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Airport expansion draws heat from homeowners

Harvest ahead of schedule; Woodbury motel targeted;  300th DNA-cleared prisoner moving here; Accent shooting timeline detailed; and more.

Expansion at MSP means more flights, more noise and more annoyed homeowners. Pat Doyle of the Strib reports: “A major expansion planned for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport drew objections Monday from homeowners and city officials worried about increased noise. While airport officials said only 1,131 homes would need some new or additional sound-proofing, that was no comfort to Tom Knickelbine. ‘Every single person walking around Lake Harriet is going to feel this,’ said Knickelbine, who lives near the lake where the increased noise and additional sound-proofing is anticipated. … Affected homes would be in Minneapolis, Eagan, Richfield, Bloomington and Mendota Heights. The report forecasts 2,703 metro-area homes would experience more noise by 2020 than in 2010.

Obviously the national Democrats aren’t too worried about Allen Quist. Catharine Richert of MPR writes: “Apparently concluding that DFL Rep. Tim Walz looks like a safe bet to win re-election in the 1st Congressional District, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trimming its nearly $3 million Minnesota ad budget by about $260,000, according to a DCCC spokesperson. The cash was originally meant for two ads to be run in Walz’s favor later this month. Walz is on the DCCC’s ‘Frontline’ list, a select group of incumbent U.S. House Democrats who are likely to face competitive races. Less than six weeks out from Election Day, the DCCC feels confident Walz will win in the 1st.” But … but … Mr. Quist is delivering the essence of the modern conservative message …

Machinery is rolling everywhere you go in outstate Minnesota. Tom Webb of the PiPress says: “Minnesota farmers already have harvested 76 percent of the state’s soybean crop, and are past the midway point for harvesting corn, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday … Normally the combines aren’t going full-bore statewide until October, but this growing season hasn’t been normal. A very early spring, then torrential rains, then dryness leading to a drought has buffeted the crops and made everything mature several weeks earlier than usual. As of Sunday, USDA said that Minnesota farmers harvested 53 percent of the corn crop. Typically, only about 5 percent of the corn would be in the bin by now.” By late October my farmer buddies will be on Marco Island … or in Branson.

Talk about a joint with a reputation … Elizabeth Mohr of the PiPress writes: “Woodbury police records show officers visit the Red Roof Inn motel — which was the scene of a violent hostage incident and fatal officer-involved shooting in August — more often than all the other hotels in the city combined. Residents who are concerned about the high call volume have asked city officials to step in and reduce crime at the motel, which is near Interstate 494 and Valley Creek Road. … At the Red Roof Inn, reports of disorderly conduct have been the biggest draw the past two years. Other high-ranking categories of calls include warrant arrests and following up on tips. There have also been reports of prostitution, rape, drugs and death.” Jeez, all they’re missing is the plague of locusts.

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Oh, good lord … Dan Nienaber of The Mankato Free Press reports: “A Mankato man, who witnesses said was having sex with his passenger as he was driving, pleaded guilty Monday to killing her and another woman driving a car that was hit head-on. Mark Anders Chalin, 24, told District Court Judge Bradley Walker he didn’t remember anything about what led to the Aug. 7, 2011, crash that killed 23-year-old Amber Menezes of Mankato and 35-year-old Jonna Martin of Lakeville. Witnesses who had passed Chalin’s car and State Patrol investigators reported Menezes was straddling Chalin, blocking his view of the road, when Chalin slammed into another car driven by Martin. … Chalin was treated for 26 broken bones and a damaged bladder after the crash. He was in the hospital 45 days and made his first court appearance for the charges in February. He was released on his own recognizance after that hearing.”

The 300th prisoner released after full DNA testing is coming to live in Minnesota. Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib says: “After more than a decade on death row in Louisiana, Damon Thibodeaux will live as an innocent man in Minnesota. A Jefferson Parish judge overturned Thibodeaux’s murder conviction Friday and the 38-year-old Louisiana man walked out of prison, becoming the 300th prisoner nationwide freed after DNA evidence showed he was innocent. Of those 300, 18 were on death row, say lawyers from the New York-based Innocence Project. … Steve Kaplan, an attorney with the Minneapolis law firm of Fredrikson & Byron, was a part of Thibodeaux’s legal team, which persuaded Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick to reinvestigate the case, sharing half the cost, which ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars. DNA testing showed Thibodeaux was not the killer.” Think of that … 300.

For the Strib, Matt McKinney reports on the police timeline for the mass shooting at Accent Signage last week: “Confronted with a fired employee who pulled a gun, two managers at Accent Signage Systems, Inc., struggled with the man for control of the weapon. It was a fight they lost, and moments after gunman Andrew Engeldinger shot them both, he continued with one of the worst mass shootings in Minnesota history. The effort of Rami Cooks and John Souter to stop the massacre was one of many details released Monday in a four-page Minneapolis police report of what took place last Thursday … .  Near the end of the workday, Engeldinger was asked to meet in Souter’s office. Engeldinger first left the building and went to his car, then returned to meet with Souter and Cooks. Engeldinger was fired at the meeting for ‘poor performance and lateness,’ according to the police report, and given his final paycheck.
Engeldinger carried the gun and two loaded magazines — each of them carrying 15 bullets — into his termination meeting, according to police.”

History teacher Annette Atkins plays around with the “you didn’t build that” notion in a Strib commentary: “In a freshman history seminar Prof. Duane M. Leach asked if any of us knew a ‘self-made man.’ Mine was the first hand up. My dad is a self-made man, I announced proudly. … Leach took a moment to hear my story and to marvel with me at my dad’s hard work and success. He recognized the sacrifice and discipline that such a life path had required. Then he asked me a series of questions: Is your dad white? Is he male? Is he healthy? Was he born in the United States? Could his parents read and write?”

There’ll be no early phase-out of the Solar Reward program. At MPR, Conrad Wilson says: “Xcel Energy must fully fund a solar energy incentive program through 2015, according to a decision Monday by the state. The decision by Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman means the utility company must fund its Solar Rewards Program at $5 million per year through 2015. Xcel wanted to reduce funding next year and phase out the program by the end of 2013. The decision largely upholds a staff recommendation issued by the Department of Commerce staff in August. While the funding for the program remains the same, the incentive will drop from $2.25 to $1.50 per watt of solar installed.”

How many times can you double down on hysteria? I’m quite certain Our Favorite Congresswoman long ago set whatever the record now is. At Right Wing Watch, Brian Tashman notes a recent Bachmann radio appearance: “We know that when Michele Bachmann speaks, even fact-checkers can’t fully cover all of her dubious and debunked claims in just a single article. Now that Bachmann is completely engrossed in promoting her latest conspiracy theory focusing on the supposed Muslim Brotherhood “penetration” of the US government, she took to The Janet Mefferd Show to misrepresent President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly to claim that Obama is not only refusing to defend the freedom of speech but may be even actively backing the curtailment of speech rights in favor of Sharia law. …

“It almost sounds like he’s trying to speak as ‘Emperor of the World,’ telling the world what to do, as opposed to being the President of the United States who should be adamant and say it’s outrageous that these Islamist countries should be calling on the United States to take away the constitutional protections of the American people. This is very important to think that the United States would restrict speech of Americans. Now the president did talk in his remarks about the fact that we do have a constitutional right to free speech but really the only focus of that speech should have been under no circumstances will the United States ever subvert the Constitution to Sharia law. We didn’t get that kind of a forceful statement from our President.”

I believe this — forestalling Sharia law — is what she means when he says she’s working so hard for the people of her district.