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St. Paul City Council approves soccer stadium plan

Plus: Ilhan Omar clarifies marriage history; Paulsen and Bonoff debate in 3rd Congressional District race; state offers program for students with high-interest loans; and more.


Stadium gets a green light. Says Frederick Melo in the PiPress, “The St. Paul City Council voted 5-1 Wednesday to support a site plan for the future Major League Soccer stadium near Snelling and University avenues, as well as a master plan for the area that includes the adjoining shopping center. … The vote cements the city’s commitment to a 21,000-seat soccer stadium in the Midway. Minnesota United FC has agreed to pay for the $150 million stadium project if the Legislature provides property tax relief, which is tied up in a controversial tax bill that still awaits gubernatorial approval.” I tell ya, if we don’t give ’em the tax relief they’re going to L.A. … or Las Cruces … or somewhere.

This didn’t have to take this long. The KARE story on Ilhan Omar’s explanation of her marriage history says, “With her on the night of the primary win was Ahmed Hirsi, the man identified by Minnesota Public Radio as her husband. That was confirmed Wednesday by Omar, who said the two had been together on and off since 2002 and that Hirsi is the father of her children. … A post by Twin Cities blogger and attorney Scott Johnson in the conservative Power Line blog asserted that Omar in 2009 married a different man. The blog contends the man, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, is Omar’s own brother, and that the marriage was solely to help Elmi emigrate from Great Britain to Minnesota. Omar has categorically denied that in the past several days, but Wednesday offered clarity about her two marriages, saying only the second was a legal union sanctioned by the state.”

The Brotherhood lives. For the AP, Kyle Potter reports, “The police officer who killed a black motorist in a shooting whose bloody aftermath was livestreamed on Facebook was defended by his chief Wednesday as a level-headed member of the force with ‘a real sound ability when it comes to communicating and relating to people.’ In an interview with The Associated Press, St. Anthony Police Chief Jon Mangseth sketched a portrait at odds with the image of the officer screaming expletives while pointing his gun at the dying man in the video.”

Salon’s Sheila Regan covered Jill Stein in Minnesota Tuesday. “James Farnsworth who just turned 18 is now deciding whom to vote for in this election. He and his friend, Madeline Rice, also a first-time voter, carried a sign declaring, ‘Abolish Student Debt.’ Said Farnsworth: ‘As a person my age, that’s really important and something my demographic cares about.’ Pepper Branstner has voted for a Green Party candidate before — for Ralph Nader in 2000. Jill Stein’s platform more closely aligns with Branstner’s beliefs than the positions of Sanders, whom she previously supported. But Branstner’s current support for the Green Party hasn’t made her any friends, with people now shaming her on social media, she said.” Damned hippie trolls.

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Who said “student loans”? Maura Lerner at the Strib says, “This year, for the first time, Minnesota is offering an alternative to residents stuck with high-interest student loans. In January, the Office of Higher Education launched what it calls the SELF Refi program to help graduates lower their monthly payments by refinancing their college debt. So far, only about 725 people have taken advantage of the new option, says Marilyn Kosir, manager of the State Education Loan Fund (SELF) program … . But she sees it as a healthy start for a program that’s less than a year old.”

It’s always “tony” in the 3rd District. PiPresser Rachel Stassen-Berger reports, “Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen and state Sen. Terri Bonoff, his Democratic challenger, were comfortably at home Wednesday at a debate hosted by three local chambers of commerce in tony Minnetonka. Both candidates have each won the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce endorsements in their past races for separate offices, each presents a mild-mannered visage, and both have deep roots in the west suburban district. Both support free trade, neither is on board with a massive hike in the federal minimum wage and, as seemed clear from their first debate, each has studied up on details of the other’s political history. In a year of sharp political contrasts, the two covered a rather narrow band of Chamber of Commerce-friendly, suburban middle-of-the-road political thinking in their debate.” Were the hot topics that damned medical device tax and the non-stop plane to Tokyo?

Speaking of medical devices, Joe Carlson of the Strib writes, “Heart device maker Medtronic PLC is warning doctors worldwide to use extra care when inserting a popular new kind of heart valve in some patients, following reports of 19 deaths from severe blood vessel trauma. In a letter publicized Wednesday, the Minnesota-run company informed doctors that it is voluntarily updating its instructions for using the minimally invasive EnVeo R delivery system, which doctors use to implant the Evolut R aortic valve in the heart.”  

Four days!? The AP reports, “A woman accused of texting while driving and fatally striking an elderly man along a road in Le Sueur County has pleaded guilty to charges. Susan Ann Russo, 48, reached an agreement with prosecutors, who will recommend four days in jail and two years of probation. … Joseph Tikalsky, 79, was struck and killed last October as he retrieved his newspaper from the side of the road. Tikalsky was wearing a reflective vest and was on break from his school bus route.” Is that really the message you want to send?

Beware the activist investor. Stribber Evan Ramstad says, “The activist investor who emerged last month with a big stake in Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. on Wednesday urged the company’s board to seek ‘fresh talent’ and criticized the way executives spend money. Richard ‘Mick’ McGuire, founder of Marcato Capital Management, said in a letter to directors that the Golden Valley-based company’s growth objectives have become muddled and that executives appear to be making decisions that aren’t supported by data.” The first time I walked in I thought they were selling TV sets.

The first Mrs. Minnesota dies at 91. Karen Zamora of the Strib says, “Dorothy Dahle was best-known for her voice — warm, soft, operatic. As a child, she imagined herself as Jeanette MacDonald in the classic 1937 ‘Maytime’ movie. Her singing later launched her movie and modeling career, which she began after she turned down a scholarship to an art school in her hometown of Chicago.  … No one knows where Dahle’s love of opera came from. …‘I guess it was just an inner desire and ability,’ said her daughter Dorothy Benham, who was Miss America in 1977.” That’s what you call “good genes” I guess.

On Wisconsin! The AP says, “Madison police say a suspected drunken driver disobeyed an order to get out of her car and instead cracked open a beer in front of the officer who stopped her. Police say an officer on foot spotted an SUV driving fast early Wednesday on State Street near downtown Madison, where regular traffic is not allowed. The officer jumped into her car and pulled the driver over. According to a police report, the driver, a 42-year-old Madison woman, refused to get out from behind the wheel. Instead, it alleges, she opened a can of beer and began drinking.” A gal works up a powerful thirst dealin’ with the cops.

Also from across the river. And also from the AP. “A coroner says a Wisconsin farmer and more than a dozen cattle died when they became overcome by fumes from a huge manure holding tank. WAOW-TV reports that Michael Biadasz, 29, was found by other farm workers early Monday when they arrived at Biadasz Farms near Amherst to haul away manure from the football field-sized tank. Portage County Coroner Scott Rifleman said Tuesday that the deaths of Biadasz and at least 13 cows are under investigation but that they were probably overcome by methane or sulfur oxide.”