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Vänskä moving toward return?

MinnPost photo by John Whiting
Osmo Vänskä conducting the Minnesota Orchestra

If the departure (in August) of the Minnesota Orchestra’s CEO opened the door, the maestro seems ready to step through. In the New York Times, James Oesterreich says: “But if any kind of resolution in the matter of artistic leadership is imminent, no one is yet willing to discuss it. ‘I don’t know what happens next,’ Mr. [Osmo] Vänskä said in a brief conversation on Wednesday, the first formal press interview he had given since October 2012. ‘They asked me last weekend. Negotiations are underway.’ Asked what? Do the negotiations have to do with whether Mr. Vänskä should return as music director or in some other capacity, like principal conductor? ‘We shouldn’t get into that’, Mr. Vänskä said.”

In an interview with MPR’s Tom Crann, Vänskä said only slightly more:
Crann: Now at the first concert after the lockout, I was there when the board president got up to speak, and people shouted, ‘Bring back Osmo!’ and he said, ‘We’re addressing that situation.’ What are you hearing about the addressing of that situation from orchestra managers, board members, about how much they’d like you to return as music director?
Vänskä: I have no idea how much do they like me to return, but I can tell you that we started negotiations last Saturday and I think that the purpose of those negotiations is to try to find out if there’s a way for me to come back.
Crann: What would that return, as far as you are concerned, have to look like?
Vänskä: If the negotiations are going on, there is no reason to comment on them yet.”

Graydon Royce’s Strib piece says: “Vänskä would not comment on whether [CEO Michael] Henson’s presence until August would affect his decision. He also declined to discuss his feelings about the board of directors. … Vänskä was terse during his interview, declining to comment on a few occasions and smiling infrequently. Asked where he will put his Grammy Award for the orchestra’s recording of two Sibelius symphonies, he said he had ‘no reason to think about that.’ ”

Sid has a scoop … and it’s about new University of Minnesota sports facilities. Says the estimable Mr. Hartman: “[B]oosters must be contributing because the Star Tribune has learned that ground will be broken this December on a $70 million football facility that will include not only a modern indoor practice facility but coaching offices and other amenities for the football program. The new facility is expected to be located in an area behind the Bierman Building, and speculation is that the new outdoor track will be moved to somewhere in St. Paul.” I can practically smell the Rose Bowl tickets.

I’ve seen sinkholes smaller than some of these things … Bill Salisbury of the PiPress says: “After the worst winter in a generation, a House committee on Wednesday tacked $15 million into a transportation funding bill to pay for patching potholes. Rep. Barb Yarusso, DFL-Shoreview, proposed the appropriation as a common-sense safety measure. … Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said Wednesday that she is looking to spend an additional $1 million to add two additional pothole-filling crews for two months this spring and contract for two spray patching units for that time as well.”

We’re getting closer to Sunday fills for your growler. The Northland News Center story says: “A liquor bill containing a number of measures, except legalizing Sunday liquor sales, cleared a hurdle Wednesday in the Senate Commerce Committee. The omnibus bill would allow brewpubs and taprooms to refill and sell beer growlers on Sundays.”

Belt tightening … at Cargill. Mike Hughlett of the Strib says: “Cargill Inc. will outsource some of its information technology services, a move that will affect 900 jobs worldwide, including 300 in the Twin Cities. The Minnetonka-based agribusiness giant told employees this week that it will move certain IT functions to Tata Consultancy Services, a big global IT outsourcing firm based in Mumbai, India. The transition will take up to 9 months.”

Show me the pork! The website WalletHub broke down the “makers” from the “takers” state-wise, and damn, but we need to be gettin’ more back from D.C.: “The extent to which the average American’s tax burden would vary based on his state of residence represents a significant point of differentiation between state economies.  But it’s only once piece of the puzzle.” Minnesota has the third lowest return on federal tax dollars … only 57 cents come back here. Wisconsin, where “it’s working” … gets $1.68 back.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Robert Leduc on 03/27/2014 - 10:05 am.

