You mean the city is still paying for stuff? Eric Roper of the Strib reports, “About 60 percent of Minneapolis homeowners could see a higher property tax bill as a result of Mayor Betsy Hodges’ proposed 2017 budget, based on preliminary estimates released Monday by city staff members. … Hodges’ proposed $1.32 billion budget for 2017 spends 7.6 percent more than this year. It adds about 59 new employees, or 148 after factoring in hires for one-time construction projects.”
Remind me, what day did the Lord create the sun? Jean Hopfensperger of the Strib writes, “across Minnesota, there’s been an unprecedented surge in religious congregations installing rooftop solar panels, subscribing to off-site solar ‘gardens’ and urging their faithful to do the same. The most ambitious project is slated for this fall at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in north Minneapolis … .”
Now this does not come as a surprise. Boyd Huppert at KARE-TV says, “A 2013 trip to the Minnesota State Fair is responsible for the towering vines that now dominate the landscape on the farm of Russell and Paula Oehmy. After getting their first look at hops at the fair, the Oehmys dove into production of the key ingredient in beer, under the business name Country Bitters. … Minnesota’s hops acreage has tripled the past year, but remains tiny when compared to the epicenter of hop production, the Pacific Northwest. Washington State alone has more than 35,000 acres planted in hops. Some two dozen Minnesota growers are currently farming a total of about 75 acres of hops.”
The PiPress’ Nick Ferraro reports, “A South St. Paul elementary school teacher who was the subject of a criminal investigation and on paid leave is dead from an apparent murder-suicide last week in Washington state. A criminal investigation into teacher Aric Babbitt and his husband, Matthew Deyo, began about two weeks ago after allegations were made against both of them, South St. Paul Police Chief Bill Messerich said Monday. … Babbitt’s sister Sara said in a text message to friends Friday that Babbitt and Deyo were found dead Thursday on Lopez Island, in the San Juan Islands in the northwest corner of the state about 100 miles north of Seattle. ‘There was an investigation that was going on, and they felt like they didn’t have an out and ending their lives was best for them,’ she wrote in the text message ….”
Former Stribber Sharon Schmickle takes issue with the paper’s editorial position on “shutting down the Clinton Foundation.” In a commentary, she writes, “The responsibilities we Americans collectively assume when we set out to do good work around the world is deadly serious and directly personal for the recipients of the aid. The Clintons should have weighed those responsibilities more carefully when they created their foundation … . At this point, though, it is breathtakingly reckless to argue that the foundation with nearly $200 million in annual program initiatives should abruptly shut down — reckless in terms of the potential impact on the recipients of that aid.”
Euphemism alert. Elizabeth Hackenberg of the Williston Herald reports, “A Williston woman was arrested for carrying more than $13,000 worth of drugs after police say they fell out of her clothes while she was being questioned on other charges. Bags of drugs fell from the groin area of Stephanie White, who was being questioned at the county jail in connection with alleged retaliation for a robbery, police say. White, 33, told detectives she wanted a cigarette, but as she was walking toward the smoking area at the Williams County Correctional Center, small bags containing drugs began to tumble out of her clothes, according to police.”
Also making a nuisance of himself? This guy. From Tad Vezner in the PiPress: “A man reportedly attempted to open an exterior airplane door during a packed cross-country flight Monday, prompting an emergency landing at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Alaska Airlines flight 7, traveling from New York City to Seattle, made an emergency landing at the Twin Cities airport about 9:45 a.m., according to a spokeswoman for the airline. Once on the ground, an ‘unruly passenger’ who, according to flight crew, had attempted to open an exterior door on the plane was removed by law enforcement, said spokeswoman Halley Knigge.”
End of life for a funeral home. Nicole Norfleet of the Strib says, “Representatives from Alatus, the developer planning to build a 40-story condominium tower across the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis, spoke in front of city planners Monday after it wasn’t able to give away the 8,500-square-foot building now on the site. … When Alatus bought the property with plans for the tower, the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission asked it to spend three months trying to find someone to repurpose the building. Alatus put up signs that said ‘Free Building,’ but prospective takers soon learned that movers had estimated the cost of relocating the building would exceed $1.5 million.”
“Some people say … .” FOX 9 has this story: “A Minneapolis gun buyback program targeting weapons used in street crimes may be shooting blanks, as detractors said a Saturday collection mostly took in antiquated, unused or homemade arms from legal owners and did little to thin the firearm supply actually available to dangerous criminals. … The lure of a Visa gift card worth between $15 and $300 was enough to make some enterprising Minnesotans get creative. One person constructed a ‘shotgun’ out of a piece of wood, some tape and a pipe. They were given a $100 gift card for the contraption, according to a Facebook post from the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.” I really gotta spend more time in the Gun Talk chat room.
His crime? Talking to the media. Emma Nelson of the Strib says, “A Lakeville police officer who was fired after talking to the media is suing the city in federal court, arguing that the termination violated his First Amendment rights. Rick Bussler, a Lakeville officer for about 17 years, was fired in November 2014 on the grounds that he violated a policy barring officers from talking to the media without the police chief’s permission. … He says city officials violated both the First Amendment and federal civil rights laws in firing him, and he’s seeking damages of more than $50,000, including loss of income.” And what is the Strib’s policy on talking to the media?
Pick on something your own size! Mara Gottfried of the PiPress writes, “Vandals flipped over two car-sharing cars in St. Paul’s Macalester-Groveland during the weekend, damaging both, police said Monday. The car2go vehicles were tipped half a mile apart and police will investigate whether the cases are connected, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a police spokesman. The two-seaters weigh roughly 2,000 pounds, about half that of an average vehicle.”