Cue the outrage. Sarah Horner of the Pioneer Press reports, “Parking changes aren’t coming just to downtown St. Paul. Patrons of shops along Grand Avenue, Ford Parkway, Arcade Street and a handful of other commercial strips in the city may need to plug a meter in exchange for a parking spot as early as the spring. Tucked into St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s recently released 2016 budget proposal is a parking pilot program that aims to install meters in at least one of 12 retail districts outside the downtown area. The goal is, among other things, to increase parking turnover so that it’s easier for potential customers to find spots, while increasing revenue for the city. … Areas under consideration include Arcade Street, Payne Avenue, Grand Avenue, Cesar Chavez Street, Como Boulevard, Ford Parkway, Raymond Avenue, Rice Street, Selby Avenue, East and West Seventh Street, Snelling Avenue and University Avenue.” Pssst. Free parking at 50th & France.
Catching heat from the Family Council. In the Star Tribune, Pat Pfeifer writes, “The Minnesota Family Council plans to hold a protest outside the governor’s residence in St. Paul at 4 p.m. Wednesday, asking Gov. Mark Dayton to investigate Planned Parenthood and calling for legislators to defund the organization. The planned protest is part of a recent national wave of protest against the organization sparked by a controversy over its purported handling of fetal tissues, which Planned Parenthood says has been distorted.” Will they show the unedited tapes?
Dynasties are all the rage. Did you see where Mrs. Pawlenty wants to get in the congressional game? According to the AP, “Ex-judge and former Minnesota first lady Mary Pawlenty is weighing a run for Congress in a district that won’t have an incumbent on the 2016 ballot, The Associated Press learned Saturday. A person with knowledge of her consideration told AP that the wife of former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty hasn’t set a timetable for deciding. The person insisted on anonymity to disclose private conversations. Pawlenty would start with broad name recognition and could tap a donor base from her husband’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns.” And if Congress doesn’t pan out, I assume she has a shot at a Wall Street gig.
Quite the motorcycle carnage over the long weekend. Marino Eccher of the PiPress reports, “A deadly crash during a benefit ride for a fallen motorcyclist turned out to be the start of a spate of separate incidents across Minnesota that left at least three riders dead over the Labor Day holiday weekend. The first fatal accident came Saturday afternoon in Oakdale. Two motorcycles were struck head-on by an SUV that overcorrected on Minnesota 120. They were part of a ride to raise money for the family of Randy Thill, a St. Paul man who died in a motorcycle crash in June.”
In that same vein, Paul Walsh of the Strib reports, “A North Shore native who was driving the wrong way between Duluth and Two Harbors and crashed into another car, killing himself and the other motorist, was extremely drunk at the time, authorities said. Philip Bergerson, 63, a retiree from Two Harbors who relocated to Florida, had a blood alcohol content level of 0.41 percent on July 11, when he crossed into the southbound lanes of Hwy. 61 and hit the car driven by Cole R. Drechsler, 20, of Cloquet, Minn., the State Patrol said late last week. Bergeron’s degree of drunkenness was more than five times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota. At Bergerson’s weight of approximately 190 pounds, he would have had to drink nearly 20 shots of 86 proof whiskey in two hours to reach that level of intoxication … .”
Speaking of roads, you signed the “Stop the Gas Tax Hike” log at the GOP’s fair booth, right? The Strib editorializes, “Cities are already looking to the state for help. They’ll ask the 2016 Legislature for a bonding bill ample enough to enlarge the Public Facilities Authority, which offers low-interest loans for wastewater improvement projects. For their streets, cities seek the establishment of a dependable, dedicated fund to be distributed via a needs-based formula. They want special consideration given to cities with populations of fewer than 5,000, which are ineligible for a share of gas tax proceeds. One possible funding source: a $10 surcharge on license-tab renewals. Another: a quarter-cent sales-tax option in small cities or the dedication of an existing tax.” With a little tax relief for job creators we can accomplish anything.
No ordinary cucumber. The AP reports, “A Minnesota woman who became sick after eating cucumbers that may have contained salmonella is suing a California company. The lawsuit filed Monday says Kathleen Dvergsten got sick after eating a salad at a Red Lobster in Farmington. She became severely ill on Aug. 14 and was hospitalized for nearly a week. Dvergsten is suing Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce, Inc. The San Diego company voluntarily recalled ‘Limited Edition’ brand cucumbers Friday and has said it’s working to determine if the cucumbers are involved in the outbreak that’s sickened nearly 300 people in 27 states.” Another reason to stick with deep-fried, chocolate-battered bacon.
From the station that never tires of goin’ to the lake. WCCO-TV tells us, “According to Explore Minnesota, summer tourism was the strongest it’s been in seven years. Their new survey found that more than half of Minnesota lodging businesses said their occupancy was up this year. Over 60 percent said their revenue got a boost this year, too. Tourism brings in $13 billion each year for the state.” So there, all you self-righteous scolds.
Also from ‘CCO, Reg Chapman reports, “St. Paul police are looking for a solid bronze tabernacle stolen from a church on the city’s east side. The holy object was discovered missing early Friday morning. Someone went through an unlocked door at St. Pascal’s Catholic Church and took the 50-pound object, which is considered sacred by Catholics.”
Eleven tracks in 38 minutes? Jon Bream of the Strib offers a preview of his review of Prince’s new album. “This 11-track, 38-minute album seems to be an odds and ends collection. Several of the tunes were played for me in a private listening session at Paisley Park in June 2014 after the Bruno Mars concert in St. Paul — months before Prince dropped two albums, the solo effort ‘Art Official Age’ and the 3rdEyeGirl disc ‘PlectrumElectrum,’ on the same day in September. One track here is a retitled remix of tune from ‘Art Official Age’ and another is a remix from that album without a title change. Others are one-offs from sessions with Rita Ora and Curly Fryz, a 21-year-old Californian who starred in Prince’s 2012 video ‘Breakfast Can Wait.’ These songs sound better on Prince’s sound systems – either in the studio or the soundstage — than on mine or yours.”
Not to be confused with Packers fans. John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune writes, “Two recent and credible reports of feral hogs running wild in the woods of Washburn County spurred the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Friday to remind hunters and landowners to shoot the animals on sight. ‘Go ahead and poke them. We want them dead as soon as possible,’ said Mike Zeckmeister, DNR wildlife supervisor in Spooner. Zeckmeister said the wild hogs can cause severe damage to the forest. The pigs also can carry disease, damage wildlife habitat, compete with native wildlife for food, cause crop damage and even threaten human safety, the DNR notes.” I swear I saw three in a Chevy pickup heading into Superior the other night.