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Volume 24 No. 114


The Minnesota state Legislature's Republican majority "that will determine if the Minnesota Vikings get a new stadium is in a tricky spot," as most party leaders "insist that solving the state's $5 billion budget deficit comes first," according to Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Republican legislators are "pushing an aggressive agenda to shrink Minnesota government," and making an exception "to provide taxpayer money for the Vikings could prove politically difficult." Minnesota state Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton said legislators have "bigger fish to fry" than a proposal for a new Vikings stadium. However, he also indicated that the “party's platform was not necessarily written in stone.” Sutton: "Generally speaking, the party would be opposed (to) using taxpayer funds for things like that. But until we get to the specifics, I really don't know.” Sutton said that he “had heard little talk about a stadium subsidy plan.” Sutton: "It's a sexy issue. But compared to the budget deficit and everything, it's not big." State Rep. Keith Downey said a new stadium was a "second-tier priority." Kaszuba notes after the Metrodome's roof collapsed last December, state Sen. Julie Rosen "promised to unveil a Vikings stadium proposal by late January." However, in a "sign that the legislation is facing complications, the proposal has yet to be introduced" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/23).

In Ft. Worth, Susan Schrock notes “workers continued repairing metal flashing on the Cowboys Stadium roof that was damaged by the ice storm” before last month’s Super Bowl. Cowboys Dir of Corporate Communications Brett Daniels yesterday declined to disclose the repair cost, but said that HKS Architects, the firm that designed Cowboys Stadium, is “still exploring ways to prevent ice and snow buildup on the domed roof.” The Cowboys have “asked to make recommendations meant not only to improve public safety but also to prevent damage to the retractable roof.” Six workers “were injured -- none critically -- by falling ice during Super Bowl week” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/23).

POLITICAL POSTURING? L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, speaking at a luncheon meeting of the L.A. Current Affairs Forum, “questioned the NFL’s imminent desire to return to the nation’s second-largest media market.” Ridley-Thomas: “If there is an appetite, it’s a small one.” He added, “It would not surprise me at all if we found new sites emerging over the next few weeks or so. It would not surprise me at all if in fact we were to see the NFL acknowledge that it thinks competition for a new franchise or a relocated franchise in Los Angeles would be a good thing in the interest of Los Angeles and the league. That’s been their pattern for the last 15 years” (, 3/21).

FORWARD HO: In Green Bay, Rob Demovsky reports the Packers “will go forward with their plans to expand the Lambeau Field bowl seating area, although it wouldn’t likely be ready until the 2013 season at the earliest.” Packers VP/Administration & General Counsel Jason Wied said that the team is “committed to expanding the stadium with outdoor seats and not club or luxury seating.” The Packers this offseason are “replacing the sound system and adding new video boards in the stadium” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 3/23).

In Pittsburgh, Mark Belko reports city planning commission members "unanimously rejected a historic designation for the 49-year-old" Civic Arena yesterday, "moving it a step closer to demolition." The vote "deals yet another blow to the efforts by local preservationists, led by architect Rob Pfaffmann, to save the arena from destruction by designating it a city historic structure." The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, the arena's owner, "wants to tear down the building as part of a plan by the Penguins to redevelop the site and adjacent land, 28 acres in all, for housing, offices and commercial activities" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/23). 

POISON IVY: Orioles groundskeeper Nicole Sherry said that the ivy that grows up the wall beyond centerfield at Camden Yards was "attacked by a soil-borne pathogen and had to be pulled out earlier this month." Sherry "hopes to replant this spring or fall, but for now, the 'batter's eye' -- the wall behind the pitcher in the hitter's line of sight -- will instead bear a fresh coat of the park's signature 'Camden Green' paint" (Baltimore SUN, 3/23).

PANE IS TEMPORARY: In Calgary, Randy Sportak noted the Flames are "one of six teams still using the seamless-glass system, and will change to a more forgiving plexiglass system in time for the 2011-12 campaign." Flames President & CEO Ken King said that the organization is "looking at all the possible systems out there." New glass "will be used on the end boards, and may be put in place along the sides of the rink" (CALGARY SUN, 3/21).