Reading this in the car? Put the phone down!

Yeah you, texting your BFF from the middle lane … . The PiPress says, “Minnesota authorities on Thursday announced a statewide law enforcement initiative to crack down on distracted driving, including the use of mobile devices while behind the wheel. The campaign begins Friday and continues through April 20 … nearly 400 law enforcement agencies, including the State Patrol, will add extra patrols during the 10-day campaign. According to the department’s Office of Traffic Safety: “There have been more than 86,000 crashes attributed to distracted driving from 2009-13, translating to 25 percent of all crashes in those five years.”

That means you …  At MPR, Alex Friedrich says, “Following last night’s Dinkytown hockey riots, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler is sending this warning to students ahead of Saturday’s championship match against Union College:

“Let  me  be  clear:  Just  being  present  and  watching  a  riot  is,  in  itself,  a  violation  of  the  Student  Conduct  Code.  Bystanders  are  equally  at  risk  of  being  held  accountable.  If  you  are  present  following  the  game,  and  it  seems  like  things  may  be  getting  out  of  hand,  it’s  best  for  you  and  your  friends  to  leave.  In  this  era  of  social  media,  no  one  is  anonymous.”

Not that everyone there was behaving like a moron. City Pages’s Aaron Rupar has collected “The Top 10 photos” from the Dinkytown riot. “ … even for cops, there were moments of levity amid pepper spray and arrests.”

The assertion that bike lanes increase auto congestion? Maybe not so much. At the 538 blog, Gretchen and Aaron Johnson write, “We tried to answer this question by looking at Minneapolis, which Bicycling magazine has recognized for several years as the best city for biking in the U.S. … This is an important point: Bike lanes don’t cause a lot more congestion if you put them on the right streets. If you cut down the size of streets that are already near capacity, you’ll create severe congestion. But if you start with roads that are well under capacity, you’ll only increase the congestion a little bit. And it may not even be noticeable.”

A guy has to keep his skills sharp … . Tom Olsen of The Forum News Service says, “From 2010 to 2012, there were 39 suspicious fires in the Babbitt area, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Dunne told a judge Thursday. In December 2012, authorities began investigating Babbitt Fire Chief Ryan Scharber, who promptly resigned his position. Since that time, Dunne said, there has not been a single suspected arson. … U.S. District Judge John Tunheim followed the prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation, ordering Scharber to serve five years in prison for setting numerous fires in the Superior National Forest.”

Almost … . Dave Shaffer of the Strib says, “North Dakota crude oil output was 951,340 barrels per day in February, according to state Department of Mineral Resources preliminary data released Friday. That’s up from January, but down from the record high of 976,453 barrels per day in November, before a hard winter put the brakes on production growth. It means that sometime early this year the state’s output likely will surpass 1 million barrels per day, a symbolic milestone that oil analysts have long projected would happen.”

This is an example of what you call positive thinking … . Don Jacobson in the Strib says, “One of many commercial redevelopment scenarios revolving around the proposed Southwest Corridor light-rail transit line is being pursued in Hopkins, where city officials hope to land a federal grant to spur a possible new hotel and housing along the route. The effort involves applying for $7 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration to construct a 240-space park-and-ride ramp serving the downtown Hopkins light-rail station at Excelsior Boulevard and 8th Ave. S.”

MPR’s Brandt Williams takes another look at the record of (very expensive) Minneapolis cop, Michael Griffin: “A Minneapolis police officer at the center of two police brutality lawsuits that have cost the city more than $400,000 has also been investigated more than a dozen times. Yet so far, Officer Michael Griffin has never been disciplined. Critics say Griffin’s case raises questions about the city’s system of oversight and discipline for officers.”

After 40 Who concerts … now they tell me. Curtis Gilbert of MPR says, “Starting April 19, Minneapolis bars and clubs that feature live music will have to offer free earplugs to patrons under an ordinance approved Friday by the Minneapolis City Council. The earplugs will be provided to the businesses at no cost thanks to a coalition of private funders, including the clothing company Locally Grown, Globally Known. Its president, Brian Felsen, says the goal is to make hearing protection as accessible as possible.”

It’s stuff like this that makes feel old … . Says Patrick Reusse in the Strib, “Lou Hudson, 69, and among the greatest of all Gophers basketball players, died Friday while in hospice care in Atlanta. He had suffered a stroke on March 24. Hudson had a previous stroke in 2005 that had left him needing a wheelchair or other aids to get around. … Hudson, Archie Clark and Don Yates were the first three black players to receive basketball scholarships to Minnesota, through the outreach of coach John Kundla and his assistant, Glen Reed.” Lou was a joy to watch play. RIP.

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