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Officials ‘taken aback’ by contamination at Saints stadium site

That isn’t exactly clean fill under the site of the new Saints stadium. Frederick Melo of the PiPress writes: “Soil borings reveal the land beneath the future site of the downtown St. Paul ballpark is more contaminated than expected, but it’s unclear what impact the discovery will have on the project’s $54 million price tag. Long before the 1969 Gillette / Diamond Products warehouse was constructed off 5th and Broadway, the site was used to process coal, a system called coal gasification, said Paul Johnson. He is the project manager with Nelson, Tietz and Hoye, which is representing St. Paul in the design and construction of the 7,000-seat Lowertown ballpark at the warehouse site. City officials were aware the land beneath the vacant structure was polluted and that substantial amounts of soil would have to be removed to a special environmental landfill and then replaced. Nevertheless, the depth of contaminated soil has taken them aback.”

We’re trending … up … in mosquitoes and ticks. Ashley Griffin and Paul Levy of the Strib report: “The wet spring could produce a bumper crop of ticks. Swarms of mosquitoes are a few significant rainfalls away. And colonies of ants already are marching through Minnesota, say experts who warn of insect-related diseases, swelling bites and pesky, uninvited guests. Although this year’s tick season was delayed because of late snowfall, June could be the worst month for bites and tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease … Jim Stark directs the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD), which could spend up to $17 million this year in its never-ending battle with the unofficial state bird. This year’s mosquito crop was delayed in development about three to four weeks because of the cool spring, Stark said. But they’re coming. And they seem to regenerate with every rainfall.”

Griffin has another piece, getting local reaction to the so-called “Morning After Pill” going mainstream: “With the pill poised to move out from behind pharmacy counters, Minnesotans reacted with skepticism, praise and some measure of hesitation. Suzy Sullivan, a mother of two in Cambridge, paused to remember her own adolescence — and to worry that the change could place too much power in the hands of those who are too young. … Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, called the move a mistake. ‘It really sacrifices the health and well-being of our children for political purposes,’ Prichard said. ‘We are encouraging irresponsible behaviors.’ ”

Boom and bust … Tom Webb of the PiPress reports: “Nearly 3 million acres of Minnesota cropland haven’t been planted this spring, and on many of those acres, it’s now too late. Weeks of cold, wet, gray weather have kept tractors out of the fields, tormented farmers and nudged grain prices higher. Ten percent of the state’s cornfields have yet to be planted, along with more than one-fourth of the soybean fields, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. … The stuck-in-the-mud start to the growing season has darkened what earlier looked like another banner year for Minnesota farmers and a potentially mammoth $8 billion corn crop.”

The “unexpected” gas price spike seems to be all but entirely receded. Dave Eggert of the AP says: “Analysts said one major Illinois refinery is back online and another big one in Indiana is on track to ramp up production again soon. The refineries’ ongoing maintenance — which led to reduced supply and higher prices — is the primary culprit for the surge at the pump. ‘On balance, I think the worst is over,’ Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at, said Tuesday. Exxon Mobil’s refinery in Joliet, Ill., was offline longer than expected, he said. Assuming there are no hiccups with BP’s plans to soon restart a crude unit at its refinery in Whiting, Ind., prices could drop below $4 a gallon within weeks throughout the region stretching from Minnesota to Ohio, according to experts.” And now that Congresswoman Bachmann is leaving, I suppose we’ll never get the $1.90 price she promised …

The GleanAlso in St. Paul … . Stephanie Hemphill of MPR says: “A St. Paul microbrewer will expand into the historic Hamm’s Brewery complex on the city’s east side. Flat Earth Brewing Company plans to move into two buildings that overlook Swede Hollow Park. The buildings, in a once-busy industrial district, have become an eyesore in recent years. Dave Gontarek with St. Paul’s Planning and Economic Development office says an outdoor space will eventually become a beer garden. ‘A number of years ago there was fire out there and we were able to put it out and save the historic wall, so that will be an outdoor beer garden but that will be phase two, scheduled for 2014,’ Gontarek said.” Are we experiencing a beer bubble?

Stribber Mark Brunswick looks at a two-year-old study of immigration impact on Minnesota. He says: “[A] Minnesota legislative auditor’s report from a few years ago on the economic effects of immigration has findings that are relevant today. … it found that adverse wage effects, such as immigrants taking jobs away from U.S.-born workers, are offset by economic benefits, such as the more efficient use of labor, lower prices and increased economic activity. On the other hand, it also found that, while immigrants pay federal, state and local taxes, they use a variety of publicly funded services such as roads, schools and health care that may have mean[t] more to local governments than the federal government.”

Two GOP state legislators are saying, “Not so fast,” on reforming the state’s sex offender laws. In a Strib commentary, Reps. Nick Zerwas and Tara Mack write: “[T]he haphazard, unilateral manner in which ‘reforms’ were presented this year by the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House majority was not the responsible or fair way to restructure a hugely controversial program. … Republican members requested roll-call votes on the bill — not as an act of ‘gamesmanship,’ but owing to a lack of definition and clarity on numerous key provisions. Our hope with these procedural actions was that the author would reach across the aisle and work with us on real, sustainable improvements to the program. Instead, the bill was pushed forward through two committees, where it was eventually stalled and prevented from being heard on the floor by Speaker Paul Thissen — not due to political gamesmanship.”

