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U of M moving toward ‘cost of attendance’ for athletes

Plus: Orchestra to offer shorter concerts; PiPress endorses Simon for secretary of state; McFadden signs contract with Minnesota; and more.

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

They’d get more if they had a union. John Shipley at the PiPress reports, “With NCAA cost-of-attendance legislation on the fast track, the University of Minnesota is gearing up to offer the extra money to as many of its athletes as will be allowed. ‘We plan to include every sport,’ deputy director of athletics Beth Goetz said Thursday. That’s not an inexpensive proposition, although it should cost Minnesota less than most of its peers in the Power 5 conferences. The average gap between a Minnesota scholarship and what would cover the full cost of attending the U is $2,194 a year, according to figures compiled by the NCAA.”

The state has announced a $162 million program to fund roughly 4000 affordable housing units. James Walsh at the Strib says, “The money is the most ever awarded by Minnesota Housing, the former Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, and will go toward 78 rental and home ownership projects providing nearly 4,000 housing units. In all, projects in 33 cities, including the Twin Cities, Mahnomen, Deer River, Duluth, Winona and Grand Rapids, will receive funds. Those projects will also leverage additional financing, boosting the value of the investment to nearly $500 million, officials said.”

Beware the chicken Kiev. Jeremy Olson of the Strib says, “While the department [of Health] isn’t ordering a recall of the tainted products — Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast — it is urging people to either discard them or make sure they are cooked to a temperature of at least 165 degrees. The salmonella risk was much more common until 2008, when packaging was improved to clarify that these contained raw meat, the Health Department said Thursday.”

Less may be more. Graydon Royce of the Strib says, “Saying it offers ‘a burst of culture for busy lifestyles,’ Minnesota Orchestra will launch a series of hour-long concerts in January. ‘Symphony in 60’ breaks down some of the formality of the concertgoing experience and gets audiences in and out of Orchestra Hall in the time it takes to watch an episode of ‘The Good Wife.’ ‘Opting out of starters and dessert, this is purely the main course — a one-hour performance of great works,’ said music director Osmo Vänskä in a statement.”

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A market we never knew we needed. In the PiPress, Julio Ojeda-Zapata writes, “Urns for storing ashes of the deceased, intended to look classy, sometimes can be tacky — even creepy. One company hawks 3D-printed busts of the dearly departed, or famous people like Barack Obama. Then there is Foreverence, an Eden Prairie startup that is attempting to aim a bit higher. Foreverence is offering custom 3D-printed urns shaped like objects that were important to the deceased — a sportscar, say, or a guitar — and made out of a ceramic material that is intended to look and feel more appealing than the more-common 3D-printed plastic.” Is there a Wisconsin-themed Keystone Light bottle/urn?

This’ll seal it. The PiPress, 14 years removed from endorsing both Al Gore and George W. Bush, is making a choice today in the Secretary of State race. “We support [DFLer Steve] Simon, a state House member from Hopkins, with this caveat: Nothing should compromise the integrity and nonpartisanship Minnesotans expect from the state’s chief elections officer. As we’ve maintained on these pages, access and security are not mutually exclusive goals. The secretary of state must work to assure both, providing access to elections while ensuring that only lawfully cast ballots are counted.” As though the unlawful were?

The Clean Technica website has taken notice of our plan to put solar arrays alongside highways. Leon Kaye writes, “Compared to other states in the union, Minnesota has been slower to adopt solar, but change is on the way. Regulators have made decisions more favorable to solar in recent months, and earlier this year one of the state’s largest energy companies was ordered to invest in solar as well as natural gas projects. “Made in Minnesota” laws applying to the solar industry have also kept the price of solar high as its price falls across the rest of the nation. … In one survey ranking the 50 US states, Minnesota jumped 14 spots to number 8 in just one year.”

He’s under contract. GOP Senate candidate Mike Mcfadden was up north yesterday to sign … well, here’s the Northland News Center story: “Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Mike McFadden signed a contract on Thursday in Duluth which outlines his commitment to Minnesota. In the contract, McFadden promises to be accessible and visiting each of Minnesota’s 87 counties every year.” Who says there are no new ideas in politics?

If this is true, what’s the point of Christmas? The Strib’s Kavita Kumar says, “Will this be the year when Black Friday is finally dethroned from being the biggest shopping day of the day? Bill Martin thinks so. The founder of ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based firm that measures store traffic, has become a guru of sorts when it comes predicting and measuring the ebbs and flow of the holiday season. … He expects Dec. 20, the last Saturday before Christmas, often referred to as Super Saturday, to be the No. 1 shopping day this year in terms of sales.”

Some folks are celebrating today. The Reuters story says, “E-commerce services provider Digital River said on Thursday it had entered into an agreement to be acquired by an investor group led by Siris Capital Group for about $840 million. The deal, valued at $26 per share in cash, is at a premium of almost 50 percent over Digital River’s Thursday’s closing price. The agreement, approved by the board of Minnesota-based Digital River, includes a 45-day ‘go-shop’ period during which the company can solicit alternative proposals, Digital River said on Thursday.”