“Illegal.” That’s Gov. Mark Dayton’s view of one part of the weekend’s deal between the House and the state’s charitable gambling interests. Doug Belden of the PiPress says: “Dayton said Monday his office was not consulted on the compromise worked out over the weekend between House negotiators and charitable groups over tax relief for the charities, and he said one piece of the plan is illegal. Also, the compromise appears to leave the state short of the amount it would need to pay debt service on the bonds for a new Vikings stadium, which is the umbrella bill under which the charity tax question is being negotiated. Sports-themed tipboards are not allowed under federal law, Dayton said. The new plan would allow charities to offer such games, which would raise an estimated $16 million in tax revenue per year. In a tipboard game, players purchase a number that pays out based on the outcome of the game. So if you had 1 and 4, for example, and a football game wound up 21-14, you’d win. King Wilson, executive director of Allied Charities of Minnesota, which represents charitable gaming groups, said he thinks the form of tipboards envisioned under the new plan would be legal. He also notes tipboards are legal in a handful of other states.” So how soon before we get to an old-fashioned numbers racket?
The question may be: “If they went home, would they be missed?” At the Strib, Baird Helgeson and Rachel Stassen-Berger look at the final hours/days of the 2012 legislative session and say: “Minnesota legislators are edging toward a historically early end to the legislative session, potentially ditching dozens of prized initiatives in their determination to head home and hit the campaign trail. The race toward early adjournment is revealing a fresh divide among Republicans who control the Legislature: some who want to end this week and others who want to soldier on well into April to complete a more ambitious agenda — maybe even a new Minnesota Vikings stadium. Legislators have much at stake in the session’s outcome, particularly as they face re-election in districts with newly redrawn political boundaries. If they get bogged down in controversial proposals, they risk alienating or angering voters. That has many arguing for a stripped-down agenda and a quick exit. ‘As far as I am concerned, if we can block a whole bunch of spending in a bonding bill and get the photo ID bill done, that’s enough,’ said Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, who faces his first re-election.” You have to admire that laser-like focus on job creation, right to the caricature-reaffirming end.
So what explains melanoma rates among young women eight times higher than 40 years ago? Elizabeth Dunbar at MPR writes: “Researchers tracked cases of melanoma, the most deadly kind of skin cancer, in Olmsted County health records from 1970 through 2009. The melanoma incidence among women ages 18 to 39 showed a sharper increase than among men in the same age group. In men, the rate increased four-fold during the period. …The Mayo study didn’t look at what caused the melanoma cases in Olmsted County, but researchers were quick to suggest one possible culprit: indoor tanning. ‘We know for sure that ultra-violet radiation is linked to cancer in a big way, especially tanning bed exposure,’ said Mayo dermatologist Dr. Jerry Brewer, who led the study.” I mean, who goes on spring break looking like so totally white?
When your brand is battered as bad as this … what else can you do but dump it and start over? A story at Detroit Lakes online says: “A Twin Cities business has seen their company name — and the registered address of their business — stolen by offshore scammers, who in turn have defrauded several consumers out of tens of thousands of dollars. The consumers, all owners of timeshare property in Mexico, were led to believe their timeshare properties were being sold, when in fact there were no buyers and they were instead being bilked for large sums of money. The legitimate metro business in question — formerly known as Events Etc. — has since dropped that name and are not associated with the timeshare scam. The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) has given the entity currently operating as Events Etc. an F rating due to a pattern of customer complaints and problematic business practices. After an investigation, the BBB has determined that Events Etc. was an event planning business which operated lawfully in Minnesota from 1992 to 2011. Sometime late last year, after that company closed, it appears that an offshore entity appropriated their company name and address, re-registering it with the state of Minnesota, and then created an authentic-looking website purporting to offer event planning services. However, the BBB has discovered this company is simply a front for scammers claiming to offer assistance to timeshare owners who are looking to resell their properties, often at attractive prices.” My financial guy warned me about time-shares.
