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Met Council to Mayor Hodges on Southwest LRT: ‘Take it or leave it’

Minnesotan driving skills questioned; formal complaint in St. Paul skyway arrest; Enbridge pipeline plan advances; and more.

Inside the Southwest LRT deal: Curtis Gilbert of MPR writes, “The Southwest light rail deal that goes before the Minneapolis City Council Friday morning was reached following two months of closed-door talks that came close to unraveling. The high stakes negotiations were a make-or-break moment for the proposed line connecting Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. Documents obtained by MPR News through an open records request show the deal came together only after the Metropolitan Council threatened to cut off negotiations. On June 25, two weeks before the deal was announced, Met Council Chair Sue Haigh sent a letter to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. The message: take it or leave it.”

We’re #90! And #103!  Allstate insurance doesn’t think much of us in terms of “safe drivers.” Minneapolis made 90th and St. Paul 103rd. And you know the list is credible because Boston is ranked dead last.

The guy Tased by St. Paul cops in a video that’s gone viral will file a formal complaint. Chao Xiong of the Strib writes, “St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith Thursday defended the officers’ actions, saying in a statement that officers feared Lollie might run or fight them. Police allege in reports that Lollie was uncooperative, loud and declined to identify himself, prompting them to use a Taser to arrest him. The police reports on the incident do not indicate that Lollie did anything to alarm the guard aside from refusing to leave. … Lollie said he filed a complaint with police Thursday, which starts an internal affairs investigation. He also said he plans to sue.”

More (literal) pressure for the pipeline. The story at the Energy Global site says, “ … the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved Phase 2 of Enbridge Energy’s Line 67 Upgrade Project. Following six hours of testimony and discussion, the US$ 160 million expansion project was given the go-ahead on a 4-1 vote. … According to reports, Phase 2 of the upgrade will involve the construction of four new pump stations near existing Enbridge facilities in Donaldson, Plummer, Cass Lake and Floodwood, as well as the upgrading of three pump stations in Viking, Clearbrook and Deer River that were approved in an earlier phase of the project. The expansion is set to expand the Alberta Clipper pipeline’s capacity from approximately 450,000 to 800,000 bpd.”

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Minnesota’s jihadi connection has the FBI concerned. Tim Sherno at KSTP-TV says, “Kyle Loven, Chief Division Counsel for the FBI in Minnesota, says the [two recent] deaths reflect a troubling change in recruitment. ‘It was exclusively from Minnesota to Somalia. Recently, the FBI Minneapolis has learned that not only are travelers looking at Somalia and other destination points, but they now began traveling to Syria,’ Loven said. Loven says this new development is a concern and will be a priority for the FBI.”

At MPR Laura Yuen and Mukhtar Ibrahim have a quick primer on what we do and don’t know about this outflow. “How could more people leave at a time when so much attention is focused on this? [FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Rick] Thornton said that identifying such recruits is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Over the past several years, the FBI has reached out particularly to the Somali-American community, asking them to be on the lookout for anyone who might be considered disaffected, who might have a void in their lives that they’re looking to fill, and who have taken up a radical form of Islam. And that’s because there has been a history of mostly Somali-American men who traveled to their families’ homeland to fight for the terrorist group al-Shabab. But the news this week that Douglas McAuthur McCain died fighting for ISIS in Syria is a good reminder that the problem isn’t isolated to the Somali community, because McCain was not Somali.”

And now an actual legal threat. Tim Blotz at KMSP-TV reports, “The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media is threatening to sue the University of Minnesota if they use the Washington Redskins name when the team travels to TCF Bank Stadium to play the Vikings on Nov. 2. According to the facility use agreement, the Vikings have full jurisdiction over TCF Bank Stadium on NFL game days, but NCRSM director Clyde Bellecourt says they want the U of M to enforce its contract to ban the Redskins name from the stadium and get the Vikings to ban Redskins jerseys and face paint from the game.”

Kelly Smith of the Strib on another legal action: “More than a year after an Eden Prairie woman was killed by a falling tree, her family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city, saying it failed to properly inspect and remove the old basswood tree. The large tree fell on Nina Mackay, 56, as she walked her dogs near Mitchell Lake in July 2013. Her family now says that the estimated 90-year-old tree was decaying and full of insects, claiming in a Hennepin County District Court lawsuit that the city should have known about it and removed the tree from public land.”

Minnesota native/Vikings fan Drew Magary has profane fun analyzing this year’s team in his Deadspin rundown of “Why Your Team Sucks.” “What’s new that sucks: The stadium! Yes, the Metrodome has been demolished and will be replaced with a fancy new stadium for Minnesotans to openly shun. FUN FACT: Minnesotans deem themselves too good for pretty much everything except Hawaiian pizza. The new Vikings stadium will come with a clear roof that will cause the deaths of thousands of birds simply by existing. So I’d like to thank the Vikings for supplying me with the greatest metaphor ever for Minnesotan passive aggression.”