Putting health care reform into effect in Minnesota will be getting a serious push … and plenty of resistance. Tom Scheck of MPR writes: “Minnesota and the other states are responsible for delivering a large part of the health insurance coverage created under the law. The first piece, an expansion of Medicaid, was initially delayed by former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. But [Gov. Mark] Dayton, a Democrat, put it in place in early 2011. … The other cornerstone of the federal law is a state-based health insurance exchange. … Expecting the court to reject the law, the Republican majority in the Legislature balked at providing ideas for an exchange and argued the governor cannot create the exchange without legislative input. … Republican Sen. David Hann, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, is willing to wait a few more months. Like many other Republicans nationally, Hann of Eden Prairie, hopes Republicans will win the White House, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House in November. Hann said he won’t offer any legislation to create an exchange until he sees the outcome of the election.” And that’s how the Constitution meant for it to happen.
Really? A “third downtown”? In Brooklyn Park? Maria Elena Baca of the Strib reports: “VIPs in hard hats signaled the start of a Target corporate expansion that will bring about 3,000 jobs to Brooklyn Park. Beyond that, city officials hope the project will fuel their efforts to transform 1,500 acres in the undeveloped north end into a ‘third downtown.’ Target, based in Minneapolis, already has a large presence in Brooklyn Park. With Thursday’s groundbreaking for two additional eight-story buildings, the city is announcing that the north end is open for business, said Community Development Director Jason Aarsvold. Brooklyn Park has high aspirations: Officials aim to attract a bevy of multistory corporate buildings and industrial projects along Hwy. 610 and at the end of the proposed Bottineau Transitway.” A real “downtown” will inevitably need its own stadium, right?
Not … what you’d call a clean getaway. Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “A suspected thief with police in pursuit slammed an SUV into a Blaine home early Friday and was killed, authorities said. The crash happened shortly after 2:30 a.m. at a home in the 10400 block of Terrace Road, police said. The identity of the 31-year-old man has yet to be released. According to police: A caller to 911 said she saw a man looking through several cars near 107th Avenue and Presidents Drive NE. She reported seeing the man get in an SUV and drive away. … Moments later, an officer saw a cloud of dust and smoke ahead. The SUV had crashed into the house. Two people in the home were upstairs and awakened by the crash. They were helped by police from the house and were uninjured. ‘I was in shock,’ homeowner Jeff Salmi told KMSP-TV, Channel 9. ‘I thought it was a bad dream or a nightmare.’ ” Ditto, the thief.
At The Huffington Post (via the AP), Jeff Baenen tells readers about Minnesota’s Drive-a-Tank operation: “A business named Drive-a-Tank offers drivers the chance to pilot surplus military tanks and other armored vehicles around an old limestone quarry and smash junk cars like an action movie hero. The ride is loud, grinding, hot and dirty – ideal for satisfying one’s inner Rambo. ‘It was awesome. I mean, controlling that machine, it’s incredible,’ said Jacob Ostling, 19, of New Canaan, Conn., among the customers who took a turn under the turret on a recent Saturday and flattened a car in an explosion of glass. Owner Tony Borglum, a construction and heavy equipment contractor, opened the tank park three years ago after seeing similar attractions during a visit to England. He said he knew it would fit nicely into American culture — a more visceral version of what millions of guys are doing in video games anyway.”
“Dracula” was drying out in Duluth. Christa Lawler of the News Tribune says: “The Minnesota Ballet was maybe the hardest-hit local arts organization, with an estimated 90 percent of sets and backdrops affected by last week’s flood. On Thursday, the ballet was tending to its most recent original production, “Dracula,” by spreading out warped, molded and otherwise damaged pieces from the set in the lot adjacent to a storage space on Winter Street in Superior. ‘I’m just going through emotional upheavals,’ said artistic director Robert Gardner. The ballet’s storage area at US Bank in West Duluth was shin-deep with water after the flood. The space was cleared out and damaged drops were hung to dry over the stage at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.” Soggy wooden stakes ain’t gonna cut it.
“Unprecedented” is being used again to describe the sediment from the flood now in Lake Superior. The AP reports: “Hundreds of tons of material fouled the lake miles out from river mouths. Boaters have reported entire trees floating in the lake, and satellite photos show a ring of brown around the Twin Ports, the near North Shore and up the South Shore to Chequamegon Bay. The erosion spill may be unprecedented, said Erik Brown, acting director of the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota Duluth. And the muddy mix isn’t just at the top of Lake Superior, Brown said. ‘We had people out on the water taking samples, and it was the same right down to the bottom at 100 feet deep … They were recording essentially zero light penetration from the top to the bottom’.”
Saturday marks the end of the Heating Degree Season. (So the play-offs must start, I’m guessing?) At MPR, Paul Huttner writes: “The Minnesota State Climatology Office noted this week as the annual Heating Degree Day (HDD) season (July 1 to June 30) comes to an end, that 2011-2012 brought a new record low number for HDD with only 5852. The previous record low value was 6611 recorded in 2005-2006. HDD are calculated using the mean daily temperature when it falls below a base of 65 degrees F. Thus on a day with a mean daily temperature value (maximum + minimum/2) of 50 F, the HDD value would be 15. These are accumulated daily as an index for energy use to heat homes and commercial buildings.
I further crunched some numbers for comparison.
5852 — new record low HDD for the past year
25% — savings in home heating costs vs. average
( 7823 HDD in 121 years of HDD records)
36% — savings vs. the coldest year (9082 HDD) on record in 1903-’04.
Bottom line? The last 12 months have been the warmest on record for Minnesota.” Proof of the “climate hoax” only grows.
In a parking ramp? The PiPress story on the woman found stabbed to death in a Minneapolis ramp last week says: “Authorities say a woman found dead in a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp last weekend had fatally stabbed herself. The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office on Thursday … identified the woman as Kimberly Bernice Peterson, 45.”
Slow and modest … but growth. The McClatchey papers report: “Minnesota exporters managed to deliver growth in the first quarter, but barely, as slowing economies in Asia and a European debt crisis put pressure on sales. The state’s exports reached a first-quarter record of $4.9 billion, but it represented just 2 percent growth from the same period a year ago and a sluggish pace of growth compared to last year’s pace. The state’s export growth compares to a 9 percent pace in U.S. exports for the same quarter. In Minnesota, manufacturing represented the largest share of exports during the quarter, ringing up $4.5 billion in sales.”
Your Second Amendment freedoms at work … Chao Xiong of the Strib writes: “Young women in Minnesota are being pressured to buy guns for criminals in exchange for cash — a trend rarely seen across the country, authorities said on Thursday. Women younger than 30 are being recruited by men ineligible to buy guns because of their criminal records, said Bernard Zapor, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ St. Paul division. ‘It’s an anomaly for us,’ Zapor said, adding that there are no concrete numbers on the trend. In most cases the women know the men. They’re handed cash to buy a gun that is immediately turned over to the ex-felon, an exchange called a ‘straw purchase.’ Sometimes, they aren’t paid at all. … Gun activity in Minnesota also is unusual for other reasons: Many of the guns used in street violence are legally purchased in the state, and criminals tend to keep guns used in crimes. Guns are used in a crime an average of two to three years after their legal purchase, Zapor said.” Get Darrell Issa on this ASAP.