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Five dead in Minneapolis fire

Archbishop moves to block deposition order; stabbing at plant nursery; report finds Minneapolis golf courses in disrepair; heroin epidemic hits suburbs, too; senators weigh in on mega-cable merger.

Terrible news. The WCCO-TV story says: “The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has confirmed that five children died after a fire in north Minneapolis Friday morning. Crews were called to the 2800 block of Colfax Avenue North around 5 a.m. When authorities arrived, they encountered heavy smoke coming from the second and third floors of the home. The smoke quickly changed to fire. More than 40 firefighters were called to the scene where cold conditions made battling the blaze difficult.”

The Strib adds details from the scene. Paul Walsh and Maya Rao writes: “Harrowing details emerged of a father sitting on a window ledge in his boxer shorts screaming “My kids are burning!” during a predawn fire Friday in a north Minneapolis duplex that killed three children and two others. A few others from the two-plus story structure were hospitalized at North Memorial Medical Center and Hennepin County Medical Center, Fire Chief John Fruetel said, standing a few doors down from the scene at 2818 Colfax Avenue N. Their conditions were not immediately known. In all, 15 people lived in the building.”

Because transparency is problematic … Tony Kennedy of the Strib reports: “The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis moved to block this week’s court order that Archbishop John Nienstedt testify about the church’s handling of clergy sexual abuse cases and release the names of all local priests accused of sexually abusing children since 2004. In a request filed late Thursday in Ramsey County District Court, lawyers for Nienstedt said Judge John Van de North exceeded his authority by ordering the expanded list of abusive priests and compelling Nienstedt and former Vicar General Kevin McDonough to submit to questioning from attorneys of abuse victims.”  

And I always thought of plant nurseries as happy places … Tad Vezner’s PiPress story says: “An employee of Bailey Nurseries in Newport was fatally stabbed there Thursday afternoon, and a man later turned himself in for the crime. … The victim, who was not identified by authorities, was pronounced dead at the scene. The suspect had fled. St. Paul police later said the suspect, a man, was driven to the Ramsey County Jail by family members. He had suffered injuries, which were not specified, and was taken to Regions Hospital for treatment. The man was to be later transferred to the Washington County Jail.”

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The GleanHere’s an interesting test of priorities … Bill McAuliffe of the Strib says: “Minneapolis’ seven public golf courses have suffered from years of neglect, and now feature bald greens, fairways sinking into saturated soil, ineffective websites, demoralized staff, ‘dated and disgusting’ clubhouses and even a directional sign on which parks pioneer Theodore Wirth’s name is misspelled. The cost to fix it all? $34 million, according to a consultant’s report that the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board got a first look at this week.”

At MPR, Jon Collins looks at heroin use in the metro ‘burbs: “The heroin epidemic has hit suburban areas in Minnesota as hard as urban communities. In Anoka in 2013, eight people died of heroin overdoses, up from two deaths in the county in 2008. Many more overdosed but recovered, county authorities said. … Growing abuse of opiates isn’t exclusive to Anoka County. Statistics from the first half of 2013 show that opiates, including heroin, continue to be a growing problem across the region. Hennepin County had a record 54 heroin overdose deaths last year.”

City Pages’ Aaron Rupar checks out the attitudes of Sens. Franken and Klobuchar re: that mega-cable merger between everyone’s least favorite companies, Comcast and Time-Warner: “[B]oth Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar expressed concern about how the deal might impact consumers. ‘I have serious reservations about this proposed transaction, which would consolidate the largest and second largest cable providers in America,” Franken wrote in a letter … . ‘Unfortunately, a handful of cable providers dominate the market, leaving consumers with little choice but to pay high bills for often unsatisfactory service’, he continued. … Klobuchar released a statement that is characteristically a bit more measured than Franken’s remarks, but critical nonetheless.”