Taste of Minnesota folds. Again

Oh no! Where will we eat until the Fair? The Taste of Minnesota has died, again. Jay Boller at City Pages says, “In 2010 the fest filed for bankruptcy and went on a three-year hiatus. It returned in 2014, moving from its longtime home at St. Paul’s Harriet Island to Waconia, Minnesota — about an hour’s drive southwest of the metro. Last year’s Taste brought the Gear Daddies, the Suburbs, Foghat, P.O.D., Fuel, and Jon Pardi to the Carver County Fairgrounds over Fourth of July weekend.” Maybe if they had signed Lynyrd Skynyrd?

In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes, “Ron Maddox, a former St. Paul City Council member, created the St. Paul-based celebration and Linda Maddox managed it with him from 1996 through 2008. The festival was sold and Ron Maddox died in 2010. That same year, a new management group attempted to amp up the volume with higher-end food booths and popular acts Sammy Hagar, Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms and 311. The festival, once free, also featured an entry fee of $20 to $30, drawing criticism from longtime fans.”

Unionizing in-home child care providers faces a long legal slog. Elizabeth Mohr of the PiPress reports, “A lawsuit filed this week revives legal arguments against a Minnesota law that allows for unionization of in-home child care providers. The suit, filed Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court, sought a temporary injunction to halt a mail-in election that is underway. The suit — which names Gov. Mark Dayton, the state Bureau of Mediation Services, the Department of Human Services, and the commissioners of the two agencies — asserts that the unionization and pending election are unconstitutional.”

Slow times at Kohl’s. The AP story says, “Kohl’s plans to close 18 stores, while pursuing new store formats including a foray into the outlet arena as the department store chain reinvents itself. The strategy comes as department store chain, which operates more than 1,160 stores, issued a weak annual revenue forecast Thursday after posting a 20 percent drop in fourth-quarter profits.”

Uh, oh. According to the AP, “ Officials with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety are reviewing all the state’s personalized license plates after the recent discovery of one that was seen as offensive toward Muslims. That plate, which read ‘FMUSLMS,’ was issued in the central Minnesota city of Foley. The plate was revoked after a picture of it was posted on social media, and Gov. Mark Dayton said he was appalled that it had been issued at all. Minnesota Public Radio News reported that now all of the state’s 98,564 vanity license plates are being reviewed to see if they violate state law. The law says personalized plates may not be of an obscene, indecent or immoral nature.” So what do they say about “BLZBUB” on a ‘71 Dodge Demon?

What? Now we get flu season? At MPR, Lorna Benson says, “Minnesota could be entering the peak weeks for seasonal flu after a fairly light fall and winter. State officials say 72 people were hospitalized last week for flu complications. ‘Our hospitalizations are increasing,’ said state Health Department Epidemiologist Karen Martin, who oversees statewide flu surveillance. ‘The percent positivity of our laboratory tests have increased significantly.’ It’s too early to tell whether this season will be mild, severe or somewhere in between, she added.” But it could be one of those. You never know.

MPR’s Peter Cox reports on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ visit to the Twin Cities. “Gabrielle Giffords urged changes in Minnesota gun laws Thursday, asking legislators to consider requiring background checks on gun show and online purchases. The former Arizona U.S. congresswoman was shot in the head in 2011 during a public event in Tucson. Six people were killed and 12 others were injured in the attack. ‘Stopping gun violence takes courage. The courage to do what’s right. The courage of new ideas,’ Giffords said at an event at Augsburg College.”

KMSP-TV says, “The number of pedestrians killed in Minnesota increased significantly between 2014 and 2015, according to data from the Minnesota State Patrol. 17 pedestrians were killed in 2014 and 41 pedestrians were killed in 2015, according to Lt. Tiffani Nielson. Already in 2016, six pedestrians have been killed, compared to four at this time last year.  … Nielson added that 34 percent of the pedestrians killed in the past few years had been drinking.”

Alert! Minnesota connection to the bear that nearly ate Leonardo DiCaprio! Stribber Colin Covert writes, “No Oscar film this year contains a scene as buzzed about as Leonardo DiCaprio’s brutal fight with a rampaging bear protecting its cubs in ‘The Revenant.’ And those two minutes of movie magic owe a large thanks to Minnesota native Tim Sitarz. As part of the film’s stuntman team, the L.A.-based Sitarz served as a body model for the computer-generated bear, grappling with the superstar actor. … Through their taxing scene together ‘Leo was a true pro,’ Sitarz said, despite outbursts of rain that extended the shoot for days. Over more than a week, the camera caught approximately nine hours of their side-by-side stunt work.”

David Allen of The New York Times offers a modest mash note to The Minnesota Orchestra. “On Thursday, March 3, the Minnesotans, along with a considerable contingent of traveling fans, will return to Carnegie Hall with a program of Sibelius that was canceled during the lockout in 2013. … artistic standards are rallying under Mr. Vanska’s leadership. A February program here included the premiere of Olli Kortekangas’s turbulent ‘Migrations’ but was dominated by wild, searing accounts of Sibelius’s ‘Finlandia’ and ‘Kullervo,’ so overwhelming that they consumed the thoughts and haunted the ears for days afterward.” Ok, so not so modest.

Too expensive for Edina. Says John Reinan in the Strib, “When youth hockey gets too expensive for Edina, you know something’s up. Arguably the state’s premier hockey hotbed for half a century, Edina is wrestling with a drop-off in participation among its youngest age groups. A major reason is the cost of youth hockey, which is why the Edina Hockey Association (EHA) is thinking about ways to reduce it. … some parents and children simply may need an occasional break from the intensity of Edina hockey. ‘They might want to stay home at night and do their homework and have dinner, instead of being part of the hockey world for the sixth night in a row,’ said [Edina Hockey Association board member Herm] Finnegan.” A “break?” What? How do we maintain superiority over everyone else if those little slackers aren’t out there practicing?

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