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Lawmakers strike deal for $373 million in construction projects

The public works portion of the budget talks has bounced back up to $373 million. The Strib’s Patrick Condon reports, “Leading Minnesota lawmakers agreed Thursday on a $373 million list of debt-backed construction projects that will get a vote in the upcoming special session … It includes $140 million in highway bonds for an Iron Range-area project that involves relocating a portion of state Hwy. 53 near the city of Virginia. It also includes $59 million for projects on higher education campuses, $26 million in additional funds for the restoration of the Capitol, $24 million for flood prevention efforts in parts of the state, $32 million for transportation projects, $19 million for a water pipeline expansion, and a number of smaller spending initiatives. A full list of the agreed-upon projects was posted early Thursday afternoon.” Please tell me someone will get a new stadium.

At MPR, Tom Scheck says, “It also includes nearly $180 million in general obligation bonding money for projects including finishing the state Capitol renovation and building animal testing labs in St. Paul and Willmar. Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, says the labs are geared toward testing and preventing the spread of the bird flu that is devastating poultry flocks.”

Yeah, oversight frowns on this sort of thing. The Paul Walsh Strib story says, “State regulators have revoked the license of a western Minnesota psychologist and onetime college instructor accused of having a sexual affair with a student he taught and supervised as an intern. Dorrance W. Larson, 65, who worked as a psychologist in Breckenridge, was directed to halt practicing in Minnesota effective immediately and surrender all licenses and certificates, according to the order from the state’s Board of Psychology.”

First Bernie, now Hillary. Catharine Richert at MPR says, “Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton will be in Minneapolis later this month for the first time since announcing her 2016 campaign for the White House. She will hold a fundraiser in Minneapolis on June 22 for her ‘50 state campaign’. The price of admission is $2,700, the maximum an individual can give to a presidential candidate before there’s a nominee.” $2,700! Are The Beatles opening for her?

A response, from the president of the Association of Minnesota Counties to the Strib’s pro-auditor editorial. Christopher Shoff says, “ … the editorial failed to give a fair representation of what this discussion is really about: equity among local units of government in Minnesota. Missing was an explanation of why the OSA thinks a certified public accountant (CPA) firm would be less able to provide a thorough and competent audit of a local government. Taxpayers, counties and legislators from both sides of the aisle have been asking for an explanation of this assertion for years and have never received a straightforward answer.”

How do fellow inmates treat a dog torturer? Dana Thiede and Lou Raguse at KARE-TV say, “Anthony Sather entered guilty pleas to counts of animal cruelty and drug possession, and detailed his role in the crime in Sherburne County District Court Thursday morning. Sather was charged in the death of Draco, a small siberian husky mix that belonged to his girlfriend. He videotaped the ordeal as the dog was slammed to a concrete floor, punched, kicked, severely beaten and then shot. Investigators say Sather then dumped the dog’s lifeless body in a ditch.”

The Glean

MPR’s Brandt Williams covers the local ACLU’s list of recommendations to the Minneapolis police. “Many of the recommended reforms can be implemented by the police department, ACLU legal director Teresa Nelson said. That includes police wearing and using body cameras ‘to record every interaction with … the community.’ The ACLU list also calls for strengthening the department’s existing rules against biased policing, giving the city’s civilian police oversight group more authority and ensuring that officers aren’t rewarded just for making lots of arrests.”

To hell with Subway, we’re all going to Manny’s. KMSP-TV’s Mike Durkin  reports, “Anthony Fusaro of Plymouth, Minnesota was on lunch break Wednesday when he decided to check the winning Mega Millions numbers for June 2. He’s been playing the same numbers for more than a year, so Fusaro didn’t even have to check his ticket to know he was holding a $1 million winner.”

The Gaia Democratic School isn’t backing down from its support of that field trip to what the professionally irate are calling “a smut shop.” Also at KMSP, Jonathan Choe says, “The sex education teacher is also the school’s director, and wouldn’t talk to Fox 9 when asked for comment. The school board posted a letter to its website saying it stands behind the field trip and it views it as a legitimate learning experience that relates directly to topics covered during a year-long sexual health class. ‘Despite the burst of publicity in our last weeks of school, Gaia Democratic School’s board of directors stands behind the premise of the field trip; we view it as a legitimate learning experience that relates directly to topics covered during our year­-long Sexual Health class. Our in ­class discussions paved the way to a store visit and the participants communicated to us that the trip was a positive educational experience. No student was required to attend,’ the statement reads, in part.” Now, if the next trip is to Madam Veronika’s House of Whips … .

Teresa Welsh of U.S. News and World report looks at local Somalis and the fascination with ISIS. “Previously, young men who left Minnesota – home to the largest Somali population in the U.S. – to join al-Shabab were largely drawn to the fight in Somalia in response to an invasion by Ethiopia in 2006. They numbered between 20 and 25, says Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division. … The Islamic State group doesn’t offer a ‘nationalistic pull’ for Somalis, [says Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division]. But the extremists are much more ‘sophisticated’ than al-Shabab when it comes to propaganda and public relations.”

Jerard Fagerberg of City Pages, who I’m guessing isn’t a geezer, offers this appraisal of The Rolling Stones’ concert: “ … they carried on with a nearly procedural awkwardness. It was a strange turn, as if the Stones were zombified by their quinquagenarian history of being enormous. Watts tinked along like a sunken-cheeked automaton; Richards’s jaw looked as though it could detach if he got too enthused. Jagger strutted with the gait of an arthritic shih tzu. It was far from graceful, but all the physical aspects were inconsequential. What was at hand was an intensely important concert — quite possibly the Stones’ last show ever in the Twin Cities. Viewed with that fatalism, it was intoxicating.” You try dropping “quinquagenarian” into a conversation some time.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 06/05/2015 - 12:22 pm.

    “quite possibly the Stones’ last show ever in the Twin Cities.”

    Ha, I’ve heard that before. I thought I was attending one of their last show when I saw them in Boulder in 1981.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/05/2015 - 01:12 pm.

    “we view it as a legitimate learning experience that relates directly to topics covered during our year­-long Sexual Health class.”

    Reading between those lines, with relation to 10 to 13 year old kids, says so much more than we really want to know.

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