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Demolition of Star Tribune building gets committee OK

Bees and butterflies in the spotlight; Medtronic offers world’s smallest pacemaker; another lawsuit, another priest list; it’s curtains for the Snuggle House; and more.

The Star Tribune, for its part, said it is more than ready to leave the building behind.
MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

We’re getting closer to the end times for the Star Tribune … building. Tim Nelson at MPR says: “The Minneapolis City Council’s zoning committee has signed off on the demolition of the Star Tribune’s building, one of the final hurdles to passing Downtown East, a proposed 5-block multi-use office, housing, retail and park development near the new Vikings stadium. The Star Tribune wants to sell off its real estate in Downtown East, and reportedly move to the Capella tower. It is expected to sell off its property later this month to developer Ryan Cos., which is proposing the $400 million project, including two 20-story office towers for Wells Fargo. … The Star Tribune, for its part, said it is more than ready to leave the building behind. Publisher Michael Klingensmith called it ‘functionally obsolete’ and said its only about half occupied now. He said the paper expected to move into leased space in a downtown office tower, although he didn’t say which one.”

Threats to pollinators? Josephine Marcotty of the Strib says: “Insects will have their day at the Capitol Monday, when the state’s leading researchers on bees and butterflies provide an update on environmental risks facing important pollinators in Minnesota. Honeybees and other insects vital to both agricultural and wild plant life are in precipitous decline across the state and nation, thanks to both the widespread use of pesticides and the disappearance of wildflowers and other sources of food for them. University of Minnesota bee researchers Marla Spivak, Elaine Evans, and Vera Krischik will provide the latest research on the risks to honey and wild bees.”

Gizmo news … . James Walsh of the Strib says: “Medtronic on Monday announced the first-in-human implant of the world’s smallest pacemaker: the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS). The tiny device is about the size of a large vitamin tablet and is one-tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker. It is delivered directly into the heart through a catheter inserted in the femoral vein. Once positioned, the pacemaker is securely attached to the heart wall and can be repositioned if needed. The miniature device does not require the use of wires, known as ‘leads,’ to connect to the heart. Attached to the heart via small tines, the pacemaker delivers electrical impulses that pace the heart through an electrode at the end of the device.”

It’s getting hard to imagine a day going by without another lawsuit against another Catholic diocese. The AP is reporting: “A lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of a man who claims he was sexually abused by a priest in the Diocese of Duluth in the 1970s is asking the diocese to release its list of 17 priests accused of molesting minors. The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis County District Court, alleges the diocese was negligent because it failed to protect children from a priest who had previously been accused of molesting boys. A message left with the diocese was not immediately returned. The lawsuit says the diocese didn’t go to law enforcement, and gave parents no warning the priest was a risk. The plaintiff, identified as Doe 28, claims the priest abused him from 1972 to 1974, when he was between 11 and 14 years old. The boy had been participating in activities at Sacred Heart Church in Duluth, the complaint said.” And the reason why women are prohibited from becoming priests is what again?

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Similarly … MPR reports: “St. John’s Abbey on Monday released the names of 18 current and former monks who ‘likely have offended against minors.’ The list includes nine monks living at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., under ‘supervised safety plans,’ the abbey said. Seven monks on the list are dead; two are no longer monks and no longer are connected to abbey leaders, who said they were releasing the names voluntarily. ‘This list reflects our best efforts to identify those who likely have offended against minors,’ an abbey spokesman said in a statement.”

Don’t get too optimistic about the deep freeze abating anytime soon. At MPR, Paul Huttner writes: “Snow cover creates what meteorologists call a ‘feedback loop.’ The highly reflective nature of snow, called albedo, keeps temps a good 10 degrees colder than bare ground, and that modifies air masses to keep temps colder. Temps will moderate this week, but I don’t see any big sustained warm ups in sight right now. The [Global Forecast System] brings another shot of sub-zero air south the weekend before Christmas. We’ll see. … Both NOAA’s and Environment Canada’s North American Ensemble Forecast System paint a colder than average bias into the Upper Midwest for the next two weeks. … You may hear some forecasters out there talking about a big warm up later this month. At this point, my money is on a colder than average December overall.”

Speaking of staying warm … . Judy Newman of the Wisconsin State Journal tells us: “They’re throwing in the blanket at The Snuggle House. The Downtown business, 123 E. Main St., open for just three weeks, announced on its Facebook page Friday night that it has closed. The Snuggle House is Officially Closed — for good. For those people who supported us, thank you. Snuggle on!’ the post read. No specific reason was given, but The Snuggle House, whose November opening was delayed for one month because of city concerns, posted this reply to Facebook questions: ‘The push back and harassment is not worth it, honestly.’ … The Snuggle House offered “therapeutic cuddling” for $60 an hour. The business, which had attracted nationwide attention, opened Nov. 15 after weeks of delays because of a lack of a business plan and inspections by city officials who were concerned the second-floor business could be a front for prostitution. … Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, who represents the area, said he received quite a few questions from Downtown residents and businesspeople before The Snuggle House opened. They were worried that the clientele might be detrimental to nearby restaurants and bars, Verveer said.” Wait a minute … “snuggling” would be “detrimental” to … a Wisconsin bar?

If you’re following the Margorie Holland murder trial, Marino Eccher of the PiPress reports: “A trail of what appeared to be blood was found in Roger and Margorie’s Holland’s townhome, a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator testified Monday, leading from the upstairs hallway down the steps to where first responders found Margorie unresponsive last spring. There’s no way to tell when the stains fell, and the investigator didn’t say who they came from. No blood was visible on the scene, said Mark Patterson, a BCA forensic scientist. Patterson examined the couple’s Apple Valley townhome the day after Margorie’s March 7 death. … Patterson detected the stains by spraying a chemical that reacts to the presence of blood. It produced more than 30 spots, the majority of them in the upstairs hallway, stairway down and area at the bottom of the stairs where Margorie was found.”