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Oil tanker traffic soon on the Great Lakes?

What could possibly go wrong? John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune tells us: “So much oil is being pumped out of western Canada and North Dakota these days that there isn’t enough room to fit it all into pipelines. Even with oil companies pouring the black gold into thousands of rail cars every day, and building new rail stations and laying track, rail cars can’t handle the load. So officials at Calumet LLC, owners of the Superior oil refinery, are considering building a $25 million crude oil transfer dock in Superior, where oil would be loaded onto tankers and barges and moved across the Great Lakes to refineries in Ontario, Michigan, Ohio and even the East Coast. Despite concerns about potential environmental catastrophe, Calumet seems well on its way to moving oil out of the Twin Ports by boat.”

Wisconsin is doing great business with China. An AP story says: “The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says about $2.9 billion worth of agricultural goods were exported last year — a 3 percent increase over 2011. The state's best markets for agricultural products are Canada, Mexico, China, Korea and Japan. Canada is the top destination, importing $1.4 billion of products from Wisconsin. The market showing the biggest growth in 2012 was China with a 49% increase in Wisconsin agricultural imports. The top exports to China last year were hides and skins, animal feed and dairy-related products. The most valuable agricultural export for Wisconsin in 2012 was beverages, which is primarily ethanol, at $400 million.” Wait a minute. Does this mean someone other than our fine neighbors is drinking ethanol?

Jeff Pieters of the Rochester Post-Bulletin gives a local Minnesota Book Award-nominated author some decent pub: “[Michael] Fridgen, 39, is international program coordinator at the University of Minnesota-Rochester. His self-published book, set a few hundred years in the future, is ‘kind of a dystopian tale of religion.’ ‘The basic question,’ Fridgen said, ‘was, what is the goal of evangelization? Is it that everybody is the same religion? And then which religion? Which sect within that religion is that one that you'd like to go with? What is the goal of that, and what would our world look like if that goal was attained’? Extreme religion has taken hold at the time of Fridgen's story. His central character, a 12-year-old girl named Ruth3.5 (religion in this time being so central to life, people's names are Bible verses selected for them at birth) is banished after she raises questions that threaten the scriptural basis of society.” I wonder if he also entered in the non-fiction category?

A bold prediction: This will get a full vote this year. The AP says: “Minnesota senators are returning to a familiar topic: whether to permit Sunday liquor store sales. The Senate Commerce Committee was expected Monday to discuss the measure, but wasn’t planning to take a vote. Sen. Roger Reinert, a Duluth Democrat, introduced the bill earlier this month. The committee will also discuss a host of other alcohol-related bills. Sunday liquor store sales come up every year at the Capitol, but have found little success. Reinert tried the same bill in 2011, but it stalled after passing one committee. Minnesota is one of 12 states that still outlaw Sunday liquor sales. All of Minnesota’s neighboring states allow it.”

Leah Beno of KMSP-TV adds: “[Andrew] Schmitt formed a group called Minnesota Beer Activists. Through social media he is pushing for liquor stores to be open on Sundays. Annually the issue seems to surface at the Capitol and also fails. This year, lawmakers amended a bill aimed to allow sales on Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas.’It's never been a consumer effort before. Grocery stores have tried and they gave up a couple of years ago,’ Schmitt said. ‘I've spoken to several store owners who would like to be open on Sundays and closed on Mondays. Mondays are very slow days, Sunday is the second busiest shopping day of the week — so why does it make sense to be closed’? Beer runs bring plenty of people across the border to Hudson, Wis., where one liquor store owners told FOX 9 85 percent of Sunday sales come from Minnesotans.”

The GleanYou never let this public business stuff affect your day job … Tony Kennedy of the Strib says: “Two weeks after Red Wing Mayor Dennis Egan insisted that he could ethically work a second job as a frac sand lobbyist, the mayor will step down in the face of a recall effort and a City Council investigation of his business relationship with the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council. … Egan said he could have continued as mayor based on the city’s attorney legal interpretation, but will resign by April 1 because his job as the sand council’s executive director had become a distraction to the city and his family.” The sand job had become a distraction, he says.

There are some good stories incubating up in North Dakota’s oil patch. Jessica Holdman of the Bismarck Tribune writes: “Like many, Robin Arias moved to a town near Williston with her husband after he found work in oil country. ‘When we decided we were moving, I went on Google,’ she said ‘Everything I read was negative, negative, negative.’ Arias didn’t find a lot online for women wanting to move their families there, so she started a blog to help change that. She is one of several who have started oil field blogs to share their experiences with those following in their footsteps. … She also hopes to create a forum on her blog and start group shopping trips for her followers. A third blog, ‘Oilfield Life,’ targets workers rather than their families. A job openings list scrolls on the right side of the page.”

