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.”
And 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.”