7/2/08 HEADLINES: Ethiopian bombs, MN cell phones; St. Paul jilts Ford; Waiting for a home; Hmong movie auditions



Ethiopian bombs land by cell phone in Minnesota
by Douglas McGill, TC Daily Planet
The four men sitting at a downtown coffee shop here recently told me a story that sounded too far-fetched to be true.

Could a humanitarian crisis potentially the size of Darfur, Sudan actually be unfolding while capturing hardly a second of the world’s collective attention, or Minnesota’s?

Even worse, could it actually be true, as these four Minnesotans insist, that this unimaginable massacre is being paid for partly with U.S. tax dollars?

St. Paul jilts Ford for Toyota’s 10-vehicle deal
by Chris Steller, Minnesota Independent
From the nation’s capitol to the state capitol, pols are crossing their fingers in the hope that Ford Motor Company will keep producing Ranger pickup trucks at its St. Paul factory through 2011, as suggested in news reports last week. U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman all expressed cautious hope that Ford execs will put off the plant’s closing, now planned for 2009, by two years. But while Ford workers await official word on their fates from Detroit, they may be surprised by what they see cruising past the plant on Mississippi River Boulevard: Toyota pickup trucks emblazoned with a logo celebrating a partnership between the City of Saint Paul and Ford rival Toyota.

Waiting in line to get in line: the need for quality housing
by Michael Arnst, Minnesota 2020
Last week, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) opened its waiting list for Section 8 rent assistance vouchers for the first time in five years. The Bloomington Housing and Redevelopment Authority (BHRA) will re-open its waiting list at the end of June. The expected number of applications in Minneapolis alone is expected to exceed 15,000, an increase of 60% over the number of applications received in 2003.

Local Hmong auditions for Eastwood film
by Wameng Moua, Hmong Today
With sparkles glimmering in their eyes, hundreds of Hollywood hopefuls crammed into Hmong American Partnership in St. Paul for an opportunity to gain instant stardom.


Capitol hearing reveals specifics of allegations against Swanson and Hatch in AG’s office controversy
by Britt Robson, Minnesota Independent
Workers in the Minnesota Attorney General’s office have alleged under oath that current AG Lori Swanson and her predecessor, Mike Hatch, may have illegally diverted federal monies meant to investigate Medicaid fraud, and that a legal settlement negotiated by Swanson and Hatch financially benefited a nonprofit organization that later endorsed Hatch’s campaign for governor.

The new Pratt
by Linda Lincoln, The Bridge
A year ago, many in Southeast Minneapolis were reeling from the Minneapolis Public School Board’s decision to close Tuttle School in the Como neighborhood and combine it with its sister school, Pratt, in Prospect Park.

Bicycling: an emerging subculture in Minnesota
by volunteers, MTN
South High students Emily Townswick, Rose Spieler-Sandberg, Lora Pedersen, Claire Richards, Betsy Barta, Brent Hutchinson and Hoan Ngo produced this fun and informative look at bike culture in Minneapolis, interviewing bicyclists and exploring issues like the popular Citical Mass rides. They made the video with help from the Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) through the Voices program.


One year later: identified needs still go unmet as state economy worsens
by Lee Egerstrom, Minnesota 2020
Minnesota 2020 announced its arrival last year by issuing its first research report, “Chasing Smokestacks, Stranding Small Business,” that identified shortcomings and chronic problems facing rural Minnesota and small businesses with economic development.


Smoothly surreal art at the Spyhouse
by Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet
I’m sitting at the corner of 25th and Nicollet, watching people bump into my car as they try to parallel park…must be Monday! Fortunately the Spyhouse coffee shop here offers aesthetic and comestible pleasures to warm the heart and cool the lips.

Why huge gaps between reading and math achievement in Minnesota?
by Joe Nathan, School Talk
Something strange is going on: When state figures show only 34% of 11th graders statewide are passing the state’s math test, we have a large problem. Meanwhile 71% of Minnesota 10th graders passed Minnesota’ reading test, which they must do before graduating from high school.

Into the wild
by Kate Hoff, TC Daily Planet
I’m writing this first blog post from the field; or, rather, mountain. I spent this morning hiking on Matanuska Glacier in Alaska. Certainly an excellent way to spend the day, but it has nothing to do with the Fringe.

The Watson Twins release new album, slate Turf Club gig
by Greg Swan, Perfect Porridge
Today Los Angeles band The Watson Twins release Fire, their Vanguard Records full length debut. They will play St. Paul’s Turf Club on July 18, and two tracks from the album are available for free download.

Returning favorites—Live Action Set (Part 3)
by Matthew A. Everett, TC Daily Planet
So, there’s the Deviants, the Land of the Dead, and the Fools for Love. And then there’s also something created in part by director Jon Ferguson (the guy who teamed up with Live Action Set to bring us Please Don’t Blow Up Mr. Boban—still one of my favorite Fringe shows of recent memory).