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Twin Cities chefs really cookin' as 'foodie' award nominees

Not being much of a “foodie,” I simply concede the prestige of the James Beard awards. Rick Nelson of the Strib reports this year’s nominees: “[T]he James Beard Foundation announced restaurant and chef semifinalists for its 2013 awards, which are often shorthanded to the ‘Oscars of the food world.’ Minnesota is represented in nine categories.  Ten Twin Cities chefs from eight restaurants are recognized in a single category, Best Chef: Midwest. The award honors "Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions.” Do they give Oscars by region?

Keep your head down, Congressman. Keith Ellison is in Mogadishu. The AP reports: “Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, said his visit to Mogadishu fulfilled a request from his constituents with ties to Somalia. … Following the advice of security advisers, Ellison did not travel beyond Mogadishu's airport complex, the most secure part of the city, but he said he wished he had been able to and hopes to on a future trip. He said he never felt in any danger. One of the issues Ellison met with Somali officials about was the financial remittances often sent by Somalis in the U.S. back to family members in Somalia. Such remittances have become harder to make over fears that people sending money could be accused of aiding a terrorist organization such as al-Shabab. Ellison said he thinks he made ‘real progress’ on the problem.”

MPR’s Brett Neely notes Ellison’s trip and adds: “[Congresswoman Betty] McCollum is traveling to South Sudan and Tanzania on a trip with administration officials, business leaders and non-profit experts sponsored by CARE, a nonprofit relief organization. The trip is intended to examine food security, nutrition and empowering women through agricultural development. Among those traveling with McCollum are Rajiv Shah, who heads the U.S. Agency for International Development, and retired U.S. Gen. Wesley Clark.”

Clinics have a lot to do with the number of cesarean sections performed in Minnesota. Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress says: “ … the rate of cesarean section deliveries for first-time mothers varies significantly in Minnesota depending on the clinic where a woman seeks care. Low C-section rates are better, according to the report released Tuesday, Feb. 19, by Minnesota Community Measurement, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that publishes report cards on health care quality. The group lauded some large clinics in the state for having C-section rates of 17 percent or less among first-time mothers. But the C-section rate at some clinics was as high as 51 percent, according to the report. Statewide, the rate was about 26 percent during the 12-month period ending June 2012.”

Bigger gummint! The AP reports:Minnesota has accepted a federal offer to put more low-income people on a state-fashioned Medicaid program with the costs falling to the federal government. Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday signed a bill authorizing the expansion that affects more than 35,000 people. For instance, childless adults making less than $15,000 a year will be eligible for the government-sponsored Medical Assistance coverage. Thousands more people who are on the premium-based MinnesotaCare plan will be shifted to the Medical Assistance program.”

Let’s not forget that other stadium … Frederick Melo of the PiPress tells us: “Environmental grants and loans from the state of Minnesota could almost close a $2 million budget gap in the Lowertown ballpark project, according to city officials, who are gearing up for opening day in 2015. But those conceptual drawings that have been floating around since 2009 or so? The lead contractor for the future home of the St. Paul Saints says the first order of business will be to throw them away and start from scratch. ‘I would not put any credence in what you've seen — other than the fact there will be a ballpark there,’ said Logan Gerken, an architect with the Ryan Companies, during a Tuesday, Feb. 19 conference call with reporters.”

The GleanAlso from Lowertown … The PiPress writes: “While many Lowertown residents are rallying against a 6th Street sidewalk expansion because of what it may do to parking by Mears Park, bicycle advocate Andy Singer is only happy to see parking go. He’s nevertheless dismayed by the city’s sidewalk proposal. The city of St. Paul has not had a bicycle advisory board for a few years now, but a small, less formal coalition — the St. Paul Bicycle Coalition — lives on, and Singer, one of its most outspoken members, is speaking out against the proposed sidewalk expansion on 6th Street in Lowertown.”

