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Sen. Geoff Michel to get ethics hearing … soon

Joe Soucheray weighs in on Brodkorb et al.; Senser team wants case moved; spring wheat planting starts; a porn-star prom date; Sarah Janecek criticizes U’s Kaler; and more.

Sen. Geoff Michel
Sen. Geoff Michel

Megan Boldt of the PiPress says: “A spokesman for Senate GOP leadership said Tuesday they will hold a hearing on an ethics complaint against  Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, as soon as possible. Steve Sviggum said Republican leadership wanted to have the hearing Tuesday evening, one day after DFLers filed a complaint that argues Michel failed to take appropriate action when he was informed that former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch was having an affair with a subordinate. But Sviggum said Democrats had a scheduling conflict. ‘We want to have it right now,’ Sviggum said, hinting DFL senators were stalling to keep the issue in the news longer. Republican Senate leaders have defended Michel’s handling of the situation, saying he dealt with it in the best way possible in his role as deputy Senate majority leader at the time. ‘I’m confident that Senator Michel handled this in an honest, forthright and courageous fashion,’ said Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem.” Wow. “Courageous,” you say?

Ol’ Sooch doesn’t think much of the DFL for slapping ethics violations on GOP rivals over the Michael Brodkorb-Amy Koch affair. In fact, he thinks Brodkorb is making sense. Says Joe Soucheray in the PiPress: “[T]he DFLers won’t leave the room and have now come up with an ethics complaint so that they might prolong their delusion of virtue. … Brodkorb intends to light the place up by wishing to depose the people who have had affairs. He can name names, he says. The fellow seems to have a point, however tawdry. Hey, I was just the guy on the receiving end of this deal, so to speak. Why are you canning me? … I want to have a conversation about the size of and growth of government and debt, about taxes, about spreading and unsustainable entitlements, about public pension obligations, about the seemingly lead walls of secrecy and protection that have been created legislatively to protect public officials from being honest with taxpayers when they pay a school human resources director to resign. See: Burnsville schools and the matter of Tania Z. Chance.” Joe’s slipping. If he were on top of his game, there’d have been a specific reference in there to his property taxes.

Also blaming the other guys … the prosecution in the Amy Senser case. Dave Hanners in the PiPress reports: “In a brief filed Tuesday … opposing the defense’s request to move the Edina woman’s upcoming trial out of Hennepin County, an assistant county attorney said most of the pre-trial publicity ‘was generated in response to motions and press statements of (the) defense counsel.’ Prosecutor Deborah Russell said her boss, County Attorney Michael Freeman, has spoken to the media only twice about the case. ‘In contrast, defense counsel has been speaking to the media since the day the case was charged, and more recently declaring that the defendant ‘will be cleared,’  Russell wrote. … The Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure say that an attorney seeking a continuance or a change of venue because of prejudicial publicity must submit proof in the form of affidavits from people in the community, public opinion surveys or “other material having probative value.”

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Spring wheat is going in, kids. The AP has a story saying: “Mike Bergeron started sowing wheat on his farm in northwestern Minnesota on St. Patrick’s Day. One week earlier, he was towing two of his daughters on a sled behind his snowmobile. Bergeron and his business partner Jon Ross are among at least a few farmers in the Upper Midwest taking advantage of an unusually mild and dry winter to start planting spring wheat in mid-March. While there could still be a bad frost, they’re taking a calculated risk that the early start will let them reap a bigger crop this summer. ‘It’s crazy, isn’t it?’ Bergeron said with a laugh on Tuesday, the official first day of spring. Experts said that while it’s rare for farmers in the Upper Midwest to plant this early, it’s not crazy. ‘We’re still on the early side, but that’s the key to having a good wheat crop — it’s planting early,’ said Doug Holen, a University of Minnesota Extension educator based in Morris. … Fearing the drought might persist into the summer, and with no freezing weather in the medium-term forecast, Bergeron and Ross decided their odds were better with an early start. Replanting if there’s a freeze would cost about $12,000, but they’re hoping Mother Nature rewards their risk with at least a normal yield for them, perhaps 70 bushels per acre, despite the dry weather.”

