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Minnesota or Missouri likely to lose congressional district

MORNING EDITION ALSO: New judge, new chance to influence high-speed rail, new budget problems for cities — and Old Man Winter arrives just in time for Vikings game.
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What’ll it be — Minnesota or Missouri? Politicos and statisticians have been wondering over which of us will lose a congressional district when the official U.S. Census is released Tuesday. The Strib’s D.C. guy, Kevin Diaz, files, saying: “As things stand now, some demographers believe Minnesota and Missouri are jostling for the last seat. ‘It’s the battle of the M’s,’ said Kimball Brace of Election Data Services, a national demographics firm that specializes in elections and redistricting. A September study done by Election Data Services has Minnesota keeping its eighth congressional seat by 15,643 people — one of the smallest margins in the nation.” If it’s Minnesota who loses, let’s start the fun of guessing WHICH or WHOSE district gets the ax?

The AP reports Susan Richard Nelson has been confirmed by the Senate to replace the retiring James Rosenbaum as U.S. district judge in Minnesota. “Nelson has over 30 years of legal experience, including 10 years as a U.S. magistrate judge in Minnesota. Before that she was a trial lawyer in state and federal courts for 22 years. In the mid-1990s she helped represent the state and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota in historic litigation against the tobacco industry.”

The Strib editorializes about trains and the upside of Wisconsin’s governor-elect’s retrograde attitude toward them costing that state millions of federal dollars and thousands of jobs: “Eighth District Rep. Jim Oberstar, the outgoing chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said Wisconsin’s decision ‘gives Minnesota the opportunity to take the initiative on laying out a clean, decisive plan for a route structure to the Wisconsin border. … Minnesota is really in a leadership position now.’ Added Lee Munnich, director of the Humphrey Institute’s State and Local Policy Program: ‘If Minnesota does in fact want it to go through Rochester, this might be an opportunity to lay the groundwork.’ “

And on the Central Corridor and southwest LRT projects, it also notes: “[Mark] Dayton should focus on what Minnesotans can control — completing the Central Corridor and Southwest light-rail projects. The Central Corridor appears to be a certainty, but Southwest, which would connect several southwest suburbs with downtown Minneapolis, is far from certain, and would benefit from gubernatorial leadership. Twin Cities commuters need more transportation options.”

I guess this is what they mean when they talk about cities and municipalities learning to live within their budgets. Nancy Ngo of the PiPress reports that Blaine is trying to decide if it can get away with just shoveling sidewalks on one side of the street: “While some cities put residents and business owners in charge of shoveling sidewalks in front of their properties, Blaine has had a longstanding ordinance to maintain 64 miles, or about 90 percent, of the city’s sidewalks and trails. Mayor Tom Ryan said the city will have to re-examine how it handles the clearing of sidewalks and trails in the future. Last weekend’s snowfall has already cost the city $80,000 in plowing expenses, and the city has yet to finish the sidewalks. While he would like to see the city continue to clear residential and commercial sidewalks, he said the city might have to scale back.”

We gather the PiPress editorial staff got some one-on-one time with 2nd District Congressman John Kline. They editorialize with a sort of biography, before noting: “The Republican House will attempt to repeal the federal health-reform law, Kline said.” And, “Kline said he will also challenge the Obama Adminstration’s proposed restrictions on for-profit colleges. The U.S. Department of Education, concerned about abuses in recruiting practices and the high percentage of loan defaulters among students at for-profit colleges, is proposing rules to address these concerns. Kline said he believes for-profit colleges have ‘proven to be very nimble’ in meeting needs for retraining in the workplace, and fears the federal crackdown will ‘hurt access for many students.’ ” They conclude by saying: “Elections have consequences. Kline replaces Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who helped draft the health care reform law, co-sponsored a large increase in federal student aid and sponsored a $2.10-per-hour increase in the federal minimum wage. Kline’s challenge will be to be equally effective for his more business-friendly philosophy, and to compromise where he can to get things done. We think he’s ready for the job.” Brother … did Kline give them all souvenir pins? 

This Vikings thing is completely out of control. Now the weather wonks are talking up to 9 inches of new snow by Tuesday, which could make even Bud Grant huddle near a sideline heater tonight, if he can find one. Bill McAuliffe of the Strib writes: “ [A]s fans test strategies for staying warm while sitting, the game at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium could be a trial in other ways. Up to 9 inches of fresh snow is possible Monday through Tuesday, with a half-inch per hour coming down during the game.”

MPR’s Paul Huttner blogs: “It looks like snow could spread into the Twin Cities Metro by about lunchtime … somewhere between 10am & 2pm from west to east. … Snow should continue through Monday evening, tapering by late evening. There may be a transition to freezing rain in the metro late Monday night, which may add an icy coating on top of fresh snow! … Peak snowfall rates should come between 2pm and 9pm Monday. Snowfall rates may approach 1″ per hour at times. This should make for a difficult PM rush hour, and messy travel to and from the Vikings and Wild games … both in town Monday night.” So when do we get the frogs-falling-from-the-sky thing?

Fox Sports and others have quoted Vikings punter Chris Kluwe sending tweets that the TCF Bank field is “unplayable.” “Kluwe said he hopes ‘that no one gets catastrophically injured’ during the ‘the trainwreck that’s about to take place [Monday] night’ via Twitter following a walkthrough practice at TCF Bank Stadium field. Kluwe said that the NFL’s decision to make the Vikings and Bears play Monday night’s game at the University of Minnesota’s home stadium, where the field had to be cleared of snow and the artificial turf remains rock hard according to Kluwe, is ‘beyond hypocritical.’ ‘I find it interesting that the NFL can claim an emphasis on player safety, and then tell us the field is fine.’ ” I know someone who’s going to be hearing from the Commissioner’s office.