You mess with the ladies of Edina at your own peril … Jane Friedmann of the Strib reports: “Last July, when Nina Wesman took her unwanted jewelry to Be Iced Jewelers, an Edina store that buys and sells used fine jewelry, she was pleased to find the dozen pieces were worth $5,700 in store credit, issued as a gift card. ... Months later, Wesman, of Minneapolis, discovered ... the value of spending them before a business goes belly up. In early December, with $1,600 in credit remaining, she went to the store to do some Christmas shopping, only to find a note on the door saying the business had closed. This month, Be Iced’s CEO and president, David R. Pomije, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for his Shakopee company Top Hat Inc., doing business as Top Hat 430 Inc., Be Iced Jewelers, Gold Stop, Bidx and Be Iced Diamond Exchange.” Was he also doing business as Rolecks Minnesota, Kartier for Kids and Tiffony Super-Plus?

Yeah, that was a kid from Duluth on stage at the Oscars last night. Peter Passi of the News Tribune writes: “Less than a year after graduating from Duluth East High School, 18-year-old Abe Diaz found himself rubbing shoulders with the elite of Hollywood on Sunday night at the Academy Awards. More stressful yet, Diaz was tasked with helping to orchestrate and direct celebrities through the proceedings. ‘He’s kind of nervous about having to tell all those A-list people what to do on stage,’ said Gina Diaz, proud mother of the aspiring filmmaker, earlier in the day. A freshman planning to major in chemistry at DePaul University in Chicago, Abe Diaz was one of six students recognized on stage during the ceremony. The students came from across the nation selected to help at the Oscar ceremonies, thanks to a 30-second video he produced about his passion for film, a subject he plans to pursue as a minor.”

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Comments (10)

Is it my imagination?

It seems like Minnesota is losing a lot of business to Wisconsin. Note to MinnPost readers who track this kind of thing: Is there any area of business that Wisconsin is losing to us in Minnesota?

From Recent Articles I've Read

You know, the kind that include inconvenient things like facts, figures and verifiable statistics,...

(REAL ones; NOT the kind that "conservatives" tend to pull out of their back orifices),...

Minnesota has lost ZERO businesses to surrounding states.

Recent articles also verify that Minnesota's export business with China is up.

Meanwhile, I just can't wait until we have the first wreck of an oil tanker in Lake Superior. I'm sure crude oil will mix right into Superior's notoriously frigid waters without leaving even the slightest trace, right?

We certainly couldn't have anything like the leftover oil from the Exxon Valdez still causing trouble in the frigid waters of Prince William Sound 15 years later, could we?

And, of course, all that oil will be ONLY used for our own domestic consumption, too, won't it?

Count me skeptical as I fully expect that there will be NO benefit for the folks in our region from loading and shipping oil on tankers on Lake Superior but we will be left holding the bag for the impossible cleanup when the inevitable "Edmund Fitzgerald" of an oil tanker happens during some future November gale.

Look up STEMFuse

One more than ZERO.

Here's one Rosalind

Remember those Hutch Tech jobs that went to Eau Claire? And that Republicans tried to credit to Walker's tax credits?

As it was, HTI wasn't eligible for the credits, since it had been doing business in Wisconsin for a while.

As things have worked out, the Eau Claire plant has now closed, and those jobs that weren't off-shored to Thailand. . . ,have come back to Minnesota as the company consolidates its facilities.

Does that count?

Hutch Tech Eau Claire

Will have just under 600 employees after the next wave of layoffs to be completed by this fall. "Closed" is probably not an accurate description of their present operation. There is still some production going on in Hutchinson but the plan is that the work moves to Thailand once that plant is up and running correctly after the Tsunami disaster. Corporate will remain in Hutchinson and I believe the R&D will remain there too.

not specific businesses

I wasn't thinking of specific businesses. I was thinking of broad areas of business. For example, are we out-producing Wisconsin in pork and turkey production, and the Wisconsinites just can't keep up with us no matter how hard they try?

Sunday booze?

Heck, I'd be happy if someone could explain why I can't buy a CAR on Sunday!

The same reason

you can't buy a bottle of wine. The majority of those selling liquor and cars don't want to be open on Sunday. If they did, the laws would change in the wink of an eye.

This is why we must oppose Keystone

By stopping the pipeline, we force the oil and refinery companies to find other ways to deliver their desirable product, ways that will involve Minnesota and it's workers. Thankfully President Obama alone decides Keystone's fate.

Oil Tankers

Greg Kapphahn:
Meanwhile, I just can't wait until we have the first wreck of an oil tanker in Lake Superior. I'm sure crude oil will mix right into Superior's notoriously frigid waters without leaving even the slightest trace, right?

I hate to tell you, but there are already Oil Tankers on the Great Lakes. Have been since the beginning. Also Cement carriers, Iron Ore Carriers, Limestone Carriers, Corn Carriers, Wheat Carriers.