A downtown “ballpark” for the Saints and the Southwest Corridor LRT are on Gov. Dayton’s wish list for his bonding bill. Tim Pugmire at MPR says: “Dayton has unveiled a wish list of public works construction projects that includes regional civic centers, a St. Paul ballpark and a southwest corridor light rail line. The $775 million bonding bill proposal also includes improvements to college campus buildings, roads and bridges. Dayton argues that a large bonding bill will help get thousands of inactive construction workers back on the job. His estimate is 21,700 jobs. The ballpark and civic center projects have been proposed and rejected before. … Republican legislative leaders were quick to criticize the Dayton proposal. Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said the purpose of the bonding bill is to repair and build infrastructure, not to serve as stimulus or a short-term jobs program. House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, accused Dayton of following in the footsteps of Democrats in Washington with a misguided stimulus package.” Which I guess means, “Let’s continue to wait for the job creators.”
Looking at the higher-ed projects, Jenna Ross of the Strib writes: “They include $107 million of the University of Minnesota’s $209 million request and $112 million of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system’s $279 million request. The University of Minnesota points out that Dayton proposes funding just $20 million of the $90 million U officials requested for maintenance and repair of existing facilities, a category known as HEAPR. In a statement, Kathleen O’Brien, vice president of University Services, said: ‘While we are grateful for Governor Dayton’s support of these projects, we are disappointed in the greatly diminished level of funding for HEAPR.’ ”
Megan Boldt’s story in the PiPress adds: “City and business leaders alike back the St. Paul ballpark, a 7,000-seat stadium at the site of the old Diamond Products building across from the St. Paul Farmer’s Market. The total project will cost around $50 million. The facility would host more than 180 events during a 210-day outdoor season, most of them amateur sports events for players of all ages, such as the state high school baseball championships. The Saints would play 50 games each year at the venue.
Other east metro projects include:
• $7.2 million for Dakota County Technical College to renovate its transportation and emerging technologies labs.
• $7 million for the Minnesota Zoo, primarily to repair and revitalize the dolphin exhibit.
• $5 million for classroom additions and renovations at Century College in White Bear Lake.
• $3.4 million for Harriet Tubman Center East in Maplewood.
• $1.5 million for St. Paul College to renovate science and allied health facilities.
• $30,000 for Oakdale Veterans Memorial.”
A million is a lot when you’re talking about a guy who won with 1.12 million votes. But a million is the number of signatures recall proponents say they’ll present in their effort to force a new election on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The AP and the Wisconsin State Journal report: “Recall organizers also said they had more than enough signatures to force recall elections against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Republican Sens. Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls, Van Wanggaard of Racine and Pam Galloway of Wausau. The group working to recall Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said earlier Tuesday that they had collected more than enough signatures to recall him as well. But Walker’s opponents still must transform public outrage over his pushback against unions into actual votes to oust him from office. … The 1 million signatures that United Wisconsin, the coalition that spearheaded the effort along with the Democratic Party, said were collected far exceeded the more than 540,000 needed. … The massive number of signatures against Walker — 85 percent above the level needed — could make it nearly impossible for opponents to successfully challenge enough of them to stop an election. ‘I don’t know if it’s insurmountable, but it would be extremely difficult,’ said Joshua Spivak, a recall expert and senior fellow at Wagner College in New York. In the 2003 Gov. Gray Davis recall in California, petitioners also turned in almost double what was needed — 1.6 million — and only about 18 percent were tossed, Spivak said.”
While friends and family anxiously await word on the White Bear Lake couple still missing in that Italian cruise ship disaster, Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib tells the story of two Minnesota sisters who made it safely to shore: “The Italian cruise ship shuddered, but the crew aboard the luxury liner assured Ronda Rosenthal of Lakeville and her sister Vivian Shafer that it was a ‘minor issue’ and nothing to worry about. So the two went back to their cabin and climbed into bed. ‘But when the ship started to tilt and things started to fall off the table, they said, ‘We’re out of here,’ said Jeff Rosenthal, who spent anxious hours this past weekend waiting to hear from his wife. … The lifeboat that his wife and sister-in-law boarded ran aground but eventually made it safely to shore. Safe on land, the two called Jeff Rosenthal, waking him in the Rosenthals’ Lakeville home at 4:30 a.m. Saturday. ‘She said, ‘I’m on an island and I’m OK,’ Rosenthal recalled. The sisters had left the ship with nothing but what was on their backs and have spent the past few days in Rome arranging for temporary passports and an airline flight back to Minnesota, Jeff Rosenthal said. All of their valuables are in the ‘safe, in their room, under water,’ he said.”
