After so many years of complaining about how flabby kids were … now we’re worried they want to be too “buff”? Jeremy Olson of the Strib writes: “A surprising number of Twin Cities teens and adolescents are trying to build muscle through exercise, diet and even steroids, according to University of Minnesota researchers, who worry that ‘buff’ has simply replaced ‘thin’ as the body type that kids idolize. The researchers found that 90 percent of boys and 81 percent of girls exercised to improve muscle strength or tone — while about 5 percent used steroids. The findings, based on surveys of 2,700 middle and high school students in Minneapolis and St. Paul, were published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics. Muscle building among athletes was no surprise, but the researchers found it’s popular among non-athletes, too. Heavy kids were as eager as light kids to pump up. Middle schoolers were almost as interested as high schoolers.”
All in all, a pretty darned good year for Minnesota’s farmers. Mark Steil of MPR reports: “The seeds Minnesota corn and soybean farmers planted last spring paid off with good yields and great profits, as the state’s two largest cash crops should generate about $13 billion in revenue. Although drought and other bad weather threatened some fields in 2012, many Minnesota farmers had a great year. … But if many Minnesota farmers were pleasantly surprised at their yields, the drought did significant damage south and east of the state. The nation’s corn harvest was 13 percent below last year’s. That short supply is causing pain elsewhere in the agricultural economy. With corn and other grain prices at historically high levels, the livestock industry is cutting back on grain buys and herd size.”
When “legendary” actually means something … . Dennis Brackin of the Strib writes: “John Gagliardi, the winningest coach in college football history, announced his retirement Monday after completing the worst two-year span at St. John’s University in more than four decades. The legendary coach with four national titles to his credit had consistently deflected talk of possible retirement in the closing weeks of this season, even as the Johnnies tumbled toward a a 3-5 MIAC record that was the most conference setbacks for the 86-year-old Gagliardi since becoming St. John’s coach in 1953. It was only his third sub-.500 record in 60 seasons at St. John’s. The school will initiate a national search for Gagliardi’s successor, and the most oft-rumored candidates are Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant, a former St. John’s All-American, and assistant coach Gary Fasching.”
At Bluestem Prairie, Sally Jo Sorensen is following the still-undecided Mary Franson-Bob Cunniff state House race: “Our friend Max Hailperin, a math/computer science professor at Gustavus, notes that 32 non-8B ballots and 3 8B ballots are likely just to be pulled in three precincts. They are:
Alexandria Ward 1— Precinct 1 where 26 voters who signed into Precinct 1 were given ballots for Precinct 2, thereby giving them an incorrect opportunity to vote in the Franson-Cunniff race. Similarly, in Ward 5 (Alexandria City Hall), it looks like 6 voters in Precinct 1 were given the Precinct 2 ballot, allowing them to incorrectly vote in the Franson-Cunniff race. In W1P2, Cunniff is reported to have a 753-603-1 lead; in W5P2, it’s 570-392-1.
Alexandria’s Ward 3, which voted at New Life Christian Church. There, three more ballots were counted than voters signed in. The Cunniff-Franson-Write In counts there are 754-535-2. A source well-informed in election procedure tell Bluestem that these are indeed where the ballots will be pulled according to the errors.”
Gevo biofuels has won a battle but not yet the war. Dave Shaffer of the Strib says: “Gevo Inc., the company developing a new biofuel in Minnesota, has won another legal victory in a patent dispute, but the near-term outlook for commercial production remains uncertain and the company’s stock rose only slightly Monday from its near-record lows. On Friday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., upheld a June decision by a federal judge in Delaware, saying that Gevo had raised a ‘substantial question’ about a patent of its competitor, Butamax Advanced Biofuels, which is challenging Gevo’s intellectual property rights. This dispute, one of several federal patent battles between the two companies, concerns a genetically engineered enzyme in yeast that converts corn into isobutanol, an alcohol that both companies hope will be a potentially profitable alternative to ethanol.”
At the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Christina Killion-Valdez updates story on a local counterfeiting ring: “Four people were arrested Saturday, after Rochester police discovered what appears to be a counterfeit money operation in a Rochester neighborhood. … The four suspects face charges that could include felony counterfeiting for reproducing currency or securities and gross misdemeanors for use of counterfeit currency or securities. The Post-Bulletin typically doesn’t name suspects until they’ve been charged. Neighbors said they’ve seen frequent police activity at the duplex that police searched on Saturday. People also frequently come and go from the rental unit, so much so that one neighbor has taken to writing down the license plate numbers of every vehicle that visits the residence, one woman said. Even so, the woman, who asked that her name not be published, said she was surprised that her neighbors may have been producing counterfeit money. ‘That I never thought of,’ she said.”
You know its almost Christmas shopping season when … As the AP reports: “The Mall of America is tightening its parental escort policy for some of the busiest parts of the holiday shopping season. Mall spokesman Dan Jasper says unsupervised teenagers won’t be allowed on Thanksgiving night, all day on Black Friday and the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s. It stems from last year’s melee the day after Christmas, when police say as many as 200 young people were involved and at least nine were arrested.” But what about that other crowd, the bargain-hunting gals who shop like a hockey game just broke out?
The way I remember football, the coach was always yelling at me. That’s what they do. The flap between Gophers coach Jerry Kill and player A.J. Barker is working up to something more than just hurt feelings. John Shipley at the PiPress is saying: “Athletics director Norwood Teague said he would talk to Kill about the situation but there would be no discipline, adding that he would “look into” Barker’s accusation that an assistant coach called him a homosexual slur during a practice. According to Barker’s Tumblr blog, Kill told him he would never earn a scholarship at Minnesota, is a ‘dime a dozen’ player and that there was ‘nothing special’ about him. Barker also accused the coach of insulting his family, and said that he had been called a homosexual slur during a practice. Of the latter, Kill said Monday, ‘Nobody’s ever done that. Not to my knowledge. I’m not around every single minute, but as far as when I’ve been around, there’s nobody ever done that.’ ” Homosexual slurs during football practice … I’m shocked.
Oh, and then there’s this guy … Emily Gurnon of the PiPress writes: “A hotel clerk was sentenced to 90 days in jail for recording the sounds of a newlywed couple having sex. The employee of the Hotel 340, at 340 Cedar St. in downtown St. Paul, admitted he slipped an audio recorder under the door of a Minneapolis couple’s room Dec. 28. The man and woman discovered the device and listened to the recording. The night clerk, Jeremiah Caleb Marg, 29, of Burnsville was charged with two gross-misdemeanor counts of intentional interference with privacy. The couple experienced ‘extreme stress and strain’ as a result of Marg’s conduct, said prosecutor John Penland.” “Extreme”? Really?