While various political and business leaders go back into cheerleading mode for the Vikings stadium, buzz killers at Bloomberg: Brian Chappatta and Darrell Preston write: “After overcoming a legal challenge, Minnesota is reviving a sale of $468 million in bonds backed by state appropriations, offering documents show. … investors may demand 0.2 percentage point of extra yield on the debt because the pledge is weaker than a general obligation, said Matthew Hilliard, an analyst at Minneapolis-based Sit Investment Associates … Such a gap could add about $15 million to interest payments over the life of the tax-exempt bonds, data compiled by Bloomberg show. …Even without the lawsuit, the state will have to pay a yield penalty.” $15 million here, $15 million there. Does that ever add up to real money?
Speaking of gaudy numbers … Bill Salisbury of the PiPress says of the area’s Super Bowl effort: “ The co-chairs of the Minnesota steering committee are Ecolab CEO Doug Baker, U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, the former CEO of the Carlson Companies. … Their main job will be to raise private contributions to sponsor the week-long celebration … Indianapolis raised about $25 million to host the 2012 Super Bowl, and Dallas raised nearly $40 million for its game, said Vikings vice president Lester Bagley. Davis said the Minnesota committee hasn’t yet set a fund-raising goal.” You read that right. After “contributing” to the construction, pro-major league Minnesotans will be asked to cut another check for the privilege of hosting the NFL’s biggest party. Briana Bierschbach has MinnPost coverage here.
MPR’s Tim Nelson says: “The winner isn’t expected to be named until this spring, but the Vikings and stadium officials are hoping to close the deal this weekend. Their New York visit includes a Super Bowl eve reception at Il Gattopardo on 54th St. in Manhattan — part of the so-called ‘Millionaire’s Row’ area and right behind the Museum of Modern Art. ‘It’ll include NFL dignitaries, Vikings ownership, Vikings front office, current and former players, as well as business partners and community leaders from Minnesota,’ Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said.” In other words, precisely the people the new stadium is being built to please.
Meanwhile, the governor is surprised by a different set of numbers … Alex Friedrich of MPR says: “MPR News’ Dan Kraker has reported this from Duluth: Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that he was shocked to hear that there is an imbalance of funding between funding for the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the Twin Cities campus. At a UMD forum held by Dayton and several state legislators, several people, faculty and staff members complained about the disparity in state funding. UMD receives about $28 million every two years from the state, down 45 percent from five years ago. The Twin Cities campus has seen its state funding drop by about 20 percent over that same time period.”
Still more on skyrocketing propane prices. The AP says: “Federal and state lawmakers have been seeking answers in recent weeks for propane price spikes and supply problems. Supplies fell to lower than normal before the cold weather, partly because farmers had to use an unusually large amount to dry grain before storage. The federal government said propane supplies dropped to the lowest recorded level during the second week of January.”
Bacon in peril! The AP story says: “Minnesota’s pork industry is on edge over a deadly hog disease. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was first reported in Minnesota last May. It doesn’t make humans sick, but the disease is shrinking herds and could mean higher prices at the grocery store … The virus spreads rapidly, carried by manure or soil, and kills half or more of piglets that get the disease.”
How (not) to keep your fans happy … Jay Gabler at MPR’s The Current reports: “Prince has always been extremely protective of his copyrighted music, and the Minnesota megastar has just lobbed a lawsuit at 22 fans — 20 of them anonymous — for ‘massive infringement and bootlegging of Prince’s material.’ What makes this lawsuit (first reported by Consequence of Sound) unusual among the many various music-industry actions filed against users who share illegal recordings each year is that Prince, in this case, is suing fans who merely posted links to illegal recordings of his concert — not just fans who actively uploaded or hosted files.”
The folks responsible for that bumbling testing service will not be back … Christopher Magan at the PiPress says: “Minnesota Department of Education officials have picked testing provider Pearson to administer the state’s proficiency tests beginning next school year. The contract is to administer the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, or MCAs, in math, reading and science to third- through seventh-graders as well as new tests for eighth- and 10th-graders. … Students across Minnesota experienced glitches and slowdowns with AIR’s web-based MCA tests last spring.”
“The Lex” is getting its old owner back. Keane Amdahl at City Pages says: “Word rolled in late last week that a former owner of the Lexington, one of St. Paul’s most classic, high-end eateries, has purchased the restaurant once more. Rick Webb, who operated the restaurant in the 1990s, has yet to announce his plans for the St. Paul landmark this time around.” Just as long as Ron Rosenbaum’s table is ready for him …