FRIDAY, April 4


West St. Paul hardware store struggles among big boxes
by Jeanette Fordyce, TC Daily Planet
West St. Paul’s oldest continuously owned family business, Langula’s Hardware at 919 South Robert, is struggling.

SEIU Healthcare’s Jigme Ugen: first Tibetan elected as union leader in U.S.
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review
Tibet may be on the far side of the world, but the Chinese government’s attack on political protesters there has been very much in the local newspapers — and very much in the thoughts of Jigme Ugen.

The Twin Cities: a national leader in — vacant housing?
by Molly Priesmeyer, Minnesota Monitor
Twin Citians are a proud bunch. We love to profess that our cities are a cut above just about any other cluster on the U.S. map. But there are towns that are beating out Minneapolis-St. Paul in one major and meaningful area: For the first time in more than 20 years, cities like St. Louis; Birmingham, Ala.; Houston; Pittsburgh — cities that have struggled economically over the last decade and longer — now boast a lower home vacancy rate than the Twin Cities. And none of those struggling cities have seen their home vacancy rates triple since 2004. That honor goes to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Cities unite to push for property tax relief
by Jeff Van Wychen, Minnesota 2020
Large losses in state aid to cities have caused property taxes to shoot up at the same time that investment in local services and infrastructure takes a nose dive. Minnesota’s major city organizations have united in an effort to halt this ongoing erosion of state support for property tax relief and local services.


Food and Restaurants

Mexico rising: Indio Mexican cuisine and La Chaya Bistro
by Jeremy Iggers, The Rake
A couple of talented Mexican-born chefs have opened new restaurants in south Minneapolis that raise the local standards for Mexican cuisine.

La Chaya Bistro
by Jeremy Iggers, Breaking Bread/The Rake
At La Chaya, a former Kentucky Fried Chicken (or so I am told) at 4537 Nicollet Ave.S. has been transformed into a rather romantic bisto, with earthtones and open kitchen. Mediterranean flavors predominate, but the Mexican influence is in evidence in a variety of dishes, from the thick black bean soup of the day and the Mexican pizza (topped with refried beans, grilled chicken, chorizo and too many jalapeno peppers, $13.95) to the entrees of halibut, offered either baked in banana leaves with achiote and sour orange, or topped with a pumpkin seed sauce, and served over mashed potatoes with poblano pepper (both $22).

Baladna Food is out with the old, in with the new
by Kelly Gulbrandson, Minnesota Daily
The new restaurant is located in space previously occupied by Santana Foods.

Fogo De Chao
by Nick and Natasha Laul
When Mojitos, the Brazilian Churrascaria in the Excelsior and Grand neighborhood closed down, we were really disappointed. So you can imagine our excitement when we heard that Fogo De Chao was opening in Minneapolis! Fogo De Chao is a Brazilian Churrascaria (steakhouse).


Lobbying by deception and misinformation
by Senator John Marty, Apple Pie Alliance
Many people are familiar with the phrase “grassroots lobbying.” It implies that the public feels strongly about a bill and people contact their elected officials demanding action.


Courage of teens changes America
by Joe Nathan, 4/3/08 • America has moved ahead because of the courage of everyday folks. Last week I wrote about the courage of Iraq soldier Pete Hegseth and Forest Lake Principal Steve Massey. This week the focus turns to nine high school students, who, 50 years ago, shocked and stirred America. They have become known as the “Little Rock Nine.”