    Tax Dollars

    Undoubtedly a goodly portion of Wisconsin’s return on Federal tax dollars is due to unemployment benefits and other safety net programs owing to the unemployment caused by their disasterous state policies. Thank God for Governor Dayton and the 8000 vote margin that prevented us from a full blown Tea Party coup or we’d be in the same boat.

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 03/27/2014 - 10:51 am.

    Simplistic visual aids

    rarely provide useful information. The Wallethub graphic is a prime example. Included in those numbers is not only direct government aid (roads, police, fire, entitlements, et al) but federal government expenditures in defense (aircraft, naval vessels, military bases), purchasing, managing and improving federal properties, courts, and the thousands of other federal government activities.

    One could argue, using this data, that our Congressional delegation and businesses are simply not very good at making room at the trough. (Although it’s worth noting that today’s news includes a report that the Mayo is going after a bigger slice of Department of Defense medical research spending.)

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/27/2014 - 11:07 am.

    Cost per pothole

    I heard on the news yesterday that it costs $300 to fill a pothole.

    So for $15 million, that’s 50,000 potholes, which should pretty much fix Cleveland Avenue.

  4. Submitted by jody rooney on 03/27/2014 - 11:17 am.

    The Wallethub article is excellent

    It might be noted that where Indian Tribes make up a high percentage of the population and don’t pay state income tax or property taxes if they live on the reservation (Dakota’s, Montana, New Mexico, and Arizona) this subsidy is perhaps Government dollars that flow to tribes.

    I find it ironic that the people who most scream “cut taxes” are from the states that benefit most.

    Frankly as state we have it pretty good and we are self reliant. That doesn’t mean there are folks that don’t need a hand up and we could be a little better about doing that.

  5. Submitted by Stu von Wald on 03/27/2014 - 11:43 am.


    What a surprise (Cargill outsourcing 900 IT jobs, 300 here). And tax breaks and subsidies continue to corporations WHY??? Despite what Mark Kennedy and Tim Penny lead you to believe, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will only exacerbate this troubling practice. According to U.S. Representative Dick Nolan, we have no say in whether TPP gets passed, as our legislators have no access to the trade talks. More proof that we live in a plutocracy.

  6. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/27/2014 - 12:31 pm.

    RE: U of M new football facilities

    In light of the NLRB’s finding that Northwestern University athletes are employees, perhaps the U of M athletes will become employees, too.

    Then we can look at the new facilities as enhancements to the employees’ (athletes) workspace, to improve their productivity, rather like an administrative office upgrade, or new computer systems for administrative workers.

    Although the news flashes all emphasize that what the players won was a right to organize as a union, this is just poor quality reporting.

    The consequences of an employer-employee relationship go far, far beyond unionization. In fact, the finding that scholarships and grants are compensation and the coaches are in the role of managers has the potential to mean a great deal more to college athletes than a union card.

    Even though it is subject to appeal, I imagine this decision caused some of the NCAA leadership to pee thier pants, as they issued this high-minded blubber:

    “We frequently hear from student-athletes, across all sports, that they participate to enhance their overall college experience and for the love of their sport, not to be paid.”

    The NCAA, however, is not in it for the love of sport. In truth, the NCAA has its foot on the athletes’ necks, and it intends to remain in that position. For God’s sake, the players don’t even have an ownership interest in the commercial sale of their images playing in games !! I believe this is still in litigation:

    The college football, basketball, baseball, and hockey programs are de facto minor leagues for the pro conferences, who get the player development services of these minor leagues free.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/27/2014 - 01:25 pm.

      I wonder how many players

      will be interested in being declared “employees” when they learn they have to start paying income taxes on the value of their scholarships and other tangible benefits they receive?

      • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/27/2014 - 03:09 pm.

        Yes, good point. If this decision holds up, there will be…

        …ongoing effects and counter-effects and so on, which may not be clear at the outset. There will be plusses and minusses for all parties.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/27/2014 - 07:14 pm.

        I’m sure that

        their accountants will take care of it.

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