Remember that St. Paul Forever contest for “million-dollar ideas”? Results are in, with more than 900 entries. Says the PiPress photo essay: “Entry from Kyaw Lin: “This idea is about making an indoor beach in the city of St. Paul, along with waterfall and forest. … I think it will bring more people if we build these in the same place. … It is just like a zoo except there’s no animals.” … Entry from David Schmit: “I am proposing to reintroduce the tradition of a Finnish native sauna to St. Paul, spread information about the many health benefits and the history associated with it, correct wrong impressions and emphasize the meaning of sauna bathing for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
Maybe this is where my Vegas matchbook collection went … Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “A behind-the-scenes worker at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is accused of stealing from checked luggage nearly $85,000 in valuables, including several guns among the hundreds of pilfered items. David Vang, 23, of St. Paul, was charged by summons in Hennepin County District Court with 11 counts of felony theft, which allegedly occurred over more than three months last summer and fall at Terminal 1-Lindbergh. … Along with 10 firearms retrieved from Vang’s living room closet, authorities say they also uncovered more than 700 other items he stole, among them: iPads, laptop computers, projectors, cellphones, cameras, purses, watches, knives, jewelry and hunting and fishing gear.”
Now, labor unions are badgering legislators to “go slow” on that huge Mayo expansion project. Tom Scheck of MPR says: “Three labor unions are distributing flyers at the Minnesota Capitol saying they oppose a plan to provide taxpayer funding for improvements in Rochester related to the Mayo Clinic’s expansion unless ‘key questions’ are answered. The hospitality union UNITEHERE!, the Minnesota Nurses Association and SEIU Healthcare say they will oppose the Destination Medical Center (DMC) plan until Mayo Clinic and Rochester officials provide more details. … The unions want to know specifics about where the DMC will be built, how many jobs created will be union jobs, what the impact will be on other health care and hospitality employers in Minnesota, what Mayo’s commitment to low income patients in Minnesota will be, and whether Mayo will commit to ‘labor peace agreements’ with the workers and unions that represent them.” And how about full transparency of hospital costs?
This is reassuring … for now. The AP says: “Researchers studying water samples from the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers for fragments of Asian carp DNA say they found little evidence of bighead and silver carp in Minnesota. The study released Thursday concludes that while the invasive fish are present in Minnesota, their numbers are likely relatively low.”
Despite Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s “It’s working” rhetoric, Paul Tosto at MPR has numbers that suggest otherwise: “As we’ve noted in several posts (find them here and here) Wisconsin talks a better game than it plays when it comes to economic success. The facts show Minnesota performed better than the Badger State in keeping people employed during the Great Recession and adding jobs in the recovery. Now, though, new data show Minnesota may be starting to pull away. … Wisconsin’s underperformed the U.S. and Minnesota throughout the recession and recovery. The February data show a marked uptick for Minnesota over Wisconsin.”
Frankly, I had forgotten about this high-priority issue. The AP says: “Minnesota is closer to legally reserving those swirling red, white and blue cylinders for licensed barbershops. A clause in a giant House budget bill would make it illegal to display a barber pole without a barber’s license. The measure was on the table last year but didn’t advance. At least 10 states have similar restrictions. The poles carry centuries-old symbolism. The red signifies blood, the white stands for bandages and the blue represents veins.”
Talk about swift, merciless justice … Amy Gustafson of the PiPress reports: “What started out as a joke ended up with a reporter being fired at KSTP-TV. Mark Saxenmeyer wanted to do story about a gay Minneapolis couple who attended a White House Easter Egg Hunt but ended up handing it off to his co-worker Katherine Johnson. While she was in the process of writing the piece, Saxenmeyer added a few things to her script to make her laugh. ‘They were based on a conversation she and I had prior about sensitivity issues,’ said Saxenmeyer, who is gay. ‘As a gay person, it’s sometimes easier to use humor to help people feel more comfortable with gay people or just gay things.’ … All the jokes were deleted, except for one of Saxenmeyer’s lines — ‘big HOMO dads’ — which made it into the story that was posted on the station’s website March 30. Saxenmeyer said the piece was up for less than five minutes before the line was taken out … .” And this is a worse offense than that “Smiley Face Killer” thing?
St. Bonifacius wants to be a “no-drone zone.” Dan Gunderson at MPR says: “This isn’t about big military style unmanned aircraft, since the city doesn’t have authority to regulate them. It’s more about the kind of small aircraft … which can be flown with a phone or iPad and collect high quality photos and video. St. Bonifacius Mayor Rick Weible says he’s not opposed to drones in principle. Weible says he would jump at the chance to buy a small remotely piloted aircraft with an infrared camera to assist firefighters in the community of 2,300 west of Minneapolis, as they search burning buildings for trapped victims. But Weible says the city council didn’t see enough leadership on the issue at the federal or state level. ‘When I look at the potential uses of drones, I have an obligation to my residents to defend their fourth amendment rights,’ he said.”
Does this dress make me look like … a manatee? Jeff Bercovici of Forbes writes: “In the Twitter era, marketers have to be extra careful that what they put on their websites isn’t offensive, even intentionally. Extra, extra careful. Witness what happened yesterday when self-described ‘Digital Maven’ Susan Clemens was shopping on Target.com and noticed an odd discrepancy: The same style of dress in the exact same color was labeled differently depending on the size. The name of the color on the plus-size version was suggestive, and not in a flattering way. … What the. Plus sized women get “Manatee Grey” while standard sizes are “Dark Heather Grey.” … Target spokesman Joshua Thomas … points out that ‘Manatee Gray’ is a color found on many products across a range of categories on the Target website, some of them in women’s regular and even petite sizes. In this case, he says, there were two different teams of buyers responsible for the ‘missy’ and plus-size product lines, and the teams didn’t coordinate when they inputted the product information for the site.” You … are on the couch tonight, Mr. Thomas.