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Legislature agrees to soccer-stadium property tax exemption

Plus: Minneapolis park board has pretty good racial-equity record; L.A. reporter taken a tour of Somali Minneapolis; Minnesota septic systems in bad shape; and more.


The Legislature may not have gotten much done this session, but they always find time for pro sports. Northern Pitch’s Brian Quarstad writes: “In the final hours of the Minnesota State Legislature, the Senate approved House Bill 848 which provides property tax exemption for the Minnesota United stadium planned for the Midway area of St. Paul. The Senate approved the vote 55-12. With the passing of the bill, the measure will now be sent to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to sign. … While the property tax exemption flew through the House and Senate, the sales tax exemption on construction materials was not added by the House. All tax bills have to originate in the House before they are sent to the Senate. The sales tax exemption was requested by the team but it would have been a minimal amount compared to the cost of holding off the stadium construction for another year. It was not believed to be a deal killer.”

Some context for the recent controversy regarding race and the Minneapolis park board. City Pages’ Susan Du writes: “When Nekima Levy-Pounds of the Minneapolis NAACP crashed the Parks and Recreation budget meeting on May 11, she unloaded a slew of racism charges against the nation’s largest parks system. … She accused the board of allocating more money to the parks in white neighborhoods than those in black and brown neighborhoods. She accused the board of hiring few people of color, and then treating them differently on the job. … But even before the NAACP and the board sit down for an officious “dialogue,” public records show the board actually allocates more money to nonwhite neighborhoods. … Parks and Rec breaks down its budget into North, Northeast, South, and Southwest service areas. North has 49 park properties and 59,119 residents, according to the 2010 census. Parks and Rec allocated $243 per person in north Minneapolis from 2010-14.”

Minneapolis’ Somali community, through the eyes of members of Minneapolis’ Somali community. At the L.A. Times, Matt Pearce writes: “A local activist, Abdurrahman Mahmud, 28, after learning I was a visiting reporter, stopped by our table long enough to hammer home a similar point: ‘Economic development, jobs, job creation, affordable education. … These are the issues we need to discuss.’ … So Elmi decided to drive me around town in his black Nissan SUV as Mohamed rode in the back seat. … ‘We own restaurants, shops, cafes, groceries,’ said Elmi as he steered through the blocks around his cafe and Mohamed handed me pieces of sweet halwo candy. Elmi motioned to a cluster of businesses. ‘All these are Somali owners.’ ”

Oh, crap. MPR’s John Enger reports: “[Ken] Henrickson’s is one of the half-million Minnesota homes from which wastewater flows into buried septic tanks — systems that are maintained, and often ignored, by homeowners, not professional engineers. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency estimates one in every five septic systems across the state is failing. … The water off Henrickson’s piece of shoreline is laced with sewage — likely his own, and that of about 200 neighbors. There are at least that many failing septic systems in a 15-mile stretch from Henrickson’s neighborhood east to Voyageurs National Park.”

In other news…

Another shooting in Minneapolis: “At Least 2 Shot In Overnight Dispute” [WCCO]

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Some Minnesota investors lost their shirts, too: “Oilfield business failure leaves workers unpaid, jobless” [Prairie Business]

What do ATV manufacturers know about ATVs, anyway? “Despite industry warnings, St. Louis County opening up roads to all-terrain vehicles” [Duluth News Tribune]

Money well spent: “Walker Owes Nearly $900K From White House Run” [WCCO]

Playing two characters: “Ewan McGregor to Star in ‘Fargo’ Season 3” [Hollywood Reporter]