Al Franken’s campaign promotes the unappetizing idea of cherrypicking the state for improperly rejected Democratic voters. The DFLer brought forward four exemplars but claims there are hundreds, the PiPress notes. The DFL attorney general and secretary of state indicate the State Canvass Board won’t count them, MPR’s Tom Scheck says. Still, Republicans don’t have a great answer for why the votes, if legal, should be excluded throughout the process. Franken will try county recounters, then the courts.
Norm Coleman’s pre-recount lead leaped to 215 after random precinct audits; the gap had been 206, the Strib reports. The Uptake says an 11-vote Sherburne County tabulating error gave Coleman the lift. The PiPress notes the odometer goes back to zero as recounting begins Wednesday. County results will be in five piles: Franken, Coleman, other, and ballots disputed by Franken or Coleman. Recount nerds will track the differences from pre-recount canvasses. (MinnPost coverage here, here and here.)
Target will be “less trendy and more deal-oriented,” the PiPress’ Gita Sitaramiah writes. The slumping retailer will cut some prices, explicitly match Wal-Mart on others and tout “value” items on its website. But the long-term prospects of competing on a far bigger retailer’s turf? Not many discouraging words there; however, Target’s stock has fallen by half this year, compared with Wal-Mart’s 20 percent.
Shocker: Neiman Marcus isn’t bailing on downtown Minneapolis; it extended its lease by four years, to 2013, the Strib’s Susan Feyder writes. I credit Norm Coleman and Sarah Palin. Many expected a move to the suburbs.
Wild: An Xcel spokesman tells MPR’s Mark Steil that Minnesota will soon have so many wind turbines that “our grid can’t take all the wind that we have” on blustery days. Therefore, the utility is testing a “bus-sized” bank of batteries that can smooth out power flow. They store only a few hours’ worth, and are 80 percent efficient. That’s 30 percent better than the current method: compressing air in underground caverns, which is released to power generators.
Some day, we might have wind-turbine batteries as big as double-decker buses! WCCO video here. The Strib’s Laurie Blake says suburban SouthWest Transit is testing the models because more people are going multi-modal. The Brit-like vehicles are at least as fuel-efficient and apparently do fit under downtown skyways, or we’d have a different front-page story today.
The state will get back $20 million of a $50 million Wakouta Bridge cost overrun, the PiPress Nick Ferraro writes. There were cracking and design problems in the span; a re-rebuilt eastbound half opens in July 2010.
Meet Sonia Pitt’s successor, from the Red Wing Republican Eagle.
Hip blogger Ana Marie Cox slurps the Tim Pawlenty Kool-Aid in an interview at Tina Brown’s Daily Beast. I do not deny the governor’s skills, but writing that T-Paw “refused to take the bait” during a recent Sean Hannity pre-recount interview flies in the face of the facts.
WCCO’s Amelia Santaniello looks at school “time-out rooms.” They are overused; researchers say they’re most effective a few minutes at a time, but kids can be locked in much longer. One frequently sent girl ate so much paint off the walls of her time-out room had to be repainted. There are other graphic abuses. Some schools refused to show the station their rooms.
Apparently the post-9/11 student visa problem is over. The Strib’s Jenna Ross and Chao Xiong write that foreign admissions in Minnesota colleges surged 9 percent in 2007-2008.
A $100 billion Virginia insurance company wants to get a federal bailout by buying a Maple Grove community bank, the PiPress’ Nicole Garrison-Sprenger reports. Genworth Financial would become a savings-and-loan; both it and the local InterBank are losing money.
The PiPress’ Frederick Melo looks at the details of a Goodhue County judge accused of improperly sliding court business to his divorce lawyer. Timothy Blakley owed $108K, but allegedly got a $64,000 break in the deal. He and his fiancee were raising six kids together. Blakley told the Board on Judicial Standards he would’ve referred the cases anyway. The BJS lawyer terms quid-pro-quo emails “stark.”
The Twin City Daily Planet’s Scott Russell says Minneapolis officials are overselling a youth-crime prevention initiative. It’s simply too soon to credit the less-than-year-old work.
Heartwarmer: Local man with Down syndrome earns karate black belt, KARE’s Boyd Hupert reports. Also, Fox9 chronicles a woman in poverty whose six-person family got a Thanksgiving dinner thanks to Craigslist. At least two dozen good Samaritans are duplicating the charitable act.
Nort spews: Congrats to the nationally top-rated Gopher men’s hockey team. They earned the honor Monday. Now all they have to do is keep it.