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UberX and Lyft clear key Minneapolis City Council committee

Minnesota families worth billions; discrepancy at horse-racing track; new play area at the zoo; Superior now free of snow; and more.

Minneapolis is working on its hipster cred. Eric Roper of the Strib reports, “Transportation services like Lyft and UberX will be legalized in Minneapolis, and taxicab regulations relaxed, under a proposal that cleared a key City Council panel on Tuesday. The unanimous vote on the package of changes follows months of haggling between the smartphone-based companies, the taxi industry and city regulators. … But the taxi industry scored some major victories … . Vehicles could be inspected at non-city facilities, for example, and cabs could be five years older than they are now.” Are they still required to have brakes?

We of course are happy for them all. At the Business Journal Jim Hammerand writes, “Seven families with strong Minnesota ties are among the richest dynasties in America, as ranked by Forbes. The families needed a combined net worth of $1 billion just to be considered. …

  • No. 4: The Cargill/MacMillan family, with nine members (estimated) worth $43 billion from Wayzata-based Cargill Inc.

  • No. 21: The Carlson family, with two members worth $10.3 billion from Minnetonka-based Carlson.”

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Financial impropriety at a race track? The PiPress story on problems at Running Aces, written by Sarah Horner, says, “A report issued Tuesday by the state’s Office of the Legislative Auditor exposed an ongoing discrepancy at a Minnesota horse racing track in Anoka County that shorted race purses hundreds of thousands of dollars over a five year period. In its findings, the 25-page report determined Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus was $436,000 deficient in purse contributions owed to horse owners between 2008 and 2012 due to an inaccurate interpretation of state law. The track has since corrected the problem.”

Monica Davey of the New York Times gets the Jesse Ventura defamation suit straw. “Legal experts say Mr. Ventura’s lawyers will have to show actual malice — that Mr. [Chris] Kyle knew, for instance, that what he wrote was false — to meet the higher legal standard in such cases involving public figures. And Mr. [John] Borger expressed doubt that Mr. Kyle’s book had gained sales because of a few pages about Mr. Ventura, or that Mr. Ventura’s work opportunities had slipped because of its contents, suggesting instead that the former governor’s popularity had fallen off on its own.” Not if you ask him.

The GleanNew stuff at the Zoo. Christopher Magan of the PiPress reports, “Minnesota Zoo supporters broke ground Tuesday on a 30,000-square-foot nature-based outdoor play area. The $1.2 million project is the next step in the reinvention of the zoo’s Crossroads Park. The privately funded play area will include climbing boulders, caves, slides and tree-top towers.”

The Designboom website is pretty excited about the makeover out at 3M. “… the project attempts to subvert the complex’s previous arrangement, comprised of highly compartmentalized rooms, by inserting many open work spaces throughout the office structures. these ‘hubs’ were strategically located in key areas of the buildings to encourage informal congregation, discussion, and foster collaboration among various departments. Specifically, these zones provide touch screen computers integrated with table surfaces, allowing for digital connection to complement face to face meetings. The interface allows employees to access network files, as well as link up their mobile devices and lap tops in order to seamlessly share information.” I believe that language is known as “DeepDesignerese.”

Ok, now I’ll put the snowblower away … . The AP reports, “The last remnants of snow are finally gone in Superior. The judges in the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Snowpocalypse’ contest declared the last snow in the city’s snow dump to have melted on Monday, July 7th.” I’ll check to see if that beats Yakutsk.

Their tax money at work … . Tim Franklin of the Moose Lake Star Gazette reports, “Some residents of Pine County are questioning Sheriff Robin Cole for taking part in a non-government training exercise in southern Minnesota last weekend. A total of four members of the Pine County SWAT team were in Morristown last weekend with their MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) troop carrier for an event called Outbreak: Omega 6! at a Z.E.R.T. event. Z.E.R.T. stands for Zombie Eradication Response Team.” In fairness, the “Zombie” thing covers a lot of nasty stuff. Like floods, hurricanes, criminal attacks and, I suppose, political conventions.

Even though it won’t have luxury suites or personal seat licenses, the Strib editorial page approves of the Met Council-Minneapolis Southwest LRT deal. “Once the trains are running, Southwest light rail will further solidify downtown Minneapolis as the business hub of a multistate region. It also will increase access to the job-rich southwestern suburbs for city residents, including many who are economically disadvantaged.”