This story is becoming about as timeless as “Unrest Roils Middle East.” Tim Nelson of MPR reports: “Another month, another slide for electronic pulltabs. That billion dollar-plus vision the state had back in 2012 seems to be slipping away altogether this summer. The chart [included] shows one of the games’ critical financial markers, the daily ‘per device’ gross sales average, calculated from data provided by the Minnesota Gambling Control Board. That average was projected in 2012 to be $225 for about 15,400 devices across the state. An MPR News analysis of gambling control board data shows that average fell to $43.65 for July — less than 20 cents on the dollar of what was projected.”
A few niggling details about money aside … the design for the Vikings’ new nearly billion-dollar stadium is good to go. Richard Meryhew of the Strib says: “Development of the $975 million new home for the Minnesota Vikings moved ever so slightly closer to reality Monday when the Minneapolis Planning Commission signed off on the stadium’s bold and glassy design. The approval, after nearly an hour of discussion, came after a 25-member Stadium Implementation Committee — made up of neighborhood residents, businesses and local political leaders — OK’d the design at its final meeting in July. The design plan will be forwarded to the city’s zoning and planning committee next week before going to the full City Council for a vote Aug. 30. … ‘The financial arrangements for this are a total mess,’ [Minneapolis mayoral candidate Dan] Cohen said, referring to the failures of the state’s original plan to fund its $348 million portion of construction with tax revenues from electronic pulltabs and bingo games.” Why always so negative?
A mosque in the 6th District. What could possibly go wrong? Jon Collins of MPR writes: “Members of St. Cloud’s planning commission will hear testimony today on a proposed mosque, school and retail complex that’s facing some opposition from neighbors in a quiet, residential part of the city. The Islamic Center of St. Cloud has submitted plans for a mosque on land formerly owned by the St. Cloud school district. The project would also include classrooms, a gymnasium and possible retail and office space … The goal is to have a facility big enough to serve about 600 worshippers, said Dean Wick of Outsource Architecture, which is heading the project. … There’s been opposition to mosques being built in other parts of the country, most famously the so-called ‘Ground Zero mosque’ in Manhattan. But opponents of the mosque in St. Cloud said their opposition isn’t grounded in religious intolerance.”
Also at MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar reports on a mea culpa of sorts from Minneapolis school officials: “Minneapolis schools need to get better at vetting job candidates, the district’s chief executive said Tuesday. District officials should have caught the fact that Patrick Exner was being investigated for tampering with student test scores in a previous job before naming him principal of Washburn High School, CEO Michael Goar told MPR’s The Daily Circuit. … Goar said he couldn’t say whether Exner was guilty or innocent of the test-tampering allegations. ‘We should have discovered this information before an anonymous tip or state or prior employer telling us otherwise.’ ”
It’s not hard to understand why … From KSTP-TV’s Jennie Olson: “The River Falls house where three Wisconsin girls were murdered by their father will go back into bank ownership after no one bid on it at an auction Tuesday. The house is where Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen were found dead last year. Their father, Aaron Schaffhausen, tried to sell the house after their murders, but their mother objected, saying he would have profited from the sale. KSTP Photographer Phil Thiesse says about four or five people were in attendance at the auction at the St. Croix Government Center but no bidders spoke up.”
It’ll take a bit more streamlining … Kevin Giles of the Strib writes: “A major commuter highway that bisects Washington County is being transformed to eliminate stoplights and pesky traffic bottlenecks, but five controlled intersections will remain within 4 miles of a new St. Croix River bridge. The four-lane Hwy. 36, which runs west from Oak Park Heights and Stillwater to Roseville in Ramsey County, is seeing substantial upgrades this summer at two outdated intersections. The Hilton Trail project at Pine Springs, leading to Mahtomedi, will eliminate one of nine stoplights on Hwy. 36. The massive reconstruction of the English Street interchange in Maplewood will remove another. … The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has come under criticism in recent years from some mayors and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum for what they said was a lack of Hwy. 36 planning in advance of the new St. Croix River bridge, which is to open in late 2016.”
Vikings star Adrian Peterson is flattered people think he juices … An ESPN story says: “Peterson, in an interview with USA Today Sports, said he doesn’t take PEDs but sees it as a compliment that others suspect he’s turning to illegal help. ‘Seriously. Especially with the amount of work I put in,’ the NFL’s reigning MVP said. ‘Guys say that to me, or if I hear someone saying that — it makes me feel good. ‘When you know you don’t do it, and someone’s saying you do, you’re like, ‘Wow. They think I’m on HGH? I’m doing that good? Well, hoo! Thank you, Jesus!’ It’s a compliment. I don’t get mad about it at all.’ “
There’s an “affordable” shortage. Julie Siple at MPR says: “Ninety-seven percent of Minnesota counties have a shortage of affordable rental housing, according to a new report from the Minnesota Housing Partnership. The organization found that in all but three of the state’s counties, there are more low-income renters than there are affordable apartments available. ‘Since the year 2000, rents have risen about 6 percent statewide after you take into account inflation, at the same time that renter incomes have fallen by about 17 percent,’ said researcher Leigh Rosenberg. Rents are highest in the metropolitan Twin Cities area, but the report also found that Stearns and Kanabec counties have the least affordable housing available.”
This could actually be kind of cool … Erik Thompson at City Pages reports: “Chances are, if you spend some quality time at First Avenue and see enough shows within its hallowed black walls, you are bound to develop an affinity for the club that goes beyond just the music itself. The place becomes a part of your history, and each time you step through First Ave’s doors, that entertaining story you share grows just a little bit longer. Now, you have a chance to take that love of First Avenue home with you, as the club has just unearthed some classic club merchandise and other collectibles — including the belt buckle above — that they will be selling off in the Entry on Sunday, August 25, from noon until 2 p.m., as part of the First Avenue Garage Sale. … ‘A lot of the items we will be selling have just been tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the club, out of sight, out of mind,’ continues [art director Kristin] Backman.” Is there a recording of Lucinda Williams laying into George W. Bush in 2004?