The big Obama rally last week drew in 19,500 folks to the Xcel Energy Center. While that's a huge number, it's still well shy of the record set by the goddess of country pop, Shania Twain.
The attendance record of 20,545 was achieved back on October 28, 2003, according to Kathy O'Connor, Director of Public Relations at Xcel. An Elton John concert holds the second place position with 20,000, but Obama edged out the Wild for the bronze medal.
Still, Obamaniacs would argue that the estimated 15,000 people who didn't make it through security in time for the speech should count toward Barack's total. They'd also add that the press took up more than half the available floor space.
But let's face it: While Obama has been heralded as the next JFK, he's no Shania Twain. Maybe John McCain should consider her for his running mate. —Bradley Campbell
Have you seen this ugly man?
Somewhere in Mankato, a Ron Jeremy look-alike is hoping to grease up some sunbathing beauties.
"Craig," as he calls himself, first approached a sunbathing woman on May 25. He said he was a professional masseur and offered to rub her down. After being denied, he tried to pay the woman to give him a massage.
Last week, Craig was up to his shenanigans again, offering his services to another woman at another beach. He told her he was thirsty, and when she went into her apartment to fetch him a drink, he followed her in and allegedly sexually assaulted her.
According to police, Craig is quite the looker. Estimated to be between 250 and 300 pounds, the potbellied, hirsute white guy is said to have a "large head and larger than normal nose." Just to the right side of his snarly grin, Craig has what appears to be a "red" and "irritated" sore. "That's as close a suspect description as we can possibly get," says Mankato Detective Matt DuRose.
Now that's a composite sketch we'd like to see. —Beth Walton
Citizens of St. Paul don't seem too worried about severe weather. Upon hearing tornado-warning sirens last week, the few passersby outside the Capitol building reacted with a shrug.
Turns out they were right. The sirens went off by accident. Apparently, a Ramsey County worker was running a silent test of the emergency system and forgot the "silent" part.
For Justin Freed, the county's director of emergency management and homeland security, this meant a flurry of phone calls. "I had every media outlet in the area calling me up to find out the reason for the alarm," he says. "A great number of people were very embarrassed by the mistake."
Freed added that the upside to the false alarm was that it proved the system works. Some people actually took it seriously, though we didn't see any. —Bradley Campbell
If you've been feeling like the road is getting bumpier, buckle your seatbelt.
Minneapolis streets have been growing steadily less steady since 1995, according to the city's own measurements. At present, roughly a quarter of the city's roads need serious attention.
Carol Becker, president of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation, wants to turn that around. But, she says, money is tight and "it's just not sexy when a pothole gets fixed."
The city better start shoveling money into its streets soon—the percentage of passable pavement is projected to plunge below 70 percent by 2011. Hopefully we'll have flying Jetsons cars by then. —Jeff Severns Guntzel