News Flash!: Five Stories (One Global, Four Local) #4

The secret to fighting global warming may be infrastructure? There's a new report out linking climate change to land use planning. At least in the USA, this might be true. Compared to highly-developed Europe, New World places (like the US and Canada) have almost twice the # of cars (732/1K people v. 414/1K people), over twice the raw energy use (443kJ/capita v. 193 kJ/capita), and over twice the electricity use (52.4 GJ/capita v. 22.8 GJ/capita). How much of this difference is due to the far less dense landscape? Why do Americans dislike density so much?

This is kind of a big story! With the Saint Paul City Council elections less than a week away, the Saint Paul Police Federation is facing allegations of making illegal campaign calls to three hotly contested city council wards. According to City Pages’ Blotter blog, the police officer’s union has made robocalls to voters across the city in violation of Minnesota state law, though the union claims that because the calls come from outside of the state, they’re perfectly legal. Public safety and the number of police officers on the street has been one of the hotbutton issues in many of the city council campaigns, especially in Wards 5, 6, and 1. However, according to a finance reports dug up by City Pages, the money for the calls is coming from wealthy Twin Cities developer Jerry Trooien, whose riverfront mega-development was voted down by a City Council earlier this year. This is particularly perverse, the way that Trooien (and his 'Mythica' megalomania) is spitting in the face of the City Council. Nothing trumps property rights! (Make sure to vote Tuesday if you live in St Paul.)

The Saint Paul school board voted Tuesday to maintain current levels of military recruiting in the city’s public schools, rejecting a plea by a local group in favor of recruiting restrictions. According to the Pioneer Press story, this is the second time that community members have tried to confine military recruiters tables to career centeres, keeping them out of high school cafeterias. The proposed changes, which were rejected on a 4 to 2 vote, would have also restricted military recruiters’ visits to equal any other interest group.

A story in the Star Tribune reports that the cleanup of toxic spills in Sout Minneapolis’ Phillips Neighborhood will grow three times as large, surrounding the site of a former pesticide plant along Hiawatha Avenue. The plant, which operated until 1968, contaminated a large area as arsenic wafted from rail cars, and last month the EPA added it to its Superfund priority list. The yards of up to 500 more homes will be dug up, following what the agency calls a ‘worst first’ timeline, where those homes with the highest level of pollution are cleaned up quickly

And finally, The Twin Cities’ first co-op, North Country located on Riverside Avenue, is shutting its doors for good this week, as its board decided that continuing declines in sales made the grocery impractical. Opening in 1973, the co-op was one of the first to sell and market organic foods and vegetables, now found at nearly every grocery counter in the state.

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