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Outcry prompts MAC U-turn on plane noise over Edina area

Bachmann, Cravaack go after Susan Rice; Nicollet Mall luxury apartment tower; state kicks out debt collectors; St. Grand is back; fabulous french fries; and more.

You do NOT mess with Edina. Paul Walsh and Pat Doyle at the Strib report: “Facing mounting opposition from Twin Cities residents worried about future airplane noise, the operators of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport backed away from a major shift in flight patterns that would create a new era of winning and losing homeowners. Instead, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) endorsed using new technology from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) only where it would reduce airplane traffic over Eagan, Mendota Heights and other suburbs. It opposed using the technology where it would concentrate more air traffic over some neighborhoods of southwest Minneapolis, Richfield and Edina. … Chad Leqve, manager of noise, environment and planning, said he has never heard such an intense public response during his 16 years working for the MAC. ‘It’s been overwhelming,’ Leqve said. Last week, an airport noise advisory group signed off on a plan to concentrate the routes for aircraft takeoffs, despite steady opposition from the Minneapolis and Edina residents who will have more planes rumbling over their homes.”

Noted foreign policy experts Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack have added their names to those opposing U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. At MPR, Brett Neely writes: “House Republicans, including Minnesota U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack, stepped up their campaign against U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and comments she made immediately after the Sept. 11 attack on an American diplomatic compound in Libya. In a letter to President Barack Obama, Bachmann, Cravaack and 95 other House Republicans say Rice ‘propagated a falsehood’ that the attacks were unplanned. … Cravaack’s attempt for a second term ended earlier this month with his defeat by former Rep. Rick Nolan, so this letter also represents what is likely to be one of Cravaack’s last forays into the world of foreign affairs.” Remind me, when was his first?

Obviously, the luxury rental market has picked up. Janet Moore of the Strib writes: “Preparations will begin Tuesday along the barren northern stretch of Nicollet Mall to make way for a 26-story luxury apartment tower — the first new high-rise rental building in downtown Minneapolis’ core in nearly three decades. Opus Development Corp. and Founders Properties, both of Minnetonka, recently shored up financing for the project, expected to cost about $100 million. The 253-unit apartment tower, called The Nic on Fifth, will begin leasing studios, one- and two-bedroom units and penthouses in the summer of 2014. Rental rates have not been determined.”

Next door in Wisconsin, Steve Schultze and Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report: “Gov. Scott Walker and his top campaign and Milwaukee County aides were named Monday as part of a team that routinely commingled political and official county business. The disclosures came during the sentencing of a former aide to Walker during his last year as Milwaukee County executive. Kelly M. Rindfleisch, 44, was sentenced by Judge David Hansher to six months in jail and three years probation on a single felony count of misconduct in office. … Five members of the group spoke by phone daily at 8 a.m. to make sure the county executive’s office was “in sync” with the “image” the campaign was advancing of Walker in his Republican race for governor against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett … Last month, a jury found Walker appointee Kevin Kavanaugh guilty of stealing more than $50,000 raised for a Walker-hosted veterans’ picnic. [Timothy] Russell, Walker’s former chief of staff at the county, is set to go to trial in December on three felony counts of embezzlement.”

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Another Chicago-based “debt settlement” operation has been told not to let the door hit ’em on the way out of town. The Strib’s Jennifer Bjorhus says: “State regulators have ordered a Chicago company to close up its debt settlement business in Minnesota, saying the company was using its affiliation with a law firm to illegally squeeze excessive fees from financially struggling consumers.The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced the cease-and-desist action against Legal Helpers Debt Resolution LLC on Monday. The company doesn’t have a state license to operate as a debt settlement provider in Minnesota, according to a copy of the enforcement order, and has violated state rules governing debt collectors, such as collecting excessive upfront and monthly fees and misleading customers about its services.”

You want to eat locally on Thanksgiving, I’m sure … The Alexandria Echo Press has a story up about how you can plan your whole menu around Minnesota-grown items: “It’s easy to incorporate Minnesota grown foods into your annual Thanksgiving meal. With the help of the Minnesota Grown Directory and some pre-planning, your holiday guests can enjoy everything from the main course to desserts made with Minnesota grown meats and produce. Let’s start with turkey, which has center stage in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Minnesota is the number one turkey producing state in the nation, with 250 family farmers raising approximately 46 million turkeys annually. … One of the fastest growing segments of Minnesota agriculture is the farm winery industry. From reds to whites, dry to fruity, more than 30 Minnesota wineries take orders online or over the phone, or you can stop in for a tasting and pick up a bottle or two. You can find all these and many other Minnesota grown products in the Minnesota Grown Directory, online and in print.” I thought you’d want to know.

St. Grand has struck his/her first kettle. Alejandra Matos of the Strib says: “St. Grand is back, dropping her (or his) first bundle of cash this season. In the anonymous donor’s signature move, St. Grand placed 10 crisp $100 bills into a red kettle at Cub Foods in St. Anthony on Saturday. Last year, the generous donor dropped $1,000 into each of 23 Salvation Army kettles around the Twin Cities. Annette Bauer, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, said they are thrilled to see St. Grand back in action. Volunteers had been speculating for weeks whether the cash bundles would reappear when the charity kicked off its giving season on Nov. 10.”

The Strib editorializes that the Obama administration must do what is necessary to keep Israel and Hamas from all-out war: “Israel can militarily defeat Hamas. But it risks further inflaming a region already engulfed in violence, as well as disrupting relations with Egypt just when it needs that country’s help to better enforce its border with Gaza. A cease-fire, as with any negotiation, would require compromise from both parties. This is one of the many reasons why the Obama administration needs to lead, according to Marina Ottaway, senior associate for the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.” And if the Saudis play the “money talks” game?

And in today’s foodie list, City Pages assembles its choices for the Top 10 French Fries in the Twin Cities.

At #10 — “For fries that will never let you down, look to Northeast’s welcoming Red Stag Supper Club. The triple cooking of these starchy pleasures ensures a crisp, golden brown crust on each fry. The light parsley and garlic flavorings enhance but don’t overpower the potato, which on the inside has an almost creamy consistency.” …
And #1 — [Neato’s Burgers] “Duck fat fries have the ring of a fad. Like the love of bacon, it’s hard not to get all meat eaters and a few lapsed vegetarians to agree that duck fat is good. The flavor intensifies whatever is bathed in them: Duck confit is obvious, a perfectly fried egg is another way to go, but there is nothing so sumptuous and beautiful as what happens when duck fat and potato meet. … Alone, these fries are good, but when paired with the garlicky aioli they rocket to a whole other taste plane. These fries are face-meltingly, drive-across-town, wait hours, months, any indeterminate amount of time awesome. Ladies and gentleman, the fry game in town has just been upped.”