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Supervalu sell-off begins with 5 chains

The sell-off has begun … . In The Wall Street Journal, Anne Gasparro writes: “[Eden Prairie-based] Supervalu Inc. has struck a deal to sell five of its grocery-store chains to an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management LP, in exchange for $100 million in cash and $3.2 billion in debt reduction. Both sides also said Thursday that Cerberus would offer to buy as much as a 30% stake in the remaining part of Supervalu at $4 a share. In early afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Supervalu shares were up 12% at $3.41. Supervalu, which on Thursday reported a continuing downtrend in sales, said the sale of the chains will help it afford to lower prices and become more competitive in the grocery industry. … Supervalu said Cerberus and its partners will be able to more quickly implement a turnaround at the brands they are buying than Supervalu could. ‘Obviously, we've been talking for a long, long time about the need to invest in price, to invest in the customer experience, and to invest in fresh’ food, and the purchasing entity ‘brings a very strong balance sheet to be able to immediately invest’ in those three things, Mr. Sales said.” I know he said it, but what does any of that mean?

On The New York Times Dealbook blog, Michael J. De La Merced writes: “At a minimum, the investor consortium will own at least 19.9 percent of Supervalu. Joining Cerberus in the bid are Kimco Realty, Klaff Realty, Lubert-Adler Partners and the Schottenstein Real Estate Group. Separately, Supervalu said that it had secured a $900 million credit facility from Wells Fargo and a $1.5 billion loan from a group of banks led by Goldman Sachs.” The “squid” always gets a taste.

In the Los Angeles Times, Tiffany Hsu adds: “Supervalu said it plans to ‘focus on right-sizing operations and maximizing efficiencies” going forward, generating annual revenues of more than $17 billion. The company said it has 125,000 employees. In September, Supervalu said it would close 26 Albertsons stores by the end of 2012, including 18 in Southern California. Among all its chains, Supervalu said it would shut 60 stores nationwide. New York-based private equity firm Cerberus said last month that it was selling Freedom Group, which produces the Bushmaster line of firearms. Adam Lanza is believed to have used one of the weapons in his assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.” And compare the profit margin on a Bushmaster to a can of stewed tomatoes.

The debate over whether the proposed corridor for the Bottineau LRT line, the more-or-less northwest link, continues to revolve around whether the existing acreage is something out of a John Muir memory, or an inner city moonscape. In an MPR commentary, Sarah Payne, a Golden Valley resident writes: “My family has lived on the corridor for 18 years and walked it and the surrounding parkland (Mary Hills and Wirth Park) most days. Here's a small sampling of what we've seen, much of it in our backyard: Fox, mink, beaver, woodchuck, deer, wild turkeys (including a female with 10 chicks), raccoons, wood ducks, loons, kingfishers, eagles, barred owls (nesting next door at Deb's, but the chicks kept running around our yard before they had fledged), hawks, myriad songbirds, pileated woodpeckers, herons, egrets, snapping turtles, bats, toads, frogs, fish. No amount of landscaping, planting and buffering will protect the habitat of these special neighbors. The noise pollution alone from the transit and increased human traffic will destroy a place of refuge for both wildlife and humans.”

Important to know … vomiting means something else. Jeremy Olson in the Strib writes: “Despite people's continued habits of calling stomach illnesses "the flu," that is not what we mean when we refer to seasonal influenza. While people with true flu infections can suffer vomiting, it is not a primary symptom. The confusion showed in today's story when a teen getting a flu shot expressed his concerns. … '[T]hrowing up is gross,' said Erik Edin, a ninth-grader at Roseville High School. 'I'd rather not be sick this season.' Viruses that cause stomach illnesses are also circulating now, which adds to the confusion. Some readers were upset that Edin's quote was in the story. While it certainly reflected the public confusion that exists, some experts suggested that it perpetuated the confusion we should be trying to prevent. One responder who works for an East Metro health care system offered the following criticism this morning: When you quote the student who says ‘Throwing up is gross,’ you are inadvertently reinforcing the incorrect belief many people have that influenza means throwing up and diarrhea (what we used to call ‘stomach flu’).” It’s a WikiWorld.

The GleanBig Gummint steps in again … Eric Roper of the Strib says: “Surly Brewing's hopes of constructing a $20 million destination brewery in eastern Minneapolis are starting to take shape. The Metropolitan Council announced Wednesday that they had awarded Surly, the Brooklyn Center-based craft brewer with a cult following, a $545,300 grant to assist with environmental cleanup at a former potato plant in Prospect Park. That's one of three grants the company said it needed to select the site and perform $2.5 million in remediation. … The largest piece of the puzzle fell into place on Thursday morning. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced that it had awarded the city $1 million in cleanup funds for the 7.4 acre site. A request for $450,000 from Hennepin County also appears likely to get a green light.”

