Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


The tab for repairing three Minneapolis bridges: $130 million

What would it be if we each pitched in a couple rolls of Gorilla tape? Eric Roper of the Strib says, “A hefty repair bill is coming due for a group of historic bridges that have spanned the Mississippi River in Minneapolis for about 90 years. Three local government entities are separately planning major repair projects over the next five years for the Third Avenue, 10th Avenue and Franklin Avenue bridges, with the total price tag possibly exceeding $130 million. The nearly identical concrete arch bridges are cousins of sorts, built over a 12-year time frame around the 1920s.”

Another ripple in the U of M’s Dan Markingson case. The Strib’s Maura Lerner offers a short profile of a faculty bioethicist. “[Carl] Elliott, a bioethics professor at the University of Minnesota, has emerged as one of the most relentless critics of his own academic institution. In the past few years, he has waged a contentious — some would say reckless — campaign against the U’s psychiatry department, which he blames for the 2004 death of a mentally ill patient. Elliott is convinced that the department’s research is putting patients in danger, and he has used every means at his disposal to spread that message.”

WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy was the latest to enjoy Our Favorite Congresswoman’s farewell tour. “She says she will be just as vocal in her retirement. She plans to make speeches around the country and write editorials. While for now she is ruling out another run for the White House, she promises to be very active in the 2016 presidential race, especially if Hillary Rodham Clinton runs. ‘While serving on the intelligence committee, I was able to have front row seat on Mrs. Clinton during with the Benghazi tragedy, with her failed Russian reset, also she … was the architect behind opening up the door to Cuba,’ Bachmann said on WCCO Sunday Morning.”

Speaking of Benghazi: Scott Mayerowitz of the AP writes, “Dish Network subscribers were unable to watch Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network on Sunday when the channels were taken down as part of contract negotiations. The Fox blackout is just the latest skirmish as cable and satellite TV providers fight with networks over subscription fees. Dish Network just settled disputes that led to the temporary blackout of some local CBS stations and a separate blackout related to Turner Broadcasting channels — including Cartoon Network, CNN, Boomerang and Turner Classic Movies. Dish has more than 14 million satellite TV customers. Fox is urging viewers with emails and tweets to switch to another TV provider.” So that explains all the disoriented white guys yelling at traffic lights and park benches.

A law designed to help veterans appears to be working. At MPR, Sasha Aslanian says, “The 13 firefighters who graduated today in Minneapolis were chosen from 5,000 applicants. Twelve of them are veterans. ‘Of our last 53 hires, 47 of them have been veterans,’ said Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel. ‘There are a number of veterans coming back from overseas, and they’ve done a lot of great work for this country. And the country is paying back a little bit.’ The 2014 Veterans Preference Act gives veterans extra points when applying for civil service jobs.”

There’s some schmoozing that needs to be done to protect gambling. The AP says, “Armed with sales statistics tailored for each legislative district, the Minnesota Lottery chief is paying visits to lawmakers as he attempts to repair strained relationships and head off another showdown over tickets sold on the Internet, through automated cash-machines and at gas station pumps. Lottery Executive Director Ed Van Petten acknowledges he ‘kind of opened my mouth too much’ last session amid a fight to protect a new slate of games from a bipartisan push to scrap them, a skirmish he won thanks to Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of a bill passed overwhelmingly.”

The GleanObviously, word got out. Dave Shaffer of the Strib reports, “In the week since opening Minnesota’s door to community solar gardens, Xcel Energy Inc. said Friday that 427 applications have arrived from energy developers, a much bigger response than anticipated. The Minneapolis-based company said the applications propose a total of 420 megawatts of solar output, or the equivalent of a sizable power plant. A megawatt is 1 million watts. ‘It is a gaudy number — I am a little shocked,’ said solar developer Rob Appelhof, president of Cedar Creek Energy of Coon Rapids, Minn., which has not yet submitted its four planned solar gardens.”

In case you missed this one from Curtis Gilbert at MPR, “Road construction around the site of the new St. Paul Saints baseball stadium is adding millions of dollars in additional costs related to the project. The city now estimates that sewer and street construction surrounding CHS Field will cost as much as $7 million to complete — more than twice what it originally projected.”

At least Ol’ Sooch knows what it’s like to black in America. Dismissing the Obamas talking about slights they’ve endured, Joe Soucheray writes in the PiPress, “The Obamas seemed to have conjured up stereotypes from about 1922. They are intimating that, because they are black, they were deemed to be subservient. I imagine the readers of People Magazine are supposed to hear the word ‘fetch’ when Obama was asked to get somebody a cup of coffee. How this is supposed to help heal racial enmity is beyond my comprehension. Barack Obama is the president of the United States. He is the most powerful man in the world. For him to cling to a missed cab or the fact that he might very well have been mistaken for a waiter at some gala dinner is laughably harmless on the scale of true pain or suffering. The Obamas have effectively marginalized the likes of me so that our stories can never be shared experiences and thus have the colors of our skin become meaningless, which is what I thought we all wanted.” For his next column, I’d love to hear Sooch’s stories of being subjected to wolf whistles and leering comments by construction workers.

