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Bemidji leaders peeved at MNsure’s Paul Bunyan ads

If it rained gold from heaven, someone would complain about the mess on the lawn. John Hageman of the Bemidji Pioneer reports: “MNsure ads feature Bemidji’s Paul Bunyan statue getting into various dilemmas that would require the legendary giant to visit the hospital, such as a water skiing accident and woodpeckers attacking his head while Babe the Blue Ox looks on. The ads are a light-hearted attempt to build awareness of the health exchange, which will allow people to compare insurance plans side-by-side in an online marketplace. But some local leaders aren’t laughing. ‘I think they’re offensive, some of them, and I think they’re inappropriate,’ Mayor Rita Albrecht said Monday … ‘And I would prefer some of them not be used.’ Lori Paris, the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce president, shared a similar sentiment. ‘Paul has been our icon for so many years that you think of that particular Paul, you think of Bemidji,’ she said. ‘But now when you see him running into a tree and falling over, it just looks foolish I think.’ ” I mean, when you think giant Blue Ox … you’re thinking “dignified.”

And if your pet ox goes missing … . Brandt Williams of MPR says: “[Minneapolis] City council member — and dog owner — Lisa Goodman said the city’s shelter has made it easier to reunite lost pets with their owners now that they’ve revamped their website with a new section where owners can search photos of pets found by department agents. However, she said pet licenses also make it easy for animal control agents to contact owners of lost animals. ‘If you license your dog, then we can make that connection much more quickly between your lost dog and you because you’ll have a license,’ she said. ‘We’ll have a record of your dog. We can call you. And we can even give your dog a ride home.’ “

Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “The woman who snatched an acquaintance’s baby boy from a south Minneapolis apartment and set off a four-hour hunt was sentenced Monday to three years in prison and will likely be deported upon her release, according to the Hennepin County attorney’s office. Isabel Diaz-Castillo, 30, of Minneapolis, who pleaded guilty last month to kidnapping 8-month-old Carlos Orozco in February, was given credit for the 181 days she has already served in jail. … Diaz-Castillo confided in Orozco that she had suffered a miscarriage in the past few months, according to investigators.” She’ll still do three years more than anyone at AIG.

Here’s Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson in the Strib on MPD stops up the North Side: “The recent story on the number of suspicious-vehicle stops made by Minneapolis police on the North Side failed to focus on some important facts (‘Downtown, North Side cop stops jump,’ Aug. 14). Most notably, our police are increasing enforcement where there’s the highest incidence of violent crime. Seems to make sense, doesn’t it? The crime data explain it quite well. The North Side’s Fourth Precinct is where 10 of the city’s 23 homicides this year have taken place. Last year, there were 27 homicides in the area — nearly twice as many as the rest of Minneapolis. The North Side is also where 220 of this year’s 637 aggravated assaults (those involving weapons) have occurred.”

Ohhh, man … Cyndi Lauper is … 60? Ross Raihala of the PiPress says: “Quirky pop star Cyndi Lauper’s debut album, ‘She’s So Unusual,’ turns 30 this year, and Lauper is celebrating with a tour that hits Minneapolis’ Mill City Nights on Oct. 30. Tickets are $79.50 and $49.50 and will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday though Axs. Lauper, who turned 60 this summer, will perform ‘She’s So Unusual’ in its entirety. The album sold more than 6 million copies, won Lauper a Grammy for best new artist and spawned numerous hits, including ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun,’ ‘Time After Time,’ “She Bop,” “Money Changes Everything” and a cover of Prince’s “When You Were Mine.”

I guess somebody had to do it … . Jim Hammerand at the Business Journal writes: “From A Cupcake Social to Z’s Smokin Bonez, the updated Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Food Truck Database now has 103 Twin Cities truck and trailer operations. The Minneapolis and St. Paul-area food truck database can be sorted by name, cuisine, most popular menu item or likely location. It also includes links to their Twitter handles, Facebook pages or other primary point of contact so you can find out when and where they’ll be out. This massive database was the creation of Business Journal food truck reporter Urmila Ramakrishnan. Sadly, Urmila’s internship with us ended last week.” That was a paid internship, I hope.

