‘Play and talk’ contract offer from Orchestra management

Minnesota Orchestra management, taking a bit of a beating in the court of public opinion lately, has released details of a new contract offer. An MPR story says: “Management of the Minnesota Orchestra today released a new contract offer, aimed at breaking the months-long deadlock in its dispute with musicians. The offer is for a two month ‘play and talk’ period beginning Sept. 30 using the provisions of the contract which lapsed last year. If there is no deal after two months the board is offering a 24 month contract with an average pay of $102,000.”

For the Strib, Claude Peck writes: “In a contract offer made last September, the board had proposed an average salary of $89,000. With benefits, the average total compensation will be $135,000, according to a release issued Thursday afternoon. … Under the terms of this revised two-year proposal, the Minnesota Orchestra would accrue a deficit of $2.2 million over the course of the contract. ‘Our aim was to eliminate our deficit entirely,’ said Board Chair Jon Campbell, ‘but the board has put forward this compromise in the hopes of getting musicians back on the stage and audiences back in Orchestra Hall in time to launch a new season.’ ”

Talk about a made-for-local-TV news event … At WCCO-TV, Eric Henderson writes: “As I said earlier this week, tongue not even remotely in cheek, there has never been a film event bigger or more important than this gargantuan sequel to last year’s Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker. … The first #catvidfest installment’s popular and viral success was astonishing (to the tune of 10,000 spectators). It has taken to the road and soon will be scratching posts in areas as far-flung as Vienna and Jerusalem. Knowing it was a tough act to follow, organizers had no choice but to move it to the largest venue they could think of — the Great Minnesota Get-Together. OK, sure, that means now what was once a free event costs an admission fee (actually two, since you have to pay to get into the State Fair as well), but that’s the price we Minnesotans pay for being on the vanguard of feline discourse.”  Now if they can just get some sweet old grannie holding a cat and eating anything-from-Mancini’s-on-a-stick they’ll have the enterprise reporting trifecta.

Git yerself some boiled peanuts, a gun and ‘n airboat … Tim Blotz of KMSP-TV reports: “A Minnesota DNR warden shot and killed an alligator on Goose Lake near Scandia, Minn., on Thursday, and the Washington County sheriff said there might be one more out there. The Washington County sheriff’s office learned someone released two small alligators, each about 40 inches long, into Goose Lake earlier this week. The DNR notified residents in the area and have been actively searching for the gators. Will St. Sauver told FOX 9 he’s the owner of the alligators, named Bonnie and Clyde. He claims someone stole his gators and released them into the lake. Now, St. Sauver is trying to catch Bonnie before the DNR gets to her and ends up dead like Clyde.”

Garden-variety advertising with and for gay couples hasn’t exactly happened yet. At MPR, Annie Baxter writes: “Same-sex marriage is legal in Minnesota and 11 other states. But most advertisements featuring gay couples are still few and far between. Although many companies try to cater to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers, those efforts are generally not obvious to the general public. That’s starting to change. This summer for example, an ad for the U Care health plan attached to Metro Transit buses features Kate and Louisa, an actual couple. Pictured taking a break from some house painting, the two women are holding hands. The ad reads, ‘Health care that starts with: Kate and Louisa’.”

Is this really better than streaking? Alex Friedrich of MPR reports: “Well, this is one way for the St. Cloud State University Huskies to show some school spirit. Campus officials sent out this announcement:

St. Cloud State University has entered the Guinness World Records for the most people howling. The official record states that the Department of Campus Involvement at St. Cloud State University is ‘officially amazing’ having achieved the record with 296 participants. Previously, no record existed for the most people howling. A minimum of 250 participants was required for consideration. The 296 students and community members gathered on Atwood Mall for the Husky Howl on April 26 to set the record. Guinness approved the record Aug. 19 after examining videos, photos and witness statements for verification’.”

Everyone’s mom and dad are so proud …

This guy has to get some kind of award for resiliency … Tim Olsen of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “The Last Place on Earth could begin selling synthetic drugs out of a new location as soon as next week, owner Jim Carlson told the News Tribune on Wednesday. Since hanging a sign in the shop’s front window Sunday evening seeking a new location, Carlson said he has been in contact with several building owners in Duluth and neighboring communities. ‘I’m already getting a few responses from people saying they would not have any problem,’ Carlson said. ‘I’m going to wait for all the options and see what we’ve got.’ The shop is temporarily closed while a judge weighs evidence in a civil nuisance case brought against Carlson by the city.”

Everyone loves a good fraud story … David Phelps of the Strib reports: “David Marion, owner of International Rarities Corp., a once prominent Twin Cities precious metals investment firm, was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for his role in bilking mostly elderly clients out of nearly $3.4 million. Marion, who will start serving prison time in October, could have received a sentence of more than seven years under federal sentencing guidelines but was granted a downward variance because of remorsefulness and lack of a prior criminal record. U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz called the investor losses ‘huge’ but acknowledged that Marion ‘resisted the temptation to blame others’ for his crime. Marion is to pay restitution of $3.37 million. … U.S. Attorney Karen Schommer said her office disagreed with the lesser sentence noting that many of the 57 victims of Marion’s crimes lost their life savings.

We’re No. 53 and 66! Olivia LaVecchia at City Pages says: “We’ve gotten used to being at the top of national rankings. But according to a new report from Allstate, there’s one thing we’re not so good at: driving. And between 2012 and 2013, we got worse. For its annual ‘America’s Best Drivers Report,’ the car insurance company analyzed the number of car collisions that resulted in damage claims in U.S. cities with more than 50,000 people — 194 of them in all. But there’s no ‘Top 5’ or ‘Top 10’ glory for Minneapolis and St. Paul here. St. Paul comes in at spot 53 on the list, down from 47 in 2012. Minneapolis is even lower: Down nine spots, from 57 to this year’s 66. In St. Paul, drivers tend to make it 10.1 years between accidents, while in Minneapolis, drivers average 9.9 years without a collision.” And while we’re at it, let me tell you about the moron texting in his Jeep Liberty and going 45 …

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