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Fargo may face one of its ‘top five floods’

Gun background-check bill revanped; O’Reilly criticizes Bachmann; jobs bounce back near pre-recession levels; deal reached on nurse staffing dispute; and more.

How’s that diversion channel coming along? Dave Kolpack of the AP says: “Residents along the Red River in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., should prepare for one of the top five floods in their history, the National Weather Service said Thursday. The flood outlook includes a 50 percent chance that the river will top 38 feet. That would surpass the fifth-highest crest of 37.34 feet in 1969. Flood stage is 18 feet. Fargo officials said they believe the city is still in good shape because of recent flood protection improvements, but they plan to make 500,000 sandbags to add to a reserve of 750,000 bags.”

Some DFLers are not going to quit on universal background checks for gun purchases. Brandt Williams of MPR says: “House DFLers are crafting a bill to expand background checks to private sales that occur at gun shows, after a key lawmaker on Tuesday abandoned his push for universal background checks for gun buyers. Lawmakers say the revamped bill will also include provisions that are popular with Republicans and more conservative Democrats. The bill is scheduled for a hearing Thursday night.”

Now THIS is an outrage! Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly added to Our Favorite Congresswoman’s miseries by ripping her … on FoxNews! Aaron Rupar at City Pages links to O’Reilly, who said: “This is a trivial pursuit, and Michele Bachmann made a mistake pursuing it. With the nation now owing close to 17 trillion dollars, I wish the President was more like Pope Francis, who as a Cardinal in Argentina rejected all the lavish perks. But Mr. Obama is entitled to protection, convenience, and comfort as he runs the nation. Congresswoman Bachmann and all opponents of Mr. Obama should zero in on what’s really important — the President’s failure to deal with out-of-control spending and his core beief that America is not a fair country. … it’s long past time for partisans on both the right and the left to cut the nonsense and look at things clearly. We’ve got huge problems in America, and the President is directly responsible for some of those problems. He’s not willing to compromise, he doesn’t see the big economic picture, and he’s way too far left for a Commander in Chief.” I don’t know about you, but I need a bracing beverage after listening to O’Reilly criticizing Bachmann for errors in fact and judgment.

We’re almost back to 2008 … Adam Belz of the Strib reports: “Minnesota employers added 14,500 jobs in February, another strong month of hiring as the state has come close to recovering all the jobs it lost in the recession. The past six months have been particularly robust for the job market, despite fears that prolonged federal budget gridlock and across-the-board spending cuts will hurt the economy, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Minnesota has added 50,800 jobs since the end of August, the largest half-year gain since 1984.” And how much of this was because of tax relief for our job creators?

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We have a new Mrs. Minnesota. Bob Shaw of the PiPress writes: “A Woodbury woman has been crowned Mrs. Minnesota and will compete in the Mrs. United States 2013 pageant. Gloria Parnell, an actress and model, lives with her husband Paul and three children. … Contestants are judged, according to a news release, on ‘beauty, charm, personality, poise and the ability to articulate.’ ” My wife is a finalist in the Mrs. Saint competition.

The GleanAt last! A deal on the long-running nurse staffing dispute. The AP says: “Minnesota hospitals and nurses have reached a deal to track and study how patient care units are staffed, a compromise that stops short of unionized nurses’ goal of mandatory staffing levels. The pact cleared a Senate committee late Wednesday and was due to come up again Thursday in a House health committee. The sides have been at odds for years over whether patients are at risk and whether lawmakers need to step in. The Minnesota Nurses Association has relied on anecdotal reports from its members to argue that staffing is thin, which hospital executives dispute.”

“Completely false,” says the U of M … after its own investigation. Jeremy Olson of the Strib says: “University of Minnesota officials have investigated a concern raised by a bioethics professor — that U psychiatrists might have “rubber-stamped” vulnerable schizophrenic patients into drug studies — and concluded it is ‘completely false.’ In a blog last month, professor Carl Elliott posted patient evaluation forms from the files of two mentally ill research subjects that contained responses that appeared to be identical. That raised the specter that the forms had been filled out in advance and that patients weren’t actually evaluated for their wherewithal to consent to the risks and responsibilities of clinical research. … Each patient’s folder contained an evaluation form with unique responses and markings, said Mark Rotenberg, the university’s general counsel. ‘There is no evidence that any of them contained predetermined, photocopied answers,’ Rotenberg said.”

Currently … “Plan B.” The AP says: “Mayo Clinic officials are working with lawmakers to come up with a Plan B to pay for its Destination Medical Center proposal amid criticism about the current plan, which would require more than $500 million in state support. … A Republican backer of the project, Rep. Greg Davids, from Preston, said he fears time is running out. He accused the governor of only paying ‘lip service’ to the project and the DFL leadership of being ‘timid.’ ”

Even farmers markets need better marketing. The AP story says: “The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says they’ll be the first to hear the results of customer research conducted by the department’s Minnesota Grown Program. Last summer the Minnesota Grown Program conducted a customer survey at 57 farmers markets throughout the state. More than 1,100 customers participated. The research will help growers better understand which services and products are most important to their customers, and help them target their marketing resources, Program Coordinator Paul Hugunin said.”