People with healthy credit ratings have the best first shot at getting into “the people’s stadium.” The AP covers the cost of seat licenses at the new Vikes stadium and says: “Getting into the Minnesota Vikings‘ glitzy new stadium will come at a high cost for some fans: an average of $2,500 for the right to buy a season ticket in the new building. The ticket licenses cover three-quarters of the building’s 65,000 seats, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority revealed Thursday. They’re a key part of two agreements that were up for approval. One covers how the stadium will be financed and built, the other how operating costs and revenue will be split over a 30-year lease. … The agreements don’t cap what the Vikings can charge for tickets themselves. They must make available 3,250 ‘affordable’ tickets for each game but the agreement leaves it unclear what those will cost.”
Ben Goessling at ESPN says: “According to a chart the Vikings released, their license program will be about the same size, when adjusted for inflation, as the one the Green Bay Packers used to finance the renovation of Lambeau Field in 2003. The chart also mentions that 17 of NFL’s 32 teams used some form of licensing in their current stadiums. It’s obvious the team is wary of some backlash with the announcement, and the Vikings are the first Minnesota franchise to try PSLs on a large scale (though the Minnesota Twins used them for club seats at Target Field). But whatever resentment the team will have to take probably won’t outweigh the financial benefit of sticking fans with a one-time cost. That should have been clear long before Thursday, based on history, and in the end, even [Gov. Mark] Dayton couldn’t deny it.”
At the Strib, Richard Meryhew reminds readers: “Although the licenses were spelled out in the stadium legislation approved by lawmakers in 2012, they have been a sore point with Dayton. Dayton said last fall that he was not aware that the fees were part of the team’s financing formula and has consistently opposed them as an important piece of the team’s contribution to construction costs. … Dayton’s concern arose from reports that the Wilfs and the team may be able to generate so much revenue from seat license fees, naming rights and other sponsorships that they won’t have to put much, if any, of their own equity into the project.” Au contraire, the Wilfs could be on the hook for as much as 10 percent of their share!
For MPR, Tim Nelson says: “Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Lindstrom, said fans should be paying more. ‘PSL revenues are user fees, paid for by users of the stadium, many of whom have luxury boxes in the middle of the stadium that could pay a lot of money to reduce the taxpayer portion… But I didn’t hear anything to suggest that the taxpayer contribution was going to be minimized at all. All I heard was that rich, corporate boxholders, affluent individuals and wealthy businesses might not have to pay as much.’ The team will also have an NFL subsidy and the proceeds from naming rights to pay their share. MSFA chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said that the $200 million in NFL financing provided to the Vikings would include a $50 million ‘grant.’ not just a loan. Neither stadium officials nor the Vikings were ready to discuss who might buy the naming rights or what they might pay.” Put your money on “Payday Loans Field.”
In the wake of its story exposing what the local archdiocese knew … and didn’t do … to a now convicted sex offender priest, Madeleine Baran and Rupa Shenoy of MPR report: “The top deputy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis resigned that post today amid growing concerns about the church’s approach to clergy sex abuse cases. … [The Rev. Peter] Laird was featured in a Sept. 23 MPR News story detailing how the archdiocese knew of the sexual misbehavior of a priest, Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer, yet kept him in the ministry. The story reported Laird received a key 2011 memo on the allegations against Wehmeyer, who later pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two boys, ages 12 and 14, and possessing child pornography. A judge sentenced the priest to five years in prison.”
It’s taken a while … Tim Post of MPR writes: “When Bill Hudson, president of Totino-Grace High School, resigned this summer after announcing that for nearly two decades he has been in a committed same-sex relationship, school families started talking. But the conversations about Catholic school policy, Catholic teachers and how the church views homosexuality kicked into high gear when school officials fired longtime English teacher Kristen Ostendorf. Her offense: telling colleagues she was gay, in a relationship with a woman, and happy. … The school follows an employment policy, set out by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which warns employees they can be fired over public conduct that is inconsistent with Catholic teachings. The church does not recognize same sex marriage and teaches that homosexual acts are sinful.” … But not criminal, apparently.
But while we’re at it … . Emily Gurnon of the PiPress writes: “A police investigation into allegations that a Hugo priest possessed child pornography will not lead to charges against him — because the evidence was withheld by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, according to a police report discussed in Ramsey County court Thursday. The report by St. Paul police Sgt. William Gillet, dated Sunday, says he and Cmdr. Josh Lego met March 5 with Joseph Kueppers, chancellor for civil affairs for the archdiocese, and Andrew Eisenzimmer, who had retired from that position two months earlier. They requested a ‘white banker’s box’ that they had been told was in a vault at the archdiocese and contained information about Rev. Jonathan Shelley. An archdiocese official told them they would find computer discs with ‘thousands of images of child pornography’ and reports that made reference to search terms such as ‘helpless teenage boys,’ ‘naked boy pics’ and ‘hard core teen boys.’ ” Perhaps the archbishop could authorize a mass DVD mailing explaining how this stuff happens?
Did you know the St. Croix Scenic Riverway is closed? In the PiPress, Mary Divine says: “The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, managed by the National Park Service, is closed to the public as part of the federal government shutdown. That means commercial businesses that use the river have had to cease operations within the riverway. … The National Park Service on Tuesday notified the Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tour and Taylors Falls Canoe and Kayak Rental, along with other companies that have commercial permits for the riverway, that they must cease operations.”
Further north … Jay Cooke State Park is almost back together. Steve Kuchera of the Duluth News Tribune says: “More than 15 months after record flooding ravaged Jay Cooke State Park, workers are busy on two projects that will restore easy access to large parts of the park. Last week, crews placed the concrete deck on a new Minnesota Highway 210 bridge that will restore road access to Oldenburg Point from the west. And the park’s iconic swing footbridge is beginning to look like a bridge again. … The swing bridge should reopen near the end of the month. … [the] bridge stood until June 21, 2012, when it was overcome by a river running at 55,000 cubic feet per second. The river rose several feet over the bridge’s deck.”