The Strib localizes the “Bittergate” controversy up on Da Range but basically finds only one person whose response doesn’t mirror their chosen presidential candidate. (The sole exception’s leanings aren’t mentioned.) It’s left to a Range journalist to tell a Strib journalist Obama may be hurt. Outrage appears lacking, and the Strib’s timing is a bit moldy, since the controversy broke over a week ago.
Forget about Northwest-Delta: Minnesotans won’t be able to board planes in a year! At least, that’s the PiPress’s hook to examine Minnesota’s stalemate over Real ID. The feds say you can’t board a plane next year without a more secure driver’s license, but Minnesota legislators complain it’s too expensive ($31.4 million) and data-intrusive. Gov. Pawlenty exploits the plane fear, but 17 other states oppose Real ID. (Unmentioned: Montana backed the feds down a few months ago.)
MPR reports that Minnesota could lose up to a quarter of its conservation-reserve land in the next few years. Higher grain prices are the reason; one farmer can get $300 an acre planting versus $100 in the water- and wildlife-protecting reserve. Last year, officials tried to get 120,000 acres enrolled and got only 8,000. The land involved is the most susceptible to erosion, yet corn cultivation is pesticide- and fertilizer-intense.
The middle stanza in the Strib’s three-part front-pager on Wright County’s housing meltdown chronicles the mind-boggling case of a $60,000-a-year contractor who lived in a trailer park yet owned $1.2 million in now-foreclosed Otsego homes. Like Part One, it’s an extremely readable tale even if it covers familiar ground. A fraudster helped Bradley Collin and family get four mortgages from separate banks by not revealing multiple loans. Now, Collin gets 175 collection calls a day.
The Strib’s Maura Lerner offers a nice research roundup on medical marijuana, which the Legislature could legalize over the guv’s veto. Conclusion: Pot’s pain relieving role is scientifically significant, but that’s not so for relieving glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. An interesting quoted study shows that a “middle dose” provides the most effective pain relief.
Gov. Pawlenty will announce his new transportation chief at 11 a.m. today. No one has a leak on the choice to replace Carol Molnau at MnDOT, but current interim and former Molnau deputy Bob McFarlin has to be the front-runner.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will tour the Minneapolis VA hospital today, MPR notes. She’s in town to raise money for Congressman Tim Walz, but there are no VA facilities in Waltz’s southern Minnesota district, and some constituents complain about that.
Today’s talker: the PiPress’s Brady Gervais on why a $200,000 Powerball winner gets a public defender for an Anoka driving violations case. Short version: Jeremy Powe may have misrepresented his assets, according to the judge, but Anoka courts may also grant public defenders too quickly. Powe’s application for a p.d. is private, so Gervais can’t evaluate his statement. Not surprisingly, the defendant isn’t talking.
The Minnesota Daily does a “where are they now?” on two of the three Gopher football players arrested but never charged in the high-profile Dominic Jones crim-sex-conduct case. One can’t find a Division 1 football school that will take him; the U won’t release his transcript until he pays back the $1,100 in damages police did to his apartment during the arrest. The other player is still at the U and wants back on the team, but that’s unlikely.
Interesting Strib business story about a “main street” loyalty card where non-chain businesses give local buyers rebates in hopes of higher sales. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is involved. “Millions” of cards will be sent out beginning this summer in hopes of luring shoppers from big boxes. A Red Wing test boosted shopping, but one merchant says he’s only paying, not gaining, at this point.
WCCO reports that downtown Minneapolis’s Temple restaurant closed yesterday. In its brief life, it became historically significant for staging Naked Sushi. The owner blames high food costs and a morbid business district, but MnSpeakers say the cuisine wasn’t very good.
Loyalty, from a great distance: Minneapolis ex-pat Bruce Johnson extols the pleasures of Matt’s Bar, Bryant-Lake Bowl and the Band Box Diner in the pages of the Washington Post.
Comcast may be reducing its HDTV signal quality, says AP with a Minneapolis dateline. The area’s dominant cable provider says viewers shouldn’t notice that it’s squeezing three HD channels, not the usual two, on one analog station’s bandwidth. However, some digital-retentives picked up on the change. I’d like to read Steve Alexander’s or Julio Ojeda-Zapata’s take on this.
Nort spews: Scott Baker and Justin Morneau combine to give the Twins a 2-1 win over the hated Tribe. In Sore Loser, the Cleveland paper tips its cap to Baker. Also, the Strib notes that the NFL makes its schedules using software from Minneapolis-based Fair Isaac, the credit-score firm. And coveted pass-rusher Jared Allen escaped Eden Prairie without a contract or a workable Vikes trade with Kansas City, but a deal remains close.