Also up and well after a milquetoast winter are Minnesota’s fish and game. Says Doug Smith in the Strib: “Turkeys are gobbling and strutting, trying to attract females, a month ahead of normal. Pheasants, hammered by bad weather in recent years, are poised for a comeback. Ice already has departed scores of lakes, prompting anglers to stow ice-fishing gear and ready their boats. And the state’s deer herd, down recently, could be reinvigorated. For Minnesota’s wildlife, the unusually mild winter — which officially ended Tuesday after days of record-busting high temperatures — is a godsend. Deer, turkeys, pheasants and other critters have survived the most challenging time of year. And that should have hunters and anglers smiling. But this is Minnesota, and the current heat could give way to snow in April and May. But for now, life in the wild is good.” Just one question … Do we really need more deer?

Now here’s something I never thought of when I needed a prom date … The Huffington Post version of the story says: “This prom season, Minnesota student Mike Stone is on a mission to bring a special lady to his high school dance: a porn star. … In an interview with the Daily Dot, Stone said many of the girls he asked to prom were already going with someone else. So, he took a different route and hopped on Twitter to contact some adult film stars. After nearly 600 Tweets, at least two porn stars have offered to take Stone up on his offer. Megan Piper, who never made it to her senior prom, said she’d be willing to attend the dance as long as Stone took care of the travel costs from Los Angeles. ‘If you can get me there, then yes :)’, she tweeted. And adult film star Emy Reyes was honored by Stone’s proposal and responded by saying, ‘Awww that’s reappear [sic] hun and i would love tooo.’ Now, the teen’s next mission is to raise about $400 to buy his possible date — who, as of late Tuesday afternoon, appears to be Megan Piper — a plane ticket to Minnesota for the big night on May 12. Piper said she’s excited about the possibility of attending the dance with Stone.” But not as excited as he is.

Hiring Bradlee Dean’s anti-gay rock band for a school function had nothing … nothing … to do with his resignation. Says the AP: “The principal of a secondary school in Dunkerton where members of a Minnesota-based Christian rock bank promoted their anti-gay and anti-abortion views during a March 8 assembly says his resignation was planned long before the performance. Mike Cooper, who oversees grades 7-12, resigned Monday … It was accepted by the school board. Cooper recommended inviting the Junkyard Prophet band, which is part of an Annandale group called You Can Run But You Cannot Hide. Cooper told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier after Monday’s school board meeting that he was leaving to become a superintendent. He said he was in Arizona when he learned his resignation plans were reported last week and said the public was wrong to believe it was related to the assembly.”

It’ll be a summer festival hiatus in Stillwater this year. Mary Divine of the PiPress says: “The Stillwater City Council on Tuesday night … enacted a moratorium on major summer festivals for 2012. The council voted 5-0 in favor of the moratorium, but specified that events already approved and permitted — such as the Nature Valley Grand Prix Stillwater Criterium, Cruisin’ on the Croix, Summer Tuesdays and Harvest Fest — would not be affected. After myriad problems with Lumberjack Days, the city’s longtime summer festival, officials said a yearlong break from major summer festivals would be good for Stillwater. The city needs time to reassess and gather input from residents and business owners, Mayor Ken Harycki said.”

Sarah Janecek is still not too happy with the cushy culture at the U of M: “In my book, [U Dean of Nursing Connie] Delaney’s formal reprimand is not a culture change.  Not addressing [former President Bob] Bruininks’ feathering his own nest and the nests of other top administrators is not a culture change. It is status quo. Business as usual. Bold leadership would have addressed what Bruininks did, head on. One can only surmise that [President Eric] Kaler won’t do that because the rules of the highly paid university administration club include not criticizing your predecessors because after all, sooner or later Kaler will be the outgoing president. Kaler may want to cut his own sweet ‘transition’ deal. Culture-changing leadership would have canned Delaney. The question now becomes, ‘What, exactly, is Kaler culture?’ Status quo? Business as usual? So far, that’s all I see.”