Time to rethink art in St. Paul City Hall?

Some fresh art might be in order. In the PiPress, John Brewer writes: “Ken Ford spent countless hours in St. Paul City Hall’s council chambers as a former city planner, waiting for his items to come up on the agenda. He never paid much attention to the four large murals, painted in 1936, that flanked the room. At first blush, they’re all grand images of settlers taming the frontier. When he was tasked to look more closely at them, during a recent project with the St. Paul Interfaith Network, he was startled. He saw the deforestation of the Mississippi River Valley, the victimization of Native Americans, the subservience of a dutiful wife.”

Eileen Weber, a nurse attorney, describes (still more) bizarre facets of America’s world-class health care system. In a Strib commentary, she says: “In rural Minnesota, a highly educated nurse who has spent years developing therapeutic relationships with dozens of people with mental illness, monitoring and adjusting their psychiatric medications, must tell them she can no longer help them. Insurance isn’t the problem, and it has nothing to do with either the patients or the specialized nurse. It’s because someone else is retiring. The nurse specialist paid that person, a physician, several thousand dollars for permission to practice. When he retires, that agreement and the nursing care it permitted ends.”

Armed and ready to resume his stroll. At MPR, Brandt Williams reports: “More than a month after he was acquitted of a terrorist threats charge, Kevin Lavern Briggs, 56, says he finally got his gun and his permit back.  … Briggs says he was frightened by a dog that was standing on its hind legs, pulling against its leash while being held by its owner.  Briggs, who walks with the help of a cane, says the dog was four or five yards from him, so he pulled his gun and pointed it at the dog and threatened to shoot. The two people walking the dog say they became frightened when they noticed Briggs pointing the gun in their direction.”

Sophisticated? Not really. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib says: “The U.S. Secret Service has called the criminals behind Target Corp.’s monster security breach well-organized, ‘highly technical’ and ‘sophisticated.’ But cybersecurity firm McAfee Inc. said in a report out Monday that the heist was anything but exotic, describing the attack as a Breach 101 operation. The thieves used easily modified off-the-shelf malware, common methods to hide the malware inside Target’s point of sale system and didn’t encrypt either the instructions on where to send the stolen card data.”

This will draw a crowd … Tim Nelson of MPR says: “A St. Paul landmark will be brought down with a blast on Sunday. Crews are tearing down the Island Station, an old coal-fired power plant on the Mississippi River, upstream from downtown St. Paul. The 10-story building is topped by a 180-foot smokestack. The blast is planned for 10 a.m. Sunday. Authorities plan to close roads in the area and keep watchers at a distance.”

Would you settle for half an Osmo? Graydon Royce of the Strib is saying: “Vänskä might be asked to take a limited role as a principal guest conductor, leading perhaps eight to 10 concerts a season, but without administrative duties, two sources within the orchestra’s board of directors said Monday. Another board source, however, said the notion of Vänskä returning as music director ‘is still not off the table.’ ”

Dan Molloy, the guy who invented the bacterial control agent that … might … be effective on zebra mussels, says in a Strib commentary: “The Zequanox product contains dead bacterial cells. When a zebra mussel eats them, its digestive tract is disrupted by natural products inside the bacterial cells, leading to the mussel’s death. Since the bacteria are dead, once a treatment is made, the bacteria would not become established in a lake. Safety trials performed at numerous labs have indicated that the specificity of this bacterium in killing zebra mussels (and their close cousins, quagga mussels) is extraordinary.”

Here’s a guy who has watched waaay too much TV. Emily Gurnon of the PiPress says: “A Woodbury man shot a former high school classmate at Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub in St. Paul while posing as a police officer, according to an attempted-murder complaint filed Monday. From his hospital bed, the 29-year-old shooting victim told police that Patrick Timothy Juetten wore a fake badge Friday night and suggested they ‘rob drug dealers’ together, according to the criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court.”

The landlord of the property that went up in flames last month killing five children gets still more bad press. Curtis Gilbert of MPR writes: “The city of Minneapolis has not identified [Paul] Bertelson as a bad landlord. None of his buildings appears on its list of 50 problem properties. But over the last three years, city officials have received more than 60 anonymous complaints about Bertelson buildings — from garbage in the yard, to leaky roofs, to malfunctioning electricity. In 2011, a resident told the city the ceiling in one room had ‘collapsed,’ sending a child to emergency room. A week later, the tenant said Bertelson still hadn’t fixed the problem.”

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