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Big business puts pressure on Minnesota lawmakers to fund Southwest light rail

Plus: Less-organized, but problematic street gangs; MPR reporter’s dubious treatment by courthouse security; remembering Walker director Martin Friedman; and more.

Metropolitan Council

Janet Moore at the Star Tribune reports on large corporations pressuring the Minnesota Legislature to fund Southwest light rail: “‘Right now, there are more than a billion dollars on the table from the federal government to realize these transit projects,’ said the [Star Tribune opinion] article, credited to chief executives Richard Davis of U.S. Bancorp, Scott Wine of Polaris Industries and Doug Baker of Ecolab. … Corporate chiefs from Allina Health, Best Buy, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Mortenson Construction, Target, Wells Fargo and Xcel Energy also signed on to the missive.”

Mike Mullen at City Pages has a piece on how Minnesota Public Radio reporter Mukhtar Ibrahim is treated by security at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis: “The other reporter, who is white, passed right through and headed for the elevator. Ibrahim was stopped, and told he couldn’t go in yet. He would have to wait for the time when the court opened to the public. Ibrahim protested, pulling out a press badge showing he works for Minnesota Public Radio. Not good enough, the officer said. Go wait with the rest of the public.

Rubén Rosario at the Pioneer Press talks with youth and community advocate Enrique “Cha Cho” Estrada about the “less organized but no less problematic” gangs that have taken root in the Twin Cities: “With the help of a state grant, gang-unit members, accompanied by social service workers such as Estrada and others from other youth service agencies, paid visits to the homes of at-risk youths whom they came in contact with or who were referred to them. The goal was to make contact with parents as well as with the youth and offer wrap-around services or other assistance in as unobtrusive a manner as possible. ‘When they found out what we were there for, they ended up hugging us and wanting to feed us, Estrada said. ‘It was an amazing approach I thought was working.’ But the state pulled funding after two years.

Martin Friedman, the director of the Walker Art Center from 1961 to 1990, passed away yesterday at age 90. Joan Rothfuss at the Walker has a remembrance: “It wasn’t until 1988, when Martin asked me during a job interview to talk about my favorite Walker moments, that I learned he had been behind them all… Under his leadership, the Walker presented the best in contemporary painting, sculpture, dance, music, film, and performance.

In other news…

Sound the Gjallarhorn: Looks like the Viking Bar is re-opening and hiring. [Craigslist]

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Factor in navigating a zipper merge and we drop to #38: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranks Minnesotans as the nation’s best drivers. [Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman]

Some see purple, some see green. Prince estate gets first paternity claim. [CBS News]

Gluttons for punishment: Twins tickets are dirt cheap right now. [Star Tribune]

Medium-well take: Is there a generational divide when it comes to offering quality restaurant service? [Heavy Table]

Randy Moss in, Cris Carter out at ESPN. [Pioneer Press]

Using a couple of PTO days this week: 10,000 Minutes of Minnesota Craft Beer begins today and runs through Sunday, with more than 175 special events and tappings. [The Growler]

James Lileks bids a final farewell to Bloomington’s iconic Thunderbird Motel. [Star Tribune]