Sorry, Voter ID proponents, the ACLU will not pay a $1,000 bounty. Jim Ragsdale at the Strib reports: “The contest between warring groups in Minnesota’s photo ID debate has ended with both sides claiming a share of victory. The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota said its offer to pay a $1,000 bounty to anyone who could show evidence of voter fraud that would have been stopped by a photo ID requirement yielded no such evidence. The ACLU says it shows the ID requirement is not needed, and says it will use the $1,000 to fight the proposed constitutional amendment. Minnesota Majority, a pro-ID group that submitted a case of a woman charged with fraud over an absentee ballot filed in Anoka County, said the case would have been prevented by an ID requirement with tougher eligibility language. The group said fraud exists and the system will benefit from the ID amendment. ‘We received several claims,’ said Charles Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU-Minnesota. The Minnesota Majority claim, he said, ‘involved a woman who filled out an absentee ballot for her daughter, submitted it, and then her daughter ended up voting in person as well.’ He said the case, which the judge eventually dismissed, ‘would not have been impeded in any way by the proposed amendment’ because it was an absentee ballot. ‘Furthermore, the daughter used a photo ID to vote,’ Samuelson said. … Dan McGrath of the Minnesota Majority said the stiffened eligibility requirements in the photo ID amendment would have caught these problems — felon voting and absentee voting problems. ‘I have to disagree with the ACLU’s assessment,’ McGrath. ‘They can keep their money’.”
Another reason to thin the state’s deer herd … . Dan Kraker at MPR reports: “The white-tailed deer is one of Minnesota’s most iconic and abundant wild creatures. They lure thousands of hunters into the woods every fall and are adored by children and wildlife lovers. But the deer are taking a toll on our forests. A new study released today documents the drastic impacts deer are having on the forest along the North Shore. … Protected from deer, the forest is also more diverse and a lot more productive. White’s calculations published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management show twice as much biomass in the fenced-in areas. Outside, the forest is much more open under the canopy of huge old trees high above. There are no young cedar or white pines. Deer have eaten them all. ‘A lot of these big pines, they’re dying, they’re getting blown down, and the cedars too, and we’re not really replacing those,’ [the Nature Conservancy’s Mark] White said. ‘There aren’t really trees in the subcanopy that can take their place.’ To protect the forest, White recommends planting more white pine and white cedar trees — and reducing the deer density.”
Good column from the Strib’s Jon Tevlin on one-and-out GOP Rep. John Kriesel: “A veteran of the Iraq war, the quick-witted and good-natured Republican from Cottage Grove had become the Dude in the Statehouse, a guy’s guy who showed uncommon common sense and rare bravery and independence. When politicians say they are quitting to spend more time with their family, it usually means they expect a drubbing in the next election or there’s a scandal brewing. ‘No scandal,’ said Kriesel, cracking a big smile. ‘That excuse — I’m doing it for my family — has been cheapened.’ He said he also wasn’t fearful that an attack by Tea Party activists would threaten his seat. Make no mistake, Kriesel considers himself a loyal Republican, but he also broke rank when his conscience told him to. Most notable was his passionate speech on the House floor in which he talked about gay soldiers who fought next to him who, under his party’s proposal, would be banned from getting married. It was a speech that drew raucous cheers from gay rights supporters gathered outside the chambers.”
A 17-year-old kid was driving the Freightliner/RV in the crash that killed five Sunday morning in Kansas. Says Paul Walsh in the Strib: “Behind the wheel was Adam R. Kerber, of Jordan, the patrol said. Minnesota records show that Kerber, who was critically injured, has an instructional driver’s permit. It was not immediately clear whether Kerber was legally allowed to be driving the Freightliner truck, which also was pulling a trailer. The Kerbers often traveled out of state for motorcycle races, especially since Adam was possibly on his way to a professional racing career, a family friend said. Killed in the crash were Kerber’s siblings Jessica, 10, James, 12, and Joy, 14, all of Jordan, and brother Tom, 24, of New Prague, and his wife, Melissa. All five were not wearing seat belts, the patrol said. … Investigators in Kansas said the motor home was a Freightliner box truck set up with living quarters. It hit a guard rail and then plunged off the bridge and into the ravine. At least four of the 13 survivors were critically injured.”
Former St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington couldn’t get the DFL endorsement for his new district. Megan Boldt of the PiPress writes: “State Sen. John Harrington of St. Paul failed to get the DFL endorsement, guaranteeing a primary in the new Senate District 67 comprising the city’s East Side. The first-term senator and retired St. Paul police chief faced two challengers — Tom Dimond and Foung Hawj — for the endorsement Saturday … After four ballots, Harrington had a slight lead over Dimond, a carpenter and former city council member. Delegates decided on a non-endorsement because it was clear neither candidate could capture the 60 percent needed to nab the endorsement. Harrington had 46 percent, Dimond 40 percent, and Hawj had no endorsement on the last ballot. Dimond seemed to resonate with delegates who think Harrington is too conservative for his district and has done little to reach out to Democratic-Farmer-Labor activists since his election in 2010. ‘I didn’t get the feeling that Harrington was staying in touch or communicating with his constituents’, said Ed Davis, 45, who backed Dimond.” Sounds like the chief needs to work on his schmoozing skills.