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1,600-pound bull torments east-metro morning rush hour

Stadium backlash; pollution goals “voluntary”; Dayton pushes minimum-wage boost; “R-rated” book controversy; “50 Shades” parody; and more. 

I hope the drivers who saw this guy coming at them had had their first cup of coffee … Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “A 1,600-pound bull got loose Wednesday morning in the east metro, dodging in an out of rush hour traffic until it was fatally shot by law enforcement about 90 minutes later, authorities said. The running of the bull began about 7:30 a.m. near Manning Avenue and Hudson Road, just south of Interstate 94, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.”

When the cheerleaders turn on you … In the PiPress, Tom Powers writes: “[L]ook how fortunate Minnesotans are! They got a solid stadium agreement in place, and therefore were able to keep the Vikings, just before everything went to hell in a bucket. My guess is that it would be a lot tougher to get a deal done today. The state saved a lot of money, too. Had the Vikings been allowed to leave town, a movement quickly would have sprung up to lure another NFL team. How does one do that? Why, by building a state-of-the-art facility, of course. And that would cost much more to build down the road than it does today. And there would be no owner contribution. This has all worked out swell. … Just look at how well it’s all turned out. The agreement was reached before everything got icky. Seriously, it would have been difficult to hammer out a deal under the current circumstances. Politicians tend to shy away from individuals associated with racketeering.”

Even Ol’ Sooch is having a hard time being his usual cheery self. Says Joe Soucheray, also in the PiPress: “[T]here were attempts in the story to get to the bottom of Wilf’s enormous fortune, said at the time to bring in a billion dollars a year from his vast real estate holdings, but there was no mention of the lawsuit that was already underway against those partners he defrauded. It is likely that reporters didn’t even know about the suit. When a new owner comes to town, there is a tendency to rush to the scene of a puddle and throw a coat on it for the fellow to walk on. It was no different with Zygi, who bought the team from Red McCombs, a car dealer about whom we also probably didn’t know anything. … As for the current ruling, the order to pay up? The Wilf lawyers have already announced they will appeal the ruling and go all the way to the New Jersey Supreme Court if they have to. Let’s put it this way; the Vikings will win a Super Bowl before those defrauded former partners ever see a nickel.” Someone somewhere has calculated the revenue impact on a daily paper that doesn’t have an NFL team in town.

Related … Tim Nelson at MPR writes: “The Minneapolis-based Welfare Rights Committee says Minnesota could have doubled welfare grants to poor people with the money the state banked on a new Vikings stadium just this year. The protesters charge that the state has not increased General Assistance grants … since 1986. A family of two with no other countable income has been eligible for $437 a month for the last 26 years. ‘It’s chronic for people on welfare. We want these grants raised now, and stop giving our money out to people like Zygi Wilf and others who are hanging around, trying to be grifters … We want Gov. Dayton, let him see that this is very important. Show these people a way out of poverty,’ said Verdella Ena, one of about a dozen protestors at the gate of the Governor’s mansion this morning.” They might as well go to New York and ask the NFL for the money.

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Yeah, the voluntary thing is pretty overrated. Josephine Marcotty of the Strib writes: “Minnesota’s top pollution officials are setting ambitious goals — primarily for farmers — to cut back on the millions of tons of pollution that each year flow out of the state and down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, where it adds to a dead zone incapable of supporting sea life. Within 12 years, according to a plan that will be publicly released next week, the state hopes to reduce nitrogen lost from farm fields, urban streets and water treatment plants by 20 percent. … Environmental groups say they applaud the goals but not the strategies designed to achieve them. The EPA, Minnesota and other states say they will rely on education and voluntary actions by farmers and other landowners. Environmental groups say that without laws and enforcement, that strategy is likely to fail.”

The GleanWorrisome twists in this story … Pat Pheifer of the Strib reports: “Burnsville police are asking for the public’s help … in connection with a weekend shooting death in the parking lot of Nina’s Grill in Burnsville and the disappearance of Anarae K. Schunk, a 20-year-old Burnsville woman who was last seen Saturday with the suspect. …Schunk’s father, Monty Schunk of Burnsville, was near the breaking point late Wednesday morning. ‘This guy, I could finish him off in a split second is where I’m coming from,’ he said. ‘It’s such a sad situation. These people prey on vulnerable people. They have a way of communicating their sickness perfectly and these young women get sucked into their world and they can’t escape. … When I talk to the police department and they tell me that this miserable creep isn’t talking and isn’t saying anything, I say send Jack Bauer (from the TV show ‘24’) in.’ ”

The AP reports: “On the day that California’s governor signed a bill lifting the minimum wage to $10 within three years, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has made clear he’d be disappointed if the Legislature doesn’t push up his state’s wage floor next session. Dayton spoke to a retiree council of the AFL-CIO on Wednesday. He says it’s wrong that Minnesota has a lower minimum wage than all of its Midwest neighbors and one of the lowest in the country. … The Democratic-led House and Senate deadlocked on a minimum wage plan last session. Dayton says he’d ‘settle for’ $9.50 per hour but wouldn’t mind seeing it go up more.”

MPR’s Daily Circuit program covers the controversy over an “R-rated” book in the Anoka Hennepin School District: “The chairman of the Anoka-Hennepin school board said Wednesday that the district had erred by not giving parents a chance to object to a book that he described as ‘R rated’ being used in a high school summer reading program. ‘Eleanor & Park,’ a novel by Rainbow Rowell, tells the story of two outsider teens in the 1980s who find a common bond in music. Librarians had included the book on school library shelves, and it was selected for use in the summer ‘Rock the Book’ program. Parents of a student objected to the book’s content, citing its use of profanity and its treatment of sexuality.” Well, the kids will read it now.

This actually sounds funny … Patrick Strait in City Pages covers the “Fifty Shades of Grey” parody musical playing in town: “If you wander down North Fifth Street any evening this week, you’re likely to be greeted with the sweet smells of chardonnay, perfume, and sass coming out of Mill City Nights. SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody opened last night, and runs through this Saturday. Having had no previous knowledge of the Fifty Shades novels, except that they’re Twilight fan fiction-turned-lady porn, I had no real expectation for what the three-person musical had in store. Luckily, the show doesn’t rely entirely on in-the-know references that only fans will understand, but instead mixes in a fantastic blend of pop culture and fourth-wall breaking winks to the absurdity of the story itself. … Last night, the overwhelmingly female audience went wild for every Jane Austen, [oral sex], and chardonnay reference, but even the nine dudes in attendance genuinely LOL’d at Hugh doing the most XXX version of ‘Pure Imagination’ from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ever heard.”