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Minnesota moose dropping like flies

We are losing moose faster than, well, millionaires to South Dakota, that’s for for sure. Steve Karnowski of the AP says: “Minnesota canceled the state's 2013 and future moose hunting seasons Wednesday, citing a ‘precipitous’ decline in the moose population. Department of Natural Resources officials said in a news release that their annual aerial survey to estimate Minnesota's moose population was ‘extremely disappointing.’ The survey conducted last month pegged the population at 2,760 animals, down from 4,230 last winter. Minnesota's moose numbers were estimated as high as 8,840 in 2006. ... ‘The state's moose population has been in decline for years but never at the precipitous rate documented this winter.’ ” I blame high taxes.

The (kinda) stay-cationers will spend more in Minnesota this year. The McClatchy papers say: “Most Minnesotans spend their vacation time inside the state, and two-thirds of them plan to spend as much or more in 2013 than they did in 2012. That was the finding of a survey released this week by the University of Minnesota Tourism Center. … The trend of more spending in recent years shows a slow recovery from the crippling recession in 2008 and 2009 and is ‘positive news for the travel and tourism-dependent businesses,’ said Ingrid Schneider, director of the Tourism Center. The tourism industry generates $11.9 billion in leisure and hospitality sales in Minnesota, including $769 million in sales tax, and accounts for nearly 240,000 jobs, according to Explore Minnesota Tourism.” In other words … three caramel rolls at Tobie’s, instead of two.

Mark it eight, dude. If you’re cutting out of here for a little pitchers-and-catchers action in Fort Myers, note this from the Naples Daily News: “The Minnesota Twins' annual spring training bowling event is approaching. The bowling event is from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at Gator Lanes, 7050 Crystal Drive in Fort Myers. The event will include an auction, drawings, buffet, team photo and more. There also is a golf tournament on Friday, Feb. 15, at Pelican's Nest in Bonita Springs. Proceeds from both help provide care to patients at Lee Memorial Health System's Regional Cancer Center.”

On the other hand, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to Grand Rapids, Mich. … The AP says: “The annual international ArtPrize competition in Michigan is going on the road to seek pitches from Minnesota artists or curators for a prominent display at this year's event. Rick DeVos, founder and chairman of ArtPrize, on Wednesday announced a partnership with Walker Art Center in Minneapolis called ArtPrize Pitch Night. Following an open call, five artists or curators from Minnesota will compete for $5,000 to install their work at the Gillett Bridge in Grand Rapids, Mich.”

Or, it you’re not into the art thing … Frederick Melo of the PiPress writes: “Got a big idea to improve St. Paul? Polish it up and submit it to judges by April 3, and if it's chosen, you'll receive a $1 million grant from the St. Paul Foundation to make it happen. The ‘St. Paul Forever Challenge’ asks Minnesotans what they would do with the money to make St. Paul great, and it's one of the more unusual legacies of the 2008 Republican National Convention, which was held in Minnesota's capital city. Supported by the St. Paul Foundation and Minnesota Idea Open, the seven-month challenge focuses on ‘innovation, impact and sustainability.’ Contest rules ask Minnesotans of all ages to think big but not ridiculously big.” And … “a department store” already has been rejected.

In her story on Day 2 of gun hearings at the Capitol, WCCO-TV’s Holly Wagner writes: “For the second straight day, a long line of people on both sides of the issue showed up for the debate and listened to the discussion. Advocates of gun control say assault weapons are weapons of war and don’t belong in the hands of the general public. Opponents of gun control say the weapons are used by hunters in Minnesota and are just as dangerous as any other. Displaying a coffee mug with a pistol handle, lawmaker Tony Cornish said people have a right to protect themselves. ‘What most people fear is when they walk up to a theater and see that society has been neutered and there’s a sign saying you can’t take a firearm in, letting a criminal know that it’s a killing zone,’ said Rep. Tony Cornish.” Mr. Cornish has to be relieved there’s only one more day of this. It’d get tough topping himself day after day.

Need storage space? Janet Moore of the Strib reports: “Hutchinson Technology has put two of its manufacturing facilities on the block. Or, they're available for lease. The Hutchinson-based maker of disk-drive components, which is in the middle of a cost-reduction program, said its 159,000-square-foot manufacturing building in Eau Claire, and its 237,000-square-foot building in its hometown are available for sale or lease. The two buildings will be available for occupancy in the second half of this year.”

“Commit,” he says. In an MPR commentary, Ken Bradley urges Gov. Dayton and the Legislature to go full-tilt solar: “Solar Works for Minnesota is a coalition of more than 150 nonprofits, businesses and unions working collaboratively for the 10 percent solar standard. This standard will lead to the installation of roughly 5,200 megawatts of solar by 2030 — enough energy to power 700,000 homes. What's the cost? In the early years of our initiative it would cost less than 20 cents a month for a residential customer, and it would reach a maximum of a dollar in the final years. To provide some perspective, Xcel Energy is currently seeking a $9 per month residential rate increase for upgrading its two nuclear power plants. So in the final years of our initiative, when our state would be installing significant amounts of solar energy every month, the effort would cost electricity consumers about one-ninth of what it will cost to upgrade the Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear power plants.” And, tell me, how do solar shareholders get paid?

Go ahead, jump in. Everyone else is. Curtis Gilbert at MPR says: “Former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew is joining the race for mayor of Minneapolis. Andrew will kick off his campaign on Thursday. He served 16 years on the county board, before resigning in 1999 to pursue a career in public relations. He is the founder and owner of GreenMark, which helps companies improve their environmental reputations. He also served as chair of the Minnesota DFL Party in the 1990s. Andrew joins an already crowded field of candidates that includes four current and former members of the Minneapolis City Council. Andrew said he's conducted a poll that shows he'll be a leading candidate.”

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That's the Amway Devos, right

That's the Amway Devos, right (Grand Rapids, MI) ? How about some pyramid art?