The AP is reporting that the state’s tax collections are running ahead of projections. “First the good news: Minnesota tax collections exceeded expectations by $28 million the last two months. Now the bad: That’s a drop in the bucket put against a forecast budget shortfall exceeding $6 billion.” But you know like they always say, $28 million here, $28 million there and pretty soon you’re talking real money.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg is reporting that bankrupt Otter Tail Ag Enterprises has found a buyer for its Fergus Falls ethanol plant: “Green Plains, which plans to finance the acquisition through cash and debt from existing lenders, said the plant near Fergus Falls can produce 55 million gallons of ethanol a year, giving the company total output of 712 million gallons.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Congresswoman Betty McCollum made a point of maintaining full access with constituents Monday, according to an MPR story by Dan Gunderson and Sasha Aslanian. “McCollum also got support from an unlikely source: A constituent who’s a persistent critic showed up Monday to say he may not agree with the congresswoman on much of anything, but he came to the office to tell her she’s safe. Jim McKie wanted to make the point that the tea party philosophy he supports is not to blame for the attack on Giffords. The West St. Paul resident says he carries a concealed weapon, though he left it behind to enter McCollum’s offices. ‘If she needs help maintaining a vigil, I’d be more than happy to stand in the crowd and look for people who aren’t necessarily there for ‘a visit,’ McKie said.”
A poll of Iowa Republicans is not exactly great news for either Tim Pawlenty or Michele Bachmann. MPR’s Tom Scheck writes: “The poll shows former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the lead followed by Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich round out the top four. Pawlenty is fifth in the poll at 4 percent. Bachmann polled at 2 percent but her name wasn’t included in the full poll. Both Pawlenty and Bachmann have reason to be hopeful. The pollster for Grassroots Solutions says Indiana Congressman Mike Pence and Pawlenty have ’made a positive impression on the state.’ “
And: “The pollster also said Bachmann could be the ‘wildcard’ in the race: ‘Bachmann could be dangerous if she is serious about the campaign and is taken seriously as a candidate (her support seemed to come from Huckabee in particular and also Palin, but these are small numbers and it’s difficult to draw a conclusion).’ “
Got a magnet or a metal detector you can lend? KSTP’s Michelle Knoll reports: “Police are looking for the person [who] stole thousands of pounds of metal from a Minneapolis business over the weekend. A worker at Alliance Steel on the 100-block of 31st Ave. N called police Monday to report someone had cut a hole in a chain-link fence over the weekend and stole 3,000 pounds of steel and another 200 pounds of aluminum.”
Scott Seroka over at KARE has a story on the mess that is still the Metrodome, where workers are still removing Teflon panels. “Crews continue to study the sturdiness of the roof of the Metrodome, studying a dozen of the Teflon panels that once covered the Minnesota Vikings from the elements. ‘By the end of the month we’re hopeful that we’ll have the results of their study of the entire roof and at that time we’ll assume there will be some recommendations as to what needs to take place,’ Roy Terwilliger of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission explained. Terwilliger was confined to one of the suites in the dome; anything inside the bowl of the stadium was off limits to non-construction personnel.” Seroka says 300 high school and college baseball games are being rescheduled away from the Dome.
Blogger Ed Kohler of The Deets continues his barrage on Minnesota Democrats Exposed and Andy Post. On the topic of violence-laced political rhetoric, Kohler challenges Post, who moderates the MDE site: “Andy, why do you allow your people to call for the death of millions of Minnesotans due to their political affiliation? Dude, seriously, your comments have gotten even worse than the StarTribune.com’s, which is saying a lot. Why has this happened? You, Andy, have given hateful anonymous commenters a venue to spew their hate. Andy, what good can possibly come from hosting threats of violence against political opponents by anonymous commenters? Is that really the type of community you want to foster? It seems like you’re capable of being so much better than this. Running a respectable blog that’s respected by respectable people shouldn’t be unthinkable.
Update: 1:55pm: The comment I used as an example of the hate Post hosts at MDE has been quietly removed, without explanation, from MDE. I get the impression that Post doesn’t want to offend his truly offensive commenters. A micro-step toward respectability.”
Two Minnesota snowshoers and a South Dakota snowboarder were rescued in Grand Teton National Park. Fox9’s Leif Knutson reports: “Rangers are warning trekkers after locating 26-year-old Ross Trooien of White Bear Lake, Minn. and 25-year-old Gordon Mammel of Dellwood, Minn. as well as a snowboarder … The Minnesotans were located and brought to safety around dusk. They were not accompanied by the 20-year-old snowboarder; they were two separate party rescues.”
Amid all the talk about over-the-top political rhetoric, Hart Van Denberg of City Pages assembles a handy timeline of Ms. Bachmann’s “greatest hits.” “A Bachmann primer:
On opposing environmental legislation in early 2009:
‘I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.’
Telling The Northern Alliance’s John Hinderaker and Brian Ward she’s in a war. ‘I’m a foreign correspondent on enemy lines and I try to let everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington.’
On opposing health care reform. In September 2009:
‘What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.’ “