Karen Zamora of the Strib reports, “Well before 10-year-old Barway Collins was reported missing, then found dead, Hennepin County child protection services had found his father responsible for mistreating four of his other children. Yet Barway remained in Pierre Collins’ care. Two years ago, the father of six children had been ordered to stay away from four of them after they claimed he’d touched them in a sexual way and beat them, Hennepin County child protection reports show.”
Nothing lasts forever (although there is Keith Richards). Says Doug Smith of the Strib: “A 38-year-old, Minnesota-born bald eagle — the oldest on record in the nation — has been killed by a vehicle in New York state. The male eagle was captured as a chick in 1977 at Puposky Lake near Bemidji and transplanted to New York with three other eagle chicks as part of a national restoration effort. The young eagles were banded, and officials found No. 03142 earlier this month alongside a road, killed by a vehicle. Records show it is the oldest banded bald eagle recovered in the nation — by five years.”
Left turn arrows: a major innovation? Bob Shaw of the PiPress writes, “First came freeway entry ramp lights. Then, roundabouts. And now, flashing yellow left-turn arrows. The arrows — the first change in Minnesota’s traffic signals in about 40 years — are spreading rapidly across the metro area, speeding the turns for anyone driving in off-peak hours. … When turned on, they let drivers coast through left turns instead of having to wait for the usual traffic signals. But during rush hours, officials can turn the arrows off. Drivers then must wait for the usual green lights to make a turn.” How about some kind of flashing light that tells the hyper-cautious they have to be moving at least 55 mph when they enter the freeway?
For Forbes, Ucilia Wang says, “Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, is also the epicenter of a solar energy boom. Both SolarCity and SunShare announced plans this week to build solar power projects as part of a new state program to make solar electricity available for purchase to renters and others who don’t want to or can’t install solar panels on their roofs. SolarCity said Wednesday that it plans to build about 100 megawatts of projects, at 1 megawatt each, in Wright and Sherburne counties. That plan is the country’s biggest community solar proposal so far and the first for SolarCity. At a smaller scale, SunShare said it would build solar projects to serve 5,000 homes.”
Coincidentally, Nick Smith of the Bismarck Tribune reports, “The North Dakota Public Service Commission rejected an application from a power company Wednesday that would have allowed it to charge North Dakota consumers for the cost of solar energy projects planned in Minnesota. The three-member commission unanimously voted to reject the application from Northern States Power Company, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy. Commission members said it was the first time the PSC had denied such an application. ‘The message isn’t anti-solar,’ Commissioner Brian Kalk said. ‘I’m recommending denial because it’s not least-cost planning and it’s not needed.’” Not when we’ve got gobs of explosive black liquid that we can barely give away.
For the New York Times, Monica Davey says of U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank declaring Minnesota’s sex offender program unconstitutional: “While Judge Frank’s ruling, released on Wednesday, does not directly affect civil commitment programs in other states, officials elsewhere were paying close attention to the outcome, largely because questions about the constitutionality, costs and effectiveness of holding sex offenders beyond their prison terms have long been debated.”
Kids, don’t try this. Scott Heins at Deadspin snuck into the Vikings stadium construction site one night not long ago and snapped some pretty cool pictures. “On a warm evening last month I parked my car on Chicago Avenue, not far from the stadium, and with camera gear in tow headed over to look at the site’s outermost barrier — a mix of chain-link fence and plastic barricades. A simple push against the fence opened a human-sized gap a few feet off the ground and in seconds I slipped from sanctioned public space onto the rocky dirt of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.”
The new guy was in the state yesterday. Marcus Howard of the Strib says, “Interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda met with the state’s Catholic priests Wednesday as he assumed the reins of an archdiocese rocked by the resignation of its leader and charges of clergy sex abuse. Hebda arrived in Minnesota Tuesday evening and on Wednesday joined a few hundred priests gathered in Rochester for an assembly that convenes every two years.”
The Met Council doesn’t want KSTP-TV to get its hands on bus videos. Says Ben Bartenstein for the PiPress, “The Metropolitan Council on Wednesday sought to keep KSTP-TV from getting Metro Transit videos of drivers and passengers. The Met Council argued before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, seeking to reverse a lower ruling that favored KSTP-TV under the state’s Government Data Practices Act. The dispute involved Metro Transit’s rejection of KSTP video requests. In fall 2013, KSTP reporter Jay Kolls sought surveillance tapes of two Metro Transit employees in separate incidents.”
Taking a break from pillorying John Kline, City Pages’ Cory Zurowski turns his blade on Erik Paulsen. “Paulsen was the number-one recipient in all of Congress in campaign contributions from the medical supply sector last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a Washington, D.C., nonprofit group that tracks money in politics. The industry gave him almost $100,000; finishing a distant second was Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) with $60,000. In 2012 Paulsen was again the undisputed taking-campaign-cash-from-medical-supplies champion. Paulsen’s nearly $120,000 crushed second place finisher Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) by close to $30,000. When asked by a reporter in 2013 if campaign contributions from the medical supply industry played any role in his opposition to the medical device tax, Paulsen replied, ‘No, none whatsoever.’” What else could he say?