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Storms bring tornadoes, torrential rain and flooding across Minnesota

Plus: home of St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter III burglarized; St. Paul’s Mama’s Pizza struck by car, again; Sun Country Airlines plans to overhaul how it operates; and more

From the Star Tribune’s Pat Pheifer: “Summer storms hit southern and central Minnesota on Wednesday, bringing reports of at least five tornadoes, torrential rain and flooding. … The National Weather Service (NWS) said it had received almost 2 inches of rain in 30 minutes at its Chanhassen office. More than 3 inches were reported from Gaylord, south to New Ulm and Nicollet. One weather watcher in Sibley County reported more than 4 inches.”

A daylight break-in. In the PiPress, Tad Vezner reports, “The home of former St. Paul city councilman and current mayoral candidate Melvin Carter III was burglarized Tuesday, and police have yet to make any arrests. Carter’s home, in the 400 block of Aurora Avenue in the city’s Summit-University neighborhood, was hit by a daylight break-in, police said. They were called to the home at 11:22 a.m., and an inventory of the home revealed missing electronics, household items, as well as a secured lock box containing two handguns, police said. … There were roughly 1,850 burglaries in St. Paul last year, according to police statistics.”

Not knowing a thing about hockey, I’ll take Stribber Michael Russo’s word that this is significant: “Last weekend, Matt Cullen drove east to the Twin Cities to watch his three sons play hockey. On Wednesday, immediately after ending a conference call with the Wild media, Cullen ran into a rink in Grand Forks, N.D., to join his recently-retired hockey-playing brothers, Mark and Joe, so they could all coach their children in a series of games. This is why Matt Cullen decided against retiring a back-to-back Stanley Cup champ and against re-signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins … . The former Moorhead High and St. Cloud State standout is returning to the Wild for a second stint and 20th NHL season.”

First rule: Never borrow from online lenders from Nevada. WCCO-TV’s Bill Hudson reports, “Stephen Schmelz is a decorated Gulf War veteran who lives depends on his monthly pension payment. … So when Schmelz was in a bind and needed $2,700 in emergency cash, he turned to an online lender from out of Nevada: FIP, LLC. His repayment agreement required monthly payments out of his bank account in the amount of $450, for the next five years. Looking back in disgust, Schmelz now refers to the company as ‘snakes in the grass.’ He’d soon learn he was charged 200 percent interest and owed $27,000 for the full repayment, or 10 times his original principal. … On Wednesday, [AG Lori] Swanson held a news conference to announce that the state has filed suit against the two companies in Hennepin County District Court.”

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What public schools need: better marketing. At MPR, Solvejg Wastvedt reports, “A consultant for the St. Paul school district says improving school climate and marketing to skeptical parents could help increase enrollment. In a report delivered to board members this week, St. Paul parent and consultant Katie Sterns recommended the district build up music, art and programs for advanced students. She also suggested expanding preschool offerings and improving communication to parents about the district’s efforts to improve school climate. The report calls on St. Paul to hire a marketing and communications director and develop marketing plans for each school.” 

Maybe it’s a weird magnetic thing? Vezner (again) of the PiPress says, “The drive-through jokes are starting to get a little old at Mama’s Pizza. For the second time in two years, the renowned Rice Street restaurant in St. Paul’s North End was struck by an errant driver, and this time there was a fair amount of damage. … a Chevy Malibu with three people in it, traveling north on Rice Street, struck the restaurant’s front facade just after 11 p.m. Tuesday.”

Maybe there’s somebody who’ll think of this as good news. In the Strib, Kristen Leigh Painter reports, “Sun Country Airlines’ new boss is overhauling how it operates — and customers will eventually feel the changes. Jude Bricker, who was appointed its chief executive last month, outlined his vision for the Eagan-based carrier in a memo to staff Tuesday. He praised Sun Country’s strong reputation, but he stressed the need to cut costs, increase revenue through fees and expand beyond its hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Bricker’s formula mirrors the model of ultra-low cost carriers like Frontier and Spirit airlines, which charge passengers for things like carry-on luggage and in-flight beverages.”