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Swarms of lawyers fan out for Election Day

Sun + vodka bottle = fire; Pawlenty on the job; wolf hunters hit one quota; fiber optics plan in limbo; deadly traffic month; the Boss streets of St. Paul; and more.

How reassuring do you find this? Allen Costantini of KARE-TV says:The 2012 election season finds Ken Martin and Pat Shortridge at odds over their respective parties’ candidates, but they agree on one thing. There are more lawyers and poll watchers on standby in Minnesota than ever before. ‘You always have to be prepared for the next eventuality,’ said Shortridge, the Minnesota Republican Party Chair. ‘Our main focus will be the election itself, but we have got some hard learned experiences stemming out of the 2008 and 2010 elections that were very close, where we went to recounts.’ Both party leaders said they have unprecedented numbers of legal and party-authorized observers on duty. ‘We have hundreds of lawyers that will be fanned out across the state in precincts, making sure that peoples’ right to vote is ensured,’ said Martin. ‘Then, we have a hotline at the DFL Headquarters, staffed by 20 lawyers ready to file for injunctive relief in a court of law if need be.’ ”

Things you didn’t know you could do with vodka … . Alejandro Matos of the Strib reports: “Red Lion Liquors in Burnsville is back in business after a vodka display became a liquid magnifying glass and sparked a fire inside the store. ‘We had that display there for years. The sun was coming in through the windows just right,’ said manager Dave Hautman. The sun pierced through the vodka bottles and hit a cardboard box, causing smoke to form. ‘It smoldered for an hour and 30 minutes, and the flames got to about 12 feet,’ he said. ‘The best thing about it is that it was all on video.’ ” So … if the sun hits my collection of vintage Keystone Light at just the right angle …

Our Guy, T-Paw, now the face and voice of Wall Street finance, was on NPR’s “Marketplace” Monday. According to the show’s host, Kai Ryssdal, the former presidential candidate continues to have a slightly different view of history than the reality-based community. “[Tim] Pawlenty just started a new position with the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying firm that represents banks and other financial institutions. Pawlenty told us he will work to help ‘re-instate the credibility and vitality and integrity of these institutions.’ Pawlenty addressed criticism that lobbyists have prevented the implementation of Dodd-Frank, legislation that would help regulate the financial industry: ‘To say that the delay in actually … getting the rules finalized and published is because of lobbying, I don’t think that’s fully accurate or a fully fair statement.’ ” Which is, of course, what he is more than fairly and fully paid to say …

Probably could have been better vetted by the adoption agency … The AP reports: “A Minnesota couple are accused of starving their 8-year-old adopted son, feeding him only liquid and putting an alarm on his door so he would not steal food, according to criminal charges that say the boy was so malnourished his bones protruded and he weighed as much as a child half his age. Mona Hauer and Russell Hauer of North Mankato each are charged with six felonies, including neglect and malicious punishment of a child. In addition to starving the boy, authorities said, they beat him with a broom handle and made him sleep in a sled in the basement because he wet the bed. Online court records did not say whether the Hauers, who also have a biological child and adopted two of the boy’s siblings, have an attorney.”

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The GleanWolf hunters have already hit their quota in one zone up north. Sam Cook of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “Minnesota’s first managed wolf hunting season opened Saturday in zones open to rifle deer hunting. Hunters in the East-Central Zone had taken eight wolves by Monday, and the early-season harvest quota for the zone is nine. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials announced early Monday that the zone would close at the end of shooting hours that day. Across the entire three zones open to wolf hunting, hunters had taken 50 wolves by Sunday evening and 64 wolves by Monday evening. The total harvest quota for the three zones together is 200.”

A fiber optic company dropped by Ramsey County still thinks they’d make a beautiful couple. Leslie Brooks Suzukamo of the PiPress says: “The chief executive of Minnesota Fiber Exchange maintains his telecommunications business could still help Ramsey County build a fiber-optic broadband network for government work, despite the county’s recent decision to drop the company as a business partner. ‘Going forward, we still think we’re a great model and a great opportunity for Ramsey County,’ John Schultz, CEO of Minnesota Fiber Exchange, said Monday, Nov. 5. However, Schultz stopped short of saying his company would rebid for the project if the county opens up the process again. He declined comment Monday on Ramsey County’s decision to dump Minnesota Fiber Exchange as a partner in the multimillion dollar project … But one early estimate for building the network put the price tag at $30 million — too expensive for the county to pay alone. So it proposed to spend up to $14 million on its share of the work and partner with Minnesota Fiber Exchange, known as MFE, to pick up the balance of the cost. In exchange, MFE would get permission to lay its own network of fiber optic cable and sell access on that line to businesses providing high-speed connectivity to businesses.”

This scam sounds like a lot of work … .  John Welbes of the PiPress says: “Cassidy McDaniel of Minneapolis pleaded guilty Monday to defrauding the IRS and receiving about $387,000 in funds through identity theft and fabricated income tax returns. In a plea agreement, McDaniel admitted that she and co-conspirators obtained names and social security numbers for individuals, and then created false 2010 federal income tax returns to make claims for refunds. McDaniel and others also set up fictitious income tax preparation businesses where the refunds were sent, and opened bank accounts for the fake businesses to make deposits.” They were not, however, charged with robo-signing foreclosure documents.

The seat belt thing is not a myth. Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “October is now the deadliest month so far this year for traffic deaths in Minnesota for vehicle occupants who did not buckle up, state officials said Monday. The preliminary tally for October is 15, according to the Department of Public Safety, topping 14 in August. All of those deaths in October occurred outside the seven-county metro area, the department said.
The rate of seat belt use in Minnesota is at a record-high 93.6 percent, the agency said, based on an observational survey of more than 16,000 motorists. However, smaller-scale surveys put compliance outstate at about 80 percent.”

Bob Collins at MPR has this very cool video up of a kind of mini-drone flight over Grand Marais. The possibilities for this sort of cheap flying HD are endless.

Also, The Boss is getting streets named after him in St.Paul. Says Reed Fischer at City Pages: “After a weekend toiling away for the causes of Hurricane Sandy and Barack Obama and finally reaching a detente with New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Bruce Springsteen is touching down for a weekend here in the Twin Cities. In conjunction with performances at the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday and Monday, St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman has declared November 9-12 ‘Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Weekend in Saint Paul,’ and two local streets will be renamed for the occasion. Per a press release, we learn that ‘Kellogg Blvd. will be ceremonially renamed ‘Springsteen Rd.’ and West 7th St. will be renamed ‘E Street’ for the weekend of the performances.’ ” Hey Mayor, Bob Dylan, you heard of him? He’s in your town Wednesday night.