The DNR has listened — to you — and handed the Legislature a 25- year plan for using Legacy Amendment money for public lands. Stephanie Hemphill at MPR writes: “The plan identifies four major strategies — connecting people with the outdoors, acquiring land and creating new opportunities for park use, investing in existing infrastructure, and coordinating all levels of government and nonprofit groups. Nelson said the DNR is boosting its efforts to reach out to young people and groups that don’t have a habit of using parks.”
A related AP story reports increased use of Minnesota’s parks and public land: “[I]t says overnight stays and permit sales have increased significantly for two consecutive years. Overnight stays topped 985,000 in 2010, up from 863,000 in 2008. Sales of 1-day permits rose from 211,000 in 2008 to over 238,000 in 2010. Year-round permits rose from more than 106,000 in 2008 to over 121,000 in 2010. Estimated total visits, based on car counts, were 9.5 million in 2010, up from 8.3 million in 2008.” Cheaper than Vegas, cleaner than New York.
Ten’s a nice round number … for DUIs. The Duluth News Tribune reports on the 53-year-old Sandstone woman arrested outside Danbury … Sunday afternoon … for her 10th drunk-driving violation: “The driver was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and a passenger in her vehicle was charged for possessing open intoxicants.” How is this woman not in jail eight or nine DWIs ago?
Amy Bowen of the St. Cloud Times has a Valentine’s Day story about the fiancee of a man donating him a kidney: “Amy Anderson already gave her fiance her heart. Now she’s giving him her kidney. Anderson, 33, of Sartell and Ron Spanier, 43, of Lake Henry are spending Valentine’s Day preparing for a life-saving kidney transplant Tuesday at University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview in Minneapolis. Spanier has been on dialysis since last summer due to polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that causes cysts in the kidneys. The disease causes the kidneys to fail. Spanier’s mother, sister and brother have had transplants because of the disease.”
Michele Bachmann is heading to New Hampshire, says Manchester Union-Leader political reporter John DiStaso: “Bachmann made the disclosure while holding a ‘Live Free or Die’ bumper sticker. She mentioned the New Hampshire state motto in her speech opening CPAC on Thursday. Her comments came just a few days after Bachmann’s congressional spokesman claimed she had no plans to come to the Granite State. The source said when Bachmann made the announcement, she was accompanied by New Hampshire radio personality/Tea Party activist Jeff Chidester, who has often had Bachmann as a guest on his talk show.”
Those industry-leading baggage and blanket fees are paying off for Delta employees. Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “Thousands of Delta employees in Minnesota and many of their colleagues around the world are receiving profit-sharing payouts Monday. The Atlanta-based airline, with about 12,000 employees in Minnesota thanks to its merger with Eagan-based Northwest Airlines in 2008, said its profit last year was a record $1.4 billion. The profit-sharing amount totals $313 million, the largest such payout in the airline’s history. Most of Delta’s 80,000 or so employees will receive as their share 6.5 percent of their 2010 earnings, said Leslie Parker, a Delta spokeswoman in the Twin Cities.”
Walsh also reports that Guess, the schnauser-poodle whose owner tried to mail it to Georgia is being put up for adoption: “Guess has been at the city’s Animal Care and Control shelter since it was discovered in the box, which was sealed with packing tape and contained no nourishment. Authorities said the dog certainly would have died had it been sent on its way in the airplane’s frigid cargo hold. Police and Animal Control officials have received a substantial number of requests to adopt Guess.”
One of the guys in the VISA “Never Missed a Super Bowl” ad passed away over the weekend. Dave Umhoefer of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes: “A year ago Bob Cook guaranteed a Packers appearance in Texas for Super Bowl XLV, and he was right. The rest of his prediction — that he would attend the game as he had every Super Bowl before — unfortunately did not come true. Cook died Thursday after being hospitalized with a blood infection — an ailment that did not stop him from watching the Packers triumph on TV from a Milwaukee-area hospital. ‘We were packed and ready to go,’ his wife, Sarah, said. ‘He was just too weak to go.’ Cook, of Brown Deer, was the former owner of Bob Cook’s Vagabond Travel Service. He was 79.”
Under the heading of “Keeping ’Em Honest,’ Sally Jo Sorenson of the Bluestem Prairie blog goes after the Strib’s Kevin Diaz for his in-passing assertion that “Republicans hit back by noting that over his career Walz has racked up $132 million in earmarks — projects that would benefit his southern Minnesota district.” Says Sorenson: “[R]egardless of where I look online, I cannot find Republicans hitting “back by noting that over his career Walz has racked up $132 million in earmarks — projects that would benefit his southern Minnesota district. Lord knows I’ve tried. I’ve looked at the RNCC’s website. I’ve looked at the Republican Party of Minnesota website. I’ve search Twitter. I’ve remembered that Google Is My Friend and used the search engine to comb through various categories: Everything, Web, News, Blogs, Video. I’ve accessed Nexis and searched All News, using any number of combinations of search terms and could not find any media reporting that Republicans responded with this charge to Walz’s defense of veterans programs. I have no idea who those Republicans are, and where they talked about those $132 millions in earmarks in the more than two weeks since the dust-up began about Bachmann’s proposed cuts to veterans’ health care funding.” Uh, note to Diaz, I’d suggest responding to Ms. Sorenson.