Comments (21)

  1. Submitted by Fluffy Rabinowitz on 12/22/2014 - 05:49 am.

    Carl Elliott

    According to several blog posts, Elliott is not listed in the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice data-base as a licensed physician. I reviewed the web-site and did not find Elliott’s name.

    Why is someone who may not even have a medical license evaluating psychiatric care?

    In the article, Lerner reported Elliott as a physician and this information needs to be clarified.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 12/22/2014 - 09:12 am.

      Carl Elliot, MD, PhD, qualifications

      from the University of Minnesota website (link: )

      Carl Elliott is Professor in the Center for Bioethics and the Department of
      Pediatrics, and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Philosophy
      and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He is the author or
      editor of seven books, including White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the
      Dark Side of Medicine (Beacon, 2010) and Better than Well: American Medicine
      Meets the American Dream (Norton, 2003.) His articles have appeared in The
      New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Mother Jones,
      The New York Times and The New England Journal of Medicine. In 2011 the
      Austen Riggs Center awarded him its Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental
      Health Media.

      A native South Carolinian, Elliott was educated at Davidson College in North
      Carolina and at Glasgow University in Scotland, where he received his PhD in
      philosophy. He received his MD from the Medical University of South
      Carolina. Prior to his appointment at the University of Minnesota in 1997 he
      was on the faculty of McGill University in Montreal. He has held
      postdoctoral or visiting appointments at the University of Chicago, East
      Carolina University, the University of Otago in New Zealand, and the
      University of Natal Medical School (now the Nelson R. Mandela School of
      Medicine), the first medical school in South Africa for non-white students.
      He has been a Network Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard
      University and a Visiting Associate Professor at the Institute for Advanced
      Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He is a Fellow of the Hastings Center, an
      Honorary Member of the Caribbean Bioethics Society, and a recipient of an
      Outstanding Faculty Award from the University of Minnesota’s Council of
      Graduate Students. He blogs at Fear and Loathing in Bioethics.

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 12/22/2014 - 01:01 pm.

        So, in other words..

        …Fluffy’s correct.

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 12/22/2014 - 03:40 pm.

          No, Fluffy is wrong.

          One doesn’t need to have a medical license to comment on poor psychiatric care and unethical practices in clinical research.

          Dr. Elliott is more than qualified to give an opinion in this matter, having both an MD and a PhD in philosophy. Why do you suppose the U of M hired him as a faculty member in their medical bioethics center in the first place?

          Attempting to destroy his credibility in this matter makes your comment look rather silly. Attacking the messenger is what people often do when they can’t attack the message.

    • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 12/23/2014 - 03:31 pm.

      Bioethicists are not psychiatrists or physicians

      “Bioethics is the study of typically controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine.” As it is a subset of ethics, it is not necessary for it to be done by licensed physicians or psychiatrists. Some of the most renowned bioethicists are lawyers, philosophers, religious scholars, etc.

      Evidently the U of M has no issue with Mr. Elliott’s credentials qua being a bioethicist because…they hired him for that job. My hunch is that people who understand bioethics and what is required to be a bioethicist did the hiring.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/22/2014 - 08:09 am.

    With a population little more than 1/3 of Saint Paul, West St. Paul is struggling to come up with $24 million to pay for repairs and improvements to it’s Robert Street corridor, which although designated a state road which carries a far higher traffic load than the Kellogg bridge, they are paying for themselves.

    Because they realize there is no magic money tree at the capitol, they have rejected two bids which exceeded their budget, and are working on something that fits their finances.

    Perhaps Mayor Coleman should sit in on planning meetings; it appears he has much to learn about public financing and fiduciary responsibilities to his constituents, and W. St. Paul is a fine environment for learning.

    I can say that because the citizens of W. St. Paul booted their long time mayor this year because of his failure to competently manage the project.

    • Submitted by Paul Sand on 12/22/2014 - 08:35 am.

      West St. Paul does not have one-third the population of St. Paul. There are fewer than 20,000 people in West St. Paul, and there are almost 300,000 people in St. Paul.

      As to what I think your point is, I don’t think Coleman needs to look to Robert Street as “a fine environment for learning” what to do in St. Paul. It’s an unwalkable, crumbling street filled with failing chain stores and acres of surface parking lots.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/22/2014 - 09:23 am.

        You’ve missed the point, Paul. Robert is an unwalkable, crumbling street….and W. St. Paul is picking up the tab to fix it. Because of that, they are honing the project fit into what they can afford. Coleman’s idea of leadership is spending his city taxes on outdoor ice skating rinks, a bicycle coordinator, triply redundant Human Rights departments & etc., then schlepping up to the capitol every year to beg for money to pay for the things he should have done in the first place.

