Perhaps you were expecting a platinum gild to the roof, with diamond inlays? Stribbers Richard Meryhew and Janet Moore write: “The new home for the Minnesota Vikings will be taller and bigger than the Metrodome and will have a sloped roof and possibly, sliding walls, windows or doors that open to the downtown Minneapolis skyline … Those details, spelled out in a nearly 400-page draft Environmental Impact Statement … provide the first glimpse of a project that is expected to replace the Metrodome by the 2016 NFL season. … The stadium’s roof, which will be nearly 100 feet taller than the Metrodome’s highest point (195 feet), could be permanent or retractable, and include a combination of hard deck and fabric, which would allow sunlight into the building much like the Beijing Water Cube made famous in the 2008 Olympics.” Why, it sounds splendid enough to host the 2016 E-Pulltab Championship.
Tom Scheck’s MPR story on the Senate’s struggle passing the big tax bill says: “The bill’s final passage came after the Senate initially defeated the measure. Senate Democrats quickly met in private and then voted to reconsider the initial vote. Two Democrats switched their votes. Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL- Apple Valley, says he switched his vote from no to yes because he was worried the Senate would not be able to commit to spending priorities if the tax bill failed. … DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says several DFL members were confused when a few Republicans signaled they would support the bill but eventually switched to a no vote.‘There were people that voted no because they thought there were plenty of votes up to pass it,’ Bakk said. ‘I think people didn’t realize that people were going to play a little trick when the roll was closed and switch their vote back. I think there would have easily been the same number of votes had the Republicans had been honest and put up their red vote when the roll was called’.” It’s not nice to prank the majority.
Overtime? Family leave? Talk about a one-two punch to the plexus of the job creators. Says Rachel Stassen-Berger in the Strib: “Lawmakers are looking to make it easier to get overtime, double the amount of family leave that workers can take and boost the minimum wage for up to 400,000 Minnesotans. On Monday, a House panel approved the sweeping changes, which backers say would make work pay off for Minnesotans struggling with poverty. The bill could be headed for a vote by the full House as early as this week. But even among the Democrats who control the Legislature, there is some turmoil on how far to take the worker-friendly changes. DFLers in the House and Senate have yet to agree on how much to raise the minimum wage and whether to require overtime pay after 40 hours.”
Here’s fodder for the “nanny state” crowd … MPR’s Julie Siple says: “[T]hese days, food shelf directors are aware that some of their clients are obese or have diseases related to their diet. With that in mind, they increasingly focus on providing not just enough calories but the right kind of calories. … Among those trying to help is University of Minnesota associate professor Susie Nanney. … she recently conducted a pilot study of six food shelves …. Nanney, who works in the university’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, … conducted an inventory of every food item. She then calculated a score using the Healthy Eating Index, a widely used measure of diet quality that employs a 100-point scale. ‘Our food shelves scored a score of 67,’ Nanney said. ‘This is higher than the McDonald’s dollar menu, so that’s a plus.’ The food shelves also scored better than the average American diet, which earns a 53.” America … where poverty is a prescription for obesity.
The KMSP-TV story, by Paul Blume, on the Hopkins High walk-out last Friday says: “While the district isn’t commenting much on what happened inside Hopkins High School, FOX 9 did confirm that listening sessions are being held with students, administrators and staff — and that a third-party specialist trained in racial sensitivity curriculum has been brought in to help. School ended quietly on Monday, but that’s a far different scene from the one that was seen on Friday afternoon when more than 100 students walked out in protest of what they call racial inequality on campus. … [Student Malika] Mousa and others pointed to several incidents in the school this year that have left minority students feeling mistreated, including an episode in February where members of the ski team apparently dressed up for something called ‘rapper’ or ‘ghetto spirit’ day.”
It’s nice to be able to keep the lawyers’ meter running. Abby Simons of the Strib says: “Amy Senser won’t be watching when her attorney pleads her case before the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Wednesday, nearly a year to the day from the guilty verdicts in a hit-and-run case that began with a man’s death on a darkened freeway ramp and resulted in a prison sentence. Senser, 46, will remain within the walls of the Shakopee women’s correctional facility, nine months into a 41-month term for the death of Anousone Phanthavong … Attorney Eric Nelson, who defended Senser at trial, will bid to overturn her felony criminal vehicular homicide convictions. His key points: a lack of evidence that she knew she struck a person when she hit Phanthavong and left the scene that night, and alleged legal mistakes and abuses of discretion by the judge during her April 2012 trial in Hennepin County.”
Pricey dang birds … Mike Hughlett, also in the Strib, says: “Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.’s quarterly profits dropped 11 percent, falling short of Wall Street’s forecast, as the company said Monday it was again vexed by high wholesale chicken wing prices. The sports-themed chain said it is dealing with one aspect of the nettlesome wing cost issue by changing its portions. Beginning this summer, the company will base portions on wing weight, not the number of wings, meaning customers are likely to see five- and 10-piece meals, for instance, instead of six or 12. The company buys wings by the pound and has sold them by the piece, but chicken growers are producing bigger birds — with bigger wings, of course — leaving Wild Wings with fewer wings per pound.” Two words: “Food, Inc.”
This is pretty close to a “Man Bites Dog” story. The Duluth News Tribune reports: “The Cloquet Police Department said Friday that it is looking into an alleged assault by a school bus driver against a first-grader. ‘The driver is being investigated for allegedly pulling the hair of a first grader or doing some similar action to gain compliance with his directives to the student,’ Superintendent Ken Scarbrough wrote in the e-mail. ‘There is no allegation being investigated in this case of such an assault as sexual fondling or beating of a child. At this time, the investigation is not completed, and no charges have been filed’.”
How will former Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem vote on gay marriage? “Spontaneously.” Heather Carlson of the Rochester Post-Bulletin says: “At least one Rochester lawmaker is not sure how he’ll vote on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Republican Sen. Dave Senjem said he is just going to wait until the day of the debate and make a decision when he is faced with pushing the red or green button. ‘I am just going to wait until that magic moment and make that decision in a pretty spontaneous way,’ he said.” Why take criticism or acclaim before you have to, right?