Cell tower battle moving from BWCA to east metro park

AFTERNOON EDITION

With the cell tower up next to the BWCA resolved, the Sierra Club is going to war over a 150-footer next to Afton State Park. Says Tim Nelson of MPR: “AT&T has won preliminary township approval for the tower, according to Ron Carlson, conservation director for the Sierra Club’s St. Croix Valley Interstate Group. He lives in nearby Lake St. Croix Beach. ‘The tower will be visible from the St. Croix Scenic Byway, which runs past Afton Alps and Afton State Park,’ Wisconsin’s Kinnickinnic State Park across the river, and other scenic areas in the region, he said. ‘It really is visually intrusive.’ His group is part of the same coalition that has been opposing a freeway bridge replacement for the Stillwater Lift Bridge. Carlson says he’d like AT&T to consider a less obtrusive option, as county officials did for a radio tower in the area.”

The Chairman has spoken. State GOP Chair Tony Sutton’s official comment on that $170,000 fine for, um, mishandling the party’s finances, says (via the Strib’s Rachel Stassen-Berger): “ ‘We learned a very hard lesson,’ said Party Chairman Tony Sutton, who [was] the party’s treasurer during 2006 and 2007. ‘I could say something here about excessive government regulation but we’re taking our lumps and moving forward,’ Sutton said. The party’s fine comes on top of other money struggles. Earlier this year, the GOP reported that it had about $780,000 worth of debt.”

Our Joe Kimball has reported the FEC saying: “RPM [Republican Party of Minnesota] contends that the errors and omissions in its 2006-2008 reports were not intentional and in 2007-2008 RPM acted proactively to address the issues involved by retaining an accounting firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of its financial records. In 2008, RPM further acted proactively to address the issues involved by filing more than 50 amendments to its reports. However, these amendments did not disclose all previously undisclosed debt. RPM has taken affirmative steps to ensure that such errors and omissions do not occur again by retaining a compliance company to prepare its reports, as well as federal campaign finance counsel that serves as counsel to a number of Republican state party committees.” I wonder, is this the same outside, independent compliance company that advised the GOP on its budget projections this past session?

The Innocence Project, re-examining evidence in cases involving infant death, has been successful in winning release for a man imprisoned six years. Madeleine Baran of MPR reports: “Michael Hansen was released from the Douglas County Jail in Alexandria. The 34-year-old man has been incarcerated there for six years of a 14-year sentence, after being convicted in May 2004 of second-degree murder in Avryonna Hansen’s death.His case came to the attention of the Innocence Project, a group that works on behalf of people it believes have been wrongly convicted. Innocence Project attorneys argue that Hansen was found guilty because of a flawed medical examiner’s report. Now they’ve won him a new trial that’s scheduled to start in late September.”

MPR Colleague Lorna Benson reports on U of M research into brain cancer treatment: “A new cancer therapy that has cured brain tumors in dogs is now being tried in human patients at the University of Minnesota. The therapy is designed to rev up the body’s immune system so it can more effectively fight cancer. Unlike chemotherapy or radiation, the university’s treatment approach is intended to be non-toxic.”

Chip Cravaack is drawing a lot of attention. Andy Birkey at The Minnesota Independent files a report on the growing list of DFL challengers to the 8th District congressman: “Over the past eight months, Cravaack has been hammered by political ads that suggest he wants to end Medicare, based on his vote in favor of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan that aimed to change Medicare to a voucher system, a move Cravaack’s critics said would ‘end Medicare as we know it.’ Cravaack’s vulnerabilities may be exacerbated by his announcement in July that he’ll be moving his family from Minnesota to New Hampshire. The move may strengthen criticisms that his ties to the district are light: In the 2010 election, he was dubbed a ‘packsacker,’ the Iron Range term for ‘carpetbagger,’ for living in Lindstrom, a town at the extreme southern end of the expansive district. After winning election, he acknowledged he’d have a tough fight for re-election. He vowed to only serve four terms but acknowledged voters may only let him serve one. ‘I realize this is a very highly Democratic area,’ he said. ‘I also realize there’s a lot of people that really don’t like me being here in this seat.’ His greatest advantage: He’s raised $405,000 so far for his upcoming campaign, besting his challengers.”

