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Dispute over Vikings stadium cost overruns heads to mediation

Plus: defendants in ISIS case want name of informant; company scraps plan to ship crude oil across Lake Superior; this summer is officially one of the best ever; and more.

U.S. Bank Stadium
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Mediation is the latest play for the Vikings stadium overruns. The Strib says, “The question of who will pay for about $15 million in disputed construction costs for the U.S. Bank Stadium is headed to mediation. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is overseeing the construction of the $1.1 billion Vikings stadium on behalf of the public, said M.A. Mortenson Co. has made a formal application for mediation over $15 million in disputed costs.”

We know our rights! The AP says, “A coalition of news organizations asked in a federal court filing Thursday that high-level talks over the future of Minnesota’s sex offender confinement program be open to the public. At issue is a conference Monday in which a federal judge has asked Gov. Mark Dayton, top state lawmakers and others to discuss alternatives to indefinite lockup in secure medical facilities for 700 sex offenders.”

Suing his way to citizenship. Marcus Howard of the Strib says, “For nearly two decades, Maycol Quetzecua of Austin, Minn., has lived an existence with an almost untraceable paper trail. Sure, like many young people in America he has social media accounts, highlighting his passion for sports, music, tech gadgets, and Caribou and Starbucks coffee.  … But in the eyes of the government, the 19-year-old — born without a birth certificate to parents who illegally emigrated from Mexico — is not a U.S. citizen. Despite multiple attempts, Quetzecua has been denied a birth certificate, a passport and a Social Security number, according to a recently filed federal lawsuit against the U.S. that asks for a declaration of citizenship.”

Here’s the Strib editorializing about those school district pay-outs to problem employees. “Payouts are often the better option, managers say, because employment provisions in union contracts and some federal laws make firing more difficult. If that’s the barrier, districts should work on revising those rules. It doesn’t benefit administrators or union members to keep ineffective educators on the job. That’s not to suggest that all employee protections be scrapped. Teachers and other school staff members should not be subject to arbitrary whims of supervisors or face termination because of personality clashes.”

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Speaking of pay-outs. Riham Feshir of MPR reports, “Attorneys for the six men accused of trying to flee the Twin Cities to join the terrorist group ISIS are demanding federal prosecutors identify an informant who played a key role in cracking the case. The FBI paid an informant who went by the name ‘Rover’ and was identified in court documents as CHS. CHS was paid more than $41,000 from January 2014 to May 2015, according to documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court by Minneapolis-based attorney Andrew Birrell.”

Well, thank you for this. Says Dan Kraker of MPR, “The Indiana-based operator of an oil refinery in Superior, Wis., has suspended plans to ship crude oil across Lake Superior. Calumet Specialty Products announced plans in 2013 to explore the feasibility of building and operating a crude oil loading dock on Lake Superior. The dock would have been designed to load ships with heavy Canadian and light Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to transport to eastern refineries.”

I assume we’re not including the old Dayton’s store? Tad Vezner of the PiPress says, “Since its inception several years ago, the Minnesota Historic Tax Credit program has awarded nearly $120 million to private developers, to rehab historic buildings they say they otherwise wouldn’t have touched. The biggest recipient so far has been St. Paul. The city has 11 projects totaling $47 million, all but one of which have funded housing, from luxury to low-income. The Schmidt Brewery project alone garnered $23 million from the credit.”

Eventually those $50 bets pay off. Says Annie Harman of the Forum News Service, “Longtime friends Gail Murray, of Carlos, Minn., and Cal Stueve, of Alexandria, had their lives drastically changed on July 28 with a single scratch-off ticket. ‘It’s kind of a tradition,’ Murray said. Once a month, Murray and Stueve would go in together on a $50 scratch off ticket at Jerry’s Bar and Grill in Alexandria, which is owned by Murray. When the first one wasn’t a winner, Stueve suggested they buy one more. ‘I told him I wasn’t sure I could afford that,’ said Murray with a burst of laughter. ‘But I told him he’s not buying it without me,’ As Murray started to scratch off the second ticket, needing three of a kind to win, she exposed two $1,000,000 icons.”

Walker Watch. Brian Bakst of the AP says, “The highest-ranking Minnesota Republican is throwing his support behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for president. House Speaker Kurt Daudt was announced Thursday night as chairman of Walker’s Minnesota efforts. In a statement provided to the Associated Press, Daudt hailed the second-term governor as a ‘reform-minded leader who isn’t afraid to identify problems and fight for solutions.’” Don’t forget that booming economy, I mean deficit. (BTW, did he say last night that he balanced the budget?)

Shades of the famous McDonalds case. The AP says, “A Mankato motel is investigating a South Dakota woman’s report that her 11-year-old son was badly burned after spilling the motel’s hot chocolate on himself. Melissa Mentele of Emery, South Dakota, says her son suffered first- and second-degree burns while getting hot chocolate from a self-serve machine at a Holiday Inn Express in July. The sixth-grader was in Makato for the Minnesota Vikings’ training camp.”

But being Minnesotans, we all assume we’re going to pay for this. In the PiPress Andy Rathbun says, “he Twin Cities have dropped a couple spots on the Minnesota State Climatology Office’s Summer Glory Index, but this still remains one of the nicest summers on record. As of Tuesday, the Twin Cities were sitting at fifth place for the best summer weather on record, according to the index, which gives points for what it considers ideal temperature, dew point and precipitation and takes away points for weather that is too hot, cold, wet or humid.” I say, slush by Halloween.