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Ramsey County growing at rate close to Hennepin County’s

MinnPost file photo by Rita Kovtun
St. Paul

East metro on the rise. The Star Tribune’s Richard Tsong-Taatarii reports: “The state’s No. 2 county, long eclipsed by No. 1, is catching up on one big bragging-rights metric: rate of growth. … Ramsey County in this decade is managing to do something it hasn’t done since at least World War II — add residents at a rate nearly identical to that of Hennepin County, its much bigger neighbor. … Moreover, forecasts call for that trend to continue for decades. A key reason, according to demographers, is Ramsey County’s status as a destination for immigrants, often youthful and ready to have bigger families than U.S. natives. ”

It’s come to this: skyway jail. The Pioneer Press’ Frederick Melo reports: “A divided St. Paul City Council voted not to allow a Lowertown property group to continue to close a skyway connection eight hours early, but building manager Jaunae Brooks is pledging civil disobedience. … On Wednesday, the council voted 4-3 to require Brooks to keep skyway access at the Railroader Printing Building on Mears Park open to at least 2 a.m., in step with most of the rest of the downtown skyway system. … She plans to do no such thing. … ‘I’m going to continue to close at 8 p.m.,’ said Brooks, who manages the 235 E. Sixth St. property that houses the Barrio Tequila Bar and the Bulldog Lowertown, after the hearing. ‘Sue me. Take me to skyway jail. I’ll take the fine.’ 

Easier to balance that budget this way. MPR’s Tim Pugmire reports: “The Legislature is requiring state agencies to do dozens of studies without approving money to pay for most of them. … Minnesota government officials have a lot of homework to do in the coming months. … The budget bills passed last month were full of requirements for state agencies to research dozens of topics and report back to the Legislature by the end of the year.”

A timely Tony Webster profile in the Strib. Rochelle Olson writes: “As a University of Minnesota student intern in a Minneapolis City Council office in 2006, Tony Webster tried to chase down a complaint for a constituent who claimed to have been aggressively treated at a private parking lot after his car was booted. … As Webster’s internship ended, he still didn’t have answers from city regulators. He persisted — eventually getting access to records that revealed little oversight of private parking lots, where some enforcement agents kept guns and handcuffs. Oversight was subsequently tightened. … Webster, now 30, earns a living as a freelance software engineer whose passion is seeking — and usually winning — access to government information.  … Webster’s insights from the Castile files add to piles of information he has provided to the public. He’s a behind-the-scenes watchdog so effective that in recent months he’s won awards.”

In other news…

Good, because if there’s one thing we’re better at dealing with in America than guns, it’s health care: “St. Paul in ‘public health crisis’ as gunshots, violence increase, Axtell says” [Pioneer Press]

Uh oh: “Global computer outage disrupts Medtronic’s ability to manufacture, fulfill orders” [Star Tribune]

Nice: “Metro Transit, Second Harvest Heartland promote free summer meals” [KARE]

Likely of interest to some of you: “Prince’s Epic ‘Purple Rain’ Tour: An Oral History” [Rolling Stone]

Get there while you can: “The Nestor, one of Fargo’s oldest bars, will likely close at year’s end” [Inforum]

Got summer plans? “Giant 1,000-foot slip and slide opening in northern Minnesota this summer” [Star Tribune]

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