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Biggest beach on White Bear Lake to reopen

Plus: ‘Scaffold’ sculpture may not be burned; Rod Carew to return to Minnesota; Hennepin County expects to vote on transit tax next week; and more.

White Bear Lake circa 2013
White Bear Lake Restoration Association

Two things not mentioned so often in recent years. White Bear Lake and beaches. Says Sophie Carson of the PiPress, “For the first time since 2007, the biggest beach on White Bear Lake will be open this summer. Recent low water levels have raised the concerns of nearby residents about the popular east metro lake’s future. The water was so low that Ramsey County Parks and Recreation had closed its beach on White Bear Lake due to safety hazards. But recent heavy rains are helping raise the lake to the point where the beach will open June 10.”

Before that “border tax” kicks in. Says Dee DePass in the Strib, “Minnesota farm, manufacturing and mining exports shook off the doldrums, jumping an impressive 5 percent to $4.8 billion during the first quarter of 2017, state officials announced this week. Demand for optics and medical instruments led all product categories with sales rising 2 percent to $883 million. Minnesota’s trade boost was the first quarterly growth for state exports since the fourth quarter of 2014 … .”

On second thought. Alicia Eler of the Strib says, “Dakota elders have hit pause on plans to hold a ceremonial burning of the wood from ‘Scaffold,’ the sculpture modeled in part on the gallows used to hang 38 Dakota men in 1862. The wood has been moved to an undisclosed Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board facility, giving Dakota elders more time to come to a joint decision about its fate.”

The state GOP and their Eighth District are trying to kiss and make up. Says Zach Kayser in a Forum News Service story, “The woman newly in charge of the Republican Party hopes to mend fences between the rural conservatives and the metro GOP headquarters. Elected in April to head the Minnesota GOP, Jennifer Carnahan owns several businesses in Nisswa and lives in the Twin Cities metro. Her family also has a cabin in the Brainerd area, which she’s been visiting since childhood. Her dual experience may serve to help repair the relationship between the 8th Congressional District GOP and the state party.” 

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“Unconscionable” is not a word cops use often. In the PiPress, Mara Gottfried and Nick Ferraro write, “A night of teens hanging out, talking and eating near a park in St. Paul turned to horror early Tuesday when police say young men approached, robbed them at gunpoint and raped two 18-year-olds. The sexual assaults in a parking lot by Raspberry Island set off a manhunt that led police to the suspects after another armed robbery in West St. Paul about four hours later. Police arrested four males, ages 16 to 20. ‘The idea that we are here today talking about people who would prey on our youth of our city in such a personal way is unconscionable,’ said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman, at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. .”

Also on the crime blotter, Grace Pastoor of the Forum News Service reports, “The former Bemidji Middle School assistant principal accused of having sexual conversations with — and who received sexual photos of — children may have as many as 50 victims, according to federal court documents. Brandon Mark Bjerknes, 34, is charged in state district court with four counts of engaging in electronic communication relating to or describing sexual conduct with a child. On May 31, he was charged in federal court with two counts of production of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.” 

This ought to draw a crowd. The AP says, “The Twins plan to welcome Hall of Famer Rod Carew back to Minnesota next month. The Twins said Tuesday that Carew will return to Minnesota on July 3. It’s his first trip to the state since receiving a heart and kidney transplant in December. Carew and his wife, Rhonda, will hold a news conference that day. He will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at that night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.”

The Center of the American Experiment isn’t going to like this. MPR’s Matt Sepic says, “The Hennepin County Board is expected to vote next week on a sales tax increase for public transit projects. A board committee on Tuesday approved the quarter-cent hike, which would go into effect Oct. 1. Commissioner Peter McLoughlin said the money is meant to replace transit funds state lawmakers have declined to appropriate, and will help pay for the Southwest and Bottineau light rail lines, the Orange bus rapid transit line on Interstate 35W, and the proposed Riverview corridor between St. Paul’s Union Depot and the Mall of America.”