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Minnesota Orchestra pulls in $13.2 million in donations

MinnPost file photo by John Whiting

That’ll help. Graydon Royce of the Strib reports, “The Minnesota Orchestra, emerging from a financial crisis and a historic labor lockout, had good news on Wednesday when the board said it has received $13.2 million in four separate donations. All given anonymously, the donations include a single $10 million ‘leadership gift.’ Three other donors contributed the additional $3.2 million.”

Speaking of music, at a slightly lower price point: Ross Raihala of the PiPress reminds readers that the Turf Club is back in business as of tonight. “Nearly everything else inside the club has undergone some change in an attempt to bring the venue dating to the 1940s into the 21st century. The new owners closed the Turf for the summer to allow for the construction. … Another change sure to please longtime customers is the overhauled and expanded bathrooms, which are now handicap accessible. They also raised the ceiling by two feet, added a new staircase, updated the sound system, replaced furniture and made other cosmetic changes.” Can you still be “rock ‘n roll” without the smell of stale beer?

Good piece from MPR’s Tom Scheck on the state’s highway maintenance dilemma: “The Minnesota Department of Transportation projects a $12 billion shortfall over the next 20 years — just to maintain the current road and bridge system. To make matters worse, state transportation officials project that gas tax revenue, the largest funding stream for road and bridge projects, will decline as people drive less and cars become more fuel efficient. … Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, the Republican nominee for governor, said Minnesota does not need a gas tax increase. Instead, he said the state’s transportation problem could be solved by reprioritizing spending.” Some specific suggestions are certain to follow, right? 

Petit parks? Frederick Melo of the PiPress tells us, “While St. Paul and Minneapolis are each 15 percent parkland, the area immediately surrounding the Green Line is 4.7 percent parkland, a number that could decline as new real estate construction rolls in. In a new 34-page report titled ‘Green the Green Line,’ the Trust for Public Land outlines how the lack of green space could be offset by several strategies, including asking private developers to create and maintain publicly accessible spaces.”

Another new law. This time related to breast tissue density. The Strib’s Jeremy Olson says, “The standard ‘all-clear’ letter sent after mammograms to tell women they are cancer-free is going to contain new and potentially troubling information for thousands of Minnesota women — the disclosure that they have dense tissue in their breasts that could cloud their cancer screenings. Minnesota lawmakers mandated as of Aug. 1 that doctors notify women if their mammograms discover dense breast tissue, which can mask the presence of a tumor on an X-ray.”

Now every God-knows-who might find out about your Peanutbuster Parfait habit. Says Mike Hughlett in the Strib: “Dairy Queen has become the latest victim of computer hackers bent on pilfering customers’ credit and debit card information. The Edina-based ice cream and fast-food chain confirmed Wednesday that ‘customer data at a limited number of stores may be at risk.’ The company didn’t disclose how many customers or how many stores were affected.”

We are always distressed to hear of malfeasance in proximity to Our Favorite Congresswoman. Corey Mitchell of the Strib writes, “A former top official for Michele Bachmann’s failed presidential campaign pleaded guilty on Wednesday to concealing payments he received from the presidential campaign of former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, to switch his support and ditch Bachmann. Former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson, Bachmann’s one-time campaign adviser in Iowa, entered the guilty plea.”

At NPR, Pete Overby says, “There’s always a certain amount of weirdness in the Iowa presidential caucuses, and in the 2012 cycle the peak weirdness might have come just before New Year’s. Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson, the Iowa chairman for Bachmann’s campaign, jumped to the Paul campaign six days before the voting — immediately setting off rumors that he had taken a payoff for switching sides. Now Sorenson has pleaded guilty in federal court. Yes, he says, he switched sides. He got $73,000 from the Paul campaign to do so — mostly at $8,000 per month. Yes, the money was laundered through two companies to hide it from public disclosure; that’s the first of two counts Sorenson pleaded to. And yes, he lied to an investigator from the Iowa state ethics commission; that’s the other count.” Other than that, he just believed so much in what he was doing.

