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Daily Glean: Heaping shovelfuls of dirt on Norm’s chances

It’s always darkest before the appeal, the Star Tribune notes. Also: teaching to the 23rd percentile.

The Strib’s Pat Doyle wraps up the darkening landscape for Norm Coleman’s election-contest chances, quoting the usual suspects (Schultz, Jacobs, Charles). Coleman’s absentee pool is shrinking, but Franken’s pool is now likely growing. Schultz says a successful Norm appeal isn’t “impossible”; in the National Review, Gov. Pawlenty rates the chance as “good.” (Hat tip: MPR.) But a lot of the rhetoric is about raising money, Doyle cautions.

Related: Forum Communications’ Scott Wente quotes an observer saying “all the drama has been sucked out of the race,” as a journalism teacher laments student disinterest. That’s certainly not true of MinnPost’s audience!

At least he’s honest: On “Fox News Sunday,” Gov. Pawlenty refused to rule out a 2012 presidential run, AP reports. He also waffled on a 2010 gubernatorial bid, consistent with local statements. The story says Pawlenty was originally “enthusiastic” about the stimulus but was “disillusioned” by the result. “President Obama ran on the central premise he would end the old partisan politics. The first test of that was really quite a failure,” Pawlenty says. However, some GOP guvs disagree.

Four-day school weeks are working at the tiny MACCRAY district, the Strib’s Gregory Patterson writes. The ahead-of-its-time district instituted the money-saving reform at year’s start; many more are considering it now. Kids actually spend more overall hours in school, and while no one knows how test results are tracking, parents haven’t staged a revolt. Everyone schedules doc appointments on Monday. They’ve saved big on transportation; one wonder why Minneapolis, grappling with its own bus costs, hasn’t considered this.

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Amid the education-finance degradation, Patterson also profiles districts luring students with gifted and talented programs. A regional magnet in Bloomington is making hay of others’ cutbacks. The scariest stat comes from an Osseo gifted coordinator saying teachers used to aim at 50th-percentile students, but because of No Child Left Behind, now teach to the 23rd percentile.

The Strib’s Matt McKinney files an interesting dispatch on how Lunds and Byerly’s managed the rolling you-know-what that was the peanut recall. Using company-provided emails, McKinney shows how end-suppliers recreate the food chain; hooray for UPCs! It makes the grocers’ process seem smooth, not chunky, but I can’t help wondering if it was really this seamless at the store level. That’s the danger with spoon-fed information.

Wind power’s emergence means powerline emergence; MPR’s Sea Stachura profiles a coming controversy over high-voltage lines that would send 12 gigawatts of renewable power east. Neighbors, as you can imagine, aren’t thrilled by a phalanx of 300-foot-tall structures. If you’re going to be the “Saudi Arabia of wind,” you need the pipelines, Sen. Amy Klobuchar says.

Related: The Strib’s Sarah Lemagie says Carleton is trying to one-up St. Olaf on wind turbines. The non-Lutherans put up the first mast; Oles responded with a structure that pipes juice directly to campus, and the war is on. But Carleton faces obstacles in its response: busy manufacturers aren’t keen on one-off sales at the moment.

WCCO’s Maya Nishikawa says church and temple attendance is booming amid economic troubles. It’s only anecdotal, but a pastor, a rabbi and attendees all agree; the rabbi is spending “much more time on pastoral visits.” Can’t help wondering how many of those are related to Bernie Madoff’s local scamming.

Economic anxiety is also reducing eating among those with eating disorders, the PiPress’ Jeremy Olson writes. Treatment program admissions are up 20-36 percent; some people eat less because they can’t afford it; others are wigged out by the jobs climate. The story suggests that folks who can’t afford gym memberships will switch to “extreme food restriction” as a cost-saver.

The PiPress’ Dennis Lien takes a look at Gov. Pawlenty’s proposed snuffing of the Environmental Quality Board, an inter-agency group that once played a strong coordination role but has been gutted in recent years. The Minnesota Pollution Control agency would swallow the board. Dems argue the state needs one permitting agency outside the typical department structure. I didn’t coming away knowing what decisions the EQB has affected.

“To protect with courage, to service with compassion.” AdAge provides the backstory for the Minneapolis Police Department’s rebranding, courtesy of the local firm Kazoo. The city wanted an image more friendly to minority citizens and potential recruits, but the rank-and-file got mad about a plan to emphasize compassion. Turns out older cops loved the action, younger ones the service, so the slogan was split. The story gives the ad folks some credit for a 50-percent-minority recruiting class this year.

Nort spews: Stirring nights for all the local teams. The Gophers men’s basketballers crushed Northwestern 72-45, moving back into a tie for fifth in the Big Ten. Small Sore Loser here. The Wild defeated another quality opponent, this time the Blackhawks 2-1, returning to the eighth playoff spot. In a good Sore Loser, the Chicagoans blame their defeat on boredom; similar laments here. The Wolves lost at the very end to the Lakers, 108-105, but it was a surprisingly tough performance. Britt Robson’s take here.