This Week in Alts: Minnesota's DIY solar movement, Law & Order: C.L.E., and more

City Pages, "Minnesota's Do-It-Yourself Solar Movement Explodes" The Minneapolis alt-weekly delves into the solar gardens blossoming around the state. What's a solar garden, you ask? "It's a simple concept: Anyone can build an array of panels, which pump solar energy into Xcel's grid. For a one-time fee—which usually lands at about $1,000—neighbors can become something akin to co-op members in these gardens. The sunpower generated each month is then credited against their collective energy bills. Over a 25-year subscription, members are reimbursed at rates higher than the cost of conventional electricity, a state-mandated bonus for going green. They typically break even sometime after a decade, and eventually save up to 30 percent on their monthly bills." So far, the demand for memberships has been huge—when the program first opened in December, "the company was inundated by 427 proposals, representing enough juice to equal an upstart power plant."


The Scene, "Law & Order: C.L.E." "What happens when the police need prosecuting?" the Cleveland Scene asks. The resulting cover story is sometimes exasperated, sometimes seething, but provides an entirely thorough and damning look at how "[h]igh legal standards and a conflicted, inconsistent prosecutorial system have all but guaranteed that these 46 new officers will be able to do whatever they please on the job—skip work, run reds, chase cars, shoot first—without the inconvenience of trial or even the whiff of serious repercussion." And there will be more to come: "Scene will be taking a closer look at how the Cleveland Division of Police operates—its leadership, policies, procedures—over the next several weeks. Stay tuned for information on settlements in use of force cases, police exams, and the genesis and metastasis of its culture of impunity."


Syracuse New Times, "End of slavery didn't end different experiences for whites, blacks" The headline is a bit "no shit, Sherlock" for anyone who's been following, you know, anything about race relations in America, but the article has a pretty interesting interview with history professor Doug Egerton about his book, "The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America's Most Progressive Era" (Bloomsbury Press, 2014). In it, he details the ways in which white supremacists used violence to undo the progress made for African-Americans after the Civil War. "[Egerton] quotes an astonishing statistic gathered by Robert Smalls, a former slave turned Civil War naval hero who represented South Carolina in Congress during Reconstruction. Smalls counted about 53,000 activists killed in both the North and South by white supremacists determined to revive the old order. Fifty-three thousand. 'That's more than the number of people who died at Gettysburg, and we all know about Gettysburg,' he says."

Charleston City Paper, "Thanks to Sarah Palin, we now know that Hunter Thompson faked his own death" Charleston City Paper (no relation) has a snarky blog post pointing out the striking similarity to Hunter S. Thompson that a character has in the promo for Sarah Palin's new reality TV show, "Amazing America." This copy editor is shocked, however, that in a post dedicated to snark, the Charleston paper failed to comment on the fact that "America" is spelled incorrectly in the title of the YouTube video promoting her show. God Bless Amercia.

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