And in the realm  of Our Favorite Governor:  Slate has a good piece, by John Dickerson, on The [Scott] Walker Hypothesis. “As I wrote earlier this month, the Wisconsin governor’s race touches a lot of national themes. On the Democratic side, it is a test of the strength of union forces that have branded Walker enemy No. 1 and a test of how effectively a candidate can be attacked for those who back him. (Walker has been supported by the Koch brothers.) But the biggest national test taking place in Wisconsin is a test of the Walker Hypothesis, which held that a politician who enacted conservative policies and didn’t shrink from the resulting controversy would be rewarded by a wide range of voters—conservatives, but also swing voters. It was a model that conservatives offered not just for other GOP governors, but for the party’s presidential candidates.”

GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson gets a “Misleading” from MPR’s fact-checker, Catharine Richert. “‘Mark Dayton is in trouble,’ reads the headline of a recent Johnson press release. ‘These polls confirm that Mark Dayton is in trouble, and that I am in a great position with the general election campaign just underway.’ A separate post on Johnson’s Facebook page said ‘Mark Dayton is under 50%! We are only single digits away from victory’! Dayton is in better shape than Johnson lets on. … In addition to having an 8-to-9 percentage point lead over Johnson, Dayton is also polling well among key demographic groups and in key geographical areas. For overstating the numbers, Johnson’s claim leans toward misleading.”

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/28/2014 - 08:15 am.


    So much for independent media. Why not just call a lie a lie? And then let’s talk about why these republican candidates can’t run campaigns without lying about so much stuff? Like claiming we’re putting all of our money into new office buildings instead of fixing the roads?

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/28/2014 - 08:19 am.

    Specific suggestions

    “Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, the Republican nominee for governor, said Minnesota does not need a gas tax increase. Instead, he said the state’s transportation problem could be solved by reprioritizing spending.” Some specific suggestions are certain to follow, right? ”

    There’s one possibility if you’re not going to increase the gas tax- subsidize drivers some other way. Funny, auto-centric republicans always complain that “users” of public transport don’t pay their fair share yet it’s a violation of all that’s holy in the universe to suggest that drivers ought to pay more for the road they drive on. Can’t these republican’s think clearly about anything?

    • Submitted by Richard O'Neil on 08/28/2014 - 01:55 pm.

      I am guessing that fuel efficiency will continue to increase while roads continue to deteriorate. So, our legislators must expand the tax base to avoid placing the full burden on gas. We all benefit from the road system.

  3. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/28/2014 - 09:06 am.

    Price Check

    I have no idea what it might cost to see a concert at the new and improved Turf Club, but I do know that tickets to the new and improved Minn Orchestra can be had for as little as $15, and even less per concert with a subscription.

    So there may not be much difference between the two price points.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/28/2014 - 10:01 am.

    If Elected, Mr. Johnson Will

    do what conservatives have been trying to do for the past 80 years:

    zero out all funding for mass transit of any and every kind,…

    because “we can’t afford it,”

    then plug that money into making sure Minnesotans continue to travel by the LEAST efficient, MOST fossil-fuel hungry means possible:

    individual automobiles (on toll roads and bridges if he could get away with it).

    Who cares if we’re killing the planet and our grandchildren? There’s MONEY to be made!

  5. Submitted by jody rooney on 08/28/2014 - 11:42 am.

    It’s not just roads

    I would like to see maintenance of infrastructure addresses for all public infrastructure,.

    With parks and forests it would be nice if campground which are really private goods (you have exclusive use of the site when you are there) really were priced to recover maintenance costs for the campground. At least that would give them a fair playing field with some of the private campgrounds if any are left.

    Funny how they don’t count the economic impact of closed businesses because of heavily subsidized facilities in parks.

    I am all for raising the gas tax not because I am liberal but because I like my roads maintained.

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