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Gustavus Adolphus gets $25 million donation, its largest ever

ALSO: Rochester to seek state help on a $16 million airport upgrade; Chippewa to do ricing off-reservation in treaty test; Duluth to pilot “Grocery Express” bus service; and more.

The $25 million donation will be used to help pay for a $65 million renovation and expansion of the college's Alfred Nobel Hall of Science.

Gustavus Adolphus College has snagged its largest donation ever: $25 million from an unnamed family that has five proud, and apparently well-off, Gusties. The money will be used to help pay for a $65 million renovation and expansion of the college’s Alfred Nobel Hall of Science, says the Mankato Free Press.

Rochester could use one of those big donors: After corralling $585 million in state aid for its Destination Medical Center project (overall, a $6 billion, 20-year project), the city now will ask lawmakers for state help on a $16 million airport upgrade, says the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Rochester International apparently doesn’t meet Homeland Security requirements, and hence might lose its international designation. Officials would like $5 million from the next bonding bill, to expand the customs space.

Tiny Benson, Minn., pop. 3,240, makes a Washington Post list of cities where “over-income families” are living in public housing even though there is a waiting list of low-income families hoping for those units. Benson, in west-central Minnesota, has three over-income families in public housing, while eight families are on the waiting list. The outrage factor might be greater in NYC where a family earning $497,911 a year is paying $1,574 a month for a three-bedroom apartment subsidized by taxpayers, and in LA, where a family in public housing since 1974 pays $1,091 for a four-bedroom apartment, but earned $204,784 last year.

If the PolyMet copper-nickel mining project gets the permits to move ahead, have no doubt that there will be a legal challenge from the  Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, says the Ely Echo. Attorney Kathryn Hoffman made the assertion this week to a group in Ely, saying PolyMet is “a test case of sorts, and one vital to environmental groups’ efforts to block those mining projects from occurring in northeastern Minnesota,” the paper said. Gov. Mark Dayton said earlier this month of the PolyMet issue: “It will be the most momentous, difficult and controversial decision I’ll make as governor.”

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Chippewa tribe members say they’ll push the envelope on wild rice harvesting this week by ricing off the reservation and without a state license. The goal, according to John Myers in the Grand Forks Herald, seems to be to provoke official action that would lead to a court decision “that recognizes a tribal regulatory authority under the [1855] treaty to protect the environment — water quality, wild rice, wild game and fish — including authority over major projects with potential environmental impacts, such as pipelines, power lines and mines.

If they won’t bring a grocery store to your neighborhood in Duluth, then hop on the new food bus, Gus. A “Grocery Express” bus route will soon transport residents of two neighborhoods without healthy, affordable food store options — considered “food deserts” — to the West Duluth Super One. The city’s transit agency will test the service in the Lincoln Park and Morgan Park neighborhoods, the Duluth News Tribune reports, with special bins aboard to hold grocery bags, so riders won’t have to balance the eggs and milk on their laps.

Austin officials finally did commute the death sentence of a 4-year-old pit bull named Roc. The dog had been accused of four attacks, leading to a city ruling earlier this month that it be euthanized. Much public support, though, including national attention from animal-rights folks as noted by the Austin Herald, led the city council to reconsider Monday night, says KAAL-TV, and Roc is headed to rehab and a foster home.

Another DFLer declares for the state House seat that’s open after the death of state Rep. David Dill. The Mesabi Daily News finds three candidates in the running so far for the District 3A seat, which will be filled during a fall special election. The latest is Koochiching County Commissioner Rob Ecklund, who joins Ely City Councilor Heidi Omerza and environmental activist Bill Hansen of Tofte in the race.

Nearly 150 golfers in Austin raised $55,000 for research for Wilm’s tumor, a childhood cancer. The money will go to further the Hormel Institute’s work on the disease. This is the 18th year of “Karl’s Tourney,” named for Karl Potach, who passed away in 1997 at age 4 from the tumor, which most often affects children ages 3 to 4, typically occurring in one of the kidneys. Over the year’s they’ve raised nearly $900,000 for the cause.