understanding of what led to the shooting. That includes gathering as much useful information as possible about Holmes.” So … send a couple of your top reporters out to Denver and give us the story. Or isn’t that your job anymore?
DePass has another story worth reading. This one about an Ecolab gizmo that is a fly’s worst nightmare: “But the St. Paul-based company has come up with a high-tech, surreptitious tool to rid restaurants, grocers and hospitals of these invasive, bacteria-carrying pests. It unveiled its Stealth Fly Station at the National Restaurant Show in May, where the company stunned audiences with the device’s ability to quickly eradicate flies within minutes. The station looks like an innocent flat-screen, but it discreetly attracts the pests with its dark surface and a stench that flies love. Flies swarm to it like addicts needing a fix and then start dropping dead … well, like flies. The device, which would hang outside a building or a dumpster, has already won the 2012 Kitchen Innovation Award from the National Restaurant Association and has won new customers in the United States and Canada.” If they come up with one for mosquitoes, they get a Nobel Prize.
Kind of a disappointing turnout for the Bikini Parade. The AP story says: “Only an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny number of bikini-wearers turned out Saturday to strut their stuff in a southern Minnesota town. Organizers had hoped for hundreds of women to march in what was billed as the World’s Largest Bikini Parade. But the number of bikini-wearing women — and a couple of men in bikini tops — at the Paddlefish Days Parade in Madison Lake fell far short of the world record. The Free Press newspaper in Mankato reported Saturday that only 39 people participated. Women were told they could wear shorts over their bikini bottoms once it was clear the record of 451 was unattainable.”
The damage to Duluth’s parks from the epic June flood is being put at $20 million. The AP reports: “Duluth officials say June’s devastating floods caused about $20 million damage to the city’s parks. Flooding affected about two-thirds of Duluth’s 30 parks. Each of the city’s 14 trails was damaged. About half of the park damage total — or nearly $10 million — was to trails.”
After careful re-consideration, the Forum papers have decided to ever so cautiously dip a toe on gay wedding announcements. Editor Matt Von Pinnon gets the job of explaining: “Starting today, The Forum will accept for publication the announcements of gay marriages, engagements and anniversaries if the marriage takes place in a state or country where it’s legally recognized. Right now, that means anyone engaged to be married or who was legally married in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, the District of Columbia and several foreign countries could have their announcement published in The Forum.” Don’t get too far out on that limb …
On his MnPublius blog, Jeff Rosenberg is worried about our declining output of garbage: “Bad news, everyone — in addition to fairly weak growth in the GDP, shipments of garbage are way down. I can already guess your first question: So what? That’s what I would have said, too. But as it turns out, waste shipments are highly correlated with economic growth. It makes sense when you think about it. Our economy is largely driven by consumer spending, and most of the things consumers spend money on generate garbage. Given that correlation, the sharp decline in waste shipments … is fairly frightening.”