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Construction prices for new homes hits four-year high

Jim Buchta of the Strib says: “From storage sheds to swank new subdivisions, construction is booming in the Twin Cities. But for all the activity sprawling throughout the metro, there just aren’t enough workers, contractors or materials to keep pace. The squeeze on resources is putting an end to many of the post-recession bargains on new construction that home buyers once enjoyed. The average price per square foot for new homes listed through the Multiple Listing Service is at a four-year high, jumping 7 percent from this month last year to $150.”

I know where there are 535 more worthy subjects … The PiPress’ Andy Rathbun files a story on lying, saying: “A new study at the University of Wisconsin-Stout is exploring the brain science behind a lie. Two students from the school and two students from the University of South Carolina-Aiken took part in a three-week project this summer to set up a lie detection study for the coming school year. Led by UW-Stout psychology professor Desiree Budd, the study might provide data for a more reliable lie detector. … The testing works by looking for a specific brain signal that appears when a subject is shown something they recognize. If someone is shown a crime scene, for instance, and their brain produces the signal, it may indicate the subject took part in the crime or at least was a witness, Budd said.”

Having broken through the gay marriage barrier, one local Democrat is betting voters are willing to accept transgender. Christopher Magan of the PiPress says: “The 2014 race for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District — targeted by national Democrats as one they believe they can win — is about to become more crowded and more interesting. Paula Overby, who is a 59-year-old quality assurance analyst from Eagan, says she has nearly enough signatures on a petition to get on next year’s Democratic primary ballot to compete for the congressional seat. Overby, born a man who now identifies as a woman, believes she will be the first openly transgendered person from Minnesota to run for Congress.”

Regular late summer-early fall drought is hurting pine trees. Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR reports: “Pines and other conifers in northern Minnesota are dying in slightly larger numbers than usual. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the trees have been stricken by drought. Eight of the last 11 summer and fall seasons have been very dry in northern Minnesota. …The good news is that this year’s spring and early summer weather has been good for tree growth, Albers said. The growing season has changed in northern Minnesota, she added. It’s now a month longer, but rain totals haven’t kept up.”

You just had to know what exactly they were talking about … .  MPR’s Tim Nelson discusses whether there was anything “sneaky” about those personal seat licenses mentioned as a Vikings revenue-generator: “There was no secret, nothing underhanded and no sneaking involved in the personal seat licenses that were written into Minnesota’s deal with the Vikings to build the team a new stadium, the team says. ‘Stadium builders licenses were vetted in 16 Legislative committees,’ said Vikings vice president Lester Bagley, after Gov. Mark Dayton … said he thought the controversial financing mechanism was ‘snuck’ into the stadium bill he signed last year. … They were also discussed at some length by the Senate tax committee … . With stadium groundbreaking scheduled for October and major construction expected to start in November, the state is going to quickly burn through the $50 million the Vikings have to offer in advance for  the project. That means the state will have to sell stadium bonds soon to raise cash and the people who buy those bonds may want to see all the math behind the stadium deal before they loan the state any money.”

The GleanMore taxpayer-funded court time for Tom Petters … David Phelps of the Strib says: “It is the case that will not rest. While the criminal and business story of Tom Petters already has its own well-read chapter in Minnesota’s corporate history book, the former Wayzata businessman is not going away quietly. Nearly four years after a conviction that put him in prison for 50 years, Petters will get an unexpected hearing later this fall in an attempt to reduce that sentence. His corporate bankruptcy, meanwhile, continues to stumble on as it approaches its fifth anniversary, with attorneys fees now exceeding $76 million and a payoff for creditors and victims of the $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme nowhere immediately in sight.” You’ve heard of the gift that keeps on giving? Here’s one that keeps on taking.

Someone might have gotten confused about what state they’re in … . Justin Glawe of the Bemidji Pioneer reports: “The description was simple, brazen and, if true, incredibly stupid. ‘WEED FOR SALE!!!’ Below the headline was a picture of a dozen glass jars of purported marijuana, with a Sprite can for size reference. The advertisement was posted on a popular Facebook page called ‘Bemidji Area Online Sale’ last week. It quickly garnered more than 200 comments, ranging from calls of ‘He’s a cop!’ to, basically, ‘You’re an idiot’. ‘Our drug task force is looking into it,’ Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin said.” Better check and see if Bemidji has a DRE program.

Who doesn’t love these kinds of stories? Cara Spoto of the Racine Journal Times writes: “Scrawled in perfect cursive on a cream-colored page of a small diary, those are the words of a young Cpl. Ralph C. Duncan, Serial No. 36210567, ‘1017 Villa Street, Racine, Wisconsin.’ It is just one description, among dozens, of Duncan’s experiences as a soldier in Southwest Pacific Theater of World War II — descriptions that as far as a California couple can tell have been sealed away, out of sight, for decades. That is, until just a few months ago. Evelyn Dar was cleaning out the San Jose, Calif., home of her recently deceased mother, Sebastiana Vistan, when she found the diary in a box .She and her husband,  Rodrigo, had no idea how Evelyn’s mother or father could have come into possession of the diary. The only thing they know is that the Vistans both worked for many years at Clark Air Base in their native Philippines. … After reading portions of the diary, the Dars did know one thing — they had to at least try and see if they could get the diary back to Duncan, or at least one of his surviving family members.”

It’s not Bergdorf Goodman, but it’s a start. Tom Webb of the PiPress says: “Where upscale grocers fear to tread, Tres Lund sees opportunity. Last year, his family-owned grocery chain opened a Lunds store on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, a spot that a generation ago was no one’s idea of a prime location. Six years earlier, it placed a stylish Lunds store in Northeast Minneapolis. It then watched both locations thrive. Now, the CEO and namesake of Lunds has embraced a new challenge. Next spring, he’ll open an elegant Lunds store in downtown St. Paul, which hasn’t had a full-service grocery store for years, and battled a history as a tough spot for retailers. … The 27,000-square-foot store at 10th and Robert streets will carry more than fresh-squeezed orange juice and French cheese. It carries St. Paul’s hopes for a livelier downtown and a spur to future growth.”

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