If this were Wisconsin, the rioting already would have started. Says Eric Roper in the Strib: “Of the roughly 10,000 establishments that sell liquor in Minnesota, most of those who needed to renew their buyer purchasing cards managed to do so before the July 1 shutdown started. About 300 were caught with cards that expired on June 30 and no way to renew the permits. That number will grow to 425 by the end of the month, according to state officials, and grow as more cards expire at random intervals. ‘It’s definitely going to get worse,’ said Jim Arlt, director of alcohol and gambling enforcement for the Department of Public Safety. ‘There will be more and more businesses affected.’ The alcohol regulation side of Arlt’s office was laid off during the shutdown. Trevor Berg, owner of Hoss’ All American Liquors in Walker, Minn., says his card expires this weekend. He plans to stockpile as much as he can before then, hoping it will last until mid-August — or until the budget stalemate ends.”
John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune adds: “The $20 cards are required by the state Department of Public Safety for any licensed establishments to buy alcohol from wholesale distributors in Minnesota. They have been unavailable for renewal or issuance since June 29. ‘We’re talking about millions of dollars at stake here that can never be made up,’ Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, told the News Tribune. ‘We’ve got businesses that are about to close their doors if they can’t buy beer to sell.’ ”
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Don Walker is contradicting reports that MillerCoors got caught with its kegs down and must pull all its beverages off Minnesota shelves: “MillerCoors spokesman Julian Green said those reports were false. It’s business as usual for MillerCoors in Minnesota for now, he said. Green said the company complied with all applicable state laws, sent its registration and fees to the state on time and is working with Minnesota authorities to clear up the matter. ‘We are feeling the pain just like other licensees, but we are working with the state to clear this up,’ Green said. Green said Minnesota is one of the brewer’s largest markets. ‘We have pretty significant volume there,’ Green said.” Yeah! Significant volume!
Gov. Dayton, meanwhile, continues his barnstorming tour, apparently reinvigorating his “tax the rich” position. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib chats up DFL Sen. Tom Bakk: “[A]s Dayton has moved from his bedrock theme of “tax the rich” to softer, less-tested ground in hopes of a compromise, he may find new challenges. ‘He has been, at times, more flexible than I think he should be,’ said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, who has advised Dayton to stay ‘dug in’ on a higher-income-tax proposal. ‘Not only is it the best policy,’ Bakk said, ‘it’s the best politics.’ Bakk, who ran for governor last year, said Dayton has made his case well so far. Bakk said that had he won and faced the same Republican Legislature, the state probably would have shut down, as well. But, he added, ‘I think [Dayton’s] been a little more compromising than I probably would have been.’ “
A bit more detail on Barry Ardolf of Blaine, the so-called “Neighbor From Hell” sentenced Tuesday to 18 years for … serious craziness. From Dave Hanners at the PiPress: “Matt Kostolnik told a judge that the 707 days his family spent living next to Ardolf were days of dread and fear. Ardolf had waged a cybercampaign of terror against them, all because they called the cops after the man planted what they called a ‘wet kiss’ on their young son’s lips. ‘I felt like me and my family were under attack. I went numb that day,’ Kostolnik told U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank of the day of the kissing incident, which occurred the day after they moved into a house on a cul-de-sac next to Ardolf. … Dressed in orange jail antimicrobial clothing and sometimes wearing two pairs of glasses simultaneously, Ardolf, a widower, began his comments by apologizing to the Kostolniks, his own three children and his family, some of whom were in the courtroom. But he spent most of his time talking about himself, a trait that had prompted Rank to complain at a hearing in May that Ardolf was a narcissist unable to show true remorse or feeling for his victims. ‘It’s been difficult for me to eat. I’ve felt no enjoyment,’ Ardolf told Frank of his time awaiting trial in the Sherburne County jail. He described his days alone in 23-hour lockdown, said jail food ‘is always horrible’ and complained that ‘the beds are like taking a sleeping bag and sleeping on the garage floor.’ He reeled off a list of recent prison sentences he’d read about in the paper — including the 10-year sentence meted out to former auto mogul Denny Hecker this year — and said that relatively speaking, his crime wasn’t as bad as those of some people sent to prison for terms less than what he was facing.”
They got naked in Marine on St. Croix. Mary Divine at the PiPress writes: “The owner at the Brookside Bar & Grill in Marine on St. Croix stands bare-chested and bare-legged, a keg of Lift Bridge Brewery Farm Girl Saison strategically held in front of his, er, swimsuit area. And the owner of Marine General Store poses in front of her store, bags of buns covering her buns. Meet Miss December, Mr. January and Miss February. They are among the Scandia and Marine on St. Croix residents who are featured in a new fundraising calendar called ‘Scandia/Marine Au Naturel, Too.’ The 18-month calendar showcases not nubile young women but nearly nude middle-aged men and women posing discreetly behind the items of their trades: a tire, a tractor, a railroad lantern, a fire hose, even a couple of fish.” The point of the calendar is … “to help Toni Poletes, one of the owners of Ostlund’s Marine Garage in Marine on St. Croix. Poletes, 52, has stage IV breast cancer and is struggling to pay medical bills. Her insurance for the year ran out at the beginning of March.” Maybe her insurance company could buy 4 million or 5 million copies?
If they work Sunday, loggers up north can cut trees for five more days. Don Davis of the Forum papers says: “Kathleen Gearin, the judge appointed to decide on all cases related to the Minnesota government shutdown, extended a court order Tuesday to allow loggers to cut trees and move logs from state lands until she holds another hearing on the issue Monday. But she made it clear she is inclined to stop the operation.”
It’s always refreshing when a reporter follows up a politician’s statement to see if it holds any water. Martiga Lohn of the AP files a piece on T-Paw’s ongoing claims that he left the state of Minnesota in a hunky-dory, super-fine condition by never ever compromising: “Those who were there with Pawlenty six years ago remember things a little differently. ‘During the shutdown of ’05 he was lamenting as much as the rest of us, and now he’s almost wearing it as a badge of courage,’ said former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, who sat across the bargaining table from Pawlenty that year. ‘The attitude was, we need to get this fixed and we need to get this fixed now, as opposed to letting government struggle and not work.’ Republican state Sen. David Senjem remembered Pawlenty coming to a Senate GOP caucus meeting seeking support for the deal he had made. ‘How did he say it — that he didn’t like it, that we wouldn’t like it, but for the good of the state of Minnesota we needed to move ahead, end this shutdown and that the road home, so to speak, was going to be the health impact fee,’ Senjem said. The ‘health impact fee’ — Pawlenty’s carefully considered name for the cigarette charge — was the linchpin to ending the shutdown. It brought in enough money to preserve subsidized health care for the working poor, a top goal of Senate Democrats.”
The latest alternative for the gigantic Stillwater bridge costs less than half as much. Dan Olson of MPR writes: “Stillwater resident and urban planner Roger Tomten describes a proposal for a three-lane, 40 mph bridge that would cost about $260 million. The plan for a bigger bridge advanced by transportation officials is a four-lane, 65 mph freeway-style span costing more than $630 million. Tomten said the smaller bridge is wide enough for rush hour traffic. ‘We’re now proposing that this diagonal bridge be a three-lane bridge and that the center lane alternate directions to accommodate the commuter traffic that is the predominant traffic on this bridge,’ Tomten said. ‘In the mornings you have two lanes of traffic coming into Minnesota and in the afternoon you have two lanes of traffic going out to Wisconsin.’ ” That morning flow thing kinda bothers me.