Archdiocese is contemplating bankruptcy

MinnPost photo by Rita Kovtun

To no one’s surprise, Jean Hopfensperger and Tony Kennedy at the Strib say, “Citing growing financial trouble linked to clergy sex abuse cases, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Thursday raised the prospect that it will seek bankruptcy protection. In its annual report in the Catholic Spirit online newspaper, archdiocese officials said the unfolding settlements of clergy sex abuse cases are a key factor. The report says litigation claims are expected to grow beyond the $5.3 million the chancery has reserved for them.”

For the AP Amy Forliti says, “Archbishop John Nienstedt called the situation ‘disheartening,’ but assured the faithful that the finances won’t directly affect parishes or other Catholic institutions. ‘I am determined to see that the ministries and essential services provided by the Chancery Corporation will continue and that we will strive to minimize the impact of cutbacks on our Catholic people and the larger community,’ he wrote.” 

Not in my front yard! Reporting on an obscene outrage, John Reinan of the Strib says, “A plan to build sidewalks in neighborhoods throughout Edina is erupting into a high-stakes fight about the city’s future — and what kind of identity a suburb should have in the 21st century if it wants to thrive. … Edina, one of the oldest and most affluent suburbs, is meeting with heated resistance from longtime residents as it strives to become friendlier to bikers, walkers and transit users. While sidewalks are common in Edina’s oldest neighborhoods, large swaths of the city were built without them.” A pitched battle is coming, folks. Next thing you know we “the people” will be hurling stale croissants and half empty bottles of Bordeaux at police shock troops from behind the cover of our overturned BMWs.

A couple of stories via Vox. No one who can read a weather map will consider this, but Matt Yglesias writes, “Few people wake up on an unseasonably cold morning and say to themselves, “I wish I lived in Minneapolis.” But if you’re young and looking to get ahead in the world, you should probably move to Minneapolis. The five highest-income large metropolitan areas in the United States are San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Greater New York, the DC-Baltimore area, the Twin Cities area, and Greater Boston (Anchorage is also way up there, but tiny and I’m not entirely convinced Alaska is real). Four of those five metro areas have something in common — they are very expensive places to live. The Twin Cities are the exception. The $54,304 median household income in Minneapolis carries more purchasing power than the $59,799 median household income in New York.”

But if you do move up here, besides snow tires, thermal blankets, shovels and flares, you’d better buy a LoJack system for your Honda Accord.  Danielle Kurtzleben reports on the most stolen vehicles in every state of the union. Up here … Honda Accord, which is (and has been) the case for quite some time. But in case you needed further proof that our fine and glorious neighbors to the east truly are beasts of a different stripe, Ms. Kurtzleben reports that thieves’ vehicle-of-choice over in Wisconsin is a … Dodge Caravan. Preferably one with two cases of Keystone Light visible on the back seat.

Add another $5 to the cost of that pulled pork sandwich you’re planning to buy at the new Vikings stadium. Rochelle Olson of the Strib says, “The Minnesota Vikings’ owners have agreed to put more money into the $1 billion Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium. … According to [Michelle] Kelm-Helgen, the Vikings have agreed to increase their contribution to the stadium by $647,838. The biggest chunk, $234,889, would go toward ‘changing finishes and food service capabilities’ on the second level of the stadium, which is under construction in downtown Minneapolis. Enhanced concessions revenue is one of many reasons the Vikings wanted a new stadium.”

Speaking of chow … . I’m sorry. I shouldn’t. There are far more important issues. But this #grapegate thing won’t die. In the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Judy Walker tells readers in The Big Easy, “Each state was assigned a dish. Louisiana got David Gaus’ version of his Granny Lilly’s Shrimp-Stuffed Mirlitons. OK, Gaus doesn’t live in the state anymore and sucks up much media attention, but he is a New Orleans native and we love him (and mirlitons). Arkansas was one of a handful of turkey states. Alabama got Lucy Buffet’s Oyster Dressing. All good. Click here to see heirloom dressing recipes from readers, and here to see chef Frank Brigtsen’s mother’s signature Oyster Dressing and his other Thanksgiving dishes.  Minnesota, however, got Grape Salad. Not wild rice or hot-dish. Worse, the reporter wrote that he got the recipe from ‘a Minnesota-born heiress.’ Wooo-hee. The state’s residents took to social media with #grapegate and #embracethegrape, and to the NYT Facebook page to say hundreds of times that they have never heard of the dish, and ‘no one from Minnesota would never admit to being … an heiress. Seriously. Not our style.’ “

Now even The New York Times’ Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan has responded to the furor. “As Thanksgiving spreads go, this one was lavish. Called “The United States of Thanksgiving,” the online interactive graphic and the printed version over most of the 16-page Food section took a state-by-state approach to the big American meal of the year. Each state had its dish: In New York, Double Apple Pie. In Mississippi, Ale-Braised Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hock. The effort was impressive, and engaging, and – in at least one case – bizarrely wrong. The epic recipe fail came in the Minnesota entry: Grape Salad. A reasonable choice might have been the potato-dough flatbreads known as lefse or a wild rice dish. But instead The Times offered something that the state’s residents not only did not traditionally serve, but also – according to my mail – had never even heard of. One reader, Michelle Goedert, wrote to me as follows:

Dear New York Times,

What the hell is ‘grape salad’?


