Zoo may say: ‘Goodbye, Flipper; hello, Rays’

Sting rays are the new dolphins …most likely. Laura Yuen at MPR writes: “Schools of fish and stingrays will likely replace dolphins at the Minnesota Zoo, at least in the short term. … The zoo is still figuring out how far $4 million in state bonding money will go toward renovating the exhibit. That’s how much money the Legislature gave the zoo in response to its original request of $7 million. Ehmke said he hopes there’s enough money to make the most critical repairs and introduce new kinds of fish and stingrays. He said at some point, the public might have a chance to swim or wade in the tank.” Swim with stingrays? Wait, how did that Australian guy die?

Aaaaand they’re off … TV ads for the two 1st District GOP candidates are about to hit the air. The Rochester Post-Bulletin says: “Republican Allen Quist said his campaign expects to spend $100,000 on TV advertising between now and the Aug. 14 primary. His first TV ad is tentatively scheduled to air Monday on cable stations across southern Minnesota and on local TV stations in Austin, Rochester and Mankato. … The former state representative from St. Peter faces Republican state Sen. Mike Parry in the Aug. 14 primary. The winner will take on Democratic incumbent Tim Walz. Quist said the ad features his 18-month-old granddaughter, Lucia Johnson, climbing a flight of stairs. Those stairs turn into a red line on a chart showing the nation’s soaring debt. In the ad, he said, he makes the case he will work to balance the federal budget to provide a better future for the next generation.” … And maintain the Bush tax cuts for job creators, I assume.

Not a lot of new details in the very sad triple homicide in River Falls. At the PiPress, Elizabeth Mohr says: “A River Falls father has been arrested on suspicion of homicide after his three young daughters were found dead in his ex-wife’s home. Aaron Schaffhausen, 34, was booked into the St. Croix County jail at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 10 on probable cause for three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, according to jail staff. … Wisconsin court records show Aaron and Jessica Schaffhausen filed for divorce in August. When the divorce was granted in January, Aaron Schaffhausen listed his address as Minot, N.D. The couple was granted joint legal custody of their children, with primary placement with the mother in River Falls.”

David Hanners of the PiPress interviews jurors in the Amy Senser trial: “At first, a handful of jurors believed her story that she didn’t know she’d hit Anousone Phanthavong of Roseville, and that’s why she didn’t stop after the crash last August on an Interstate 94 exit ramp in Minneapolis, or they believed the prosecution had failed to prove she knew. But as deliberations wore on — more than 18 hours over three days — all but one changed their minds and believed she knew she’d hit something. When that juror finally changed votes, the Hennepin County District Court jury unanimously convicted the Edina woman and its business was done. ‘The most I can say about that, the people who were not immediately convinced at the end of the trial, for the most part, their comment was, ‘I believe her story,’  said one juror. ‘It has less to do with the presentation of evidence. They believed her story. They believed Amy Senser.’ “

An AP story covers a Wisconsin court giving the OK to a large wind project … in Minnesota. Says Todd Richmond: “Wisconsin regulators properly approved a Madison-based utility’s plan to build a wind farm in Minnesota, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The Citizens Utility Board and the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group contended the Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved Wisconsin Power & Light’s plan to build a massive wind farm north of Albert Lea under the wrong statutes. The groups argued the PSC improperly approved the farm under a so-called certificate of authority rather than a certificate of public convenience, which would have required a more stringent review. … The Bent Tree farm was expected to cost about $500 million. WP&L planned to recover the costs through a $91.7 million electric and natural gas rate increase, which broke down to about $9 more per month for electricity and $2.40 more per month for gas for a typical residential customer. About a third of that increase would go toward the wind farm.”

PiPress columnist Ed Lotterman’s view of the unfolding LIBOR financial scandal is worth reading: “To the extent that the general public is paying attention, there seems to be a perception that this affair involved conspiring to raise interest rates above true market levels and thus fraudulently transfer money from borrowers to creditors. But this seldom happened. In many cases, Barclays and others acted to depress rates rather than lower them. This actually would have benefitted business and household borrowers. … for reasons too complex to detail here, changes in interest rates affect the market value of banks themselves. In this case, lower interest rates tended to boost the price of Barclays stock and higher ones lowered it. So to the extent that Barclays could bring about a change in the tabulated LIBOR, it falsely pushed up its own stock price. This is why the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has the second largest fraction of the damages paid by Barclays.”

The GleanEveryone knows someone who needs this thing … Steve Alexander of the Strib reports: “Medtronic said Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized one of its existing products to be more extensively used to treat snoring disorders. About 90 million U.S. adults are affected by snoring problems, said Fridley-based Medtronic. The FDA action means that a patient with a snoring disorder can receive up to five of Medtronic’s Pillar Palatal Implant devices, which were previously approved for treatment of airway constriction ailments such as snoring and sleep apnea.” And yeah, I’m talking about you.

Sports Illustrated writer Steve Rushin has a nice story about his 78-year-old devoted Twins fan father: “Young and vital at 78, he’s not a get-off-my-lawner. On the contrary, Dad has no lawn, and watches the Twins each night from a three-room condo in suburban Minneapolis, from a lounge chair that can render him supine with a single pull of the stick shift. In that chair, he finds an equilibrium somewhere between upright and horizontal, an angle that suggests he’s about to be shaved in a barber’s chair. It’s a fantasy that sustains him through his occasional slumbers, in the desert of the middle innings, when some bearded setup man might otherwise be marring his view. And yet his favorite baseball player is not Razor Shines or Sal (The Barber) Maglie or Morrie Schick, but always some current Minnesota Twin who has earned his mercurial affection, regardless of facial hair. These days, that player is 24-year-old outfielder Ben Revere, because “Revere plays hard and always has a smile on his face.” It’s the same thing he used to say about former Twins outfielder Torii Hunter, who was for many years his favorite ballplayer, a role Hunter inherited from former Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski, whom my father liked because he always made the sign of the cross at home plate.”

Bradlee Dean, the self-proclaimed anti-gay minister, has himself a fat new legal bill. Andy Mannix at City Pages writes: “About a year ago, after filing a libel lawsuit against MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and the Minnesota Independent, controversial preacher Bradlee Dean sounded pretty confident. His attorney, Larry Klayman, even declared that Maddow’s career was effectively finished. It turns out that might have been a little premature. Though the case is still active, a Washington D.C. judge has ordered that Dean and his ministry, You Run But You Cannot Hide International, must pay Maddow and the since-defunct Independent attorney fees to the tune of $24,625.23, according to court records. Dean filed the suit last summer, arguing Maddow and the Independent’s Andy Birkey defamed him by taking an excerpt from his radio show out of context. … Since Ken Avidor broke the news this weekend, the judge’s ruling seems to have sent a ripple of joy through the blogosphere — particularly bloggers like Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen and Phoenix Woman.”

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 07/11/2012 - 04:31 pm.

    Dean’s response is even better. He put, in writing, that the judge recuse herself because she was a “jilted woman” and acting like a “woman scorned”. You see, the judge was just upset because Brad rejected her as a judge. Could he be more condescending?

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