This week’s shocking display of wasteful federal spending includes … $300,000 in renewable energy grants. The AP says: “Twenty-five Minnesota farmers and rural small businesses are getting almost $300,000 in renewable energy grants. The money will help them install renewable energy systems or flex fuel pumps, and make energy efficiency improvements. The funds come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program. … New this year is the ability to finance flex fuel pumps. The Glencoe Co-op Association, Viking Petroleum in Frost and Severson Oil in Winona are the first three projects in Minnesota to take advantage. Over 900 projects totaling more than $11 million were announced nationally Wednesday.” And that folks is $11 million that could have been returned to the accounts of real “job providers.”

In an editorial a little light on specific examples, the Austin Daily Herald notes T-Paw’s passing from presidential contention. It says: “The former governor’s eventual withdrawal from the nomination race seemed almost certain, months before it finally happened. The politics of becoming a party’s nominee has always been about staking out a position far to the right or left of center in an attempt to attract highly partisan voters. It is a strong commentary on how divisive American politics has become that a governor with Pawlenty’s credentials was left too far in the middle. Although moderate, sensible Republicans remain in the race, it is clear that 2012’s presidential contest is going to do nothing but deepen the political divide and inspire wild promises from all candidates.” I guess I missed the GOP debate with all those sensible moderates.

Yes, she really means it. Our Favorite Congresswoman was asked on a Washington Times radio show about her “promise” to restore the days of $2 gas. “The $2 gas promise raised eyebrows around the country, but the tea party-backed candidate who won last weekend’s Ames Straw Poll wasn’t backing down. ‘What Barack Obama has done is lock up America’s energy reserves. We’re the No. 1 energy-resource-rich nation in the world. We have more oil in three Western states in the form of shale oil than all the oil in Saudi Arabia. That doesn’t include the Bakken oil field in North Dakota or the eastern Gulf region or the Atlantic or the Pacific or Anwar or the Arctic region,’ she said. ‘We also have a brand-new natural gas find in Pennsylvania with over a trillion cubic feet of natural gas. We also have 25 percent of all the coal in the world. We just aren’t accessing or utilizing our energy. Energy could be one of the most stable, accessible forms of resources for business in the United States. … And we would create millions of high-paying jobs instantly,’ she said.”  “Instantly …,” she said.

At Salon, Steve Kornacki imagines the ways Ms. Bachmann could actually help the GOP: “[T]he GOP’s opinion leaders might not want to go after her too aggressively, at least not yet, because the events of this week have created the possibility that they’ll need her to be a strong candidate in the primaries in order to prevent a different disaster. This is a result of Rick Perry’s rambunctious entry into the race. The Texas governor, as we’ve been noting, was supposed to be a consensus candidate — one the party’s restive base would like and that November-minded elites would be comfortable with. But his performance since last Saturday has not struck that balance at all. With his overheated antics, he’s catered to the GOP base and its passions while arousing fears from elites who now wonder if he’d be any stronger than Bachmann as a general election candidate. This is where Bachmann comes in. Her ability to channel the base’s irrational, swing voter-alienating passions may make her a near-certain November loser, but it also positions her to corral many of the voters Perry is now pursuing. For GOP elites who now have reservations about Perry, this is a very helpful dynamic.” So let me understand this, she “corrals” the crazies to prevent the crazies from melding with the Big Texas Money …?

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/20/2011 - 08:43 am.

    Chip Cravaack and Paul Ryan, according to People for the American Way, are among a small number of members of Congress who are charging a fee ($15?) to attend their community forums.

    So if a constituent is unemployed and broke, w/he probably could not afford to attend.

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