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Orchestra musicians poised to reject arbitration offer

Justice Rosalie Wahl remembered; Capitol renovations; new mosquito species; Bachmann clarification; and more.

Classical music blogger Norman Lebrecht says something is up with the Minnesota Orchestra. On his Slipped Disc blog he writes: “Aribitration in Minnesota has produced an offer that the musicians are about to reject. Both sides are dug in so deep after 11 months of lock-out that neither can climb out. From documents that we have seen but are not at liberty to quote, the offer is:

  • the lockout would end September 1, 2013;
  • the old contract would prevail for a two-month period of negotiations;
  • however, if no agreement is reached on a new contract by that time, a two-year agreement would snap into effect with 25% across-the-board pay cuts.

That’s the board side of the deal. The players’ Negotiating Committee calls this proposal ‘absurd and unacceptable’ … . After 110 years, this could be the day the music died.” In an earlier post Lebrecht predicted this latest impasse will trigger the resignation of Osmo Vänskä.

On the death of Rosalie Wahl, the PiPress’s Emily Gurnon writes: “Wahl was remembered Monday as a remarkable jurist whose accomplishments paved the way for other women and whose deep commitment to justice formed the heart of her work. Wahl, 88, of St. Paul, was the first female justice to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Wahl was taken to the Regions Hospital emergency room Sunday evening and died of natural causes at 7:15 a.m. Monday, according to her daughter Jenny Blaine.”

At MPR Elizabeth Stawicki and Jon Collins write: “At 3 years old, when Rosalie Wahl’s mother died, she and her little brother went to live with their grandparents on a 160-acre farm of rolling Kansas pastureland. At 7, her grandfather and little brother were killed by a train. Her grandmother had to sell the farm. To cope with the losses, she threw herself into reading books and writing. She became a staunch advocate for justice. During the mid-1940s while attending the University of Kansas, she co-founded an on-campus interracial housing co-op. She married and moved to Minnesota, where she had four children. … By working in the public defender’s office, Wahl gained valuable experience arguing appeals before the state Supreme Court. She argued more than 100 cases, sometimes two or three a day. She earned a reputation as a strong advocate for the poor, people of color, and those disenfranchised from societal power. Wahl used to say that she viewed the justice system from the bottom up.”

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At William Mitchell, where she attended Law School, they write: “She is also nationally recognized as a pioneer in clinical legal education and William Mitchell named its expanded legal practice center in her honor in 2003. Many of the standards used in legal education today are the result of her leadership and recommendations. Her work emphasized practical skills education and the idea that lawyers should be taught to be more sensitive, tolerant and passionate—in other words, use their hearts in addition to their brains.”

Right after Labor Day… Jennifer Brooks of the Strib reports: “Work crews could begin ripping up the stately green lawns of the Minnesota Capitol within weeks, after getting a final go-ahead Monday on a full-scale gutting and upgrading of the aging structure. The Capitol Preservation Committee, led by Gov. Mark Dayton, voted Monday to proceed with the $272 million renovation that could see parts of the exterior being demolished shortly after Labor Day. The project is expected to go on for several years. … The design plan approved Monday will make drastic improvements. There will be new public spaces for historical exhibits and staging areas for public tours. There will be glass elevator doors to bring in light and offer breathtaking views of the Capitol interior.

Another update on … mosquitoes. Jeff Strickler of the Strib writes: “Mosquito monitors also have spotted new-to-Minnesota species that are more aggressive than the mosquitoes we’ve swatted for years. The interlopers — the Asian Tiger and Japanese (also called Asia) Rock Pool mosquitoes — bite more and fly farther looking for dinner. Because both of the new species are capable of spreading disease, mosquito control officials are worried that the more-aggressive newcomers might overrun the mosquitoes native to Minnesota. … Because the backlog of hatches has caught up, the worst of the bug baby boom is likely behind us. But those bugs aren’t going away. We’ll merely to return to the normal levels.”

Big of her… Remember Our Favorite Congresswoman’s in-from-Pluto comment last week about President Obama giving illegal immigrants the right to vote? Kevin Diaz of the Strib writes: “… Bachmann’s office has backed off a widely-mocked remark suggesting that President Obama gave illegal immigrants the right to vote last year. … Since the interview was posted a week ago, Bachmann’s comments have generally been derided as the latest example of her reputation for disregarding facts. But unlike in previous instances, Bachmann’s office took the trouble on Monday to re-state what she now says she meant. ‘The point the Congresswoman was making was a hypothetical one given an ongoing theme of the Obama presidency — selective enforcement of laws,’ said spokesman Dan Kotman.” Oh… well now it’s entirely understandable.

The GleanHow do you knock a guy who’s “pro-tree?” Laura Yuen of MPR reports: “Minneapolis mayoral candidate Mark Andrew wants to double the number of trees planted in the city every year. Andrew would direct $500,000 in city money to increase the park board’s annual plantings from 5,000 to 10,000. Without such a program, the emerald ash borer epidemic will devastate the city’s tree canopy, he added. The plan would also rely on matching funds from businesses and philanthropies and would encourage residents to plant trees on their own yards. … Park board commissioners who are backing the former Hennepin County commissioner say the thousands of trees destroyed in the recent storms represent just a fraction of the onslaught expected from the emerald ash borer.”

The Ideal Diner is back in business. Emily Weiss at City Pages writes, “…owner Kim Robinson confirmed that the Ideal Diner on Central Avenue has officially re-opened for business following a months-long hiatus. Robinson, a longtime server at the diner, bought the restaurant from Kevin Kelzenberg back in April and closed it down temporarily in order to work on a re-model. Robinson planned to update the kitchen, but leave the original 13-seat counter area mostly untouched. Her plan is to be open seven days a week from breakfast until late afternoon. Dinner service may be added after everything gets up and running again.” I still laugh when I recall taking movie director John Waters to the Ideal for lunch. The owner was delighted that a big time Hollywood guy was in his place … until the story ran and he found out what “Pink Flamingos” was really all about.