The Minnesota Supreme Court will take up the question of those “no contact” orders in domestic disputes. At MPR, Dan Gunderson reports: “Such court orders are popular with prosecutors. According to court records, Minnesota judges issued nearly 11,000 DANCO orders last year. Clay County prosecutor Pamela Harris said she requests one in every domestic abuse case to protect victims. ‘It also maintains some integrity to the judicial system because obviously we don’t want the defendant getting out and going home and telling the victim what to say when she comes to court,’ Harris said.”
The tale of the promoter of Stillwater’s Lumberjack Days gets sorrier and sorrier. In the Strib, Kevin Giles writes: “The promoter of the regional Lumberjack Days festival deposited more than $41,000 into personal bank accounts even as he was telling business vendors and a youth hockey booster club that he couldn’t afford to pay money owed them, according to new criminal charges. David W. Eckberg, 61, was charged in Washington County District Court with 10 felony counts, five of theft by check and five of issuance of a dishonored check. The charges come after numerous complaints of unpaid bills and a year of investigation into Eckberg’s finances. Worthless checks listed in the complaint total $54,859.25.”
There is a pretty stark correlation between districts that voted down the marriage amendment and DFL representatives. Also at MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar writes: “An analysis of the marriage amendment vote shows that many DFL lawmakers represent districts that voted yes, and sometimes overwhelmingly so. In fact, 18 DFL House members and 10 DFL senators are in districts where the amendment, which would have defined marriage as between a man and woman, passed with 50 percent or more of the vote. It’s also true that many Republican lawmakers are in districts where the marriage amendment failed: 22 in the House and eight in Senate. But it’s likely DFLers would feel more pressure to support a same-sex marriage legalization bill because it would be their party proposing it. Only four Republican lawmakers voted against putting the marriage question on the ballot.”
Carterpillar is pulling out of Owatonna. Derek Sullivan at the Owatonna People’s Press writes: “Five Caterpillar administrators drove to Steele County on Thursday to tell 100 employees the bad news that they will be without jobs when Caterpillar’s Owatonna plant closes on March 1, 2013. Caterpillar spokesperson Rachel Potts said the forest products plant, located at 3249 South County Road 45 in Owatonna, will ‘ramp down production’ between now and March 1. She also said that eventually all forest products made in Owatonna will transition to other Caterpillar forestry plants in Prentice, Wis., and LaGrange, Ga.”
And what now for Mayor Rybak? Eric Roper at the Strib says: “[W]ill he seek a fourth term? Or, after months campaigning for Barack Obama, is he headed to Washington? Following a press conference about new single-sort recycling bins Thursday, Rybak said he’ll make a decision on the first question before Jan 1. As for an administration post, which he was rumored to be up for four years ago, Rybak said he hasn’t sought or been offered one. ‘If I was going to go to Washington I would have gone four years ago,’ said Rybak, who has served as mayor for nearly 11 years. He hasn’t ruled it out, however. But if he does get an offer, MPLS may have to do some digging to find out about it. ‘Nothing’s come in,’ Rybak said. … As for a fourth term, Rybak doesn’t believe Obama’s re-election has changed his ‘calculus.’ ”
This will ramp up the howling from the usual suspects … . Paul Levy of the Strib reports: “A new rail station that opens next Wednesday in Ramsey could give the Northstar Commuter line the ridership boost it needs for an eventual extension to St. Cloud, an Anoka County official says. But even as a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday heralded the arrival of the seventh station along the line, others have questioned the cost: about $13 million, or an average of roughly $130,000 for each of the 100 new daily round-trip riders the station is expected to attract. Some also wonder whether the new station will merely siphon riders from the two stations on either side of it.” Is Jason Lewis still on the air?
Here’s a headline you have to read twice. For Emily Gurnon’s PiPress story, it reads, “St. Paul: Iowa pig farmer fondled son’s psychologist, charges say.” Gurnon writes: “An Iowa pig farmer fondled his 8-year-old son’s psychologist in St. Paul, according to criminal sexual conduct charges filed against him. Brent Todd Friest, 39, of Radcliffe, Iowa, was at United Hospital on Wednesday, Nov. 7, consulting with the female specialist, according to a criminal complaint. He commented to her, ‘It must be hard getting a date being a psychologist,’ the complaint [said] … Friest told the boy to leave the room so that he could tell the doctor a ‘dirty joke.’ After the boy left, Friest drew a dollar bill from his wallet. ‘I bet you a dollar I can play with your boobs without touching them,’ he told her. He then touched her breasts with his hands and gave her the dollar, and laughed, acting as if nothing unusual had happened.” You probably have to be a sow to think that’s a smooth move.
On one level, it really is as basic as enforcing laws already on the books. The AP says: “A Madison-based group that advocates the separation of church and state is taking on the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is challenging the diocese’s tax-exempt status after Bishop David Ricken urged parishioners to vote against candidates who support abortion or gay marriage. An attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation has written to the Internal Revenue Service, saying Ricken’s letter was an attempt to influence the outcome of the vote.” Amen.
It’s cruel, I know. But after years of wondering, “Where in hell do they get this stuff?” I can’t resist another election prediction post, this one from “Chad” at Fraters Libertas: “MN House and Senate: A few months ago, I was sure that the Minnesota GOP was in danger of losing their majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate. Now, I’m not sure anymore. Trying to analyze this on a race by race basis is something that I have neither the expertise nor inclination to pursue. So instead, I’ll rely on the wisdom of Mitch Berg and go along with his conclusion that we’re likely to see the GOP still in control of both chambers after Tuesday.
Voter ID Ballot Initiative: This one is pretty [much] a no brainer. Voter ID will pass, the only question is by how much. I’m going to go with 61%.
Marriage Ballot Initiative: A much tougher call here. Opponents of the measure have spent a ton of money trying to defeat it and if you judged the outcome based on the number of “Vote No” signs you see in the Twin Cities, it would seemed doomed to fail. And polls indicate that support is not above the 50% threshold needed for it to pass. However, this is an issue where the way people say they’re going to vote and the way they actually vote don’t always coincide. It’s going to be close, but I think marriage amendment will pass. Barely. …
MN CD6: After her failed presidential bid, there was speculation that Michele Bachmann would not seek reelection to her newly redistricted House seat. And after she announced that she would and Jim Graves won the Democratic endorsement to challenge her, there has been speculation that could lose. That’s not likely to happen as she should win by 4-5%. …
MN CD8: The Eighth is the most closely contested Minnesota Congressional race and the toughest to call. I have a hunch that Chip Cravaack will hold on against DFL challenger Rick Nolan, but it will be tight. …
President: For some time now, I’ve believed that Mitt Romney would win the presidency. And I’ve clung to that belief despite the ups and downs of the campaign. I outlined the main reasons Why Romney Will Win in September and hold to them today. … As I’ve said before, if Romney wins Minnesota it means it’s a landslide election and I still don’t see that.”
The bubble walls are very thick …