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Nienstedt forces out music director for getting married to long-time partner

Plus: Delta plans direct flight to China from MSP (someday); local VA comes under more fire; and a St. Paul bridge is in critical need of repairs.

Archbishop John NienstedtArchbishop John Nienstedt

This takes chutzpah. Says Madeleine Baran at MPR: “Archbishop John Nienstedt has asked the music director of a parish in Victoria, Minn., to resign after learning that the man married his long-time male partner last weekend, according to a letter from the parish priest. … In a written statement to MPR News, Nienstedt said he was ‘consulted about the employment matter and I responded by saying the teachings of the Church must be upheld, including the pastoral response of working with an employee whose actions are contrary to the Catholic faith.’” Where do you even begin?

Someone is going to have to explain this one. A.J.Lagoe and Steve Eckert at KARE-TV report, “According to official medical records, a former Minnesota Marine apparently contacted the Minneapolis VA from his grave to cancel an existing appointment and reschedule it. Jordan Buisman’s family believes his medical records were falsified to hide serious delays in patient care at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center.”

Following that report, Mark Brunswick of the Strib writes, “On Tuesday, members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation reacted to the news report, calling on the VA’s Office of Inspector General and the Department of Justice to include the case in an ongoing probe of scheduling delays at the Minneapolis VA hospital and possible manipulation of records. A Rochester VA outpatient clinic also has been flagged for additional investigation over scheduling questions.”

Ride a Dreamliner straight to China? Kristen Leigh Painter of the Strib reports, “The leader of the biggest airline serving the state, Delta Air Lines chief Richard Anderson, told an audience in Minneapolis on Tuesday that it is considering another nonstop flight to Asia. Executives at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — and many other business and political leaders in the region — want it go to China. Currently, Minnesotans who fly to China must connect through Delta’s hub in Tokyo or fly to another U.S. city, such as nearby Chicago or Detroit, for a nonstop on Delta or other airlines. ‘My hope is that we are going to be able to have another nonstop into Asia in the next three to five years,’ Anderson said, speaking to the MSP Foundation’s State of the Airport luncheon. … Delta is replacing its fleet of Boeing 747s with Boeing’s new, fuel-efficient 787 aircraft and Airbus A350s.”

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Sometimes a guy just wants to get out of the house and go cruising. The AP says, “Police were called Monday morning on a report of an erratic driver in a Chevrolet Traverse. The driver was going slowly and weaving. Officers arrived to see the SUV slowly moving in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Police found [a 7-year-old] boy in the backseat of the locked vehicle after he apparently moved from the driver’s seat. Officers persuaded the boy to unlock the doors. He led officers to his apartment, where his mother said she had fallen asleep and her son had discovered the car keys.”

As you would expect: Alejandra Matos of the Strib says, “Senate Republicans will file an ethics complaint against Sen. Jeff Hayden Wednesday. The ethics complaint comes after the Star Tribune reported on Hayden’s involvement with the Community Action of Minneapolis board and after the Minneapolis School District alleged he and Sen. Bobby Joe Champion threatened to withhold state aid if Minneapolis school officials did not approve a contract with a north side community group.  The announcement by the Senate Republicans said they are filing the complaint against Hayden for ‘using his elected office for personal gain.’”

You, of course, already bought the boat. In the St. Cloud Times Kari Petrie writes, “Minnesota homeowners are seeing the largest property tax reduction in 12 years, according to a new report. On Tuesday, Minnesota 2020 released ‘Delivering Dollars: 2014 Homeowner Property Tax Report’. The report attributes the reduction to state tax laws passed this year and in 2013. Median-income homeowners in median-value homes in St. Cloud will see a 12 percent reduction, according to the report. In high-value homes, median-income homeowners will see an almost 20 percent fall.”

Good idea. Make ‘em vote. Blake McCoy of KARE-TV says, “Air strikes targeting ISIS were launched in Syria Monday night and Minnesota’s senators are now calling on Congress to vote on the use of force. ‘I do support these airstrikes. I think this is an evil organization,’ said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) while suggesting Congress lay out parameters. ‘You want to make sure it’s narrow and targeted and I think it would be a good idea to bring that before Congress.’”

I’m sure it’s fine. Jon Collins and Matt Sepic of MPR report, “St. Paul officials are restricting traffic on the Kellogg Boulevard-Third Street Bridge in downtown after engineers found that the outer lanes weren’t designed to carry current traffic levels. A temporary closure of the bridge was already planned to start on Friday for construction on Prince Street near Kellogg Boulevard in Lowertown. When the bridge reopens Monday at 6 a.m., traffic will be restricted to the center lanes only. … St. Paul will immediately pursue funding to rebuild the bridge, Mayor Chris Coleman said.”

NerdWallet strikes again. In its latest study the on-line factoid factory declares there’s a fortune to be made in legal pot. Aaron Rupar of City Pages says, “Marijuana sales would bring in roughly $45,950,063 in tax revenue annually for the state of Minnesota if pot were legalized, according to a study put together by NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s methodology is rather impressive. Researcher Divya Raghavan used data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to estimate how many people over the age of 25 smoke pot in each state, then used that number to divvy up the $14 billion nationwide marijuana market and determine how much stoners are likely to spend in each one. The total tax dollar figure for each state assumes a 15 percent excise tax for marijuana purchases, which is the going rate currently in Colorado.”