Be very careful when asking the public for input in anything, especially a billion-dollar football palace. Tim Nelson of MPR reports on the stadium architects’ “listening tour”: “Closed captioning for the jumbo scoreboard replays, more elevators, real grass, purple seats: Those are just some of the items on fans’ stadium shopping list at the Minneapolis Convention Center. There was little doubt, though, what was at the top of the agenda: a retractable roof for open air football. … Even some deaf Minnesotans weighed in on the new stadium. Dann Trainer is the president of the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens, and spoke through an interpreter. He said displays and scoreboard video should be close-captioned ‘so the deaf and hard of hearing consumers can follow. It’s the same with old people. If they can’t hear what’s going on, they’ll be able to look at the captions. It’s a universal design concept. Accessibility for all.’ “
Patrick Condon of the AP adds: “Season ticket holder Jeff Jackson said the stadium’s ceiling should have acoustical tiles to make game days louder, while longtime fan Brandon Fraher said it should be shaped in a way to pay tribute to the long-gone world of the real Vikings. ‘Ever since I was a kid, I thought that it would be really cool if the Vikings played in something that looked like a castle,’ said Fraher of Burnsville. … Ananth Shakar, a St. Paul architect, said he hoped the new Vikings stadium would be more like the Cowboys’ stadium. He said it should be a companion to several recent, lauded additions to Minneapolis architecture. ‘I’m hoping it’s in the tradition of the Guthrie Theater, the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Library,” Shakar said. ‘The architecture of this stadium needs to look to the future, not to the past.’ Lynn Garthwaite of Bloomington had a much less lofty request. ‘I think it’d be great to be the first stadium with enough leg room that you don’t have to stand up when someone in your row leaves for a beer,’ she said.” Oh … oh … and how about ear plugs in every seat for that 110 db country western music?
Steve Kuchera of the Duluth News Tribune reports that the feds have ponied up an additional $620,000 to help bring down the already dramatically lower rate of traffic fatalities in Northeast Minnesota: “The number of people killed in traffic accidents in Northeastern Minnesota has dropped by 42 percent in the past decade. Still, more than 500 people were killed during that time, and the positive trend of fewer deaths is of little consolation to the families of the victims of fatal crashes, said Donna Berger, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety. … She and other DPS officials were in town to announce new federal grants totaling $612,571 to support efforts to reduce traffic deaths in Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Pine and St. Louis counties. … Most of the money will go to law enforcement, courts and community groups for additional traffic enforcement and education efforts between now and Sept. 30, 2013. The total amount is a little more than what the region received during the last federal fiscal year.”
I think we can add UnitedHealth’s robust quarterly earnings to things that are as inevitable as death and taxes. Tom Murphy of the AP reports: “UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s third-quarter earnings jumped 23 percent, thanks in part to Medicare and Medicaid business growth that helped the nation’s largest health insurer beat analyst expectations. The Minnetonka, Minn., company also raised its 2012 earnings forecast. It now expects earnings of $5.20 to $5.25 per share, up from a previous forecast for $4.90 to $5 per share. Analysts had expected $5.13 per share, according to FactSet. UnitedHealth said Tuesday that it earned $1.56 billion, or $1.50 per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30. That compares with $1.27 billion, or $1.17 per share, in last year’s third quarter.”
MPR’s Cathy Wurzer interviewed the parents of Andy Engeldinger, the shooter in the Accent Signage rampage:
Wurzer: As he became older, as he began having delusions and began acting more paranoid, according to reports, was there a particular incident where you thought he was really struggling, where you thought, this is trouble?
Chuck Engeldinger: In hindsight, I can see some of the things where he was having trouble, but we didn’t know what was going on and what was real, because we were only hearing his side. So we really thought he was having trouble at work. We didn’t know that it was his own mind that was malfunctioning, you know, that was bringing on these stories and stuff. Probably a couple years later he started with the paranoia, people were talking about him, they were all into it with the police and the FBI and the government were all out to get him.
Carolyn Engeldinger: That was probably the last four months we were in contact with him, where he had this delusion of some giant conspiracy that involved the government, the FBI, the police, people at work, people on the street. It involved everybody.”
Did you catch former Gov. Arne Carlson in the Strib commentary section this a.m.? “[Edina GOP Rep. Keith] Downey claims that there is a $1.2 billion surplus in the current two-year budget cycle as a result of last year’s budget settlement. This is a fiction, plain and simple. Budget documents from Minnesota Management and Budget show a temporary budgetary balance of zero, not a surplus. Furthermore, this zero balance was made possible only because the 2011 budget settlement delayed paying aid to our school districts, thereby artificially reducing state costs in the current biennium. In total, this constitutes a loan to the state from our public schools to the tune of nearly $3,000 per student. Further, the Legislature sold our future tobacco settlement revenue for the sake of a one-time upfront cash fix to pay for current operating expenses. This is costing the state $1.67 for every $1 received. Finally, this budget solution involved eliminating the Homestead Credit and cutting other property tax relief programs.” Is it possible check kiting is the new “balanced budget”?
I missed this one from a few days back … Ryan Bakken of the Grand Forks Herald writes: “Winton Dahlin was allowed to knock off 30 minutes early from work Friday, his last day on the job. Consensus was that he earned it, since he’s worked the past 60 years for the same company. Plus, the brass at his employer, Forsberg’s Inc., were taking him to lunch in celebration, where the uncomplicated 82-year-old had the uncomplicated sendoff meal of cheeseburger-and-fries. Asked why he continued to work well beyond the norm and well beyond Social Security payments — and for only one employer — Winton said, ‘I liked what I was doing, so as long as I was able-bodied and they wanted me around, I figured I’d stay.’ ” So what next, Winton — consultancy?
OK, no sophomoric jokes … Meg Jones of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports a very serious competition: “Wisconsinites take their bratwurst very seriously. So seriously that two small western Wisconsin communities are in a bit of a dust-up over the length of their big brats. The source of the sausage skirmish stems from news accounts last week of Prescott’s world-record-setting bratwurst — 52 feet, 2 inches. The local grocery store, Ptacek’s IGA, wanted to celebrate its centennial and figured what better way to observe 100 years than by grilling up a huge bratwurst. Not just a big one, but a record-setting one. And of course it included a bun. When some folks in the tiny community of Dallas saw news accounts of the Prescott world-record holder, they got steamed. Seems Dallas has grilled up a big bratwurst the last four years for its Oktoberfest celebration. This year’s brat length? 135 feet.”
Also in the Journal Sentinel, and in the realm of election fraud, Patrick Marley reports: “Attorneys hired by Republican lawmakers withheld 34 emails from groups suing them despite three stern court orders to release them, according to a forensic examiner’s report filed late Monday. The report once again highlights that lawyers with Michael Best & Friedrich were not forthcoming with providing subpoenaed documents even after a panel of three federal judges charged them some $17,500 for filing frivolous motions to try to block the release of the records. The report signals that one of Wisconsin’s largest law firms could face future challenges as it tries to explain to the judges why it repeatedly defied their orders. A related internal investigation on why the material was not released is ongoing. The suppressed emails cover the methods Republicans used last year to draw new legislative and congressional maps that will help them tremendously in the Nov. 6 elections and those that follow for the next decade.”