Here in Minneapolis-St.Paul, where we happily bear any burden and do everything we can to stay major league, we can’t end the week without a bit of e-pulltab news. At MPR, Tim Nelson writes: “Gamblers would love electronic pulltabs. Cash would flow and the state’s cut from the new games would pay the public share of a new Vikings stadium. That’s what Gov. Mark Dayton and other politicians predicted. A year later, that billion-dollar promise has mostly been a bust. … In the end, Dayton says it doesn’t matter much what happens to pulltabs as far as the Vikings stadium goes. A one-time cigarette tax and a new tax on out of state corporations are expected to fund most of the actual mortgage payments on the state’s share of the stadium. ‘There’s every indication that closing some of the corporate loopholes is also going to meet its mark, and we’ll have the stadium adequately financed for as long as anyone can foresee,’ he said.” You wouldn’t have wanted to waste perfectly good money like that in the general fund.
Related … Richard Meryhew of the Strib says: “The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will hold a … press conference Friday at the Metrodome to release findings of an extensive legal and financial audit of Minnesota Viking owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. … authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said last week that a preliminary review of the Wilf family finances by auditors and attorneys working for the authority indicated that even in a ‘worst-case’ scenario involving the awarding of tens of millions of dollars in punitive damages, the owners appeared to have the ‘financial capability’ to pay for their share of the stadium building cost.” … Because the building itself will cover over 90% of their “cost”.
There’ll be charges in the loose gators case … . WCCO-TV reports: “A father and son in the northeast Twin Cities metro area will face charges after their alligators got loose. The two small alligators named Bonnie and Clyde escaped from a home in Scandia last month. DNR officers say they’ve killed one of the animals, while the other is still on the loose. Their owners — William St. Sauver and William St. Sauver Jr. — now each face charges for keeping the wild, exotic animals.”
It’s always best not to rush to judgment … The Winona Daily News reports: “Winona firefighters have tamed the largest downtown fire in modern memory, but not before it left lasting damage and destroyed a place of worship. Construction crews tore down the destroyed Winona Islamic Center Friday morning and firefighters continued to douse the gutted Brosnahan Law Firm office as work continued to extinguish the massive blaze that tore through a section of downtown Winona hours earlier. … Winona Fire Chief Curt Bittle said the fire may have started in the Islamic Center, an L-shaped building with entrances on both Center and Third streets.”
They didn’t have to send up the chopper to cover this one … KARE-TV reports: “The eastbound lanes of Highway 55 at Highway 169 are shut down after a fatal collision at Boone Avenue between a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle. It happened shortly before 11 a.m. Witnesses say the semi was headed west on Highway 55 when a woman in another vehicle turned on a red light right in front of him. The semi driver, who was driving at highway speed, struck the woman and careened into a vacant lot, wrecking the truck and causing the cab to burst into flames. The driver was trapped inside, and reports from the scene say he did not survive. Amazingly, it appears the woman in the minivan who turned in front of him lived through the crash. …The crash scene is directly in front of KARE 11 Studios.”
MPR’s Euan Kerr ruminates a bit on life without Osmo Vanska: “The question of whether Vanska stays or leaves has become a central concern in the contract dispute … Without him, many say, the orchestra could lose its way. … While the two sides are working with one of the world’s best-known mediators in former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, they have resisted other outside attempts to resolve the dispute. Labor expert John Budd of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School said Vanska could make a difference. ‘The conductor in this case does have more leverage than a politician who is more disconnected,’ Budd said. ‘So maybe there is some reason for optimism that this can actually be a more pressure-filled mechanism to get both sides talking and ultimately settling.’ But there have been so many deadlines issued by so many people — many of them malleable — that Vanska’s threat is less potent, Budd said.”
Like the folks who need guns at the Capitol — presumably to protect themselves from violent legislation — two men packed their rifles to a farmers market … lots of killer fruit, you know. Bruce Vielmetti of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports: “Two men heading to Appleton’s downtown farmers market with AR-15 rifles slung over their shoulders and handguns in holsters swiftly attracted the attention of police officers last weekend. Now, they’re attracting attention across the Internet, with some gun rights advocates expressing outrage that the pair were held at gunpoint and handcuffed, while others voice frustration at what they consider a foolish and dangerous stunt. The men, Charles Branstrom, 27, and Ross Bauman, 22, ultimately were released without tickets or charges. … ‘I would never blame police for following up on ‘man with a gun’ calls, but they still have to behave within the limits of the law and abide by people’s constitutional rights,’ said Nik Clark, president of Wisconsin Carry, Inc., a gun rights group.” The cops should always wait until the guy with the rifle at a farmers market opens fire …
And if you need a “stay-cation” break for the weekend … In the Strib, Mike Mosedale writes about camping … in the middle of the cities. “As I pondered the coming folly, my dinky boat — stuffed to the gunwales with camping gear, fishing tackle, a cooler of food and my nervous dog, Percy — bobbed low in the harbor at Boom Island Park. I had been mulling a fast and cheap overnight excursion for a couple of weeks before settling on a crackpot plan: I would seek out a quiet spot in the wilds right here in Minneapolis, where I would pitch my tent and spend a night under whatever stars were not utterly obscured by the big city light pollution. When it comes to urban camping, of course, ‘quiet’ is a relative term. What I was really looking for was a locale where I would not be molested by hoodlums, upright citizens or lawmen … because the authorities in most good-sized communities, including Minneapolis and its suburbs, frown upon camping within city limits.”
Also, I should be flogged for omitting this “coverage” — by Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” (with help from Bob “Better Call Saul” Odenkirk) of Our Favorite Congresswoman’s trip to Egypt last week. At Mediaite, Josh Feldman writes: “Jon Stewart has seen some crazy political stunts, but Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and Louis Gohmert holding a joint press conference in Egypt was just too much for him. Stewart sighed, facepalmed, and begged to the comedy gods, “Please be a Jimmy Kimmel prank…” It wasn’t. It was as real as … well, as she ever gets.