Also, I missed this from a couple of days ago. Attorney John Gilmore, currently representing both Amy Koch and ex-Bachmann aide Andy Parrish, writes at Minnesota Conservatives: “For [Michael] Brodkorb, getting to the heart of his gender discrimination claim has been a long time coming. Unfortunately for him, the protective order effectively renders his federal lawsuit invisible to the public. Worse, though, than one private litigant’s discomfort, the protective order keeps the people of Minnesota from knowing how their elected officials handled this by now very public matter. …  As one friend put it: ‘I think I’m entitled to know what Senator Senjem said to Senator Michel about this matter.’ Quite right. But the current protective order allows the senate to slap ‘confidential’ on that discussion and leaves it to a private litigant with necessarily limited financial resources to strip that label from the information. I’d even put it another way: I’m entitled to know what Sen. Bakk has said to others about this lawsuit, including political calculations not covered by the attorney client privilege. I’ve always thought Senator Bakk should settle this lawsuit and hang it around Senator Hann’s neck. But that’s just lovable me.”

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/12/2013 - 07:38 am.

    …..the depth of contaminated soil has taken them aback….

    It wouldn’t if they have read anything about remediating old coal gasification sites.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/12/2013 - 08:47 am.

      What did we pay for that site?

      More than it was worth, apparently.

      While it’s been some years since I last was involved in a commercial real estate sale, I do recall enough to suspect that someone dropped a serious ball on this property. Was it the city, in setting the scope of the due diligence it would pay for, the (I hope) contractor that did the due diligence, or something else? Whatever the case, I hope that the Saints will participate in these additional costs. Or is that something we missed as well?

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/12/2013 - 08:55 am.

    I happened to be present

    when the House sex offender bill was heard by Rep. Zerwas’s and Mack’s committee. I have to agree that what they were given was no more than a rough idea of what was to be done. In Rep. Liebling’s defense, however, I also understood the bill to be driven by pending federal legislation and that the work of a court-appointed committee had yet to be concluded. The consensus of the witnesses appeared to be that the present system won’t survive judicial review.

    Let’s hope that the court is willing to wait another year, rather than taking the reins and ordering programmatic changes on its own. Based on the committee testimony, including that of former Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, it’s likely very few will be happy with what that might be.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 06/12/2013 - 09:25 am.

    I’m Always Fascinated

    When people like Suzy Sullivan and Tom Prichard worry aloud about the “power” the ability to make their own reproductive decisions places in the hands of young people, and how that might lead to “irresponsible behavior,”…

    presuming that this will do some type of unspecified (and never previously documented) damage to some aspect of society (rather than acknowledging that what’s really being bruised is their own rigid sense of how society SHOULD CERTAINLY be – all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding),…

    while ignoring what’s REALLY damaging the lives of families across the nation and world – the irresponsible behavior of those at the top of the income ladder who still haven’t figured out that when the middle class is not large and prosperous, societal unrest eventually grows to dangerous proportions (as it did in the US, and here in Minnesota, prior to the New Deal),…

    and that young people, more and more of whom can no longer see a path which allows them to accomplish a stable and predictable middle class life, no matter how hard they work,…

    tend to engage in very risky behaviors, sex being the LEAST of them.

    If Mr. Prichard had a clue about what it would take to preserve and protect “The Minnesota Family,” he would be devoting his efforts toward returning society to the private and public economic policies, and the moral sensitivities on which those polices were based, which allowed the middle class to grow and thrive during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s,…

    and, contrary to what Mr. Prichard seems to believe about “the good old days,” there was just as much sex happening back then among young people as there is today,…

    the only difference being that we are now enlightened enough to try to be sure that when young people’s raging hormones lead them to become intimate with each other, they, and their unintended offspring do not pay for it for the rest of their lives with diminished societal stature and lower quality of life.

    Aside from his failure to try to alleviate the current economic hardship that society is visiting upon so many who used to be middle class or who used to have reasonable expectations that they could move into the middle class by working hard in school and working their way up in their resulting careers,…

    Mr Prichard and his “Minnesota Family Council” might want to do some research regarding how individual adolescents can be as emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy as possible, then teach those skills and practices to youngsters so that,…

    understanding the care and feeding of their own hearts, bodies, minds, and spirits, they can grow up to be the healthiest, most functional people they can possible be,…

    the reality being that “just say no” never much helped anyone to make good choices, but teaching kids to be healthy and strong certainly helps them to make the best choices they can in the world in which they now live (which is VERY different from the one Mr. Prichard imagines it to be).

  4. Submitted by Bill Kellett on 06/12/2013 - 10:34 am.

    Beer bubble

    Obviously, but where’s the millionaires?

  5. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/12/2013 - 12:28 pm.

    Adolescent power to change

    So . . . adolescents have, by force of biology, the “power” to reproduce. Don’t we want to give them control over that decision?

  6. Submitted by Sue Halligan on 06/12/2013 - 01:05 pm.

    Morning-after Pill

    Thank you, Greg Kapphahn.

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