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Vikings break off stadium lease negotiations

Drought conditions up north; Minnesota farms adding computers; more Dinkytown development; bank robber “The Woman in Black”; Google/Best Buy rumor; and more.

Minnesota Vikings

Here’s Doug Belden of the PiPress with a check-in on the Vikings stadium drama: “The much-anticipated groundbreaking for a new Minnesota Vikings football stadium is being pushed to November, and could be longer if the team doesn’t quickly resume negotiations on a lease and development agreements. Minnesota Sports Facilities Association chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said Friday that the team unexpectedly broke off negotiations this week. She says the team said it wanted to wait until a review is completed on ownership’s ability to finance its share of the stadium. Kelm-Helgen says that they’re now eying a November start to significant construction. That’s later than the tentative October schedule set earlier. … Construction needs to start on the new stadium in November, a consultant told the authority at a meeting Friday morning, or the ability to open for the 2016 football season may be in jeopardy.” And the team is scheduled to be in the Super Bowl in early 2017, right?

At the Strib, Janet Moore says: “The Minnesota Vikings said Friday there is “no point” in negotiating the user and development agreements for a new stadium while the state agency responsible for it is conducting an investigation of the team’s owners. ‘Until the authority has the confidence in our organization there’s no point in moving forward with negotiations,’ said Lester Bagley, the Vikings’ vice president of public affairs and stadium development. … Bagley said, “We remain confident that the stadium project will be completed as planned and on schedule. The MSFA needs to be fully confident in our ability to deliver financially,’ he said. ‘Right now, until their due diligence is complete, they do not have that confidence. Their inquiry is having a negative impact on negotiations.’ ” In other words, the Wilfs are being victimized …

It’s official … it’s a drought up north. Andrew Krueger of the Duluth News Tribune reports: “Thursday’s update from the U.S. Drought Monitor showed an area of moderate drought in southern St. Louis, Carlton, western Douglas, northern Pine and southern Aitkin counties. Two Harbors, Grand Rapids and the Iron Range are listed as ‘abnormally dry,’ while areas along the Canadian border are not experiencing dry conditions. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported that fire danger is high. … Nearly 81 percent of Minnesota is abnormally dry or worse this week, the Drought Monitor reported, an increase from 32 percent last week. About 10 percent of the state is now in drought, a jump from less than 2 percent last week.”

The AP says: “Precipitation over the last 30 days has been half the normal level over most of the state, so fire managers are urging people to use caution in dry areas. While Minnesota has had relatively few wildfires this summer, a predicted dry spell for the next week or so could change that quickly. The fire danger is rated high across the central part of Minnesota from Pine County in the east to the North Dakota border, and from Marshall County to Lac qui Parle County in western Minnesota. DNR forestry areas with the highest fire potential are Bemidji, Park Rapids, Backus, Little Falls, Sandstone, and lands north of Cambridge and south of Cloquet.”

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Ole and Lena are slowly getting plugged in. The AP says: “New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that 71 percent of Minnesota farms now own or lease a computer, a slight increase from 2011. That figure is 4 percentage points higher than the national percentage. Minnesota farms using computers for the farm business rose to 51 percent in 2013, up 8 percentage points from 2011 and 11 points higher than the U.S. percentage.”

Well, if that last one didn’t, this one will change the face of Dinkytown … The Strib’s Eric Roper reports: “Just weeks after activists lost a high-profile development fight aimed at protecting the character of the University of Minnesota’s Dinkytown area, another proposal for the neighborhood has emerged. Unlike the earlier proposal from Opus, however, this would be built on Dinkytown’s more iconic 4th Street Southeast (between 13th and 14th Avenues). A staff report on the Doran Companies’ development says it would be a six-story, 70-unit building with ground-floor retail. This building would be erected on properties that appear to now house Mesa Pizza, Camdi Restaurant and a coffee-frozen yogurt shop. It would be adjacent to the venerable Al’s Breakfast.” Al is getting closer to a fat buy-out …

Cue a little Johnny Cash … Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “A woman dressed in black right down to her scarf and sunglasses is believed responsible for holding up two banks on successive Thursdays on the outskirts of the Twin Cities area. The first holdup occurred about 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 15 at the Klein Bank in Cologne, according to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office. … She was described as white, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and in her early to mid-20s. She wore a black head scarf, a loose black blouse and loose black slacks. She also wore large black sunglasses with gold trim on the temples.” Did she say anything about shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die?

The GleanAt MPR, Catharine Richert runs her PoliGraph on the billboard encouraging Minnesotans to boycott MNsure: “The billboard is paid for by the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, a group that opposes the federal health care law, and asks ‘Why can’t I choose my own doctor?’ Buying a plan through MNsure will not prevent you from choosing your own doctor. … It’s possible that some people who buy insurance on the individual market now will have trouble finding an exchange plan that includes their current doctor, said Marian Mulkey, director of health reform and public programs initiatives at the California HealthCare Foundation. But most people using the state marketplaces probably don’t have coverage and don’t have a steady relationship with a single doctor, she said. … The Council’s claim is misleading to the point of being false.” So I gather “truth in advertising” (I know, insert laugh here) doesn’t apply to billboards?

What’s the blogosphere for if you can’t spread a good rumor? California-based tech-watcher Robert Scoble wrote Thursday: “I just heard an interesting rumor. Supposedly Google is renting 6,000 square feet inside every +Best Buy next  year. Why? My source says it’s to sell +Google Glass. Now, this is a rumor. If I was a journalist working for, say, Techcrunch, I’d call around and see if I can verify this rumor. But I would rather let this hang out here and see if someone like +Kara Swisher knows anything. This makes sense, since you really need to try Glass before buying it to see if it’s for you and you also need to have it fitted to your face (and, if you are like me and need prescription lenses you’ll need all that taken care of too before you can order yours).”