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130,000 lose power after storm moves through Twin Cities

National Weather Service

That escalated quickly. Write the Star Tribune’s Mary Lynn Smith and Pat Pheifer: A powerful storm moved quickly through the Twin Cities and southern and southeastern Minnesota Tuesday evening, catching many people by surprise as they drove white-knuckled toward home, to the Adele concert or the Twins game. … Late Tuesday, Xcel Energy reported that more than 130,000 customers were without power from the first big storm of the 2016 summer season. By Wednesday morning, the number was at 70,000.

It’s always tough at the margins. An MPR story says, “The numbers on affordable housing in Minnesota are troubling: Since 2000, the purchasing power of people’s incomes in Minnesota has gone down 12 percent, according to Mary Tingerthal, commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. At the same time, gross rents have risen 7 percent. In the metro area, the affordability issue is particularly acute: The market research firm Marquette Advisers said the vacancy rate for apartments in the $700- to $1,000-a-month range is just 2 percent. While new affordable units continue to be built, existing affordable housing is being closed or transformed into higher market rate units.”

Hey, your mortgage-holder would be understanding, right? Says Dee DePass in the Strib, “Essar Steel Minnesota stands to lose its lucrative Minnesota mineral leases on the Iron Range after missing a July 1 deadline to repay the state $66 million in infrastructure costs related to the company’s now stalled $1.8 billion taconite project in Nashwauk. The failure to repay the state is the latest in a long line of shattered deadlines.”

Jason Lewis is having a tough time in John Kline’s old district. Says Mark Zdechlik at MPR, “As an ex-talk radio host, Jason Lewis doesn’t mind a fight. But the GOP’s nominee for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District isn’t quite sure who or what he’ll be fighting against in this race. There’s a Democrat running. But Lewis also faces three primary challengers, including businesswoman Darlene Miller, who won the backing of retiring U.S. Rep. John Kline, the man they all hope to replace. And then there’s Donald Trump. The presumptive Republican candidate finished third in Minnesota’s Republican caucuses, and political observers says the businessman’s looming presence may torpedo GOP candidates across the country, including the Minnesota 2nd.”

Contempt! Christopher Magan of the PiPress says, “A Ramsey County District Court judge says the Minnesota Board of Teaching is in contempt of court and must pay a fine for failing to process an application for teaching licenses through a portfolio system. Judge Shawn M. Bartsh ruled July 1 that the Board of Teaching was not fully complying with her Dec. 31 order to resume licensing educators by allowing them to submit a portfolio of their qualifications and work experience. The ruling came after a group of teachers, many of whom were trained out-of-state or in alternative programs, filed a lawsuit in 2015 arguing that the state’s system for licensing educators was unfair and convoluted.”

How would you like this guy for a neighbor? Chelsey Perkins of the Forum News Service reports, “A Crosby man allegedly recorded and narrated 40 videos of his neighbor through her bedroom window while repeatedly sexually harassing her. Bradley D. Fordyce, 65, Crosby, is set to appear Monday in Crow Wing County District Court for his plea hearing in the series of incidents from which he’s facing one felony and two gross misdemeanor charges. … he left the notes to attempt a consensual act with the victim, to which the officer responded by asking Fordyce why he thought it would be consensual after she’d called police twice in the past week to report his inappropriate conduct. In both cases, officers spoke with Fordyce and told him the victim was offended by his behavior.”

At Finance & Commerce Janice Bitters writes, “Minnesota business service firms are expecting stable or increased profits in the coming year, according to a new report released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Firms that offer services like accounting, engineering, public relations or other activities that support companies are considered business services firms, according to the study.”

Not a whole lot of difference in cell phone carriers. In the PiPress, Julio Ojeda-Zapata says, “Two of the big-four wireless carriers, T-Mobile and Verizon, have tied for top honors in the latest RootMetrics wireless-performance rankings in the Twin Cities. Bellevue, Wash.-based RootMetrics conducts continual testing of the carriers in cities across the country and ranks them in several categories.

Me, I’m looking for sauna wear. Stribber John Ewoldt reports, “Outlet malls seldom lease space to brands known only by a few shoppers. But Albertville Premium Outlets is taking a chance on one of Europe’s top sportswear brands that has virtually no other presence in the United States. The mall has had trouble keeping retailers in its less-trafficked Promenade annex built across the street from the main center. … But optimism is high for a new retailer called the Peak, which is offering Luhta, a Finnish sportswear maker.”

For consideration. MPR’s Lorna Benson asked the experts to rate nurses’ health care plans at Allina. “MPR News asked the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation to review the most popular union and company offerings. The foundation analysis found coverage for a single person on the Allina First corporate plan would pay 87 percent of a typical person’s total health costs. The employee pays the rest. The two most popular union-only plans pay 91 and 96 percent of typical health costs, according to the foundation. Measured against national insurance trends, all three of the health plans are good, said Cynthia Cox, associate director of health reform and private insurance at Kaiser.”

Hostile. Says Rohan Preston in the Strib, “Hennepin Avenue, the bustling cultural artery of downtown Minneapolis, is becoming inhospitable to dance. That’s the premise of a fundraising letter sent to several thousand supporters of Zenon Dance Company and School. Zenon, the venerable Twin Cities modern-dance outfit, regularly performs at the Cowles Center on Hennepin between 5th and 6th streets. Its 33rd season recently completed, Zenon has a $60,000 budget shortfall. … “

Never assume the brotherhood will take this well. Says Libor Jany in the Strib, “In the latest reshuffling of her command staff, Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau named new leaders in all five of the city’s police precincts, moves that included the demotion of a popular commander. Harteau announced the changes on Tuesday afternoon, including the creation of a quality assurance commander position that she said brings the department in line with modern policing practices. … Beginning July 24, the five police precincts will all be under new leadership.”

Today in precious Second Amendment rights news. Tory Cooney of the PiPress says, “A St. Paul man was charged Tuesday with making terroristic threats after allegedly pointing a gun at someone who confronted him about a bad parking job late Saturday morning, police say.” Some kind of castle doctrine thing, I suppose.

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