Vikings stadium faces major obstacle Monday

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The possibility of building a new Vikings stadium has been a hot discussion topic in Minnesota lately, but it has yet to face many threats from the state's Legislature.

That may change Monday when the Vikings' proposal for a publicly funded stadium goes before a third House panel, according to the Star Tribune.

The $975 million proposal will face the The House Government Operations and Elections Committee, whose chair, Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, has said she prefers a voter referendum on the stadium. The referendum would likely doom the stadium, the Star Tribune said.

The proposal will be more likely to get a vote from the entire House if it survives Peppin's committee, House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, has said.

The Vikings have been pushed back several times before, according to the Pioneer Press. But this year may be their best chance yet.

Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president for public affairs and stadium development, said the team's odds of passing a stadium bill are about 50-50.

The Legislature returns to work Monday after a 10-day layoff.

President Barack Obama called Sunday for an investigation into allegations that Secret Service agents hired prostitutes, the Associated Press reported.

The director of the Secret Service will investigate whether 11 Secret Service agents and officers brought back prostitutes to a hotel in Cartagena, Columbia, according to CNN.

"I expect that investigation to be thorough and I expect it to be rigorous," Obama said at a news conference in Cartagena. "If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I'll be angry," he said.

Obama said the allegations don't match up to the standard of conduct expected of Secret Service agents.

The agents have since returned to the United States and been put on administrative leave, the agency said. Obama arrived in Cartagena after the alleged misconduct took place.

"I'll wait until the full investigation is completed until I pass final judgment," Obama said.

Residents throughout the Midwest region of the United States will face strong storms and fast-moving tornadoes this weekend, forecasters warned.

The Associated Press reported late Saturday that Tornadoes were reported in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma while strong storms hit Iowa during the day.

In Nebraska, barns, outbuildings, large trees, vehicles and other structures suffered damages from an apparent tornado, officials said.

According to CNN, Wichita, Kan., was under a tornado emergency late Saturday as a large twister traveled through south-central Kansas -- a situation the National Weather Service classified as "particularly dangerous."

CNN also reported that a possible tornado struck a hospital in Creston, Iowa, on Saturday evening.

The most dangerous weather in the area is expected to come Saturday night into Sunday morning, the Associated Press reported.

Light-rail construction delayed on campus


It has been a rough first year for the Central Corridor light-rail project that is scheduled to connect downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis in 2014.

Construction delays have pushed back major deadlines in the University of Minnesota campus area by as many as seven months, the Minnesota Daily reported.

An initial contract between the Metropolitan Council and Ames/McCrossan Joint Venture required the Oak Street intersection to be completed by Nov. 30, 2011, but only the west half has been completed. The Minnesota Daily reported that the deadline for the east half of the intersection and installation of tracks has been extended to June 15, according to Met Council spokeswoman Laura Baenen.

A series of conflicts on the East Bank campus restricted construction workers' hours and limited the number of vibrations the construction could produce, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Delays on campus have been compounded by performance problems in constructing the St. Paul portion of the Central Corridor transit system. Minnesota Public Radio reported that the first year of construction suffered from communication lapses, haphazard planning and inattention to community concerns.

In St. Paul, performance in constructing the Central Corridor failed to meet expectations, according to a source interviewed for Minnesota Public Radio's report.

Mark Fuhrmann, who oversees new rail development for Walsh Agency -- the company that manages the project -- said the project encountered delays from the beginning.

Other sources in Minnesota Public Radio's report complained about unsafe conditions along University Avenue, the site for most of the construction.

Fuhrmann called the traffic conditions along University Avenue "unacceptable."



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