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County officials: Dump Southwest LRT tunnel idea

You knew this was coming … Pat Doyle of the Strib says: “Bankrollers of metro transit projects on Wednesday intensified their call to trim costs for the future Southwest Corridor light-rail line, urging planners to resist demands that could drive up the price. The county officials who help fund transit projects said Southwest planners should consider ditching plans for building two tunnels in Minneapolis and instead place the light-rail line above ground next to existing freight tracks — an idea opposed by that city. … ‘I don’t see good decisions being made,’ said Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough. ‘I see money being thrown at small groups.’ ”

Tom Cherveny of the West Central Tribune has the best story on the arrest of the man charged in that double murder in Granite Falls: “Andrew Dikken, arrested Tuesday after eluding authorities for two weeks, entered the home of Kara Monson in Granite Falls sometime after 3 a.m. on Sept. 2 and began shooting her and Chris Panitzke as they were sleeping in a bed, according to the allegations in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday. … The complaint also alleges that within hours of the shooting Monson had received text messages from Dikken, a former boyfriend. Investigators also learned that Dikken had sent a threatening message to one of Monson’s family members that indicated he was threatening Kara’s life, according to the complaint.”

Assessing the future for the Minnesota congressional delegation, Emily Cahn of Roll Call writes: “The hopes of Gopher State congressional aspirants lie in the potential departures of two senior members in the delegation in the next few cycles — an uncertain situation at best. … in the past couple of years, the political landscape in Minnesota has settled down. This cycle, Franken is on track to coast to re-election after Sen. Amy Klobuchar, another Democrat, trounced her opponent last year. … Accordingly, benchwarmers in both parties are waiting until either Democratic Rep. Collin C. Peterson or Republican Rep. John Kline retire, according to a number of strategists in the state. If Peterson, 69, decides to retire — something he has openly mulled — the 7th District would favor a Republican candidate.” Cahn mentions GOP Rep. Mary Franson as a possible candidate for that one.

A match made in heaven … . Mila Koumpilova of the PiPress reports: “The University of Minnesota is teaming up with nonprofit Teach for America to offer the state’s first nontraditional teacher prep program under a 2011 alternative licensure law. The Tuesday announcement comes after intense criticism by graduate students and others that the planned partnership would cheapen the U’s traditional teacher prep programs. Teach for America recruits high-achieving college graduates who enter low-income classrooms after a summer of preparation. The U’s College of Education and Human Development and TFA said the new program will provide recruits beefed-up support.”

So the excuse is … the driver was blind … John Brewer and Sarah Horner of the PiPress say: “The son of a motorist arrested for allegedly hitting two Army recruiters and dragging one for nearly a mile Tuesday in Roseville said his father is legally blind and likely didn’t see the two men. He also was likely in the area panhandling for drug money, the son said.”

Coincidentally … Edgar Linares of WCCO-TV reports: “Joey Prusak of Hopkins is still shocked after witnessing someone steal cash from a blind man in the Dairy Queen store he manages. Prusak said while working the register on Sept. 10 he saw the blind man he was helping drop a $20 bill. ‘The lady behind him picked it up really quickly,’ Prusak said. … Prusak simply thought the woman was going to hand it back to the man as he struggled to put his cash and debit card back in his pocket. ‘I expected to her to be like ‘Oh, sir, here you go,’ he said. ‘But she just stood there and watched him walk by and she then put it in her purse’. That’s when Prusak asked her to return the money. She refused saying it was hers and that she dropped it by accident. Prusak argued with the woman and then asked her to leave. … A short time later, Prusak approached the blind man sitting and eating, and he reached into his own pocket and gave the man $20.”

It’s going to take some finessing to fix Highway 169 way up by Ely. Dan Kraker of MPR says: “Anyone who has driven along Highway 169 in northeast Minnesota knows that in one crucial section it twists through lakes and thick pine forest. ‘It’s a beautiful road, but dangerous,’ St. Louis County Commissioner Mike Forsman said on a recent drive. ‘Look at the steep ravine right here, if you notice, all these steep ravines, there are no guard rails on them.’ Beyond narrow shoulders that are just a couple feet wide, the terrain plummets about 20 feet. A long-awaited highway safety project by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to improve Highway 169 could make the road safer for drivers. But it has been slowed by environmental concerns.”

There’s a lot of mortgage talent hitting the streets … Annie Baxter of MPR says: “Wells Fargo is cutting more than 300 positions at its Twin Cities Home Mortgage. The layoffs are part of 1,900 cuts nationwide announced today by the bank, which is responding to a changing marketplace for home loans. Although mortgage interest rates are still low, they’ve climbed over the past few months, which has led to a drop in refinancing activity.”

We’re No. 8! Also at MPR, Jon Collins writes: “A non-profit advocacy group has ranked the city of Minneapolis near the top of the list for energy efficiency, while offering suggestions to improve its performance. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked Minneapolis 8th of the 34 most populated cities.  The organization’s report released[Wednesday] graded Minneapolis highly for its transportation and water utility policies. … St. Paul’s population is too small to be included in the report.” Oh, that’s cold …

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Tim Droogsma on 09/19/2013 - 04:39 pm.

    That says it all…

    ” A long-awaited highway safety project by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to improve Highway 169 could make the road safer for drivers. But it has been slowed by environmental concerns.”

    Because, as every good “environmentalist” will tell you, trees are more important than human lives.

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