Boondoggle … in Vadnais Heights. Jim Anderson and Tim Harlow of the Strib report: “Vadnais Sports Center — beset by problems and just put on the market at a fraction of its $26.5 million cost — had every chance to succeed instead of becoming a costly boondoggle, current and former mayors of Vadnais Heights say. Mayor Marc Johannsen, as a former City Council member, and former Mayor Susan Banovetz were deeply involved in the sports center’s planning and construction before its descent into financial trouble. The city walked away from it last year, leaving the bondholders who paid for it at risk of losing much of their investment. ‘I know this is in litigation, but I will just say this: Some people were determined to see it fail from the time it was just a mere idea,’, said Banovetz, who as mayor from 1997 to 2011 led several major building projects in the city. There were [city staffers] working actively behind the scenes who put a lot of energy into seeing this fail who should have been using that energy to see it succeed,’ she said.” Sounds like a pleasant place.

Not everyone can run in the 6th District … Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says: “Interested in running against a congressional incumbent? What about an incumbent who tends to win by double digits? How about taking on a Democratic incumbent in a district that tends to vote for Republicans? Well then, the Minnesota Seventh District Congressional Republicans might be looking for you. ‘We are definitely on the search for somebody,’ said Craig Bishop, the chairman of the western Minnesota GOP group. … ‘A good potential candidate would be someone with a passion for our country’s freedoms and future, someone who is concerned about the direction our nation is headed and someone willing to put in the hard work and major fundraising necessary to run for Congress,’ the Republican district leaders said in an email.” What the … what about “standing up for the job creators”?

I could write 30 tickets a day … Bob Collins at MPR reports on the state getting tough with people … well, OK, one guy … who drives too damned slow:  “It’s not often we hear of drivers frustrating law enforcement because they don’t drive fast enough, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals today ruled the state has the right to strip the driver’s license of anyone who refuses officers’ orders to drive faster. The court ruled in the case of Gary Constans of Lester Prairie, who has been stopped numerous times for driving too slowly. Constans claimed he drives slow because his truck has high mileage, telling a Carver County sheriff’s deputy that he was driving 40 miles per hour along the shoulder of the highway once because he was trying to find ‘the sweet spot for gas mileage.’ ” Really? Well, that’s why they invented bicycles …

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Sean Huntley on 08/20/2013 - 08:19 am.

    First of all I think of Brainerd when I see Paul Bunyan. Second…Offensive? Really?

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/20/2013 - 09:28 am.


    Paul Bunyan is a fictional character who originated in Quebec. His ties to Minnesota come from a lumber company’s promotional material.

    These people are getting all worked up about nothing.

  3. Submitted by Bruce Bruemmer on 08/20/2013 - 09:49 am.

    The Paul Bunyon ads are cute

    Just like one is either an Elvis’ person or a Beatles’ person, Minnesotans can be divided into Bemidji or Brainerd Paul Bunyans. This is clearly the Bemidji Paul and Babe, which I personally prefer for its primitive styling. And why Bemidji wouldn’t think this as a coup over the Brainerd statues is beyond me. Now, if the anti-tobacco group insisted that Paul enter a cessation program and lose his pipe (on the original), then Bemidji might have something to complain about…

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/20/2013 - 10:39 am.


    Didn’t even know Bunyan was up there. I think we have some anti-Obamacare folks grasping at straws. Chamber of Commerce indeed.

  5. Submitted by Pat Berg on 08/20/2013 - 12:16 pm.

    He’s all over the place

    Just look at this list of places:

  6. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 08/20/2013 - 12:24 pm.

    The Bemidji Paul Bunyan has more character

    Just saw him again a couple of weeks ago.

    You’d think the folks in Bemidji would be proud, they even made the Washington Post!

    Paul Bunyan is now selling health insurance

    And then of course there is an opera starring Paul, written by Benjamin Britten.

    What a guy.

  7. Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 08/20/2013 - 01:48 pm.

    I prefer the Akeley Paul Bunyan

    The one that has his hand on the ground for a great photo op.

  8. Submitted by Mike Lhotka on 08/20/2013 - 02:49 pm.

    Paul Bunyan

    Darwin should be upset that the Twine Ball’s agent drove a hard bargain.

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