Tag Archives: Minneapolis

Bees win some, lose some in Minneapolis

IMG_0287A resolution supporting bees buzzed through the Minneapolis City Council last week, with the city’s press release touting it as “significant action in the fight to protect the sharply declining local bee population.” Recognizing the problem and pledging to plant more pollinator forage are good steps, but the month’s news reveals the complexity of getting city government to move in a single direction. The city council’s bee-friendly resolution did not (and cannot) actually ban any specific pesticides, and doesn’t affect the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, or other government bodies, such as the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. Continue reading

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Privatizing public housing in Minneapolis: the Glendale problems

With average apartment rent in the Twin Cities at a record-breaking $1018 a month, Minneapolis Public Housing plans to send 184 families out looking for new places to live. That’s just one of the problems with the Minneapolis plan to knock down Glendale public housing and replace it with 550 new units that will mostly rent for market rates. Continue reading

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News Cut / Twin Cities schools / BP, Gaza, Afghanistan

I’m a fan of MPR’s “Five by 8” – five stories highlighted by 8 a.m. in the NewsCut blog. They range from the deadly serious (competing video accounts of Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla) to the whimsical (robots creating robots) to the silly (do dogs prefer HDTV?) A little later than 8 a.m., my picks for the stories of the day include Twin Cities school news and lay-offs, Gaza news coverage, attacks on peace talks in Afghanistan, and BP’s ongoing failures as the oil slick nears Florida beaches. Continue reading

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Minneapolis budget – some cuts, some surprises

Some police officers will go under the budget adopted yesterday by the Minneapolis City Council. After Chief Tim Dolan surprised the council with a deficit announcement last week, MinnPost described the council as “steaming over the police department’s last-minute confession that it has overshot its budget by $8 million.” Dolan proposed cuts detailed by MPR as including elimination of 21 community crime prevention specialists, the mounted patrol and the police athletic league. Continue reading

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Rybak in the race

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak jumped into the gubernatorial race on Sunday, becoming the 11th DFL candidate. Rybak says he will abide by the party endorsement and not go to a primary fight, according  to the Pioneer Press. The Star Tribune reports that Rybak and former Senator Mark Dayton have the most DFL support, with each of them polling at 30 percent. Other DFLers include House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, former House minority leader Matt Entenza, State Senator John Marty, State Representatives Tom Rukavina and Paul Thissen, State Senator Tom Bakk and former State Senator Steve Kelley, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, and perpetual candidate Ole Savior. Continue reading

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NEWS DAY | Budgets on the line / Taking food from the sick / Running around in the cold, freezing to death / Health care, Afghanistan, Philippines

Budgets on the line: Police to helpers to hospitals Police chief Tim Dolan told the Minneapolis City Council that the police department will have a budget deficit of up to $4.2 million this year, far higher than expected. The MPD annual budget is about $135 million. The Star Tribune reported that the city council reaction was strong: Continue reading

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MN unemployment edges up: 7.6 percent / Policing the police in Minneapolis / TiZa hit with fines

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Minnesota’s unemployment rose to 7.6 percent in October, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported this morning. That’s up 0.2 percent from September, but still far below the national rate of 10.2 percent for October. The state added 2,200 jobs in October, with the strongest growth coming in temp jobs, especially in the professional and business sector. Continue reading

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NEWS DAY | Cat fight in TC media world / Pawlenty and health care / Making prisoners pay / more

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Cat fight in TC media world David Brauer gleefully reports that the Strib publisher was taking potshots at MPR yesterday, just before today’s scheduled MPR forum on the future of news. A Strib article quoted Mike Sweeney, chair of the Star Tribune board on MPR’s expansion plans and its sponsorship of the forum: Continue reading

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NEWS DAY | Elections tomorrow / FBI in MN / Psychologist crosses the line / Afghan presidency / more

vote_thumbElection day tomorrow For Minneapolis voters, it will be a first experience with the new Ranked Choice Voting system, which is part of the reason for a plethora of candidates from across the political spectrum — and beyond. (That’s especially true in the mayor’s race, which includes the Edgertonite (“Laura Ingalls Wilder is God”) and “Is Awesome” candidates.) Continue reading

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NEWS DAY | Twin Cities are tops in housing, safety / Police lie, Minneapolis pays / More U.S., U.N. deaths in AfPak war

Number One

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We’re number one! Forbes magazine has just named the Twin Cities the safest place to live, and Twin Cities home price increases lead the nation, with 3.2 percent in August, on top of 4.6 percent from June to July. Of course, when you look at the numbers a little more closely, you find that foreclosure rates are also higher than the rest of the nation, and that home prices are still one-third below 2006 levels, but why let the numbers get in the way of a good headline?

