Rail hub will be our Grand Central Station

This is cool … Rochelle Olson of the Strib says: “A sweeping plan to add a park, jumbo display screen, retail stores and a public plaza to the $79.3 million rail hub being built near Target Field will get the go-ahead Thursday from the Hennepin County Board. The new hub, to be called Target Field Station, will be Minnesota’s version of New York City’s Grand Central Station when it opens next year, Twins President Dave St. Peter said Wednesday. … Funding for the project is coming from many sources, including $17 million in state bonding money, more than $20 million in federal grants, $1.8 million from the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (part of which is for three public art projects at the site) and $500,000 from Minneapolis. County taxpayers were to pay $22 million initially, but portions of the Twins deal could shave that contribution to $16 million in coming years.”

Now Hopkins is getting into the NIMBY game. Laura Yuen of MPR reports: “An advisory board of Twin Cities regional leaders for the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit project has recommended that a storage center be built in Hopkins, against the suburb’s wishes. City Council member Cheryl Youakim said her city is reluctant to take the operation and maintenance facility, or OMF, because it would push several businesses out of the area and cost about 200 jobs. Youakim said much more work needs to be done before Hopkins consents to the light-rail project.”

The mood is generally upbeat in Bloomington, after the vote to save the old Cedar Avenue bridge. Mary Jane Smetanka of the Strib says: “The bridge vote didn’t come soon enough for bike advocate David Gepner of Richfield. He pedals long distances in groups. By the time the bridge reopens, he said, he will have spent almost 14 years taking miles-long detours to cross the Minnesota River. When the Old Cedar Bridge is rehabbed, it will provide a link to a pedestrian-bike bridge that hangs from the Hwy. 77 bridge. … Joining those bikers on the rehabbed bridge will be hikers and birders, who before the bridge closed used it to observe migrating waterfowl and birds on Long Meadow Lake. Charlie Blair, who managed the Minnesota Valley Refuge until he became Midwest refuge manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year, said it was great to ‘finally have a decision.’ ”

Another funky photo essay at MPR’s site. Nikki Tundel covers photo artist Carly Schmitt’s shoot of Lyndale area folks’ favorite objects: “Artist Carly Schmitt asked people in the Lyndale neighborhood of Minneapolis to share objects that they thought best represented them for her Curiosities of Lyndale project. She then photographed the images and photoshopped them to make them appear like they are in curio cabinets along Lyndale. The result: public art covering some of the neighborhood’s ugliest public structures.”

The GleanAnd remind us, who wanted to cut this …? Christopher Magan of the PiPress reports: “Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, was the latest top education leader to stop in Minnesota to applaud lawmakers’ decision to fund all-day kindergarten and other initiatives for young learners. Van Roekel’s group represents 3.2 million educators nationwide and is the largest labor union in the U.S. … The business community generally supported DFL lawmakers’ push for more early education spending, but conservatives criticized how the efforts are funded. They’re also concerned that school leaders have little control over how the dollars are spent. All-day kindergarten might be right for some communities, but others might have different needs, they argue.”

Duluth has “the best.” The News Tribune reports: “The City of Duluth has the best tasting drinking water in Minnesota, according to a panel of judges at the MN American Water Works Association Annual Conference. The 2013 ‘Best in Glass’ drinking water taste test championship was held … at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. St. Peter, St. Cloud, Moorhead, Rochester, Mankato, East Grand Forks, and International Falls all showed off their best drinking water with Duluth taking home the trophy and wall plaque, as well as bragging rights for being named the 2013 Best in Glass winner.”

The “neighbor from hell” is going down with a fight. Chao Xiong of the Strib says: “[Lori] Christensen, 50, pleaded guilty in July to violating a restraining order by committing those acts, the latest in a long line of harassing behavior directed toward the Hoffmans. But she tried to take it all back Wednesday, filing a motion to withdraw her plea by alleging that it was coerced out of her. Ramsey County District Court Judge Judith Tilsen strongly rebuked Christensen and denied her withdrawal, but because Christensen failed to sign and send in a waiver, she could not be sentenced Wednesday. … Christensen, who has other convictions for harassing the Hoffmans, has mocked them with yard signs (‘Fat people disgust me,’ ‘I saw mommy kissing a breathalyzer’), exposed her bra to them and made masturbatory gestures toward Greg Hoffman and his daughter, then 8.” Will she get special license plates that actually say, “You’re Following ‘The Neighbor From Hell’ ”?

