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Minnesota: Hotter than most

T-Paw joins frac sand board; “fecal transplant” a success; state’s second-biggest Ponzi scheme conviction; Lakeville teens’ “inappropriate” photo-sharing; and more.

At the PiPress, Andy Rathbun has a story about Minnesota’s, like, total hotness: “Minnesota is one of the fastest warming states in the U.S., according to a new study by a climate group. The study by Climate Central, which advocates for lower carbon emissions, found Minnesota ranked as the ninth fastest warming state when looking at the past 100 years of data from 1,221 weather stations across the continental U.S. The state has warmed by 0.23 degrees per decade over that time. During the period from 1970 to 2011, when warming accelerated nationwide, Minnesota ranked third, warming by average of 0.62 degrees per decade, according to the study. ‘A big part of this is a lack of cold in the winter,’ said assistant state climatologist Pete Boulay.” We’re already the new Omaha with our sites on Oklahoma City.

T-Paw’s getting into fracking. At the PiPress, Dennis Lien reports: “Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has joined the board of Smart Sand, a Pennsylvania company that is building a large frac sand plant in Oakdale, Wis. The plant expects to process more than one million tons of the special sand a year. The sand will be supplied to hydraulic fracturing operations elsewhere in the nation, where it’s pumped along with water and chemicals deep into the ground to extract natural gas and oil from rock.” There’s a cheap “extraction” joke somewhere.

Excuse me, a what transplant? From David Wahlberg at The Wisconsin Journal, we learn: “For 18 months, John Thomas suffered from diarrhea, afraid to leave home because he never knew when he’d have to rush to the bathroom. Rounds of antibiotics brought no lasting relief. Thomas turned to a remedy with a major “yuck” factor: a fecal transplant, in which “good” bacteria from a donor’s feces are delivered into the colon to kill “bad” bacteria. Doctors are using fecal transplants — essentially, super-sized doses of probiotics — to treat infections of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, a stubborn bacterium that appears to be on the rise. In March, Meriter Hospital became the first place in Madison, Wis., to offer the procedure. Thomas, of Madison, was the first patient to get a fecal transplant at Meriter. He said it cleared up his diarrhea right away. His daughter Marilyn donated the stool sample, which was processed and given to her father through an enema. Thomas, 86, a retired chemical engineer, said he wasn’t turned off by the concept.” So now we know. There really is good [bleep] and bad [bleep].

It would have been beyond O.J. if they let these three off. John Welbes’ PiPress story says: “Jurors have found all three defendants guilty in a $194 million financial fraud case. The three were former associates of imprisoned Minneapolis Ponzi schemer Trevor Cook. They were found guilty on all charges. Jason ‘Bo’ Beckman, Gerald Durand and Patrick Kiley could receive decades in prison when sentenced. The three faced a total of 31 charges, including wire and mail fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. All three claimed to be victims themselves, duped by Cook. Prosecutors said in court that the three could not credibly say they didn’t know what was really going on. Cook pleaded guilty in 2010 to fraud counts involving a foreign currency trading scheme that was [run] out of the Van Dusen mansion in Minneapolis. The scheme took more than 700 victims for $194 million.”

Over at the Strib, Dan Browning writes: “Cook’s Ponzi scheme is second only to the $3.65 billion, decade-long fraud of Twin Cities businessman Tom Petters, who’s serving 50 years in federal prison for his crimes. Unlike Petters, who sacked hedge funds, Cook and his cronies pinched the nest eggs of ordinary people. Their victims ranged from Margueritte Witte, 73, of Meadview, Ariz., who lives on Social Security and lost her entire $20,000 life savings, to Richard and Rita Myers, who lost their dream home in Gambrels, Md., to foreclosure after entrusting Cook with $3 million in cash plus $2 million in gold and silver coins — the hard-won savings from running a moving and storage company.” This is one of those stories I’m sorry to see go.

The GleanIt’s criminal charges for four Lakeville teenagers in that “inappropriate photo sharing” story. Katie Humphrey at the Strib reports: “A 14-year-old boy, a 13-year-old boy and a two 14-year-old girls have been charged, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced Tuesday. The charges, all gross misdemeanors, include conspiracy to commit interference with privacy and criminal defamation. …  According to Backstrom, the photographs and video taken in May show two middle school girls’ lower bodies from the back, partially undressed. Investigators believe more than 40 students saw the images. … The two boys had made an ongoing game of taking photographs of girls’ buttocks in the hallway and then forwarding them to other students. Each boy paid one of the girls who was charged $5 and one of them gave her a can of soda to take the inappropriate photograph in the locker room.”

Pigs will fly! Wendy Lee of the Strib says, “It’s the No. 1 gripe among Twin Cities fliers: No free Wi-Fi at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. But local officials say relief is on the way. Later this year, fliers will get at least 30 minutes of online time for free in the terminals. The move comes as smartphones, laptops and tablets become ever-more popular among travelers. Fliers want free Internet access to conduct business, update Facebook and tweet their next destination. ‘I think it’s getting very close to the point where no airport can charge for Wi-Fi’, said Joe Brancatelli, editor of Joe Sent Me, a business travel website. ‘These people just think Wi-Fi is the air. They can’t conceive of a place where there is no Wi-Fi and they don’t want to pay for it.’ ” Where will the madness stop? “Upscale” hotels no longer nickel-and-diming guests for Wi-Fi?

I’m thinking $804K is still serious money to a New York attorney. David Phelps at the Strib says: “Nearly $804,000 is being sought from an advisor to jailed businessman Tom Petters for ‘leveraging his Rolodex’ in order to attract new investors for Petters’ $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme. New York attorney Paul Traub is the subject of a ‘clawback’ lawsuit filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court late last week by Petters bankruptcy receiver Doug Kelley seeking the recovery of allegedly ill-gotten gains. In the lawsuit, Kelley alleges that Traub was one of a number of individuals Petters used to ‘create the essential air of success and wealth required to sustain the fraud as well as the expertise to maintain it.’ The lawsuit says Traub was paid ‘an astonishing’ $125,000 a month as a consultant to Petters and received $2.46 million ‘directly, and sometimes secretly’ from 2005 through 2008.” What part of that sounds legal?

Maybe we should stick to the stuff that matters … Scott Bauer of the AP is saying: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker can’t avoid union troubles, even when he’s trying to be bipartisan.  Walker invited state lawmakers to a cookout at the governor’s mansion after winning a recall election last week that was spurred by anger over a law he pushed through the Legislature effectively eliminating most public workers’ union rights. Now, he’s angered the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union with his plan to serve beer at the Tuesday cookout designed to help bring Republicans and Democrats together. The WCTU successfully lobbied for Prohibition, which made selling alcohol illegal from about 1920 to the early 1930s, and its 5,000 members continue to spread its anti-drinking message nationwide. ‘I don’t think it’s cool at all,’ said Rita Wert, president of the WCTU. ‘It sets a very poor example.’ ” A temperance union … operating in … Wisconsin. The mind boggles.