They know their rights … Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib reports: “A group of gun owners plan to use a series of Twin Cities neighborhood family events for their own gun-toting get-togethers, beginning this weekend. The gun owners ‘meet-up’ event — being promoted as Open Streets-Open Carry — came as a surprise to some organizers of the Open Streets gatherings and city officials. ‘I’m shocked and saddened,’ said Nancy Homans, policy director for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. ‘It seems like guns isn’t the right kind of activity for this event. We’re not even allowing alcohol. … During the events, the streets will be closed to motorized vehicles and opened up for families and children who want to ride bikes, skate, walk and play. The focus is on being healthy and promoting active play for children, said Susan Priem, a board representative for the Open Streets event.” So bring plenty of ammo.
Mayor R.T. Rybak is getting on the anti-soda wagon. Jennifer Peltz of the AP says: “The mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and 15 other cities are reviving a push against letting food stamps be used to buy soda and other sugary drinks. … The other cities whose mayors signed the letter are Baltimore; Boston; Louisville, Ky.; Madison, Wis.; Minneapolis; Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.; Salt Lake City; San Francisco; St. Louis; and Seattle. … the American Beverage Association, which has previously clashed with [New York Mayor Michael] Bloomberg and has said sugary drinks shouldn’t be singled out as a cause of obesity, had no immediate comment.”
Eddie Snowden? A “traitor,” says Our Favorite Congresswoman. Corey Mitchell of the Strib says: “During a U.S. House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann defended the government’s recently disclosed surveillance programs and called the man who revealed them a traitor. … ‘It seems to me that’s where our focus should be on how there could be a betrayal of trust and how a traitor could do something like this to the American people. It seems to me that’s where our focus must be and how we can prevent something like that from ever happening again.’ ”
The Rochester Post-Bulletin checks out money spent lobbying the Legislature this past session: “Minnesota business and labor union organizations were among the heaviest spenders on lobbying during the first five months of 2013, which coincided with the Legislature’s annual session, according to financial reports made public Tuesday. A trio of business groups combined to spend more than $1.86 million, largely to counter proposals in the Democratic-dominated Capitol. On the flip side, several organizations lobbying for labor union proposals reported five- or six-figure spending. … — The business lobby went all out to try to repel bills it found hostile. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce spent $653,000, the Minnesota Business Partnership put in $535,000 and the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses added another $672,000 in lobbying.”
A new study says teen pregnancies dropped 14 percent two years ago. The Forum papers story says: “Teenwise Minnesota reported the number of teen mothers fell 14 percent between 2010 and 2011. Education and human services are credited as major reasons for the drop. A 16.5 percent decrease was reported for the 18- to 19-year-old group alone; those teens are considered adults. ‘Teens’ are between the ages of 15 to 19 for most of Teenwise’s studies. Birth rates were measured per 1,000 teen girls for Teenwise statistics. The statewide teen birth rate, based on this calculation, is about 19 births per 1,000 girls, a 50 percent dive from Minnesota’s peak of 36.5 in 1990.”
The squeaky wheels seem to have been shrieking … Says Tim Pugmire at MPR: “Some Minnesota businesses affected by a new sales tax expansion are complaining loudly about the recently passed law, and they want to see parts of it repealed next year. The pending sales tax on warehousing services is a big concern at Distribution Alternatives in Lino Lakes, a 75-year-old company with 150 employees. It would require customers to pay the state sales tax of 6.875 percent. … The sales tax change for warehousing doesn’t kick in until April 2014. That gives lawmakers time to reconsider the issue if they choose. They could also revisit other sales tax changes that begin sooner, such as new taxes on repairs of commercial equipment.”
Public relations pro Nancy Wurtzel advises against relocating … here. In a Strib piece, she writes: “Consider these four reasons not to move to the Minnesota.
1. Minnesota is Much Too Progressive. We have two democratic senators and a governor who are doing good work, and citizens who really care about the future of their state. Did I mention our unemployment rate is 5.3%? …
4. Dubious Quality of Life. Forget that we have way more than 10,000 lakes, great air, loads of trees, and walking and bike trails that were named the best in the country. Never mind that we have the Mall of America, the biggest mall ever, or that our world-class museums are awesome. Or, that we have more theater seats per capita than any other metropolitan area. Did I forget to mention Garrison Keillor? … Awesome on every level? It’s all hype.” That irony thing is tricky.
The St. Paul City Council may get tough with tall buildings around St. Thomas. Frederick Melo’s PiPress story says: “Grand Avenue apartment buildings near the University of St. Thomas would be limited to four stories, except at commercial intersections, if a zoning proposal passes muster with the St. Paul City Council. The new zoning rules would limit the height of future apartment buildings along West Grand Avenue from just east of Fairview Avenue to Cretin Avenue, while loosening height restrictions a touch for developers at the avenue’s commercial corners, which are at Cleveland and Fairview avenues.”
From Monika Scislowska of the AP: “Prosecutors in Poland and Germany said Tuesday they are reviewing files on a Minnesota man who was a commander of a Nazi-led unit to see if they have enough evidence to press charges and request his extradition from the United States. … Robert Kopydlowski of Poland’s National Remembrance Institute, which investigates Nazi and Soviet crimes, said prosecutors are reviewing files on Karkoc’s unit for any evidence that would justify charges and an extradition request. Kopydlowski said the files were gathered during separate investigations into the killings of civilians in the village of Chlaniow, in southeastern Poland, and into Nazi suppression of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against German occupation. The AP found documentation showing that Karkoc’s unit was involved in both.”