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Royal babies alert: Mauers have twin girls

Boom maker being courted by other states; radio talk about MSP Gold Concourse’s dining makeover; python shot near Camp Ripley; more quitting smoking with new tax in effect; and more.

So where’s the cannon fire and queen’s horsemen and Matt Lauer? Royalty has been renewed … . The PiPress story says, “Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer’s wife gave birth to twins Wednesday morning, Twins baseball communications director Dustin Morse posted on Twitter. ‘Congrats to Maddie & Joe Mauer on their new baby girls — Emily & Maren Mauer! Born early this morning & Joe made it back!’ Morse (@Twins_morsecode) posted. … The original due date was Aug. 31, but Mauer said several times recently that the couple’s first children could arrive at any time.” 

The Twitter mavens at City Pages have collected a few on the royal births:

janashortal @janashortal So this means Prince Will, Jimmy Fallon and Joe Mauer all got romantical with the ladies on the same day? That’s just bizarre. …

Aaron Gleeman @AaronGleeman This is the 279th double of Joe Mauer’s career. (Sorry.)

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John Moe @johnmoe Joe Mauer, Twin Cities native and Twins catcher, is now father of twins. Speaking for St Paul, I welcome the more obscure baby of the two.

At MPR, James Norton of the popular Heavy Table foodie blog talked with Tom Crann about the dining makeover on the Gold Concourse out at MSP international.

CRANN: How legitimate is the connection to local food?

“NORTON: The level of chef involved is top-notch: We’re talking Russell Klein from Meritage and Doug Flicker from Piccolo, that sort of chef helping to set the menu and tone. The local food connection varies — there’s more of an effort at these places to use real, local ingredients, but it’s best connected at the Taste of Mill City Tavern, which offered dishes like an elegant steelhead trout gravlax and a credible fried walleye sandwich. …

“CRANN: Did you stumble upon any culinary missteps as you went?

“NORTON: Just a few. Ravioli at Volante were $17, and basically followed the format of that old joke — they only tasted of oil and butter, and the portions were tiny. And we went one for two on sandwiches at the Andrew Zimmern-inspired Minnibar. I liked the not-too-sweet pulled pork, but thought their Korean-inspired Sloppy Ko was just too much salt and acid and heat.”

I doubt anyone can cut a sweetheart tax deal that beats Louisiana … . The AP reports, “A Minnesota maker of concrete booms that attach to trucks plans a significant expansion, and Louisiana is among Southern states trying to win the new factory. Schwing America CEO Brian Hazelton tells New Orleans CityBusiness he’d rather expand within his current area. But he says Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia are among Southern states courting the factory. …  [White Bear Township clerk treasurer Bill] Short disclosed an email that Greater MSP official Joel Akason sent Hazelton in May, with Short and state economic development official Jim Gromberg included. It outlines a potential assistance package that would include up to $2.3 million from a township redevelopment district. The state might also tap into the Minnesota Investment Fund and other programs, according to Akason’s email.”

A what? Where? Kari Peters of the St. Cloud Times writes, “A python found on the highway outside Camp Ripley was shot and killed earlier this month. Morrison County deputies were called at 9:55 p.m. July 7 about a python found on Minnesota Highway 115 near Camp Ripley. Security from the military base had put cones around it. Deputies contacted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who told them that the snake is not common in Minnesota and is a threat to the natural wildlife in the area. So the snake was shot.”

Relevant news for practically every household … . Dee DePass of the Strib says, “ … a new Minnesota law will make it easier for homeowners to recycle used paint. The guidelines, which will go into effect next summer, will create a volunteer network of hardware and paint stores that accept old paint for free, then ship it to approved processing sites like Amazon. The new rules will shift the cost of post-consumer paint waste onto manufacturers instead of counties, which currently collect oil and latex house paint from consumers and sometimes charge a fee for the service. … The state estimates that 700,000 gallons of paint get recycled, while another 500,000 sit in dusty basements or illegally wind up in landfills.” 500,000 sounds low to me.

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Of course they think it’s a bad idea … . MPR says, “Xcel Energy officials said Wednesday they hope to persuade the city of Minneapolis to renew the utility’s franchise contract, arguing that setting up a municipal utility would not be in the city’s best interest. The comments came a day after CenterPoint Energy announced an agreement with the citizens group pushing for more renewable energy, improved reliability and lower rates. Minneapolis Energy Options wants to reach a similar agreement with Xcel. Without such an agreement, the group hopes the City Council will place a measure on November’s ballot that could open the door to creating a city-owned utility before the 20-year contracts with Xcel and CenterPoint expire next year.” What’s the city’s share of that 100% overrun on the nuke plant?

Also at MPR, Elizabeth Baier detects trepidation in Rochester about 32,000 new residents over the next 20 years. “Many downtown business owners hope more residents — and patients — mean more business. But they’re also concerned the district will lose its small-town charm. … many business owners are concerned they’ll be pushed out, either by rising rents or competition from larger, national chains that might cast their eye on the area. … At the Kahler Hotel property on Second Avenue, where some of the small boutiques and shops are in the midst of lease renewals, business owners describe the mood as ‘tense’ and ‘apprehensive.’ … Interstate Investments, a private firm based in Virginia, acquired the Kahler property, which includes about 60 storefronts and four downtown hotels, earlier this year. Representatives with the company did not return calls for comment.”

Well, it’s always worth considering … . At the PiPRess Christopher Snowbeck reports, “Groups that try to help smokers kick the habit say they’ve seen more demand for their services since the state upped the tobacco tax this summer. The new tax took effect July 1, and during the first two weeks of the month QuitPlan Services received 900 calls through a helpline — an increase of 256 percent compared with the same period last year. The free stop-smoking program, operated by ClearWay Minnesota, has seen a similar increase in website traffic, according to a news release issued Wednesday. Similarly, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota says that during the first two weeks of July, 186 people enrolled in the Eagan-based health insurer’s quit-smoking program. That’s a jump from 69 people during the first two weeks of July 2012.” I’m guessing there isn’t a lot of crossover between this crowd and the ones driving semis to Wisconsin to stock up … .