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Mayoral candidates Andrew and Hodges tussle over utility vote

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Mark Andrew is not a fan of a referendum on whether to set up a city utility. Eric Roper of the Strib says: “The City Council will hold a public hearing this Thursday on whether Minneapolis should hold a referendum authorizing a public takeover of the city’s energy infrastructure from Xcel Energy Inc. The issue has been slowly simmering on the campaign trail, but Andrew’s comments Monday are among most forceful of any candidate to date. ‘It’s reckless and irresponsible to put something on the ballot that win or lose is going to dramatically set back the mayor’s ability to strike a deal on the franchise agreement next year or the year after,’ Andrew said, adding that the city would spend millions on legal studies if the initiative were to pass. Andrew simultaneously slammed his main DFL opponent, Betsy Hodges, for supporting of the referendum. … Hodges campaign also noted in response that Andrew’s green marketing firm, GreenMark, lists Xcel as a client on its website. Andrew said in June that Xcel was a client of GreenMark in 2008.”

St. Cloud area residents are getting restless over the gridlock on I-94. Mark Sommerhauser of the St. Cloud Times reports: “Failing to expand a gridlocked Interstate Highway 94 in Central Minnesota will slow the region’s economy and dampen its quality of life, St. Cloud-area transportation and business advocates told state officials Monday.The testimony came at a Minnesota Department of Transportation public hearing Monday on its draft plan for major highway projects for the next two decades. … The draft plan, which could be finalized and made public by September, has no provisions to upgrade I-94 from Rogers to St. Cloud — a leading priority for local groups such as the Central Minnesota Transportation Alliance and the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp.”

A reprieve for bear researcher, Lynn Rogers. The Wall Street Journal story by Caroline Porter says: “Rogers, faced with the loss of his bear-research permit from the state of Minnesota at the end of the month, will be able to keep radio collars on 10 bears and continue feeding the animals on a limited basis, under a temporary compromise worked out Monday by a district-court judge. … The agreement says that only Mr. Rogers and five colleagues at his Wildlife Research Institute near Ely, Minn., can hand-feed his research bears and only when they are doing maintenance work on the bears’ radio collars. In addition, the ‘den cams,’ which monitor bear behavior during hibernation, will no longer be streamed over the Internet, cutting off his international audience. And the ‘field study’ students who attend the institute will only be taken to the field to observe bear behavior once from a 150-feet distance during their three-day course.”

Minnesota Monthly has been sold to a Michigan company. Nick Woltman of the PiPress says: “American Public Media Group said Monday that it has sold its publishing arm, Greenspring Media Group, which puts out Minnesota Monthly magazine and other titles, to Detroit-based Hour Media. Although terms of the sale were not disclosed, APMG’s statement said Greenspring’s headquarters will remain in Minneapolis. APMG spokeswoman Angie Andresen didn’t know whether Greenspring’s roughly 50 employees would also remain. Andresen said APMG has been considering selling Greenspring, which the company founded in 1985, since late 2012. St. Paul-based APMG is the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media, which produces radio programs that run on MPR stations and elsewhere. ‘This sale allows us to channel our energies toward finding the best ways to serve our current audiences while reaching out to new and diverse audiences,’ APMG President Jon McTaggart said in the statement.” Corporatese is a dense and often unintelligible language.

Stribber Jeff Strickler gets reaction to the pope saying he’s OK with gays: “Although the comments were part of an interview rather than a formal decree, [professor Massimo]  Faggioli said that their potential impact should not be underestimated. ‘Especially in the United States, we tend to think that the Catholic Church changes only when we change the official documents, but that’s only partially true,’ he said. ‘The church changes also when it changes approach, and I think this is what Pope Francis is doing.’ Even if it is just an attitude change, it’s a huge one, said Paula Ruddy of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. ‘This is a completely different tack than condemning and being negative toward GLBT people’ that some church leaders have been accused of in the past, she said.” Would “some people” include the archbishop?

If true, are they really going to protect these guys? In an update on the story of two Minneapolis cops in Green Bay, Matt McKinney of the Strib reports: “A pair of off-duty Minneapolis police officers disparaged their police chief as a lesbian and insulted members of the Green Bay Police Department during an expletive-laden rant following an early-morning street scuffle, according to a police report from Green Bay, Wis. The officers used the N-word to describe the men involved in the altercation, called the local police a ‘clown show’ and said Green Bay was ‘too (N-word) friendly,’ the 40-page report said in the first details released of the incident.” At minimum, isn’t there a “Paula Deen standard” to be applied here?

Aaron Rupar of City Pages adds: “The dynamic duo reportedly used the slurs during a conversation with Green Bay officers, who they contacted following the altercation. They allegedly used a racial slur to describe the two black men with whom they had a disagreement, and a sexual slur in reference to MPD head honcho Janeé Harteau, who is the city’s first openly gay police chief. Slurs aside, both [Brian] Thole and [Shawn] Powell have been named in separate excessive force lawsuits filed since the beginning of last year, and Powell was involved in a 2009 incident where MPD officers beat Derryl M. Jenkins during a traffic stop. Jenkins filed suit and was ultimately awarded $235,000. So yeah, they’re not exactly Employee of the Decade material. Two MPD officers have already been fired this year after being placed on administrative leave for being charged with crimes — David Clifford, who almost killed a man with a sucker punch at a bar last year and is currently in prison following his conviction for felony assault, and Bradley Schnickel, who was charged with a handful of felonies for alleged criminal sexual conduct involving preteen girls.”

MPR’s Paul Huttner went in pursuit of rumors of July snow from up by the BWCA: “But almost every year sporadic and mysterious reports of “elusive snowflakes” filter in from northern Minnesota. This year’s report came in via our 21st Century virtual coffee shop, aka twitter.  … I stalked, and finally cornered, Bryan Hansel by phone in Grand Marais Monday afternoon. I paraphrase the mysterious conversation from my notes.
[Said Hansel:]  ‘I was at the Java Moose this morning. The first reports came from a person who had talked to a person who may have talked to another person…so it’s hard to say. The second report seemed more credible. They saw snow … flurries on Saturday at their campsite in the BWCA.’
‘Did they take any photos,’ I interrogated?
‘No, it was just sort of flurries … and melted when it hit the ground,’ Bryan sheepishly admitted.”

Meanwhile, just a bit south, Dan Kraker of MPR files a report on the first of a new series of freighters making an appearance in Duluth: “The new ship, one of six built in China for Canada Steamship Lines, uses 15 percent less fuel than the company’s previous class of ships. Longer than two football fields, it operates with state of the art safety and navigation technology, including a thermal imaging camera that helped guide the ship in through dense fog, said Capt. Kent Powell. Its voyage from Montreal marked its first transit in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. It was bound for Quebec City with about 30,000 tons of coal. Canadian shipping companies are building 14 new ships, spurred in part by their government’s elimination of a 25 percent duty on foreign built vessels. American companies have only built one new ship in recent years.”

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Richard O'Neil on 07/30/2013 - 11:32 am.

    … church leaders….the archbishop?

    Ah, are you referring to someone whose last name begins with an “N”?

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