Did you buy travel insurance? The Alexandria Echo Press runs a piece saying: “The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today that Minnesota consumers may qualify for a refund if they purchased travel insurance from Virginia Surety Company (VSC), or one of its contracted agencies, between January 1, 2007 and October 31, 2012. The announcement came after the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Missouri Department of Insurance issued a joint consent order alleging that VSC routinely required consumers to affirmatively “opt-out” of purchasing premium travel insurance packages, violating numerous state laws and regulations. ‘The Commerce Department just stopped one more company that utilizes misleading gimmicks to sell unwanted products, scamming countless Minnesota consumers.' "

In Finance & Commerce, Chris Newmarker checks in on what’s up with that U of M area research park idea: “Research parks are often years, if not decades, in the making. But universities including Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., have successfully drawn in companies using such facilities. As for figuring out potential users in Minnesota, that’s still a work in progress. ‘We’re still kind of struggling with, "What area are we going to focus on?" ' acknowledged Jeffery Hensley, an executive who once worked for a research park in Kyoto, Japan. Minneapolis developer The Wall Cos. hired Hensley last year to help plan the park. The proposed Minnesota Innovation Center site involves about 16 acres of vacant grain elevators that Wall owns just to the east of TCF Bank Stadium and the university’s Biomedical Discovery District, where 700,000 square feet of new laboratory space is under construction.”

Just slightly over the limit … . Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “A southern Minnesota man was drunk and driving 120 miles per hour when he sent his car airborne into two utility poles and a tree, killing two of his friends on a county road south of Austin, according to charges filed Tuesday. Jason D. Fredrickson, 44, of Elkton, was charged in Mower County District Court with six counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the deaths of Jake Moe, 32, and Luke Unverzagt, 32, both of Austin, Minn., nearly a year ago. A State Patrol reconstruction of the crash estimated that Fredrickson’s Cadillac STS was going 120 miles per hour on Feb. 25, 2012, when it went into a ditch and was airborne as it knocked over a utility pole then hit a tree and another utility pole, according to the criminal complaint.”

On the “Strib's Business-to-Business Tax is Bad for Business Watch,” Baird Helgeson of the Strib writes: “Gov. Mark Dayton has spent two years painstakingly working to build an unlikely alliance between his union-backed DFL administration and the state’s powerful business community. Now much of that is fraying as he plows ahead with a plan to extract billions of dollars in new taxes from the state’s businesses. … he unveiled a budget that, for the first time, would tax legal fees, accounting work and other business-to-business services, shocking business leaders and energizing them in a way no other political issue has in years.”

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Comments (1)

Let's See, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerc

together with their favorite Accounting Firms and Lawyers keening, whining, wailing, moaning, bellyaching, and generally having the same meltdown my three-year-old grandson has lately when he doesn't get his way (HE hasn't been feeling well) because they're being asked to pay a bit more,...

That REALLY shocking news! Unprecedented!

Why next you'll say that the level of the ocean varies along our nation's costs because of some ridiculous thing called tides which SOME people claim are caused by the moon's gravitational pull on the water in those oceans,...

Or that the sun comes up in the east and goes down in the west,...

Or that it's colder in Minnesota in January than it is in July,...

Or that the people living in the Southern hemisphere don't feel as if they're upside down!

Now, if the Chamber were to say, "We love this state and it's citizens. We're willing to pay our fair share to preserve and protect it as well as assist those for whom we can't (or choose not to ) supply jobs. We only think its fair that we pay for the educational and infrastructure services upon which we rely. If Corporations are people we want to be the MOST neighborly, responsible, decent citizens we can possibly be."...

THAT would be news.

There USED to be business leaders in Minnesota with that attitude. How our current crop of chiselers, cheapskates, con men managed to take over the Chamber would make a fascinating story. Somebody ought to write it.

But considering what the rest of us have been going through economically for the past 30 years, I suspect the average Minnesotan's response to all these rich people whining about taxes is going to be, shut up and pay up like the rest of us have no choice but to do.

When you are as impoverished as you've arranged for so many of the rest of us to be, we might lend you an ear. Until then, quit whining.