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Minnesota: ‘The largest bingo hall on the planet’

So now that we’re committed to this billion-dollar stadium, let’s see if the financing scheme actually works … Martiga Lohn at the AP writes: “Minnesota is betting big that bringing technology to small-dollar bar gambling will draw a surge of new players whose wagers will help build a $975 million football stadium for the Vikings. But even those involved in the charitable gambling industry question whether the customers and the money will be there when paper pull-tabs and bingo are translated into animated games on portable electronic devices. And legislators were concerned enough to include backup financing in the new stadium law in the form of a sports-themed lottery and a stadium suite tax. ‘I’d be shocked if it’s successful,’ said Roger Richter, who oversees gambling for the Burnsville Lions Club, one of the state’s top-grossing charitable gambling operations. ‘I don’t think it’s going to make the money that everybody thinks it’s going to make.’ ”

At MPR, Tim Nelson says: “While much of the discussion about gambling and financing a Vikings stadium focuses on electronic pull tabs, Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, expects electronic bingo to also be a boon to the hospitality industry. ‘It’s linked throughout all of our members throughout the state of Minnesota,’ said Ball. ‘You could be playing against 6,000 people and the prizes could be $30,000, $40,000. … Minnesota, if we get this linked bingo that we’re so excited about, will be the largest bingo hall on the planet.’ ” We should consider changing the tag line on our license plates. “The Largest Bingo Hall on the Planet” has a more modern ring.

A bit more on The Ron Paul Experience at last weekend’s GOP convention. Don Davis of the Forum papers writes: “Their party faces a $1.3 million debt, ideological differences and lingering questions about a sex scandal, and Republicans leaving their state convention Saturday both acknowledged the problems and kept their chins up. ‘We don’t really have a lot of unity within the party,’ convention delegate Ken Zylstra of Worthington said. ‘They would just as soon shoot each other down,’ the longtime Republican and first-time convention delegate said of the party’s factions. … The state Republican Party’s fiscal problem was discussed in convention sessions, with delegates hearing it was serious, but improving. The financial report showed the party $1.3 million in debt, in large part because of spending by former state Chairman Tony Sutton during the 2010 campaign. ‘If this had been a regular business, we should have filed for bankruptcy,’ party Secretary-Treasurer Bron Scherer told delegates. The good news is, he added, that the party has a $55,000 balance, $80,000 more than in December when there was a deficit.”

I don’t know … only $3.3 million for an interim job? Thomas Lee of the Strib has the story on Best Buy’s (temporary) CEO: “Interim Best Buy CEO G. ‘Mike’ Mikan may just be one candidate vying to be the company’s next top leader, but the consumer electronics giant is paying him as if he already had won the job. For the next six to nine months, Mikan, who also serves as a board member, will receive prorated cash payments based on a total annual package of $3.3 million, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That includes an annual base salary of $1.1 million, the equivalent of former CEO Brian Dunn’s pay. … Mikan’s compensation doesn’t sit well with some corporate governance experts. ‘That’s ridiculous,’ said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the senior associate dean for executive programs at the Yale School of Management. ‘[Mikan] didn’t earn [the bonus]. It’s a violation of good corporate governance.’ ” Does he also get 40 percent off Diablo III?

“Unfair labor practices”? “New York City”? “Target”? Anne D’Innocennzio of the AP writes: “An administrative law judge at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has overturned the unsuccessful union election last year at a Target store on New York’s Long Island and ordered a new election, citing unfair labor practices. The decision comes almost a year after Local 1500 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) contested the 137-85 vote against unionization in June 2011. The union argued that Target illegally intimidated workers for months leading up to the vote. Target denied the allegations. A ‘yes’ vote would have made the store Target’s first with a unionized workforce.”

And so we move on to … a new stadium for the Saints. Frederick Melo of the PiPress reports: “The ink is barely dry on state bonding legislation that created new economic development grants, but St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has made it known he wants more than half the money to go toward a proposed downtown ballpark. In a letter on Monday … to Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Mark Phillips, Coleman said the city will apply for $27 million for a regional ballpark in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. Coleman sent a copy of the letter to Phillips’ boss, Gov. Mark Dayton. The park would be a new home for the St. Paul Saints, the state’s minor league baseball team, and replace the aging Midway Stadium off Energy Park Drive. Coleman said the project is ‘shovel-ready’ and, if funded, could be complete in time for the Saints’ season opener in May 2014.”

