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One St. Paul cop's view of East Side violence, response

Here’s PiPress columnist Ruben Rosario on violence on St. Paul's East Side: “The cop [an acquaintance of his] also added that colleagues working the East Side feel their hands are tied by police leadership they suspect is more concerned about community backlash if they aggressively enforce curfew and other quality-of-life laws. ‘Look, recreation centers are fine and they may help, but these (gang members) don't go to rec centers,’ said the officer. ‘It's not all law enforcement, but in this case right now, the hammer needs to come down on these people.’ He also noted a lack of outrage, particularly from the African-American community, over the recent beating, but more so the gang-related slaying of a 17-year-old youth by another last month in the same area. Both were black. The suspects in the Widstrand beating also belong to a predominantly black gang."

Doom and gloom in the housing industry is getting harder to find … Jim Buchta of the Strib says: “[F]oreclosure sales in the state have fallen to the lowest level since the beginning of the housing crisis. Statewide there were 6,795 foreclosure sales during the first half of the year, a 29 percent annual decline and the least since 2006, according to the Minnesota Homeownership Center. ‘Modest improvements in Minnesota’s economy and increasing home prices, combined with improvements in how banks and lenders deal with struggling homeowners, are positively impacting the number of homes lost to foreclosure,’ said Ed Nelson, communications manager for the Minnesota Homeownership Center.”

Related … . John Welbes of the PiPress says: “The state has gained 71,488 jobs in the past year, a growth rate of 2.6 percent, compared with the U.S. rate of 1.7 percent. ‘On an annual basis, the Minnesota labor market is recovering at a pace we haven't seen since the expansion of the 1990s,’ said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development. With July's net gain in jobs, the state is also close to its prerecession employment level and now needs only 5,500 more jobs to regain all the jobs lost in the recession, which started in 2007.”

As it rolls on, this one should produce some spikes in the Hyperbole-Meter … Brett Neely of MPR reports: “Minnesota's 6th Congressional District is a GOP stronghold. There's no doubt the Republican who makes it onto the Election Day ballot next year will be favored to win. That's why four are already in the race. But Rhonda Sivarajah, Phil Krinkie, Tom Emmer and John Pederson don't differ much on policy. They're all sticking with the national GOP's message about what ails Washington. So the race to replace retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann is likely to be more about style, name recognition and money. … Krinkie, Pederson and Sivarajah are focusing on fundraising, meeting potential delegates and building teams of staff and volunteers. But already, they're hinting at likely lines of attack against Emmer.” Who repealed the 11th commandment?

The GleanSkepticism is always healthy … Tim Nelson at MPR writes: “An estimate in March from the city of St. Paul put the construction cost for the [Saints Lowertown] stadium alone at $28 million. A few months later, the construction cost was revised downward to $22.4 million — just as the state was evaluating the project for a grant from the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development. That’s a drop of $5.56 million, or just about exactly how much the price of the project rose, after the city got $25 million in state funding for the project last September. So, did the city lowball the price tag to win state aid, then restore the true cost once it had state money in hand?”

Also at MPR, Dave Peters has a piece on federal government action that could seriously affect rural hospitals: “In the running struggle to maintain good health care services in rural America, facilities called critical access hospitals are among the key players. If you know anything about them, you might have felt the shudder that ran through them Thursday. … A federal agency Thursday recommended that two-thirds of hospitals with the critical access designation should be re-assessed and perhaps dropped from getting the extra money. The move could save hundreds of millions of federal dollars every year. But it’s a chilling thought for a lot of people because they fear hospitals would close as a result. And Minnesota seems particularly vulnerable.”

We’re No. 1! Your must-read site for … nerd news, NerdWallet says: “Best Cities for Recreational Activities
1. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis offers a bounty of recreational opportunities. You can lace up your ice skates and hit the ice at The Depot, an indoor skating rink inside a restored railroad depot. Avid skateboarders can check out the six skate parks in Minneapolis, while golfers can tee up on one of seven courses. There are even disc golf courses for Frisbee fans! Hiking, biking and skiing trails can be found at Fort Snelling State Park, an historic military site. Whether you’re looking to start a fall sports league or go camping for the weekend, Minneapolis has the perfect accommodations. The University of Minnesota runs youth programs for area children, as well.” … And no reference to lutefisk …
Oh wait … right there at No. 3:
“3. Saint Paul, Minnesota …
Partnered with Minneapolis as half of the Twin Cities, Saint Paul is another great city for recreation in Minnesota. The city has 173 parks, four golf courses and four swimming facilities. Not to mention, dozens of basketball courts, tennis courts, playing fields, fishing sites and city gardens. There are also ice rinks, horseshoe courts and volleyball courts for your use. Saint Paul provides adaptive recreational programs for those with disabilities and mobile recreational options for those who don’t normally have access to facilities. If you’re trying to improve your fitness, you can joint the Saint Paul Getting Fit program, a special ‘Active Living’ fitness membership that offers access to participating recreation center fitness rooms and indoor walking tracks.”

And maybe just a step up from NerdWallet … Joseph Lindberg of the PiPress reports: “The St. Paul Farmer's Market can now count itself amongst some of the country's most prominent. Zagat, the renowned national survey company, recently named the St. Paul market one of eight ‘must visit’ in the U.S., setting it beside the likes of Pike's Place Market in Seattle, Wash. and Haymarket in Boston, Mass. The St. Paul market stands out in part because of its strict, locally-grown roots — ‘So you can truly get to know the men and women who sow, harvest, raise and butcher the food on your table,’ the survey said.”

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Jobs, jobs, jobs

In June the State gained 400 jobs and the unemployment rate went down. (Although the number was revised to a 1000 job loss) In July, the State gains over 4000 jobs and the unemployment rate stays the same. The number of people participating in the workforce is now at it's lowest level in ages which might account for the unemployment rate oddities. Fortunately most of the last month's increase was in public jobs.