Headlines 5/8/08: Bike/walk to work, agriculture bubble, foreclosure crisis, smiley-face killers

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HEADLINES

Hit the streets
by Melissa Slachetka, TC Daily Planet
The temperature has finally risen above freezing, but unfortunately gas prices are also on the rise. For savvy city dwellers, it’s time to put on a biking helmet or walking shoes and head outside. From the Great Commuter Challenge to a new the brand-new Freewheel Midtown Bike Center, the Twin Cities are gearing up for Bike/Walk to Work Week May 12-18 and Bike/Walk to Work Day on May 14.

Minnesota’s bubble economy: the critical need to prevent our farmland boom from busting
by staff, Minnesota 2020
Minnesota agriculture is riding high — perhaps too high to be sustainable. Clearly, price bubbles are forming around farmland and commodities that threaten the long-term health of Minnesota’s huge food and agriculture economy.

Foreclosure solutions
by Batala-Ra McFarlane, Insight News
The escalating rate of home foreclosures is putting American homeowners in crisis-mode. As of March this year, more than “900,000 households [were] in the foreclosure process, up 71% from a year ago, according to a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association. That figure represents 2.04% of all mortgages, the highest rate in the report’s quarterly, 36-year history.”

The smiley-face killers: a born-in-Minneapolis urban legend takes wing
by Steve Perry, Minnesota Monitor
If you missed Kristi Piehl’s breathless April 25 KSTP-TV report on the pair of retired NYPD detectives who believe there’s a network of serial killers murdering college men around the country — over 40 to date, they claim, and perhaps up to 100 — then you’ve probably also missed the overnight growth of a new urban legend on the web.

INSIDE THE DAILY PLANET

Views and Reviews

Art note: Tasty “Lutefisk Sushi” at Altered Esthetics
by James Sanna, TC Daily Planet
The word “cartoonist” tends to evoke Saturday-morning buffoonery rather than fine art. The word “illustrators” might be more respectable, but in this case it would be completely off the mark: the creations of these artists—influenced by Art Spiegelman and R. Crumb, among others—romp through a range of visual and narrative styles and subject matter, brimming with creativity and skill.

Interview: Drew Druckery of Stone Soup
by Dwight Hobbes, TC Daily Planet
“When I put this band together I really wanted to bring all of my favorite sounds together. Bands like the Allman Brothers Band with their two-guitar interplay, mixed with the power of Led Zeppelin and the groove of Bob Marley. I was also interested in vocal harmonies like those of the Beatles and the Eagles. A lot of Stone Soup’s sound comes from these sources.”

St. Paul writers’ group on RTX
by Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet
With the rock band RTX (the letters stand for Rad Times Xpress) slated for a show at the 7th Street Entry on June 28, the band’s record label sent the Daily Planet a review copy of their latest album RaTX. We listened to a few of the tracks at a recent meeting of our St. Paul writers’ group.

NEW IN VOICES

Peace Island
by Susu Jeffrey, Southside Pride
The idea of a Peace Island conference came to me, whole, in the middle of a meal. Shortly after the announcement of Saint Paul as the location of the Republican National Convention (RNC), September 1-4, I wrote “peace island” on a napkin scrap, and lost it. But the idea festered—an undeclared recession, war without end, and 15,000 media people coming to town looking for a story.

NEW IN BLOGS

College student challenges columnist, college and high school faculty
by Joe Nathan, School Talk
Ashley Luginbill, a 2007 Elk River High School graduate recently wrote a wise and thoughtful challenge to my column about remedial courses in Minnesota universities. She began, “I agree with all your main points; however I think it isn’t just about the students needing to challenge themselves more.”