Does everyone remember someone in college that this happened to? Mary Divine of the PiPress writes: “When a Stillwater man stepped out onto his enclosed front porch Saturday morning, he found an unwelcome visitor: A shirtless man with his shorts around his ankles passed out in a chair. … The homeowner told police he did not know the man, had not invited him in and did not know how long the man had been there, according to police reports. Police found Kyle Hurd, 25, of Sioux Falls, S.D., seated in a chair on the porch. ‘Party was obviously intoxicated and appeared to have been passed out in that seated position,’ according to police reports. When officers roused Hurd and tried to get him to put on his shorts, he became somewhat belligerent and asked officers if they knew who he was, police said.” He asked the cops because he was in no condition to know.

Here’s how you handle a tiff with the Mrs., Wisconsin-style. Charles Davis of The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports: “An Ashwaubenon public safety officer who admitted to handcuffing his wife during a dispute last year has been removed from duty.
Thomas Benike, 35, is charged in Brown County Circuit Court with felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor disorderly conduct after a dispute Oct. 25 at his Bellevue home. A decision released today by the village’s Police and Fire Commission said ‘the good of the service requires his separation from the department.’ Benike accused his wife of stealing his wallet during a dispute and handcuffed her for at least 10 minutes, according to a criminal complaint. Benike allegedly said his officer ID was in his wallet so his wife was under arrest for theft of government property. Benike later found the wallet. Benike‘s wife filed for divorce in November; the couple has four children.” I assume he reminded her that she had the right to remain silent …

Also next door … the so-called “Deer Czar,” in charge of managing Wisconsin’s deer herd, has some interesting thoughts on hunting and public lands. In the Lodi Valley News it is written: “According to Wisconsin’s White-Tailed Deer Trustee Dr. James Kroll, people who call for more public hunting opportunities are ‘pining for socialism.’ He further states, ‘(Public) Game management is the last bastion of communism.’ These are just two insights into the man who has been asked to provide analysis and recommended changes to Wisconsin’s deer management program. Kroll’s insights are from an article [titled] ‘Which Side of the Fence Are You On?’ by Joe Nick Patoski for a past edition [2002] of Texas Monthly. … Kroll, who has been the foremost proponent of deer ranching in Texas for more than thirty years, doesn’t mind the controversy and certainly doesn’t fade in the heat. People who call for more public lands are ‘cocktail conservationists,’ he says, who are really pining for socialism. He calls national parks ‘wildlife ghettos’ and flatly accuses the government of gross mismanagement. He argues that his relatively tiny acreage, marked by eight-foot fences and posted signs warning off would-be poachers, is a better model for keeping what’s natural natural while making money off the land.” Why, its as natural as runnin’ ’em down with your F-350.

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/22/2012 - 07:38 am.

    If only

    the policitians would have accepted the offer from the White Earth Indian reservation to contribute $700 million for a new stadium in return for the rights to build a casino downtown, none of this would be an issue. But noooo, too many politicians have been bought off by White Earth’s competing tribes for anything resembling logic to take place.

  2. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 05/22/2012 - 09:31 am.

    Lucky Mr. Hurd

    Was in Stillwater, MN and not in Stillwater, OK or Florida. Don’t know what his chances would have been in SD.

  3. Submitted by Lora Jones on 05/22/2012 - 10:14 am.

    Lucky Wisconsinites, who’ll soon have

    have a “European model” of wild game management just like Texas, and have to pay to go deer hunting on someone’s ranch.

    No doubt Walker’s Koch buddies will be buying up the state parks left and right, fracking on some and raising “wild” deer on others. Maybe on they’ll even start doing it on the same land, save the trouble of shooting at the deer, just kill them off by poisoning their drinking water with fracking fluid. Heck, I bet they could even flash cook them over natural gas powered grills installed at the exits, and instead of bonding with family and friends at deer camp, Wisconsinites can munch on venison burgers sitting in their cars!

    Win-Win situation all round.

  4. Submitted by ALAN BELISLE on 05/22/2012 - 01:05 pm.

    Charitable gambling

    I really doubt that new, younger crowds are going to flock to bars to play an electronic version of pulltabs. Except for the possibility that there might be money won, pulltabs are mind-numbingly boring. How about new versions of video games that are pay-for-play and the player or players can actually win some money if they win the game? And maybe a nice big screen gaming center, built into the new stadium, where the games could be played. That would probably generate more money than some lame game like pulltabs or bingo.

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