The Star Tribune reports that rising home prices in the Twin Cities lead the nation, though prices remain 13.7 percent below August 2008 levels. One of the factors bolstering the housing market is the federal first-time-home-buyer tax credit, which has pushed homes sales throughout the summer, but is set to expire at the end of November. The Strib reports: “The median price [for Twin Cities homes] peaked in September 2006 at $229,000 and bottomed in April at $153,000.” August’s median home price was $175,000.

Foreclosure rates are rising right along with home prices:

Data released today by Realty Trac, an online marketplace for foreclosed properties, show foreclosures rising faster locally than nationally. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area had 9,767 foreclosure filings in the third quarter, a 13.5 percent increase from the second quarter and nearly double the third-quarter total last year, Realty Trac said.

But at least Forbes loves us, gushing:

Minneapolis tops our list of America’s safest cities, and not just for its crime rate. In ranking the cities on our list, we looked at workplace fatalities, traffic-related deaths and natural disaster risk; the City of Lakes ranked in the top 10 of all four categories. It’s also one of America’s best places to live cheaply and offers easy access to some of the most scenic drives in the country.

And what about St. Paul? We’re just lumped in as part of the “Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI” metropolitan area.

Minneapolis pays again This time the city is paying $100,000 for bad policing, a settlement for police misconduct caught on a Hennepin County Safe Zone video camera, reports the Star Tribune. The lawsuit alleged false arrest and discrimination, and the video showed that police officers’ descriptions of what happened were just about 180 degrees from the truth. See the video on the Strib website. One of the officers is already under investigation for his actions as part of the Metro Gang Strike Force, but police spokesperson Jesse Garcia said he wasn’t aware of any internal investigation or discipline based on the north Minneapolis traffice stop resulting in the settlement.

Judge Robert Blaeser had earlier dismissed criminal charges filed against the couple in the case, after viewing the tape and reviewing the police reports:

“One officer says the car was silver; one says it was gold,” Blaeser said. “One says it ran a red light; one doesn’t say anything about that. One says he saw somebody throw something out the driver’s door; the other one did not. One says the passenger was jumping on the back of an officer, pulling the officer, and that he maced her; and the other one does not. I’m going to find that there’s not enough credible evidence for a stop in this case.”

Bostrom vs. Fletcher Assistant St. Paul police chief Matt Bostrom formed a Bostrom for Sheriff committee, which means he probably will run against incumbent Sheriff Bob Fletcher in next year’s election, according to the Star Tribune.

Bostrom starts his race with a lot of firepower backing him with campaign co-chairs including U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn.; state Sen. Mee Moua; Police Chief John Harrington and Ramsey County Commissioners Victoria Reinhardt and Tony Bennett.

Bostrom helped oversee RNC security plannning, and drew criticism from Fletcher during that time, recalls the Minnesota Independent, with Fletcher “repeatedly warning that the St. Paul department had failed to recruit enough police officers to ensure that it went off without serious problems.” Fletcher’s RNC conduct is certain to be an issue in the campaign, but it’s not the only one:

The four-term incumbent’s also been at the center of an investigation into the activities of the beleaguered — and now disbanded — Metro Gang Strike Force. Two damning reports released earlier this year alleged that the law enforcement agency routinely seized money from citizens without justification, failed to adequately keep track of its assets and displayed a general disregard for the civil rights of citizens, particularly minorities. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department was the fiscal agent for the gang strike force.

War Reports

Pakistan Nearly 100 people are already reported killed in a market bombing in Peshawar, reports NPR, as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton arrived in Islamabad for a three-day visit. According to the Washington Post:

The bombing early Wednesday in a crowded market in Peshawar — about three hour’s drive from the capital — was the deadliest attack in Pakistan this year, and the latest in a wave of suicide bombings, assassinations and attacks staged in response to a major Pakistani offensive against insurgent sanctuaries near the Afghanistan border.

Afghanistan Eight more U.S. troop deaths in two attacks Tuesday brought the total U.S. troop toll to 55 for October, the highest number in any month since the war began, according to AP. All the deaths were in Kandahar province, and other troops were wounded in the fighting.

The military issued a statement saying the deaths occurred during “multiple, complex” bomb strikes. It said several troops were wounded and evacuated to a nearby medical facility, but gave no other details.

In addition to military deaths, three U.S. DEA agents were killed, along with soldiers, in a helicopter crash on Monday, and the bodies of three civilian crew members were recovered from the wreckage of a U.S. army plane that crashed in western Afghanistan two weeks ago. According to BBC, the three were also U.S. nationals.

Also on Wednesday, reports AP, the Taliban attacked both a U.N. guesthouse and a luxury hotel in the capital city of Kabul:

Gunmen with automatic weapons and suicide vests stormed a guest house used by U.N. staff in the heart of the Afghan capital early Wednesday, killing 12 people – including six U.N. staff – officials said. The U.S. Embassy said one of the U.N. dead was American. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility, saying it was meant as an assault on the upcoming presidential election.

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