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Wild looking at former Macy’s site in downtown St. Paul for practice facility

Plus: KG is back; Minneapolis man indicted for attempting to join Islamic State; cops say body cam footage ‘serves no public purpose’; Adrian Peterson ‘uneasy’ about returning to Vikings; and more.

Old Macy’s building, downtown St. Paul
MinnPost photo by Jana Freiband

Is there room to park the Zamboni? Stribber Kristen Leigh Painter says, “The Minnesota Wild and St. Paul Port Authority are discussing ways to turn part of the blighted old Macy’s building downtown into a practice facility for the hockey team. Jamie Spencer, the Wild’s vice president of new business development, said the team is interested in the building … . The St. Paul Port Authority, with support from Mayor Chris Coleman, purchased the building last year for $3 million to maintain some control over the site’s future use. The store closed in March 2013.”

For the PiPress, Frederick Melo writes, “The Port Authority had initially hoped to entice a developer to knock down the near-windowless building and start over. So far, developers have balked at the estimated $13 million in demolition costs. No official plans have been revealed, and Spencer said Macy’s clearly wasn’t built as a practice facility.’”

More sports. It’s official, writes the Strib’s Jerry ZgodaTwenty years after they gambled on him as a gangly teenager and nearly eight years after they traded him away as a superstar, the Timberwolves are bringing future Basketball Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett back home.

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Somebody needs a better group of friends. The AP reports, “A Minneapolis man who was stopped at a New York City airport in November as he and three others were allegedly attempting to travel to Syria was indicted Thursday on charges associated with supporting the Islamic State group. Hamza Ahmed, 19, was arrested earlier this month and charged with lying to the FBI during a terrorism investigation. Thursday’s indictment includes that charge, and also charges Ahmed with one count of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group and one count of attempting to provide material support.”

Who gets to see police body cam video? That’s the focus of a Kyle Potter story for the AP. “A Senate panel weighed in on the debate Thursday, discussing a law enforcement-backed bill that leans more toward privacy and would generally allow only police and the citizens who appear in the footage to access the videos. … Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, said public access to body camera footage ‘really serves no public purpose.’” Maybe the public should get to decide what the public wants? 

Playing to the base. Mike Nowatzki of the Forum News Service tells us, “Republican leaders in the North Dakota House of Representatives said they canceled the opening prayer by a Muslim on Ash Wednesday because some members thought it was more appropriate to have a Christian deliver the invocation. Dr. Nadim Koleilat, board president of the Bismarck Muslim Community Center, ended up giving the invocation in the Senate instead of the House. Comments made on the District 24 Republicans’ Facebook page — including one posted Monday that called Koleilat’s planned appearances in the House on Wednesday and in the Senate next week ‘political correctness at its worst’ — were brought to House members’ attention Wednesday morning by a district resident who urged lawmakers to ‘oppose the prejudice, intolerance and ignorance that is encompassed within these posts.’” Good luck with that.

But it also was startlingly wide. The AP says, “The gap is narrowing between white students and students of color when it comes to discipline in Minnesota schools. Black, Hispanic, American Indian and multiracial students still have higher rates of suspensions and other disciplinary action. But they made up a smaller chunk of disciplined students in the 2013-2014 school year than years before.”

Wait, he’s uneasy? Ben Goessling at ESPN says, “[Adrian] Peterson told ESPN on Thursday night he is ‘still uneasy’ about the prospect of returning to the Vikings in 2015, saying the organization working with the NFL to put him on the commissioner’s exempt list last September made him question how much support he had from the team for whom he has played his entire career. The 2012 NFL MVP called that decision an ‘ambush,’ adding, ‘There were people (in the organization) that I trusted, who knew exactly what was said, that weren’t heard from’ in the decision-making process.”

Someone feels lucky. The Forum News Service says, “A massive, century-old bridge crane being prepared for demolition collapsed prematurely Thursday at an industrial site on the Superior waterfront, causing one worker to fall about 75 feet and another to be rescued while he dangled from his safety harness. Both men apparently had only minor injuries.”

Yeah, a “study” will be good. Riham Feshir at MPR writes, “Gov. Mark Dayton is asking a federal board to require an environmental study of a railroad track that could send ‘high hazard’ freight trains through Minneapolis and west suburbs, including Crystal, Robbinsdale, Golden Valley and Plymouth. In a letter Thursday to the acting chair of the  Surface Transportation Board, Dayton said he shares cities’ concerns about increased train traffic, including oil trains, not typically seen there. Dayton added he wants the state to make a case for the railroad companies to study the environmental impact before going ahead.”

Vote early and vote often. At City Pages, Jessica Armbruster says, “Which U.S. city has the best arts district or neighborhood? The folks at USA Today are asking readers to vote for their favorite artsy area. So far, northeast Minneapolis is ranked number one with an impressive lead. The newspaper cites several reasons why the area — which houses around 400 artist studios and homes — made the list, including events like Art-a-Whirl and Art Attack, and Cache. Other areas up for the vote include Detroit’s Heidelberg Project, the Houston Museum District and Project Row Houses, Culver City Arts District, New York’s Lower East Side, and West Loop and River North in Chicago.”