According to new numbers, the cores of Minnesota’s big cities have begun to grow again. At MPR, Sasha Aslainian writes: “The Metropolitan Council is out with new population estimates for 2011 and the core cities were the winners. ‘The City of Minneapolis had a very good year in terms of population growth,’ said Libby Starling, research manager with the Met Council, noting Minneapolis’ more than 5,000 new residents. ‘And we are seeing a return to growth in the core cities which we have not been seeing specifically for many years.’ Starling says it’s too soon to know for sure, but Minneapolis’ newly-built multi-family housing may have been a draw. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul saw an increase in rental occupancy. Starling doesn’t know if the numbers indicate a delayed effect from the housing crisis.”
The heroin crisis in the Twin Ports continues. The Duluth News Tribune reports: “Five people, one of whom died, overdosed on heroin over the weekend, according to Duluth police. Officers responded to four overdose incidents between Friday and Sunday. Information obtained at the scenes indicated that the five people involved used heroin. ‘Similar reports of overdoses and increased heroin potency are occurring state and nationwide,’ the department said in a news release.”
Also from the News Tribune, a very cool video montage of the northern lights. “There was a lot of movement to the lights, with parts of the sky appearing to be liquid at times as green auroral arcs ‘flowed’ from one quadrant of the sky to another. ‘The show reminded me of major storms of the past for its variety of forms, brilliance, duration and even color. Yes, color. Whites and pale greens ruled, but purple-pinks made their appearance around 2:40 a.m. and a vivid ‘last hurrah’ of pink curtains swept by the moon during twilight,” News Tribune photo editor Bob King recounted on his Astro Bob astronomy blog, located at astrobob.areavoices.com.” Very nice, Astro Bob.
On outside money pouring into Minnesota races, Catharine Richert of MPR reports: “[O]nly $118,574, or about 18 percent, of [Michele] Bachmann’s haul came from Minnesota donors. The vast majority of her cash came from contributors from across the country, including Texas, California and Illinois, three states where donors were especially generous. … only $34,846, or about 34 percent of [Tarryl] Clark’s itemized individual donations, came from Minnesota donors. Clark has been fighting criticism from her primary opponents Jeff Anderson and Rick Nolan that she’s an 8th District outsider. Though both Anderson and Nolan raised far less than Clark this quarter, most of their individual donations came from Minnesotans. Like Clark, [Chip] Cravaack has battled criticism that he’s an outsider after news that his family moved to New Hampshire. Though 83 percent of Cravaack’s individual donations came from Minnesotans, he took in more than $139,000 from business and conservative political action committees, and more than $28,000 from his fellow members of Congress.”
The uber-conservative Heritage Foundation takes its shot at Secretary of State Mark Ritchie over the GOP’s Voter ID amendment. Hans von Spakovsky (I am not making that up) writes: “According to [the League of Women Voters], this ballot question is ‘so fundamentally unfair and misleading that it evades the constitutional requirement to submit the proposed constitutional amendment to a popular vote.’ In other words, Minnesota voters are too dumb and ill-informed to understand a ballot question that says that it will amend the state constitution to require photo ID of all voters. To no one’s great surprise in Minnesota, the ACORN-endorsed secretary of state, Mark Ritchie, who helped Al Franken pull the 2008 Senate race right out from under Norm Coleman, refused to file an answer to the lawsuit. That indicates that he agrees with the plaintiff and would no doubt like to lose the case (what is called collusive litigation in legal circles).” Could you read that “ACORN-endorsed” part without laughing? And for the record, Ritchie has made his case, defending his action in a brief filed Monday.
There are reasons why I pack my own sandwiches. The AP’s Joshua Freed reports: “Delta Air Lines Inc. and the FBI are trying to figure out how needles got into turkey sandwiches served aboard four flights from Amsterdam. One passenger was injured. The airline said that what appear to be sewing needles were found in five sandwiches on Sunday. One passenger on a flight to Minneapolis was injured, but the passenger declined to get medical attention, according to Delta spokeswoman Kristin Baur. The other needles were on two flights to Atlanta and one to Seattle. … Baur said flight attendants stopped serving the sandwiches as soon as the needle was discovered. Messages went out to other flights en route from Amsterdam, where the sandwiches had been prepared by a catering company. Another sandwich served on the Minneapolis-bound flight also had a needle, Baur said. After the needles were found, passengers got pizza instead.” … At an additional $25 a slice, I’m guessing.
I know I want to do my part for the stadium … . The AP’s Brian Bakst says: “Minnesota regulators on Monday approved guidelines for new electronic gambling devices that are a major revenue source to offset debt on a new Vikings football stadium. The Gambling Control Board voted unanimously for the standards, resisting calls from some corners of the charitable gambling industry to slow the rollout until more is known about how the hand-held devices will work. The action provides the guardrails for makers of the devices, which could show up in bars and restaurants as soon as fall. ‘The ship has sailed,’ board member William Gillespie said to those urging a more deliberative process.” Yeah, I mean what would they want next? To wait to see how much money these things generate before starting construction on a billion-dollar stadium?
Similarly … Rochelle Olson’s Strib story says: “St. Paul City Council members plan to wholeheartedly adopt a financing proposal Wednesday that will cover half the cost of a $54 million regional ballpark in Lowertown even though the state has yet to decide whether to provide the other half of the money. ‘We have to assume we’re going to get the $27 million,’ Council President Kathy Lantry said. ‘This is also messaging to the state that we’re ready to roll.’ A city commitment to pick up half the tab for the ballpark is critical as St. Paul tries to wheedle a $27 million grant from Gov. Mark Dayton.” This is kind of a 21st century version of “the rain will follow the plow.”