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After students' visit, Minneapolis inspectors say Smitten Kitten sex toy store violated city code

After a group of private school students visited an adult novelty store in Minneapolis last week, city inspectors Tuesday issued notices of city code violations to the shop.

On Tuesday afternoon, a license inspector and a zoning inspector in plainclothes visited Smitten Kitten and found them to be out of compliance with city zoning code that orders that sexually explicit materials were not in a separate section of the store as well as a licensing violation for failure to prohibit the display of sexually explicit materials which were not packaged or covered within view of minors, said Grant Wilson, who oversees business licensing for the city.

"We’re just citing what we saw today as a violation," Wilson said.

The store is being ordered to fix the problems, but no fines or other penalties have been issued, Wilson said.

Due to the store's location outside of downtown Minneapolis, which the City Council has designated as the area for adult-only uses, Smitten Kitten has to conform to stringent zoning guidelines, Wilson said.

"If you are going to be out in the neighborhoods out of downtown you can have sexually explicit material but only [in] 15 percent of your retail floor area," Wilson said.

The adult material has to be separated so that only adults can have access, he said.

Inspectors believe that Smitten Kitten management will be able to reconfigure the store to be able to fix the problem.

A couple of parents said they were outraged that they weren't notified before a dozen students, as young as 11, from Gaia Democratic School, were taken to the store last Friday as part of a field trip at the end of months of sex education classes at the school. The school's director defended the trip saying that it was educational and that students were able to freely ask the sex educators numerous questions.

St. Paul police are firing up the grill

How do you spread safety and goodwill throughout the city? By firing up the grill, of course.

The St. Paul police and their grills are returning to city neighborhoods this summer with the department's Safe Summer Nights program. Burgers, brats and a lot of socializing will be served up each Thursday -- June through August -- in different parts of the city.

It is the second year the department will host the barbecues, which are free and open to the public. The Safe Summer Nights program is designed to provide opportunities for police officers to become acquainted with residents of the neighborhoods they serve over a meal rather than during times of trouble.

St. Paul police officers will bring horse and motorcycle units to the summer cookouts as well as handouts for kids. Food for the events is donated by local businesses, including Superb Meats, a food wholesaler based on W. 7th Street.

The cookouts run from 5 to 7 p.m. No registration is necessary to attend, and everyone is welcome.

Here is the schedule:

Thursday, June 4

Wilder Recreation Center

958 Jessie St.

Thursday, June 11

Hamline Park

1564 Lafond Ave.

Thursday, June 18

Rice Park

109 W. 4th St.

Thursday, June 25

Groveland Recreation Center

2021 St. Clair Ave.

Thursday, July 2

Weida Park

637 Burr St. N.

Thursday, July 9

Douglas Park

328 W. Stevens St.

Thursday, July 16

Carty Park

705 Iglehart Ave.

Thursday, July 23

Arlington Hills Recreation Center

1200 Payne Ave.

Thursday, July 30

McDonough Recreation Center

1544 Timberlake Rd.

Thursday, Aug. 6

West Minnehaha Recreation Center

685 W. Minnehaha Ave.

Thursday, Aug. 13

Margaret Park

1109 Margaret St.

Thursday, Aug. 20

Conway Recreation Center

2090 Conway Ave.

Thursday, Aug. 27

Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center

800 Conway St.