Pawlenty, Dayton together today

MORNING EDITION

The sweet smell of bipartisanship is already in the air in St. Paul. Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Gov.-elect Mark Dayton will hold a joint press conference this afternoon at 2:45. Eric Roper of the Strib posts: “You can bet it will be transition related, but a release did not spell out what the two would be talking about. UPDATE: My colleague Rachel Stassen-Berger just spoke with Pawlenty, who said he will ‘welcome [Dayton] and extend our hand.’ Pawlenty added he will discuss the administration, the residence, and other subjects with the incoming Democratic governor.” $1,000 gets you a nickel Pawlenty comes out in support of Dayton’s “tax the rich” scheme.

Bill Salisbury of the PiPress blogs on a new poll showing President Obama handily beating every potential Republican in head-to-head encounters in Minnesota, including Tim Pawlenty. “The Public Policy Polling survey finds not only would Obama defeat all the likely Republican challengers but Mitt Romney would do better in Minnesota than Pawlenty. [The poll says] ‘Barack Obama would win Minnesota pretty easily if he had to run for re-election today and in a bit of a surprise his stiffest competition would come not from the state’s Governor Tim Pawlenty, but from Mitt Romney. Obama’s not particularly popular in Minnesota. 49% of voters in the state approve of him while 46% disapprove. His numbers are pretty completely polarized with 89% of Democrats approving of him and 90% of Republicans disapproving. Independents are pretty closely divided but lean slightly in favor of the President’s performance by a 48/44 spread.’ ”

The lousy economy has more people surrendering pets to the Humane Society, so many in fact that the Society is now going to require owners to undergo counseling. Dan Olson of MPR reports: “People are turning in their animals because they can no longer afford to pay for their care. Animal shelters themselves are under more financial strain because they’re at capacity. And one shelter in Burnsville closed recently. The state’s largest shelter, the Animal Humane Society, is taking the overflow of animals at its five Twin Cities metro area facilities — amounting to thousands of additional dogs, cats and other critters.The Animal Humane Society officials say a decline in the number of animals being adopted means more must be put down. Humane Society president Janelle Dixon says nearly one-third of the 33,000 pets turned in at their Twin Cities locations last year were euthanized.”

You need pictures of lovable mutts and kitties to go with that story?  KARE and Rene Sarigianopoulos to the rescue.

Leif Knutson of Fox9 reports that two-thirds of all phones in use in Minnesota are now wireless and a quarter of all state households are wireless only. “State residents have about 4 million wireless phones, compared to 2.3 million landline phones. There’s no clear reasoning to the decrease in land lines. The federal government estimates about a quarter of the nation’s households are wireless-only.” And, “According to documents filed with the state of Minnesota, between 2001 and 2009, Qwest lost about one million phone lines — nearly half — in Minnesota.”

Here’s hoping this isn’t a harbinger of a full-scale commercial real estate collapse. The Business Journal’s Sam Black reports: “One Financial Plaza, a 27-story tower in downtown Minneapolis, has gone back to the lender. It’s the first notable office building in the core downtown market to succumb to the commercial real estate slide.” He adds: “Behringer [Harvard of Dallas] bought the building in August 2005 from Zeller Realty Corp. of Chicago, for $57.15 million, according to Hennepin County tax records. The property’s market value for taxes payable in 2011 is estimated at $20.4 million, for tax purposes. The valuation was reduced from $20.9 million in 2010.” By coincidence, the Business Journal’s offices are in that building.

So Denny Hecker is so broke we’ve had multiple auctions to sell off his absurd stash of loot and pricey tchotchkes. So who places the winning bid for a dirt bike and a Harley? That’s right, Denny himself, disguised as another buyer. Dee DePass of the Strib writes: “He concocted a fake company to submit the offers and got a friend to pay with a credit card, Hecker admitted in court documents this week. When the bidding was done, he emerged the successful purchaser of a Yamaha 50 dirt bike for $950 and a 2006 Harley-Davidson 1250 Screaming Eagle Vrod for $15,900. On Wednesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel ordered Hecker to turn over all documents relating to the covert purchases.”

After a run of embarrassing news stories — wives biting off husband’s tongues, college kids scalping Rose Bowl tickets —Wisconsin is getting some help from the Catholic Church. An AP story says:The Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday designated a Wisconsin spot where an apparition of the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared three times to a Belgian-born nun in 1859 as the only one of its kind in the United States … the distinction … now puts it in company with renowned holy apparition sites including Lourdes, France; Guadalupe, Mexico; and Fatima, Portugal.” Instead of being blessed with water, like at Lourdes, the faithful have the option of chugging a 16-oz. Leinenkugel.

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