Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


No body doesn’t mean no case in Kira Trevino disappearance

Minnesota economic forecast out on Thursday; state’s tallest wind turbines; ads target 5 DFLers; Sviggum back at U; Best Buy bid deadline; and more.

The Kira Trevino disappearance case is beginning the potboiler churn. Mara Gottfried of the PiPress says: “If the Ramsey County attorney charges Jeffery Trevino in the disappearance of his wife, the case could join a small number of homicides in Minnesota prosecuted with no body. ‘It’s not easy to prove a murder without a body, but it can be done,’ said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, whose office has prosecuted two homicides without a body, one successfully. … Tad DiBiase, a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., consults with police and prosecutors on ‘no body’ homicides and tallies such trials on his website, He’d counted 378 through mid-December with about an 89 percent conviction rate. Generally speaking, the evidence law enforcement finds to point to a homicide, even without a body, is a large amount of blood, DiBiase said.”

Prior to today’s release of the state’s economic forecast, Brian Bakst of the AP writes: “Before the Legislature adopts a budget bill, they could see one fiscal challenge mostly melt away. A short-term boost in tax collections could wipe out a chunk of the state’s IOUs to school districts. By law, the excess money is steered toward paying school-aid dollars that had been deferred in the past. … Based on recent tax collection, there’s a chance the forecast will show a surplus for the budget period ending June 30. But officials suspect investors and top earners sped up their tax payments late last year to avoid new federal tax rates that kicked in Jan. 1. That means those tax dollars won’t materialize this year. … After years of stadium subsidy fights, this was supposed to be the year of relative calm. But there is anxiety about whether the financing plan is sound. In December, the first snapshot of gambling proceeds showed dollars were coming in slower than anticipated. … New games haven’t spread as fast as regulators were hoping, and a companion rollout of electronic bingo still hasn’t occurred.” What Would T-Paw Do?

Another day, another “tallest turbine.” A St. Cloud Times story says: “The 30-megawatt juwi Wind project in Nobles County is now generating enough energy to serve about 10,000 homes, according to a juwi statement released Tuesday. The energy is being sold to Xcel Energy Inc. under a 20-year power purchase agreement. About $67 million was invested in the community to build the 15 REpower MM92 2-megawatt turbines. According to the juwi release, ‘Each turbine stands 480 feet from the base of the tower to the tip of the blade, making them the tallest turbines in the state.’ ”

It has the feel of a Frank Luntz-approved name. The AP says: “Five Democratic legislators are the targets of a new radio ad campaign by a Republican outside group seeking to pressure them on tax elements of Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget. The Minnesota Jobs Coalition headed by GOP operatives plans to run the ads in politically mixed districts, where voters elected a Democratic House member but preferred Republican nominee Mitt Romney over Democrat Barack Obama in the presidential race. Ben Golnik says his group is spending only a few thousand dollars but the ads will run at least six times a day for a week in the targeted markets.” Apparently Clean Air and Freedom for Troops-Loving Job Creators was taken.

Article continues after advertisement

It says something that he’s always welcomed back. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says: “Steve Sviggum — former Minnesota House Speaker, former University of Minnesota regent, former University of Minnesota School of Public Affairs fellow, former Minnesota Senate spokesman — will soon remove one of the formers from his name. Sviggum plans to return to the University of Minnesota as a Humphrey legislative fellow, he said Wednesday. … after Republicans lost the Senate, Sviggum left the Senate job. He said that he will return to the U. ‘I love to teach and I love being in the classroom,’ said Sviggum, who said the new/old gig will take up 60 percent of his time.” The other 40 percent better not be lobbying for frac-sand miners.

More scientific guidance from the 13th century. Says Baird Helgeson of the Strib: “One of the Legislature’s most vocal opponents of same-sex marriage says homosexuality is a choice and form of sexual addiction. ‘It’s an unhealthy, sexual addiction,’ state Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen said Wednesday. The Glencoe Republican said he has a friend who ran a sexual addiction clinic. ‘He helped many homosexuals and other people come out of the lifestyle.’ … Referencing a decade-old genome study, he added: ‘There is no gay gene. The concept that there is a gay gene is an unscientific lie.’ ”

Schulze may have his ducks lined up and ready to quack. Thomas Lee of the Strib says: “With Best Buy founder Richard Schulze facing a deadline Thursday to submit a bid to acquire the retailer, some investors wonder if the company’s last-minute decision to push its earnings announcement back a day means an offer is imminent. Richfield-based Best Buy had long planned to release fourth-quarter and fiscal 2013 earnings on Thursday, which also happens to be the last day Schulze can make a buyout offer this year. But in a surprise move Tuesday, Best Buy said it will now report financial results on Friday, to give Schulze the full 24 hours to make a bid.”

Prior to a Thursday panel on climate change, City Pages’ Sheila Regan talked with weather guy Paul Douglas: “ ‘[S]ome days I’m optimistic, and other days I’m pretty bummed. I feel like I’m swimming upstream. I started talking about it on ‘CCO, and got a lot of push back: people thinking this is some liberal plot to increase our taxes and increase regulation. Those are some of the same arguments we faced when we started to try to do something about acid rain, and when we tried to do something about the ozone hole. ‘Oh, it’s going to kill industry! It’s going to bring our economy to its knees.’ As a businessman, it’s just pure bunk. It’s garbage. If anything, this is going to reinvent America’s economy and give us a jolt. We can take the edge off the warming, we can build more resilient cities, more resilient agriculture. There are things we can do. The longer we delay, the harder it’s going to be to come up with viable solutions.’ ”

You know that any Keith Ellison appearance, especially one on FoxNews, will re-ignite the wrath of Scott Johnson at Power Line. After Ellison’s face-off with Sean Hannity, Johnson writes: “Minnesota Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison is a piece of work. He is a former member of the Nation of Islam who first ran for office as a Democrat in 1998 under the NOI name Keith Ellison-Muhammad. Sad but true. He’s a little bit hustler, a little bit thug, and a lot of Marxist claptrap wrapped with an Islamic overlay. Which branch of Islam is it that squares with equal rights for women, gay marriage, abortion on demand and the rest of the Democratic agenda? Perhaps some day an enterprising journalist will inquire politely of Rep. Ellison and get the scoop. I’ve never figured out quite how the pieces fit together, but I’ve done my best to nail his act in the Weekly Standard profile ‘Louis Farrakhan’s first congressman’ and the related Power Line backgrounder ‘Keith Ellison for dummies.’ I believe these pieces remain relevant and have stood the test of time. … As I say, he’s something of a key to understanding the Age of Obama.”