This will make the network morning shows … From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: “A boy from LaGrange County who was abducted by his paternal grandparents back in 1994, has been located living, married and well, in Long Prairie, Minnesota. According to Indiana State Police Detective Jeff Boyd, on July 29, 1994 Richard Wayne Landers, Jr. was abducted by his grandparents, Richard E. and Ruth A. Landers. The elder Landers were allegedly upset over pending court proceedings regarding the placement of their grandson. The Landers allegedly took the then five year old boy and left from their home in the Wolcottville area to an unknown destination. … During the years following the abduction, several detectives worked with the parents of Richard W. Landers in continuing efforts to locate their missing son. In September 2012, the boy’s step-father, Richard Harter contacted Indiana State Police Detective Deven Hostetler and provided him with the young Richard’s Social Security card. After conducting some further investigation, a man in Long Prairie, Minnesota was found using that same Social Security number and date of birth as the missing boy from LaGrange County. The man’s driver’s license photograph even appeared to bear a potentially similar resemblance as to how the missing boy might look today.”

Considering how well it all worked out for the DFL, isn’t this counter-effective? The AP says: “The majority leader in Minnesota's state Senate wants to make it tougher for the Legislature to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. Sen. Tom Bakk introduced a bill Thursday, Jan. 10, that would require a vote of three-fifths of the Legislature in order to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot. Bakk says last fall's campaigns on the amendments to ban gay marriage and require a photo ID to vote were costly, inefficient and ugly.” ... But in no small way responsible for Bakk’s new title.

For The Current, Andrea Swensson writes about the passing of The 400 bar. “It’s the bar where Golden Smog, Zuzu’s Petals, and Semisonic all began, and where Dan Wilson first debuted his big hit “Closing Time.” It’s the bar where Bonnie Raitt hung out while in the Twin Cities to record her debut album. It’s where First Ave stage manager Conrad Sverkerson kicked out his first rowdy patron. And it’s where Peter Ostroushko was playing pool when he got the call to go play on Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. It’s the 400 Bar — and after decades of hosting live music, the West Bank institution has closed its doors and vacated its ancient two-story building on the corner of Cedar and Riverside Avenues. … ‘We were a bit of pioneers in breaking the West Bank barrier,’ remembers Gary Louris of The Jayhawks. ‘At the time I can’t think of another band that was playing both the Uptown and the West Bank, so we had to go through a little bit of a rite of passage to be accepted into the scene on the West Bank. But those people were very nice and the 400 was our home base. Why we started going over there — I think it had a lot to do with the kind of music we were playing, which was kind of in between rock and roots, rock and traditional. The old stage used to just be plywood, it ran along the front of the bar, and invariably I would, since I was stage right, be standing on the bar, and the mixing board was just kind of mounted on the wall behind me, and if I needed something different I would just turn around and adjust the knobs, and if I needed a drink I’d just kind of bend down and the bartender would hand it to me. It was convenient,’ he says, laughing.” So where do we go now to see Jeff Baenen of the AP in the Dylan Sound-alike contest every spring?

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Comments (5)

too much information

I usually have to throw up when I get a really high fever, but it's only once, not repeatedly, like I do with a norovirus. It's probably only once per high fever event because I don't want to eat anything when I'm that sick. Maybe the Roseville High School student vomits from high fever just like I do, and he wasn't referring to the "stomach flu."

Noise pollution

So...what the naysayers in Golden Valley are saying is that they don't want people traveling through their backyards. The trains themselves are not terribly noisy, so it must be the people. And, perhaps I am misinformed, but isn't the proposed track supposed to go on an existing rail line?


I was thinking the same thing. Those trains are not loud. As for the wild life, I live in Northeast, I see all the same wildlife in my walks around the Shoreham train yards. Talk about noisy trains....

Excuse me, but

$2 million in grants for a $2.5 million clean up sounds like a pretty sweet deal for Surly's $20 million "destination brewery".

Adding to the skepticism…

A similar argument was used in west Denver when the FasTracks expansion was first being considered, and the same 500-pound gorilla was rarely part of the conversation. That gorilla took the form of existing railway: track, roadbed and right-of-way. Much of the objection in Denver, as I suspect powers much of the objection is in St. Louis Park, was that a rail line that had seen little use in recent decades was assumed to be abandoned. The assumption was incorrect, and if that's part of the argument of opponents to light rail in St. Louis Park, they'd be well-advised to have someone looking at relevant legal documents regarding ownership of that rail line and right-of-way. Just because a rail line hasn't been used doesn't mean it •can't* be used.

Having ridden light rail in three cities, and the North Star commuter rail here, I'd say protests over noise are more than a little misplaced regarding light rail. In all the cities where I've used it, light rail is usually less noisy than a busy automobile thoroughfare – and "arterial" street in planning parlance. Commuter rail is a different animal, but that's not what's being proposed. Ms. Kahler has, I think, hit the nail on the proverbial head.

As for wildlife, the only animal listed by Sarah Payne that I've not seen in my Shingle Creek Neighborhood, which has nothing to compare to Wirth Park, is the wild Turkey. I've seen every other type she's listed while on my daily constitutional in the neighborhood. I've also had deer in my front yard, and witnessed wild Turkeys in the past year stopping traffic on multiple occasions on both Central Avenue and Johnson Street in Northeast, which is hardly some sort of bucolic rural paradise.