News Day: Who’s running now? / Metro growing / WalMart in the news / SPPS school closings / Latest from Harvard

ballot box graphicWho’s running now? With filing for municipal offices now closed, you can find the complete list of candidates for Minneapolis municipal offices on the city website. Among the candidates:

DFL candidates for mayor – R.T. Rybak, Al Flowers and Dick Franson; also running for mayor are John Charles Wilson of the Edgertonite National Party; Tom Fiske of the Socialist Workers Party; Joey Lombard of the “Is Awesome” party or principle; Bob Carney of the Moderate Progressive Censored; Papa John Kolstad, Independent Civic Leader; James R. Everett, Social Entrepreneurship; Bill McGaughey of New Dignity Party; and Christopher Clark, Libertarian.

In addition to the all-DFL incumbents, there are lots of other DFLers in the city council races, and many more Green than Republican candidates, along with a host of other parties. Six candidates have filed for two at-large seats on the Board of Estimate and Taxation, eight for the three at-large seats on the Park and Recreation Board, and more than one candidate for each MPRB district, except District 4, where Anita Tabb is running unopposed.

Over in St. Paul, Republican-endorsed Eva Ng filed to oppose DFL incumbent Mayor Chris Coleman. Ng said she is conducting a nonpartisan campaign.

Metro growing The Met Council reports that the Twin Cities metro area is growing, mostly because of higher birth rates and longer life expectancies. MinnPost reports that the entire metro populaiton is now about 2.87 million, up nine percent since 2000. Minneapolis grew from 382000 to about 390,000, and St. Paul gained 1,200 people for a total of 288,000. Shakopee was the fastest-growing city in the area, adding 13,000 people since 2000, which brings its total population to almost 34,000.

Rampaging raptors The hawks shot by a DNR conservation officer after two months of swooping at (and sometimes injuring) Burnsville residents need not have been killed, according to the U of M Raptor Center. The Strib reports:

In this case, the hawks were aggressive because they had a nest with three chicks in a nearby pine tree, [Dr. Julie Ponder] said. Such aggressive behavior usually lasts two weeks as fledglings are learning to fly, not more than six weeks, as in this case. …

“As other options for nesting sites and habitats decrease,” she said, [hawks] are moving into the suburban areas.”

DNR officials said they tried unsuccessfully to trap the birds.

WalMart in the news WalMart has rehired a Muslim worker who was fired for praying during his work breaks, apparently recognizing that prayer is no more harmful to workplace health than the traditional coffee and cigarettes.

Unions, however, are still on the endangered list at WalMart, even though UFCW Local 789 withdrew charges of labor law violations at St. Paul’s Midway WalMart after four of six workers backed out of testifying. Union organizer Doug Mork says, “It’s not quite so simple as to say they were scared off. I think that’s a piece of it.”

St. Paul school closings The St. Paul Board of Education voted Tuesday night to close Roosevelt and Longfellow elementary schools, but spared Sheridan, which had also been on the list. The 5-1 vote on Roosevelt came after the board heard more pleas from West Side residents to spare their community school. Board member Keith Hardy, who voted against closing Roosevelt, cited the high degree of participation in school and community life by immigrant families at Roosevelt, and said that, “in a lot of ways, Roosevelt embodies what we are looking for in a school and a community.”

Board chair Kazoua Kong Thao called Roosevelt a wonderful school, but said that keeping Roosevelt open would mean closing another school, and that the real problem is bigger than St. Paul – it’s what is going on in the rest of the state and the country. She said that the money just isn’t there, and “I’m scared to even think about what next year is going to look like.”

World/National News

Gates charges dismissed In the wake of the arrest of distinguished (black) Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates on the doorstep of his own home by a police officer who apparently didn’t believe the driver’s license and Harvard photo ID that showed his identity and residence, Andy Borowitz “reports:”

Police in Cambridge, Massachusetts have begun an extensive sweep of Harvard professors whom they have targeted as the number-one crime threat to the community, officials confirmed today.

Cambridge police chief Ryan Slatson said that the department was responding to a recent crime wave in which tenured Harvard professors were attempting to break into their own homes.

Charges against Gates have been dismissed and the city of Cambridge issued a sgtatement saying the arrest “was regrettable and unfortunate.”

More arrests in Iran As opposition continues to build in Iran, riot police arrested a number of pro-reform protesters in Tehran, reports BBC. The number of protesters may have been hundreds or thousands – bans on international media made reports difficult to verify. Defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi again denounced the government led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and former presidents Hashemi Rafsanhani and Mohammad Khatami also issued strong critiques in recent days, with Khatami calling for a referendum.

War Reports

Iraq Five Iranian pilgrims were shot dead when armed men attacked three buses near Baquba, reports BBC. The pilgrims were on a road from the Iranian border to Shia holy sites in Iraq. In April, 61 Iranian pilgrims were killed in a suicide bombing at a roadside restaurant.

In Baghdad, a series of bombings on Tuesday killed at least 15 people and wounded more than a hundred, reports the New York Times. At least three people were killed in two separate attacks on U.S. military convoys.

In Mosul, gunmen shot and killed a police officer, a day after five police officers in the city were killed.

Somalia Kenyan officials have boosted troop strength on the Somali border, reports BBC. The move comes after Somali al-Shabab militants kidnapped three foreign aid workers from Kenya last weekend.

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