And besides everything else, it is darned expensive … MPR’s Lorna Benson and colleagues serve up a hefty piece on the explosive growth of diabetes among Minnesotans: “One third of all adults in Minnesota either have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, and over the past 15 years the number of Minnesotans with diabetes has grown so fast that state health officials describe the disease as a juggernaut threatening to overwhelm the state’s health care system. Diabetes is measured in heart failure, amputations and loss of eyesight. It’s also measured in dollars: $2.6 billion a year in Minnesota alone. … State health department officials say for every 10 Minnesotans with diabetes, five are obese. … In 1994, about 3.8 percent of Minnesotans reported being diagnosed with diabetes, he said. As of 2010 6.7 percent had — a substantial increase that includes only those who know they have the disease. Desai said many others probably haven’t been diagnosed yet. ‘If you try to take into account those who are undiagnosed, I estimate it’s closer to around 11 percent overall,’ Desai said. That makes 446,000 Minnesotans who are either diagnosed or undiagnosed with diabetes. Add to that figure the 1.1 million Minnesotans believed to be pre-diabetic and it’s a staggering number: More than one third of all adults in Minnesota are either diabetic or are pre-diabetic.”
Minnesota will lead a pilot project to begin controlling agricultural run-off into the Mississippi river system. The Strib’s Josephine Marcotty says: “Behind the new strategy is a combination of political and fiscal realities, officials said: The public is increasingly concerned about clean water for drinking, swimming and wildlife. But imposing environmental rules on farmers — the primary source of unregulated water pollution in Minnesota — faces insurmountable political hurdles. At the same time, funding for longstanding farm conservation programs is facing major cutbacks in the upcoming farm bill, victim of both the federal budget crunch and the anti-regulatory fervor in Washington. … Farmers who participate would agree to follow land management practices that slow soil erosion and runoff of fertilizers, pesticides and manure into streams and groundwater. In exchange, they would get financial and technical support and be protected against new environmental requirements during the life of their agreement, perhaps as long as 10 years. Participating farmers would also be certified through the new Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, a seal of approval that could be used as a marketing tool and, eventually, on consumer products.”
Talk about bad trips, man. Paul McEnroe of the Strib writes: “A Christmas Eve incident involving LSD use by inmates at the state prison in Faribault turned chaotic when six prisoners suffered violent drug reactions that sent two to the hospital by ambulance and four to the Twin Cities by medical helicopter. The six inmates had attended a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that morning and passed the synthetic drug among themselves, according to corrections reports and interviews with authorities. … The state Department of Corrections is investigating how the drug was smuggled past guards and how widely it might have been distributed. A former inmate is suspected of smuggling the LSD, contained on small pieces of absorbent paper, into the prison, authorities said. No arrests have been made. All the prisoners who were hospitalized have recovered and are back in the state’s largest prison, which holds more than 2,000 inmates.” No word on what became of the Grateful Dead 8-tracks.
My apologies for not catching this (rare) interview with MPR/American Public Media guru Bill Kling in last weekend’s New York Times. A sample from the Q&A with Adam Bryant:
Q. Tell me more about your leadership style.
A. I think every C.E.O. needs an executive team to be balanced to fit their strengths. The key elements, such as strategy, innovation, management, finance, don’t need to be in any single position — but they need to be there in the executive team. It’s terrific if you can walk through the halls and say hello by name to every employee. I can’t. It’s terrific if you can stand up at a staff meeting and do it in a way that people feel really good about your company. I can do that. But you never have all the pieces. A mentor of mine taught me that every perspective is additive, because every person sitting in a room is looking at things differently. Each of them has a different perspective. They come from a different way of thinking and different experiences. And their collective perspective gives you a better outcome. …
Q. Have you received any feedback over the decades about your management or leadership style that caused you to make adjustments?
A. I think that I was generally perceived as aloof. That’s probably accurate. But not for the reasons you would think. It’s difficult for someone who has grown up with the company and who knows the veteran employees so well, to then find that there are so many other employees. You may feel awkward when you don’t know enough about some people to make them feel as much a part of the company as you want them to feel or know enough about what they have to offer the company. And so you kind of avoid interactions with them. That’s a mistake because inevitably they have something to offer. And that comes off as aloof.”