All of Minnesota.”

At the foodie site The Daily Meal, Karen Lo writes, “Minnesotans are annoyed — some more than others — at being falsely aligned with grape salad, the recipe for which the Times got from ‘a Minnesota-born heiress,’ who tells [reporter David Tanis] it was always part of the holiday buffet in her family. … On the same post’s lengthy trail of dissent, another resident voiced her displeasure thusly: ‘By the way, Times staffers, don’t mistake the mild mannered comments below as gentle disagreement. What you are witnessing here with each additional post is simmering rage and contempt Minnesota-style.’ ” As Mr. Jensen thunders at Howard Beale in “Network,” “You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, [Mr. Tanis]!!”

Finally, under the allegedly ruinous fiscal policies of the past few years … Minnesota’s unemployment rate has dropped below 4%. At MPR the story goes, “State employers add added 9,500 jobs in October, dipping the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 3.9 percent, down from 4.1 percent in September, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said in a statement Thursday. State officials said data revisions for September also led to an increase of 2,800 jobs counted for September. Minnesota has added 28,300 jobs over the past three months — the strongest three-month span on record, dating back to 1990, the agency said.” 


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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/20/2014 - 03:33 pm.

    A church can declare bankruptcy?

    Churches are corporations too!
    Too big to fail.

    That’s a mind boggling state of mind, whether the details are right or mistaken in this and it sure bears more explanation. Would be a fascinating court case.

    “The report says litigation claims are expected to grow beyond the $5.3 million the chancery has reserved for them.”

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/20/2014 - 05:57 pm.


      And what is especially pitiful is that this is money that should never have had to be spent on these ongoing and potential lawsuits if the church had just done the right thing in the first place.

      Of course, Neinstadt and his predecessors will never admit how liable they are – individually and collectively – for these costly “mistakes”. The church is going into bankruptcy because of them, but they’ll all skate free.

      Pitiful, and despicable.

  2. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 11/20/2014 - 03:55 pm.

    3.9% unemployment

    Good thing those damn Democrats got their comeuppance in the last election!

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/21/2014 - 11:56 am.

      Yes it is

      Because it wasn’t likely due to any that were ousted. I believe you would also need to give credit to the republicans in office as well.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/20/2014 - 04:06 pm.

    Despite Minnesota’s Excellent Economic Performance

    of recent months,…

    I’m sure the Republicans who will now dominate the Minnesota House of Representatives will be doing their very, very, very best,…

    to take us back to the “good old days” when things were going backward fast,…

    as they still are in Wisconsin and Kansas, those two bastions of “conservative” Republican miracles.

    What the people who elected those new Republican house members fail to realize is that the current Republican Party’s idea of an “economic miracle”,…

    is a combination of opening the flood gates for every kind of business or financial rip off (i.e. “reduction of burdensome business regulations” and “providing greater opportunity,” as they mean those things),…

    closing the doors of the courthouse to anyone who has been the victim of such a rip off (we have to keep the “market” “free, and screw those “liberal” lawyers)…

    cutting taxes for those making millions while providing nothing of value to their fellow citizens (mostly through financial machinations: i.e. “too big to fail” rip offs),…

    and privatizing everything in sight (to give themselves and their friends golden opportunities to make each other rich at taxpayer expense).

    If Minnesota had a Department of Defense, they’d be spending $billions on that, too, but in state government, they have to settle for whipping up “refer madness” and other drug-related paranoia in order to spend as much as possible on law enforcement related to whatever the drug menace is supposed to be this year (but NEVER alcohol),…

    keeping the counties building new jails,…

    and forcing as many inmates as possible into VERY profitable private prisons.

    Given the opportunity, our “conservative” Republican friends are always VERY expensive (and damaging) to our wallets,…

    our opportunities for stable, well-paying jobs with benefits,…

    our quality of life,…

    the quality of education our kids receive,…

    the cost of financing higher education (let’s turn those who went to college or tech school into servants inescapably indentured to their financiers for their entire lives),…

    and the availability of health care for the average person,…

    but those rich folk ALWAYS get a whole heck of a lot richer,…

    which is, of course, what “conservative” Republicans are all about.

  4. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/20/2014 - 08:27 pm.

    Good for the State!

    It was especially refreshing that the Legislature and Governor undid many of the taxes that they imposed the year before. Who knew that the results would show up so quickly? Now to find another new revenue source for the increase in spending that will occur with the next budget (8% minimum is my guess not including the bonding that will occur in a non-bonding year.

    On a similar note, perhaps all the wailing about cutting off unemployment benefits after 26 weeks was wasted as we, as a State, are now at “full employment” according to all previous standards. There were those that said that once people were off of unemployment, they might find jobs. It appears that this may have been true, or there are way more unemployed people that just aren’t being counted anymore. Take your pick.

  5. Submitted by kay smith on 11/20/2014 - 10:50 pm.

    grape salad

    I remember that dish from 40+ years ago. I thought it had died a natural death although it was tasty. We will try to bring it back by bringing it to a holiday party in a couple weeks. Grape salad forever!

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