Minnesota a leader among restaurant food poisonings

Check please: we've got the third-highest total in the country

Looking for an excuse to cut back on eating out? A recent analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Minnesota had the third-most restaurant-related food poisoning outbreaks in 2006, the latest year for which statistics are available.

Minnesota's 55 outbreaks put it in league with the big boys. Rounding out the top five: Florida, California, Ohio, and New York. The state's unflatteringly strong showing owes mainly to 35 outbreaks of Novovirus, an easily spread flu-like bug that sickened more than 500 Minnesota restaurant-goers in 2006.

The study was undertaken by healthinspections.com. According to the site, the biggest foods to watch out for include salad, seafood, and deli sandwiches. Oh, and don't bother looking up which restaurants have been making their customers sick. The state's health department gotten around to putting its inspections reports online. Jonathan Kaminsky

Smell you later

Apparently, there's nothing like the smell of dead mice, dirty diapers, or decaying road kill basking in the sun to bring visitors to the zoo in droves.

Last Wednesday, Como Zoo's "corpse flower," also known as the Titan Arum, started to bloom, and with it came what it considers a very sexy scent—a smell we humans are most likely to associate with rotting flesh.

"It's a really smelly plant," says zoo horticulturist Margaret Yeakel-Twum. "But people love it, they just love it. Even though it stinks, they just kept coming in."

Experiencing the bloom is a really rare opportunity, says Yeakel-Twum. The flower blooms only once every 15 years, and this is one of only about 125 recorded bloomings worldwide since the flower's discovery in the late 1800s.

Like we use cologne and perfume, the corpse flower uses its scent to attract pollinators in the wilderness.

"As humans, we just love to put these things on plants and animals to make them human, and this one just does not care what we think about it," she says. "It stinks." —Beth Walton

Ash holes

Last week, the state House's Ways and Means Committee, by a 13-4 vote, passed a bill that would allow chronically ill patients to use marijuana. It now moves to the House floor, leaving some wondering: Will it weather the fucktard vote?

Minnesota's fucktard demographic—though less vocal than in other states—remains a critical voting bloc. Comprised chiefly of law-and-order types, anti-science yokels, and perpetually nervous Caucasians, Minnesota's fucktard coalition has lobbied hard against the bill. An alliance of law enforcement associations has sent emails to legislators informing them that, as one fucktard put it, "our political action committees will be taking this into account when we deliver our endorsements."

Having already passed the Senate last session thanks to bipartisan support, the bill would go directly to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk upon passage in the House. Since the Republican VP slot requires vigilant fucktard-pandering on a national scale, Pawlenty has indicated he will veto the legislation. Matt Snyders

General Tsu's pale ale

On August 24 at approximately 10 p.m., St. Paul community liaison Officer Tong Yang was conducting a plainclothes investigation at Asian Cuisine restaurant on Rice Street. Yang observed the bartender roll out four cases of beer on a cart for patrons attending an anniversary party. Unfortunately for Asian Cuisine, doling out beer by the case is not permissible under the terms of the establishment's liquor license.

Two months later, St. Paul police officer Jeff Gilsrud was working off-duty security at the North End restaurant when he witnessed a 19-year-old patron drinking beer at a birthday party.

It was the fifth such license violation in less than two years for Asian Cuisine. In July 2007 the restaurant was fined $1,500 for a trio of offenses. Just a month later, the establishment was caught serving patrons after hours, for which it was assessed another $2,000 in fines and forced to shut down for 10 days.

Last week the St. Paul City Council revoked all licenses held by Asian Cuisine and its owner, Billy Neng Yang. We'll drink to that. Paul Demko

 
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