Minneapolis approves Prospect Park hotel

The Minneapolis City Council gave the final stamp of approval for a hotel in Prospect Park on Friday.

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Don't let Big Meat eat our bumper crop

The last few years have not been good for the factory farm industry. High prices for corn and other crops (in part driven by the growth of ethanol) made feed costs incredibly high, while at the same time, environmental and animal welfare advocates have been winning ballot and marketplace battles to shift more meat production out of intensive confinement and industrial systems. Hog and cattle producers have been hit by disease, drought and weather related disasters, resulting in losses in both sectors.

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Restore the grid! A vision for the center of Downtown Saint Paul

I live and work in Lowertown. Frequently my errands and wanderings take me up to the Rice Park/Landmark Center/7th Place areas. I’m always either on foot or bike. Over the last two-plus years of living here, I’ve become increasingly annoyed with the presence of the two “SuperBlocks”. These are the blocks that have 7th Street as the northern border, Wabasha Street as the western, 6th Street as the southern and Minnesota Street as the eastern border (See map). They house the Wells Fargo tower and the Bremer Bank tower on the north ends, facing 7th Street. The vacant Macy’s store and DoubleTree by Hilton face 6th Street on the south end. If you are coming from the mostly-pleasant 7th Street pedestrian mall and you want to go over to the eastern side of downtown, the most direct way is through the indoor “shopping” mall and skyway configuration of the SuperBlocks.

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Share Dinkytown stories at a reunion this weekend

(Photos by Bill Huntzicker)

If you have Dinkytown memories and stories, you’re invited to share them this weekend at a couple of events and to reminisce about the area’s past and discuss its future.

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St. Paul aims to lead in workforce racial equity

Nearly $105 million in St. Paul City contracts was awarded in 2013 to businesses owned by people of color, women-owned, and small businesses, according to Saint Paul’s Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) annual report. That was about 41 percent of the “total business opportunity” of more than $255 million. Approximately 18.6 percent of this “total business opportunity,” or $47.5 million of the contracts awarded last year, went to small businesses; $38.5 million (15 percent of total) went to women-owned businesses; and $18.8 million (7 percent of total) went to businesses owned by people of color.

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Snowlessons

We can learn a lot from snow. I had a lot of thoughts as I drove around during and after our instant winter (text is above photos).

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OPINION | Community Action in Ramsey-Washington demonstrates transparency, accountability

I wish to utilize this column to share some important information related to the operations and oversight at Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties (CAPRW). The recent shutdown of Community Action of Minneapolis has given rise to an unprecedented level of scrutiny toward Minnesota’s other 25 Community Action agencies, including CAPRW.

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VIDEO: Rally at Minnesota state capitol urges nurses to file OSHA complaints over Ebola unpreparedness

(Still from video below)

The Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) held a rally and candlelight vigil at the Minnesota Capitol to draw attention to the lack of uniform and adequate safety procedures for dangerous viruses like Ebola at hospitals around the state.

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Minneapolis should rethink the Above the Falls master plan

It is hard to overstate the importance of the Mississippi River in the urban form of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Once a source of energy and an important transport route, the river’s main value now is environmental and aesthetic. With the imminent closing of the Upper locks and the Upper Harbor Terminal–basically the Port of Minneapolis– the city has an incredible opportunity to redevelop 43 acres of riverfront land. More land will be available in the future, and the city has an extensive plan–the Above the Falls Master Plan–for developing the riverfront upriver from the Saint Anthony lock and dam.

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New Minnesota House members and Sunday liquor sales: An inventory of their positions

Veteran CBS Minnesota political observer Pat Kessler reports in Minn. Lawmakers Prepare For Renewed Sunday Liquor Sales Push:

The issue of Sunday liquor sales is likely to come up again next year, with the new Republican majority in the state legislature.

Minnesota is one of only 12 states that require liquor stores to be closed on Sundays. And many Minnesota consumers cross the border to Wisconsin, where Sunday sales are legal. . . .

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