        I’ve said before, I’m happy the people of St. Paul have the leadership they want; as long as they pay for it.

        • Submitted by Wayne Coppock on 12/22/2014 - 09:43 am.

          Because repaving a local commercial stroad is totally the same thing as fixing up important river crossings used by people from all over the metro. I’m willing to bet a large chunk of the traffic on the bridges has either a destination or origin outside the city.

          But you’re right, let’s continue spending transportation money on widening suburban highways and rebuilding interchanges and let these fall down like 35W. It’s what T-Paws would do.

        • Submitted by Tom Clark on 12/22/2014 - 09:44 am.


          Robert Street is still a state highway and MNDoT still will pay 40% of the cost of reconstruction, and there’s an additional $8 million of federal grant money that’s dedicated to the reconstruction as well.

          Of course to the Soucheray demographic, any amount of extra local property taxes means picking up the whole tab. Not. Rest assured though that not doing this project will cost West St. Paul much more in the form of lost business and ongoing patching of patches on the existing, crumbling pavement.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/22/2014 - 10:53 am.

            Y’all just don’t want to acknowledge the obvious point. Robert street has to be repaired. The city is prepared to pay for it.

            How much more local property taxes are the Coleman demographic willing to pay for it’s bridge repair? From what I’ve read, they expect the state to pick up the whole tab.

    • Submitted by Tom Clark on 12/22/2014 - 09:01 am.

      Construction costs have gone up

      not because of trees, but because the amount of road and bridge construction in the region makes it a sellers market for construction companies at the moment. The cost of waiting to rebuild a crumbling road is always higher though, especially when you included all the repairs to cars that travel Robert Street.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 12/22/2014 - 09:57 am.

      If Robert Street is a state road . . . .

      then why ISN’T the State at least helping to pick up the tab?

      It seems to me that THAT’S the question responsible leadership should be pursuing.

      • Submitted by Tom Clark on 12/22/2014 - 10:33 am.

        I did a bit of digging

        And found that there’s been discussion about MNDoT paying more for the Robert Street project but turning back the road maintenance (plowing and patching) to the city and to Dakota County in perpetuity. Needless to say, that would be a future cost to the Soucheray demographic, but they probably don’t care as long as they pay less today.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/22/2014 - 10:57 am.

          Saint Paul’s roads are a shambles, so turning back maintenance of the new bridge is a non-starter. How much more are the Coleman demographic willing to pony up to get the job done? From what I’ve read, it’s $0.

          • Submitted by Tom Clark on 12/22/2014 - 11:15 am.

            Not sure what bridge you’re talking about

            But I’m guessing it’s not a bridge but the aging Kellogg Blvd. viaduct. Mayor Coleman has said he’d seek both federal and state funding to help make repairs or build a replacement (Kellogg Blvd. is a state-aid road, AFAIK) and there would also be city money in the funding mix. Remember, you read it here first.

  3. Submitted by Wayne Coppock on 12/22/2014 - 09:39 am.

    Real Star Tribune comment about the bridges needing repair

    “norunnyeggs – Dec. 22, 14 – 8:25 AM – Name a bridge that has collapsed in MN due to lack of repairs. There hasn’t been any.”

    This should probably put the final nail in the coffin of reasons to never read comments on the strib (as if the racism wasn’t enough).

    • Submitted by Tom Clark on 12/22/2014 - 09:57 am.

      It’s a tell about what the Star Tribune thinks of commentators

      that on stories dealing with sensitive topics they disable comments. They might as well stop them altogether, as they never add anything to the story. But I suppose there’s a bit of click-bait revenue for the Star Tribune.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/22/2014 - 12:14 pm.


      I gave up on the Strib comments some time ago. Because people are anonymous, they’ll post anything there no matter how outrageous it is. No moderation, no throttle on the idiots, and no intelligent discourse. Now I just come here to check out the news and get some good stories.

      Sorry, Strib, but you got kicked to the curbside.

  4. Submitted by Fluffy Rabinowitz on 12/22/2014 - 01:04 pm.

    Elliott not listed as a licensed physician per MN Medical Board

    Eliott may have graduated from medical school, but he is not listed as having a current medical license per the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.

    Just like Bill McGuire, former CEO of UHC, who has not had a medical license since the late 980’s when he left Colorado.

    Neither are licensed physicians if the data base is correct.

    • Submitted by jody rooney on 12/26/2014 - 11:21 am.

      And your point?

      Mr. Elliot has a medical degree so he like many attorneys who don’t pass the bar has the knowledge. His doctorate is in philosophy which is the discipline of ethics. His position is that of a bioethics – bio meaning biology and ethics a branch of philosophy.

      Your concern about being licensed is interesting but is not relevant to the position he holds.

      He can shall we say “speak medicine” but his purpose is to impart ethics. Some thing that probably should have been done before the U was sued for ethical breaches made by licensed physicians.

Leave a Reply