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The NFL wants tax exemptions to bring Super Bowl to Minnesota

Minnesota graduation rates improving; Pakistani in coma allowed to stay; Fringe Festival applications set record; feeding frenzy on Walker documents; a correction on FAA story; and more.

Minnesota Vikings

I believe the phrase is “unmitigated chutzpah.” In the PiPress, Doug Belden reports: “The head of the public stadium authority said Wednesday she’ll be looking for a commitment from legislative leaders and the governor in coming weeks that the state will adopt certain tax exemptions as part of Minnesota’s bid to win the Super Bowl in 2018 at the new facility. It doesn’t necessarily require passage of a bill this session, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, but the NFL needs some assurance before it decides on the venue in May that Minnesota would forgo some taxes related to the game if selected.” If the NFL told us we’d have to sacrifice our firstborn for “a big game,” we’d do it.

Graduation rates are improving … Kim McGuire and Steve Brandt at the Strib say: “About 79 percent of all students graduated in 2013, up from 72 percent in 2003. Last year, 85 percent of white students, 56 percent of black students and 58 percent of Hispanic students graduated, according to data released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Education. State education leaders said they are encouraged by the new data, which show minority students making big gains from year to year.”

The young Pakistani man, in a coma at a Duluth hospital, will be allowed to stay in the U.S. Steve Karnowski of the AP says: “[Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa’s] brother, Shahraiz Bajwa, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Pakistan’s consul general in Chicago told him his brother’s visa is not an issue anymore. The consul general also said the exchange program’s insurance company has agreed to pay for a long-term care facility in the Duluth area for a while, after which the family would have to pay for care, Bajwa said.”

You’ll need luck to get your act into the next Fringe Festival. The PiPress story says: “Minnesota Fringe Festival received a record number of applications for the 21st annual performing arts festival, which will be July 31 to Aug. 10. The 476 groups that applied for a spot (a 13 percent increase over 2013) in the festival will be winnowed to 170 in a lottery on Monday night at the Brave New Workshop Student Union, 2605 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. The 7 p.m. lottery is free and marks the festival kickoff.” I have high hopes for my one-man performance of “Lawrence of Arabia.”

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Foes of Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker are in a feeding frenzy. A quartet of Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporters says: “Thousands of documents unsealed Wednesday revealed the closest links yet between Gov. Scott Walker and a secret email system used in his office when he was Milwaukee County executive. … Walker on Wednesday downplayed his relationship with [Kelly] Rindfleisch, his former deputy chief of staff, and said he would stay focused on cutting taxes and creating jobs.”

Simultaneously … Daniel Bice, the Journal-Sentinel columnist, writes: “For months and months, no one would say who exactly was behind, a prolific website that posted anonymous items supporting Scott Walker’s gubernatorial bid in 2010. Now we know. Records released Wednesday show that it was Brian Pierick, the boyfriend of longtime Walker staffer TimothyD. Russell who was convicted in the John Doe investigation of Walker’s county aides. More important, Walker signed off on the name for the anonymous site.”

From the latest Minnesota Poll … Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib says: “The poll found that 82 percent of respondents are visiting the Minneapolis-based retailer as often as they did before data thieves successfully infiltrated Target’s information systems and obtained shoppers’ personal information and millions of card numbers. Eleven percent of Minnesotans said they are upset enough about the theft of consumer data that they will shop less often at Target; another 5 percent say they won’t be going back at all.”

And what does Mother Strib have to say about The Great Rogers Tweeting Scandal? “[T]he teacher is clearly the victim in the case. It’s awful that she’s been subjected to this kind of harassment, and it’s appropriate that she’s receiving support from school officials and her union. [Reid] Sagehorn has been damaged, too. The teen has been named in dozens of news media accounts that will be linked to him for the rest of his life even if he is never charged with a crime. Should a 17-year-old lose two months of his senior year and face speculation about felony charges before prosecutors have even started their investigation?

He doesn’t exactly sound remorseful … Richard Chin of the PiPress reports: “A 62-year-old St. Paul man who works as a fourth-grade teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools tried to kill his 40-year-old stepson with an ax, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court. ‘Well, I grabbed an ax out of the garage and I tried to kill my wife’s son,’ Mark Revere James told police, according to the complaint. ‘I swung the ax at him and I wanted to kill the (expletive) and I missed.’ “

Finally … A correction: Well, this is embarrassing. On Wednesday, I managed to completely — and I do mean completely — misread the story about the FAA and flight patterns over Edina and south Minneapolis.

Pat Hogan of the Metropolitan Airports Commission dropped me a note explaining: “I noticed your MinnPost bit about FAA vs. Edina. Actually, Edina is getting what it wanted: no RNAV departures over their city. In 2012, the FAA proposed RNAV departure procedures all around MSP. Residents and city leaders in Edina and Minneapolis voiced concerns to the Metropolitan Airports Commission board about increased flights on RNAV departure paths (which would have been offset by fewer flights in other areas). The MAC board listened to their concerns and told the FAA it would only support implementation of a part of the FAA’s proposed plan, for departures to the south and west of MSP, where there was significant support for the changes. What happened today is that the FAA issued a letter to the MAC saying that, for safety reasons, they will not implement RNAV procedures on some runways but not others. It’s an all or nothing proposition; therefore, the FAA will not use RNAV departures on any runways at MSP. So for Edina and Minneapolis — as well as for other communities around MSP — that means the status quo for departures will remain in place. So presenting this as FAA vs. Edina really mischaracterizes what has happened. The FAA will not move forward with RNAV departures on any of MSP’s runways. Those who would have benefited from FAA’s proposed RNAV changes will not reap those benefits, and those who would have experienced more overflights over their homes or businesses will not see that increase.”

My apologies to readers, to Hogan, the FAA and, of course, the great and glorious city of Edina.