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Archdiocese delays decision on $160 million capital campaign

Minnesota losing gypsy moth battle; deal day for Saints ballpark; McDonald’s latest to leave downtown; Duluth plans major Superior Street fix; Northwestern Health Sciences U president found dead; and more.

Probably a good idea … Tom Scheck of MPR reports: “The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is suspending a final decision over a fundraising campaign that was slated to start next summer. Church leaders informed parish priests as recently as September that they were moving forward with a $160 million capital campaign over the next four years. On Tuesday, though, archdiocese spokesman Jim Accurso said a final decision on the campaign ‘has been put on pause with the intention of revisiting it again in January.’ Accurso did not give a reason for the delay.” Who wants to guess?            

Invasive Pest Watch … Dan Kraker of MPR says: “Minnesota is losing its battle to keep out the gypsy moth. For 40 years, the state has tried to keep out the pest, which strips trees of their leaves. But after trapping the insect in record numbers this year, state Department of Agriculture officials say that in far northeast Minnesota their only recourse may be to try to slow their spread. That worries some loggers, who fear that a quarantine would hurt their business.”

Frederick Melo of the PiPress says Wednesday could be deal day for the new Saints stadium. “A lease for St. Paul’s future regional ballpark is on the table. The city has brokered a deal with the St. Paul Saints on the management of a new 7,000-seat, city-owned ballpark off 5th and Broadway in Lowertown. On Wednesday, St. Paul City Council will review the development agreement and a separate use agreement. Council members are also expected to approve an $8.5 million bond issue for the project at the meeting.”

Says Mike Hughlett in the Strib: “The McDonald’s outlet in Gaviidae Common II will join an exodus of classic fast-feeders — Taco Bell, Taco John’s and Burger King — from downtown. Maybe it’s the plethora of food trucks; maybe it’s all the sandwich joints. For McDonald’s, the dinner bell will toll as part of a $4 million face-lift of the Nicollet Mall property by its new owner, California-based KBS Companies.” This probably means long lines at Manny’s.

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How fast can you identify the irony in this story? Pat Doyle of the Strib says: “Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday called for greater “citizen participation” in shaping the Southwest Corridor light rail line, the biggest transit project ever in the Twin Cities. While saying he is ‘strongly supportive’ of the project, Dayton said he hoped to address concerns of ‘people who felt they weren’t listened to the last time’ a series of public meetings were held.” Because, you know, you don’t want to rush into a $1 billion public project that lacks full taxpayer support.

Fix it, fine. But don’t you dare tear out the bricks … MPR runs a story on Duluth getting ready to re-do Superior Street: “Los Angeles has Sunset Boulevard. Paris has the Champs Elysees. Duluth has Superior Street. It’s the signature avenue that every visitor sees. And to people who’ve lived in Duluth awhile, Superior Street and its distinctive red-brick paving stones are a symbol of the city’s recovery, says Mayor Don Ness. … But the bricks have seen better days, and the 1880s-vintage sewers than run beneath them have seen better centuries. Periodic breaks in the water mains cause extensive and expensive flooding. City leaders see a need for a thorough rebuild — one that will require digging 30 feet down, in places. The project will also have to bust through a deep layer of love for the bricks.”

Not good … Tad Vezner of the PiPress says: “The president of Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington was found dead at his West Lakeland Township home Tuesday of an apparent gunshot wound, according to university officials. Jeff A. Nelson, 58, was picked by the university’s board to head the private, nonprofit university in April. The university announced the death with a press statement Tuesday. No additional information was available late Tuesday, though the university said, ‘We’ll be as transparent as possible as we learn more.’ The Washington County sheriff’s office said only that investigators were not seeking any suspects.”

Some local conservatives are … outraged. Aaron Rupar at City Pages writes: “In May, 34-year-old Megan Hall won Education Minnesota’s 2013 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. Hall teaches life science, Advance Placement environmental science, and biology at the Open World Learning Community in downtown St. Paul. In interviews she did with the media at the time, she kept things mostly apolitical, though she did tell the Star Tribune that, ‘We believe in liberty and justice for all in this country, but we don’t have it yet.’ … But in a speech she recently gave to the 2013 Education Minnesota Conference, Hall upped the political ante by characterizing teachers as ‘American democracy’s last line of defense against the tyranny of the 1 percent.’ Her comments are being decried by conservative activists who believe such remarks are unbecoming of Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year.” Damned straight! Kids need to appreciate how much Goldman Sachs is doing for us.