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Northern counties battle deer-hunting ‘mansions’

A defense of Medicaid expansion; sentencing day for Senser; country concert scores big at Target Field; Adrian Peterson arrest; and more.

I’ve long suspected that a lot of people love hunting mainly for all the cool gear they can buy. John Myers at the Duluth News Tribune says: “It used to be that a deer stand was a couple of aspen saplings nailed between two trees, just a place for a hunter to see above the brush for a better shot at a trophy buck. But increasingly across St. Louis County forests, including on public lands, permanent deer stands have become a whole lot more elaborate — some far too elaborate for county land managers. And hunters are cutting more trees near those stands so they can see deeper into the woods. Some hunters are even planting crops on public land to attract deer to their stands. ‘We’re getting over-built. We’re seeing mansions out there — basically hunting shacks on stilts,’ Bob Krepps, St. Louis County land commissioner, told the News Tribune.” Yeah, the satellite dishes and WiFi are a bit much …

Do you think? In a Strib rebuttal to GOP Rep. Sean Nienow, DFL Sen. Tony Lourey says Medicaid expansion is a good idea for Minnesota citizens: “Many of those newly eligible for Medicaid are already eligible for or are receiving MinnesotaCare, a program that costs state taxpayers more money and offers fewer benefits than Medicaid. The bottom line: Expanding Medicaid is a greater value for Minnesotans at a lower cost to the state, a deal few could pass up. That’s what makes state Rep. Sean Nienow’s recent commentary so puzzling (‘Without an audit, Medicaid expansion shouldn’t proceed,’ July 3). While it is true that our Medicaid spending is higher than that of other states, this is for a sound reason. Minnesota has chosen to cover more elderly and people with disabilities, beyond what the federal government requires.”

Amy Senser will be sentenced today. At the PiPress, David Hanners re-sets the scene: “Minnesota statutes rank the severity of a crime on an 11-point scale, with 11 being the worst; criminal vehicular homicide is an 8. Since 2009, four women have been sentenced for that crime in Hennepin County, and their punishments have ranged from a year of local confinement followed by probation to five years in prison. … Melissa Kathleen Heus has been down the same path as Senser and is a resident of a place Senser could wind up: Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee, the state’s prison for women. Up until the evening of Dec. 13, 2008, Heus (pronounced “hews”) had a life defined largely by success. She had a master’s degree and had been a financial analyst for Minneapolis. … But that December day, she got hideously drunk, got behind the wheel of her Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV and caused a crash that killed a man at the scene and left a woman with injuries that contributed to her death nearly six months later.  … In November 2009, a Hennepin County judge sentenced her to eight years in prison, twice what sentencing guidelines called for. She’ll have to serve at least five of those years before she can be released.”

Stribber Chris Riemenschneider liked the vibe off the big country music concert Sunday at Target Field: “It was the biggest concert of the summer — and, barring a miracle playoff run — probably the biggest crowd at the Twins’ ballpark this season. The two country music stars [Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw] and running buddies ran together across the length of their stage’s massive runway, which extended from center field to third base. Although the layout of the ballpark Sunday featured seats on the field and beer stands in the dugouts, the 40,000 music fans voiced the same ecstatic reception as baseball fans did when the ballpark first opened in 2010. … Twins officials said they could see concerts becoming an annual event at the ballpark. They would not reveal the financial rewards of their first show, but the estimated ticket sales were near $4 million, and concession sales — especially light beer and bucket-served Bacardi rum — appeared to be a grand slam. The concert’s ripple effect was well felt outside the ballpark, too. By 2 p.m., fans had packed the nearby patios at Kieran’s Pub and Seven Sushi, which hosted the competing K102 and BUZ’N 102.9 country radio station pre-parties.”
Vikings star Adrian Peterson suggests he has a different version of the events that led to his arrest over the weekend. Let’s hope so, because the official story isn’t flattering. Sporting News — via TMZ — says: “The general manager of the Houston nightclub where Adrian Peterson was arrested early Saturday described the Minnesota Vikings star as a highly intoxicated, belligerent customer, reported. Peterson, charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest, posted $1,000 bond and faces a Friday court appearance. Daniel Maher, general manager of Live at Bayou Place, told TMZ that Peterson ‘tried to intimidate the bartender’ for another drink after last call was announced. When confronted by an off-duty police officer, Peterson made a threatening gesture. ‘He looked really scary and I thought he was going to attack the cops,’ Maher told TMZ.”

At the PiPress, Jeremy Fowler writes: “Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has broken his silence on his resisting arrest charge in Houston over the weekend, tweeting a quote from former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to get his point across. ‘A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on,’ Peterson posted on Sunday, July 8, from his official @AdrianPeterson account, marking a ‘WC’ at the end of the tweet. Peterson added, ‘Thank you for waiting for the facts. Truth will surface.’ ”

Kevin Diaz of the Strib detects the distinct scent of earmarks in a business push to lop duties off specific products: “Minneapolis-based Target Corp. would like to suspend import duties on certain types of children’s wallets and bamboo kitchen devices. 3M Co. in Woodbury needs to cut duties on foreign fluoropolymers and other industrial materials. Knitcraft Corp. of Winona wants a break on Italian wool and Australian spun cotton. Where to go? The answer, increasingly, is Congress, where lawmakers in both parties readily oblige home-state business interests in a nationwide tariff bill worth hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues that otherwise would go to the U.S. Treasury. It’s a periodic ritual in Congress, played out in low-key lobbying requests that rarely catch the public eye. But this year’s version, the first since 2010, comes amid a new ban on earmarks, which many Republicans regard as special interest pork-barrel spending.” This, of course, is not to be confused with that ruinous, job-crushing tax on medical devices Congressman Erik Paulsen is so laser-focused on.

The Strib does some maternal admonishing over Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s performance vis a vis Voter ID: “Amendment supporters raise legitimate questions. Ritchie and his staff are the go-to government officials for information on voting practices, and now a major elections change is on a ballot they must administer. Despite the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s opposition to the amendment, it is the board’s hope that Ritchie’s office will strive to remain as neutral as possible between now and the election. … Ritchie maintains that, now that the Legislature has placed voter ID on the ballot, he’s not “campaigning” on the issue and that it’s not his job to tell people how to vote. Rather, he says, as the state’s chief election official, he is only providing information when asked. He says the major concern among local government officials is the cost of elections that will include a new system of provisional balloting. The locals, who run and pay for elections, are worried that they will face millions of dollars in additional costs. … Now that a major election issue is on the ballot, the secretary of state should do everything possible to avoid politicizing the office.” Of course, and he should floss regularly, too.

The Motley Fool is not impressed with Best Buy’s makeover. Says Rick Aristotle Munarriz: “See, it’s not just a matter of opening up a store that looks like an Apple Store. The long-gone Gateway and Dell storefronts had stylish layouts and savvy sales personnel. Consumers just didn’t have much of a reason to visit one. If Best Buy [which announced 2,400 more layoffs Friday] wants to copy Apple, it will first need decades of establishing itself as a premium brand with differentiated products. Then it has to build out a unique ecosystem that just happens to lead the industry. As you can probably imagine, Best Buy doesn’t have the time or the opportunity to be the next Apple. The reason why Best Buy sales have stalled over the past two years is because smartphone-armed shoppers can get what they want for less elsewhere. Best Buy lacks the differentiated products, even if one can rightfully argue that Apple’s differentiated products are now sold all over these days. The real challenge for Best Buy is to lower prices aggressively without losing its blue shirt.