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White Bear Lake couple missing on Italian cruise ship

MORNING EDITION

Two Minnesotans are still among the missing in that Italian cruise ship sinking. Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News reports: “Two Minnesota senior citizens were among 17 people still missing amid a desperate cabin-to-cabin hunt on the crippled cruise ship Costa Concordia that sank off Tuscany. Gerald and Barbara Heil of White Bear Lake, Minn., have not been heard from since the Friday sinking, their four kids say. ‘We are holding out hope but realize the gravity of the situation. Saint Christopher pray for us,’ daughter Sarah Kim wrote on Facebook.”

Heron Marques-Estrada at the Strib adds: “In interviews with Chicago radio station WBBM, Sarah Heil and her brother John, who lives in the Chicago area, said their parents had bypassed luxuries for most of their marriage. ‘They raised four kids and sent them all to private school, elementary to college, so they never had any money,’ Sarah Heil said. ‘So when they retired, they went traveling. And this was to be a big deal — a 16-day trip. They were really excited about it’. Late Sunday afternoon, a family spokesman said that the Heil family would be making no more comments regarding the search or their parents.”

One of the iconic figures of Minnesota’s progressive politics has passed away. At MPR, Rupa Chenoy writes: “Marv Davidov, a long-time Minnesota peace activist, has died. He was 80. In an interview that aired in 2007, Davidov told MPR News he attended every rally or protest in Minnesota he could. He described himself as a non-violent revolutionary who supported countless causes, from opposition to war to support for immigrant rights. Davidov was originally from Detroit. He moved to Minnesota after high school to attend Macalester College, then joined the Freedom Riders in 1961. Davidov was arrested and imprisoned in Mississippi for 45 days. In 1968 during the Vietnam War Davidov founded the Honeywell Project. The group opposed Honeywell's production of weapons like cluster bombs. By his count, Davidov was arrested more than 50 times.”

Soon to be in red ink … the state’s Game and Fish Fund. Sam Cook of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund, which pays for most fish and wildlife management in the state, is headed into the red. One item in a recent presentation by Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr carried an ominous heading: ‘Bankrupt Game and Fish Fund.’ The fund, supported mainly by income from fishing and hunting license sales, will go into the red by June 2013 unless revenues are raised. ‘We can’t get to that point,’ Landwehr told the assembled stakeholders Jan. 6 at the DNR Roundtable in St. Paul. ‘We will be cutting programs if we don’t get a fee increase.’ Does this sound familiar? Landwehr and others at the DNR have been calling for an increase in fishing and hunting license fees since last year at this time, when projections showed the Game and Fish Fund headed for insolvency. Any increases would have to be approved by the Legislature.” ... And since we’re talking “fees” and not “taxes,” why would there be a problem?

The PiPress does its duty with an editorial pushing “a ballpark, not a stadium.” Says the paper: “Let's build a regional ballpark for St. Paul, the Saints and amateur baseball in Minnesota. The proposed 7,000-seat stadium — at the site of the old Diamond Products building across from the St. Paul Farmer's Market — would put baseball at each end of the Central Corridor light rail line. It is hoped that the governor's bonding proposal, which will be unveiled this week, will include $27 million to transform the Lowertown site from polluted brownfield to cozy ballfield. The city and the Saints are to fund the remainder of the project, with a pricetag expected to total around $50 million. The office of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and members of the city's business community have made the issue a top priority. We share their passion for a park that's so right for St. Paul.”

In the wake of the Amy Koch “incident,” veteran Republican operative Sarah Janecek has been posting at Facebook and now on her blog about money issues related to gambling and the Vikings stadium. In her latest, she writes: “Perhaps the biggest player in financing a new Vikings stadium with “new” gambling revenues is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about: Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation (formerly known as Harrah’s Entertainment). Caesar’s is a private gaming corporation that owns and operates over 50 casinos, hotels and golf courses. It is the largest gaming company in the world with yearly revenues of almost $9 billion dollars. ... If the state finances a Vikings stadium with racino money, vested state ‘participation’ — in the form of an airtight decades long contract with the state — makes Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park incredibly and incalculably attractive purchases. ... Obviously, I believe allowing racinos in Minnesota and opening the door to Caesar’s is a colossal public policy mistake. However, if we’re going to have this conversation, can someone please insist on complete disclosure by all interested parties? Who is all getting paid by whom?” That seems reasonable enough.

There’s a mystery in Hot Springs, S.D. The Rapid City Journal says: “Fall River County Sheriff Rich Mraz reported late Sunday afternoon that Constance Beyer, 58, and her husband, Lanny, 59, had stopped at the Hot Springs truck stop for fuel at about 4 a.m. on Sunday. Mraz said that the couple drives truck together. Constance Beyer is listed at 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighs 165 pounds and has dishwater blond hair. ‘They got out at Coffee Cup and nobody has seen her since,’ Mraz said. Mraz said that teams of approximately 30 firefighters, including two dogs, combed the area throughout the day, but turned up no sign of Beyer.”

Beloved hometown airline Delta is cranking up some new smartphone apps that’ll help the beleaguered traveler. Wendy Lee of the Strib says: “[T]he Twin Cities' largest carrier is putting more muscle into its mobile app, adding features that allow travelers to track their baggage and remember where they parked at the airport. Later this year, users will be able to book a flight through the app. ... Delta launched its mobile app, Fly Delta, in the fall of 2010. So far, there have been more than 3 million downloads across the iPhone, Android, Windows phone and Blackberry platforms, and the carrier is hoping the app's increased functionality will attract more users. Delta updated the app in November to allow customers to track luggage from check-in to the baggage claim.” Of course, eventually they’ll find a way to charge us another $25 to use it.

