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Lynx win fourth WNBA title

Plus: Minnesota opts in to federal public safety communication system; proposed styrofoam ban brings out a crowd in St. Paul; I-35W to be closed for second straight weekend; and more.

2017 WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx raising the trophy Wednesday night.
MinnPost photo by Craig Lassig

Says ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel: “Maya Moore has been a WNBA fan for a long time. When she was 8 years old in 1997, she watched the new league’s first season and its first champions, the Houston Comets. Wednesday night, she and her Lynx teammates joined the Comets as four-time champions, beating the Sparks 85-76, as Moore led an almost perfectly balanced Lynx scoring attack with 18 points. But while the Lynx undeniably finished as the best team this year, it felt as if the entire WNBA won. For the third consecutive season, we were treated to a WNBA Finals that went the distance.”

DynastySays the Strib’s Kent Youngblood: “Leading from start to finish, fending off every Sparks run along the way, the Lynx sealed their legacy. Dynasty. They won Game 5 of the WNBA Finals 85-76, pulling away after the Sparks cut the lead to three points with a late flurry. They became the second franchise in league history with four championships, winning their fourth in seven seasons. Those four titles match the Houston Comets, who won the first four titles.”

A tech upgrade. In the PiPress, Rachel Stassen-Berger writes, “Gov. Mark Dayton agreed on Wednesday to have Minnesota opt in to a federally funded public safety communication system that will allow law enforcement and other first-responders a dedicated broadband network. … The system, known as FirstNet or the First Responder Network Authority, ‘provided for a section of prime radio spectrum and $7 billion to entice a partner to take on the responsibility of managing a network for public safety,’ the governor’s office said.”

Styrofoam … has its supporters. Also in the PiPress, Frederick Melo says: “A proposed ban on non-compostable or recyclable food take-out containers drew a line of unhappy restaurant industry officials to St. Paul City Hall on Wednesday, as well as many residents who called the restrictions overdue. Anthony Mahmood, proprietor of Aesop’s Table on Dale Street, noted styrofoam products can be recycled under the right conditions, but they wouldn’t be allowed under the ban. Most compostable products will end up in the garbage bin and the waste stream, he said.”

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CancelledMary Lynn Smith of the Strib writes, “A visa delay for a London-based musician who is Somali and Muslim has forced a group of Minnesota performing arts organizers to cancel a monthlong residency for him and his band, the Urban Nomads. The visit by Aar Maanta and his band was part of Midnimo — the Somali word for unity. … An attorney on the case, Matthew Covey said he couldn’t comment on it. But as a New York attorney specializing in visas, he’s seen a significant uptick over the last six months in problems and scrutiny of artists coming from Muslim-majority countries.”

A power precedent? Mike Hughlett in the Strib reports, “A New York-based electricity provider is suing two Minnesota public agencies over a law it claims improperly favors home-state companies for new power line projects. The 2012 state law gives ‘incumbent’ electricity transmission providers in Minnesota a ‘right of first refusal’ for new power line projects. … The law is anti-competitive and violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, said the suit filed Friday by LSP Transmission Holdings in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.”

Optimism (as long as the Yankees are disbanded and the Twins never have to play in New York). CBS Sports’ Dayn Perry says of the Twins: “Shortstop prospect Nick Gordon will probably be an overall top-20 prospect going into 2018. The Twins spent the top overall pick of this year’s draft on Royce Lewis, a hard-hitting shortstop with a full complement of tools. He’ll likely remain at an up-the-middle position long-term. Lefty Stephen Gonsalves could force his way into the rotation early next season. Right-hander Fernando Romero gives the organization some mega-elite velocity. Also, 2015 first-rounder Tyler Jay will soon help the pitching staff in a role to be determined. That’s just a sampling of the talent on the farm.”

Because it was so much fun last weekend. MPR’s story on the next I-35W shutdown says: “For the second straight weekend, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will shut down both directions of Interstate 35W in Minneapolis from downtown to Minnesota Highway 62 to demolish the Franklin Avenue bridge. The highway will close starting Friday at 10 p.m. Crews will start shutting down ramps an hour before that. Southbound I-35W on and off ramps between 46th Street and 60th Street will remain open during the closure, MnDOT said.”

Speaking of roads. Dan Kraker at MPR says, “When more than 10 inches of rain fell on the Duluth region in the summer of 2012, the damage was so bad to Highway 210 — the only road that runs through Jay Cooke State Park — officials thought it would never reopen. In one section, a small reservoir washed out, sending a 200-yard wide torrent of water racing downhill that cleaved the highway in two, creating a chasm nearly 100 feet deep and nearly 600 feet across. … Any fix would be expensive for a road that didn’t see a lot of traffic. So MnDOT sent out a survey, asking the public if it wanted the highway rebuilt? The response was an overwhelming ‘yes,’ despite a price tag of $21.3 million to fix the final 3.3 mile stretch of highway. Eighty percent of the cost was covered by federal emergency funds; state funding paid for the rest.”

Reviewing Wisconsin’s day at the Supreme Court, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern writes: “Throughout Tuesday’s oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, Justice Anthony Kennedy and the Supreme Court’s left-leaning justices grilled Wisconsin’s attorneys with tough questions that suggest a majority of the court is prepared to impose constitutional limits on political redistricting. The highlight of the hour came when Justice Sonia Sotomayor posed a very simple inquiry that cut to the core of the case: ‘Could you tell me what the value is to democracy from political gerrymandering? How does that help our system of government?’ … Erin E. Murphy, the attorney representing Wisconsin’s (very gerrymandered) State Senate, had no good answer for Sotomayor. ‘I don’t think that … districting for partisan advantage has no positive values’, Murphy began hesitantly.”