And this is cutting a little close to home … Jim Ragsdale of the Strib writes: “Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday called for a review of the state’s investment in Wayzata Investment Partners after the company’s labor practices at  Gary, Indiana casino it owns were criticized by union officials. Wayzata Investment is a major stockholder in the Star Tribune. At a meeting of the State Board of Investment, a worker and union representative from Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Ind., criticized the casino’s owner, Wayzata Investment Partners. The state has invested in the firm. Jim Baker, a spokesman for Unite Here, the union representing casino workers, complained of layoffs, frozen wages and difficulty in negotiating a new contract since Wayzata took over in  2011.”

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/12/2013 - 08:17 am.

    Get specific

    I wish those conservatives who keep trying to cut education funds would get specific when they use the old “some communities have different needs” argument.

    Name three.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/12/2013 - 11:18 am.

      All-day kindergarten

      is nothing more than taxpayer-funded day care and we all know it. The union loves it because it provides more taxpayer-funded full-time jobs for more babysitters, er, teachers.

      So I disagree with the republicans who said that. No community can justify the added expense.

  2. Submitted by Jim Camery on 09/12/2013 - 09:37 am.

    35W and Lake

    could be our Times Square. And 50th and France could be our Upper East Side.

  3. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 09/12/2013 - 09:42 am.

    Naming rights

    “The new hub, to be called Target Field Station”

    Did Target pay the government money to get their name on the train station like they paid the Twins to get their name on the stadium? Is that part of the Twins $3.7M contribution?

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/12/2013 - 11:13 am.

    Hey wait a minute

    Didn’t the taxpayers just spend $240 million to renovate and re-open the Saint Paul Union Depot?

    $240 million!!

    Dec. 4, 2012 – “Led by Ramsey County and funded in large part by the federal government, [it] gives the east metro a hub that can adapt to various transit uses for years to come,” officials said “Those possibilities include high-speed rail to Chicago, as well as additional light-rail and bus rapid-transit lines.

    Wow, we are so rich! Doesn’t it feel great to know we have so much public wealth that we can afford TWO Grand Central Stations. Or maybe it can be our Penn Station, because you know, like New York we have such a huge need for such places.

    • Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 09/12/2013 - 01:35 pm.

      It’s called the Twin Cities for a reason

      Two cities, in separate counties. Make note.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/12/2013 - 04:03 pm.

      A Billion Here, A Billion There…

      After squandering billions of our national wealth in Iraq and Afghanistan, spending a few million on ourselves hardly seems like stepping over a C-note to pick up a penny.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/12/2013 - 12:17 pm.

    Cutting Childhood Education

    probably has an agenda behind it,…

    especially when you consider that strong early childhood education and universal all-day kindergarten would likely do a great deal in our state’s most impoverished areas, especially those in the central cities, to counter the disadvantages poverty and unstable homes visits upon so many of our minority students.

    In other words, adequately funding and successfully carrying out such programs would likely do a great deal to erase the “learning gap” that our “conservative” friends have been using so dishonestly as a club to whack central city teachers across the nation for the past many decades.

    If that were the case our “conservative” friends would have to find an entirely new false and disingenuous schtick to convince the unwary and unwise that the best way to “improve’ education is to destroy the public schools and privatize the entire system,…

    leading to huge profits for the “conservatives” and their cronies,…

    a much increased ability to introduce conservative indoctrination into the education that DOES happen,…

    and leaving America with a permanent underclass of citizens who can’t afford a decent education, the public schools having been quite purposefully decimated under the dishonest guise of making them more “efficient,…”

    a population far more likely to be willing to work for third-world wages without ever questioning why, despite working more than full time, they’ll never be able to afford a decent life.

  6. Submitted by John Kessler on 09/12/2013 - 03:35 pm.

    Grand Central Terminal

    As a transplanted Minnesotan now living just outside NYC I feel obligated to point out that Grand Central is properly Grand Central Terminal since there are no thru trains, just trains that begin and end at the terminal.

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