Heads will be exploding on talk radio today. Arch-villain liberal investor George Soros is upping his stake in Target. Thomas Lee of the Strib writes: “Soros Fund Management in New York, whose portfolio is worth more than $7 billion, purchased 543,900 shares of Target stock in the second quarter, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Overall, Soros owns 552,600 shares, or 0.08 percent of the retailer, which the investment firm valued at $25.9 million, the filing says. (State Street Corp., Target’s largest investor, owns 63.5 million shares, or 9.4 percent of the company.) … Unlike activist investor William Ackman, who recently abandoned his effort to force Target to sell and lease back the land beneath its stores, Soros is a longer-term investor whose holdings include AT&T, Boeing and Kraft Foods. … The stock traded at an average price of $48.97 in the second quarter. Shares closed Tuesday at $50.96, which suggests Soros has already made a positive return on his investment.”
Can you take any more of The Runaway Dad story? Betsy Sundquist and Derrick Williams of the Lakeville Patch go into … great detail on the dad’s back story: “Cross was adjudicated the boy’s father in 2001, and the boy’s mother, Katik Kristina Porter, 38, was granted visitation rights. However, she apparently stopped exercising those rights, and they were terminated a year later. Although it appears that Porter is still living in the Twin Cities area, her whereabouts are unknown, and she has not returned numerous telephone messages. Lakeville Police reports from Cross’ Lakeville address paint a bleak picture of the boy’s early life and the ongoing — and escalating — hostility between his parents. The first police report, dated July 3, 2001, was filed when the boy was slightly more than a year old. … [another police report said] ‘Cross expressed his frustration and disgust for the Lakeville Police Department concerning other incidents’ and that ‘every time Porter breaks the law in the slightest way he is going to call the police.’ ‘Cross yelled at me regarding other issues that have no bearing to the complaint at hand,’ the officer wrote, including ‘Internet porn and Hispanics being at the Lakeville post office.’ ‘Cross at times was extremely irrational,’ the officer added.”
And a once-prominent-in-the-news father has died. The AP reports: “A Minnesota man whose son once fled the state to avoid chemotherapy has died. A private funeral is set for Friday for Anthony Hauser. Family friend Dan Zwakman says Hauser died last Thursday of cardiac arrest at a Minnesota hospital. He was 56. Hauser, of Sleepy Eye, told reporters at his farm last year that he had a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. He said he was treating the disease with dietary therapies.”
To the surprise of no one, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf would prefer not to have a referendum on that Ramsey County tax. Says Tim Pugmire at MPR: “A proposed football stadium in Arden Hills should not have to face a Ramsey County referendum, because Hennepin County didn’t need one to build Target Field, Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said. Wilf made his comments following an appearance at a St. Paul Rotary Club meeting, where he thanked community leaders for supporting the proposed $1 billion Arden Hills project. Stadium opponents want a countywide referendum and this week will ask the Ramsey County Charter Commission to require it, which could block the proposed sales tax increase and derail the project. Wilf said the Vikings should be held to the same standard as the Twins.” … And lets hope he’s not talking winning percentage.
Out in the Marshall Independent, Per Peterson checks in with legislators close to the stadium/special session action: “ ‘We need to make sure the finances are workable for whoever the local partner is, for the state, and for everyone else,” [GOP Sen. Doug Magnus] added. ‘That’s a big concern — where are we going to get the money?’ Even with the Vikings’ Metrodome lease expiring at the end of the 2011-12 season, Magnus doubts Dayton will call a stadium-only special session. The 2012 session begins Jan. 24 and Magnus said the Legislature also has plenty of work ahead when it comes to the state’s finances. ‘We’ve got severe budget problems facing us, that has to be our priority,’ Magnus said. ‘I don’t see a special session happening. But I think most people agree the Metrodome is not a long-term option; the Vikings certainly don’t think it is.’ “
Organic farming is becoming a financially sustainable enterprise. The AP reports: “The annual report on organic farm performance from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and University of Minnesota said 2010 was “a good year but not a stellar year for these farms. Profits improved but were not outstanding.” Balance sheets, however, were on average very sound as they headed into 2011. The report said that after a difficult 2009, the median organic producer earned a net farm income of $62,463 in 2010. That was a sixfold increase over 2009 and was consistent with returns earned in 2007 and 2008, which were considered very profitable for the organic sector. Profits in 2009 were low for organic and conventional farms alike. The 2009 report attributed the fall in organic farm profitability to several factors, particularly sharp drops in prices for organic spring wheat and corn, along with slightly lower yields coupled with higher production costs. But 2010 was a banner year for nearly all of Minnesota agriculture thanks to near-perfect growing weather and high prices.”
Lucas Grindley, writing in the gay publication The Advocate, says: “Minnesotans will have to decide in 2012 whether they want to ban same-sex marriage in their state. Minnesotans United for All Families is holding training sessions for progressive people of faith on how to fight the ban. … Although Minnesota is dealing with turning back a ban, religious groups also play heavily in passage of marriage equality. Even in New York, which legalized same-sex marriage through a vote in the legislature, it only became possible to pass after some concessions were made to religious organizations that sought exemptions. Similar exemptions have preceded votes in other states. And in Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriage was approved by a vote of its lawmakers, progressive faith leaders organized a coalition that is credited with successfully contradicting messages from conservative religious voices there.”
I’m way too squeamish for this stuff. But still, it’s an amazing story. The AP reports: “Leroy Luetscher, a Wisconsin native who now lives in Green Valley in southern Arizona, said he had just finished trimming plants in his backyard on July 30 when he lost his balance and fell on the pruning shears. The tool went into his right eye socket and down into his neck, resting against the carotid artery. Half the shears were left in his head pushing up against his eye, while the other half was sticking out. Luetscher said he put his hand to his face and realized the shears had gone into his eye. ‘I didn’t know if my eyeball was still there or what,’ he said. ‘I never had pain like that in all my life’. … Doctors … rebuilt Luetscher’s orbital floor with a titanium plate and put him on antibiotics for 20 days to stave off an infection that could have proved fatal. Luetscher still has slight swelling in his eyelids and minor double vision but has otherwise recovered.”
Jeffrey Wirth, the high-living developer who is charged with tax evasion in a complicated deal that in part helped him (start to) build an island mansion in Lake Minnetonka, still doesn’t have a lawyer. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib writes: “A U.S. magistrate judge told Twin Cities real estate developer Jeffrey Wirth to get a lawyer by Friday.
Wirth, charged earlier this month with tax evasion, showed up in federal court Tuesday in St. Paul for his delayed plea hearing but still didn’t have a lawyer with him. Wirth indicated he was ‘close to retaining counsel,’ said U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Keyes before rescheduling Wirth’s arraignment a second time, to Friday morning. … Prosecutors have accused Wirth and [ex-wife Holly] Damiani of manipulating their finances in a number of ways in the alleged tax scam, including recording money spent on personal expenses such as trips to Hawaii and private school fees for one of their children as business expenses and eliminating income that should have been taxed by creating bogus management fees. The two are also accused of diverting more than $2 million from Wirth’s companies to the development of a mega-mansion they were building on Lake Minnetonka, without reporting the money as either personal or business income. Work stopped on the villa years ago.” Ohhh, excuse me. It’s a “villa.”