A Glean reader tipped me to this story by Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register. It’s as good a breakdown of why Our Favorite Congresswoman’s campaign fell apart as any I’ve read ... until Marcus writes his book. A couple highlights: “[L]ate in the caucus process, when campaign aides passed her notes during radio interviews telling her what to say, it hurt her credibility, backers said. Asked if that happened on his radio show, conservative host Steve Deace said: ‘Let me just say I saw things done by her staff that wouldn’t typically be done by the staff of someone running for an office of such stature, and leave it at that. ... No need kicking a sister when she’s down.’. ... By the time communications strategist Eric Woolson joined the staff in late October, little mistakes had become lingering complaints, he said. The advance staff offended officials at a Humboldt County GOP fundraiser on Aug. 9 by asking the crowd to leave their suppers and gather around her bus. They wanted Bachmann’s theatricals to appear polished compared to those of Tim Pawlenty, a fellow Minnesotan, who was speaking on a bare stage inside. [Wes] Enos said he thought the advance staff’s pursuit of picture-perfect events turned Iowans into props instead of connecting with them. In October, the senior Iowa team orchestrated a showdown with the senior national team, at that point [Keith] Nahigian and [Brett] O’Donnell. They wanted to stop the grandiosity and let Iowans accompany her on the trail, Sorenson said. Iowans Tamara Scott and [Brad] Zaun took on a larger role, but the entourage-style campaigning continued. As time passed, some aides felt shoved aside. At the debate in Sioux City, the campaign managers declined to give [Kent] Sorenson, [Bob] Heckman and another senior adviser, Guy Short, all-access passes to the spin room or candidate’s stateroom. Sorenson and Short both walked out in frustration and holed up at state Sen. Rick Bertrand’s pub. Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, and O’Donnell showed up later to talk them into staying with the campaign, and heated words were exchanged.”

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Comments (6)

Three comments:

First, Janacek is first to make it entirely clear--the gambling/stadium combine is working hard to take taxpayer money and reward two profitable and mighty businesses--big time gambling and big league football. Who says money doesn't talk and you can't pick winners and losers?

======

Second, regarding Koch (again!!) and the column written for MinnPost last week by Cyndy Brucato:

(quote)

The protective way in which House leaders handled the friction [Smith] contrasts sharply with the Senate's handling of the case involving former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.

Based on interviews with Capitol insiders familiar with the timeline in both cases, House Republican leaders took a far different approach in dealing with the Smith situation than GOP Senate leaders did in demoting Koch.

http://www.minnpost.com/cyndybrucato/2012/01/12/34293/examining_how_legi...

(end quote)

Well, oddly enough, in her extended riff implying different standards for Koch and Smith and how poorly Koch was treated in relation to Smith, Brucato neglects to include the fact that Smith is unmarried.

Perhaps it is because this key fact alone is sufficient to blow her matchsticks ship, the "SS Poor Mrs. Koch", completely out of the water. How is adultery (eg. breaking the "sanctity of marriage"--coming soon to a constitution near you) comparable to the unspecified but darkly hinted at "relationship" of an unmarried person? It's really not the same--why would an unmarried Bill Clinton worry about Jennifer Flowers?

Knavery or hackery. Those are the only two possibilities for the Brucato column. She may feel personal hurt about Koch or she may be carrying water for other parties, but her deception deserves to be called out as such.

Smith deserves better and Minnpost readers deserve better.

======

Third, hats of to Marv Davidof!!

Your words...."Obviously, I believe allowing racinos in Minnesota and opening the door to Caesar’s is a colossal public policy mistake." Not sure why it's so obvious. Casino games are allowed in the vast majority of states and contribute significant revenues. Those wild and crazy people in Iowa re-affirmed their approval of racinos in a vote 10 years after their big racino opened.
What's obviously unfortunate in Minnesota is that public policy on gambling continues to be controlled by non-taxpayers. That's certainly transparent. And all Racino legislation in Minnesota has clearly been written to operate through the State Lottery. So don't look for big, bad Caesar's to embrace that.

(#3) On January 16, 2012, Dennis Tester says
Re: the Game and Fish Fund. "... And since we’re talking “fees” and not “taxes,” why would there be a problem?"

"Let's see their budget and how the money is being spent before we raise the fees, ok? $24 for a fishing license and $30 for a hunting license is a bit much unless they can justify their expenditures. Otherwise, people will choose to hunt and fish elsewhere."___________________________Like where, Dennis? A non-resident fishing license in Wisconsin is going to cost $50.00, a deer license is over $100. The slight bump being asked for by the DNR is insignificant.

It's interesting that the breakdown of Rep. Bachmann's presidential crusade can credibly be ascribed to some missteps by her campaign. Apparently, the utter lunacy of her positions on the issues had nothing to do with it.

Recently, I was cleaning up some old boxes and found my outstate MN fishing licenses from 1987 and 88. In 87, for a 17 year-old, it cost $19.25 to fish and, a year later it was 21.50.

In 1988 dollars, I had to work about two days at minimum wage for a summer's worth of fishing. It seemed worth it then and, frankly, I would pay twice that to be able fish half the time today.

Does anybody want to guess how much money the state would loose if the Game and Fish fund went bankrupt and no one bought any licenses at all?

There's more to the economy of Northern Minnesota than the taxes on the beer consumed on Squaw Point.

Marv Davidov's low point was surely his support for convicted murderer Kathleen Soliah aka Sara Jane Olson.