Struggling e-pulltabs could land at airport

Come on, people. Let’s think big! How about church foyers? Funeral homes? Beauty parlors? Dentists’ offices? Kindergartens? At the Strib, Jennifer Brooks says: “The sluggish pace of electronic pulltab sales has the state looking at fresh venues to entice gamblers — including the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The devices are supposed to pay the state’s share of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. But so far, only 85 of the state’s more than 6,000 bars have installed the devices. That has led to revenues that are 51 percent below projection, forcing the state to downgrade its revenue estimates by millions of dollars for the coming year. … On Monday, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Authority will consider installing six e-pulltab games in the airport’s terminals. The airport already sells paper pulltabs and is the state’s single largest vendor of lottery tickets.”

The combination of 10-plus inches of snow and a bit of melt is modest good news, drought-wise. Bill McAuliffe of the Strib says: “Because the ground is still frost-free, much of the moisture held in the snow should melt directly into the thirsty soil. Snow cover in the Twin Cities had already compacted to a 7-inch depth Wednesday, under a high temperature of 41. Thursday’s high of 35 should begin to release some of the water into the ground, said assistant state climatologist Pete Boulay. ‘It’ll be a drop in the bucket compared to what we need,’ said Diane Cooper, hydrologist with the North Central River Forecast Center, which is part of the National Weather Service’s Twin Cities office in Chanhassen.”

So did Mom start or stop pushing? The PiPress story says: “The Minnesota parents of a baby girl who was born at 12:12 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2012 — 12/12/12 — say they’re planning a big 12th birthday for their daughter. Courtney Jane Tomford was born just after noon Wednesday at Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minn. She was originally due Dec. 10. ‘The date is awesome, but to have the time, the stars match up is something else. She’s a special little girl,’ said mother Liz Tomford several hours after her daughter’s birth.”

Their congresswoman will get right on this. Kirsti Marohn of the St. Cloud Times reports: “New estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show poverty rates in the St. Cloud area crept higher in the last five years. The Census Bureau … released income and poverty estimates for counties and school districts across the nation. According to the estimates, all three St. Cloud-area counties saw a rise in the overall poverty rate from 2007-2011. … In Stearns County, an estimated 11.7 percent of residents were in poverty five years ago, before the economic recession hit. That rose to 13.5 percent last year, according to the estimates. Among children age 17 and younger, the story was the same, with 13 percent in poverty last year in Stearns County, up from 10.7 percent five years ago. Benton and Sherburne counties also saw similar increases.”

Sen. Al Franken writes a commentary in the Strib on the fiscal cliff circus: “Minnesotans understand that not every deficit reduction solution is created equal — because the budget deficit isn’t the only one we face. There’s an education deficit that has seen our country plummet from first in the world to 14th in percentage of adults with a postsecondary degree. There’s an innovation deficit that has allowed countries like China, Brazil and India to get the jump on us when it comes to new technologies, especially clean-energy technologies. … Minnesotans respect leaders who stand on principle — unless one of those principles is simply refusing to compromise. And, especially with this deadline looming, they want us come together around a balanced approach to solving our deficit problem.”

There will be no Mayo Clinic presence at the expanded megamall. Janet Moore of the Strib says: “Mayo Clinic said Wednesday it will not be part of the Mall of America’s expansion, which was scheduled to open next fall.
Mayo Spokesman Bryan Anderson said in a statement that ‘Mayo Clinic is evaluating new ways to evolve our long-term presence’ at the Bloomington megamall, but offered few details. The expansion on the mall’s northside was supposed to include a Mayo wellness outpost, a hotel, more shops and restaurants, and parking.”

This isn’t Michigan. Also in the Strib, Jim Ragsdale writes: “One of the state’s largest unions will be approaching the all-DFL government for the authority to unionize thousands of in-home personal care assistants — the people who care for elderly and disabled people in their homes. The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, was one of the unions that sought last year to organize in-home child care workers. That effort failed, after running into opposition from the Republican-controlled Legislature and the courts.”

Really? $19 million, you say? John Welbes’ PiPress story on the latest in the long-running Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme says: “Jason “Bo” Beckman may claim to have the ability to produce a $19 million check for victims of a massive Ponzi scheme, but the court-appointed receiver in the case has serious doubts. ‘Mr. Beckman’s actions speak louder than his works,’ said a statement released late Wednesday, Dec. 12, by R.J. Zayed — the receiver who is trying to recover funds for victims of Beckman, Trevor Cook and others tied to the scheme. … In his position papers this week, Beckman said that in late October, he told the government he’d deliver the $19 million if his sentence was limited to 364 days in prison and three years of probation. Federal prosecutors, who also filed sentencing position papers this week, want a life sentence for Beckman.” Or, if they’ll take a check for $20 million, he’ll agree to 10 years in Jamaica.

City Pages has published its list of the Best Minnesota Albums of 2012. A couple of  samples:
After hearing Chastity Brown sing once, the memory of her voice will haunt you forever. This past spring, Brown released her fourth studio album, Back-Road Highways, which blends all the influences the Tennessee-raised Brown grew up around into something categorically elusive. When Brown is hurt, it’s deeper than the blues; when she’s singing about home, it’s more solemn than gospel. “Solely” is a torched ballad, and Brown’s raw voice makes it personal and moving. She’s worthy of not only a place on local lists, but national lists as well. Until then, we’re proud to have her.
Gay Witch Abortion
sort of dropped off the musical map in the five years between their last full-length and their blistering new album, Opporntunistic Smokescreen Behavior. Guitarist/vocalist Jesse Bottomley and drummer Shawn Walker’s sludgy brand of rock still deserves to be heard. Loudly. While the band are taking more chances on this record with divergent sonic styles and bold use of tension, the payoffs are just as massive as they were when GWA’s roiling sound hooked us. These new songs churn with a raw fury, as Bottomley’s crunchy riffs are sped along by Walker’s relentless rhythm in just 38 savage but spectacular minutes.”

 Check back in 40 years to see if they’re playing disaster telethons.

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