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National Democrats think they have a shot at unseating Kline

An $800,000 U hockey game; concert-ticket “transparency”; paper mill developments; medical drug thieves; Snelling Avenue neighbors fight new Buffalo Wild Wings; and more.

Our Favorite Congresswoman’s job isn’t the only one greedy Democrats are drooling over. Brett Neely of MPR writes: “The Republican who may have the largest target on his back is Minnesota’s 2nd District Rep. John Kline, who returned to Congress last November with his narrowest margin of victory in years. That narrower margin was due to redistricting, which took away some of Kline’s conservative base and replaced it with DFL-friendly territory such as South St. Paul. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has put Kline’s district on its high priority ‘Red to Blue’ list. DCCC Executive Director Kelly Ward said the committee is talking to last year’s challenger, Mike Obermueller, and to Sona Mehring, who is the CEO of the nonprofit company CaringBridge and a political newcomer, about entering the race.”

How much would you pay to play hockey against North Dakota? Megan Boldt of the PiPress says: “A Minnesota lawmaker wants to spend $800,000 to keep the Gophers-North Dakota hockey rivalry alive. Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, introduced a bill on Thursday that would give the University of Minnesota the money if at least one game is scheduled against the University of North Dakota that year. … Winkler said he was trying to make a statement with the bill; nothing will happen with it. The two teams faced off in their final conference game on Jan. 19. North Dakota will depart for the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference, while Minnesota will join five other Big Ten teams with hockey programs. The Gophers will retain their rivalry with Wisconsin, but many Gophers fans would rank games with the Badgers a close second to the grudge matches with North Dakota.”

Among the critical issues of our time … The AP says: “Minnesota lawmakers are considering a bill to make sellers of concert tickets publicly reveal how many tickets are held back from sale to the public. The bill is up for review and possible vote Friday, March 22, in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s supported by online ticket broker StubHub, which is battling perceptions that when popular shows sell out quickly it’s because tickets are snapped up for resale at higher prices.”

Further developments in those two northern Wisconsin paper mills … The AP says: “Wausau Paper is selling its specialty paper business and two mills in northern Wisconsin to a private equity firm for $130 million. KPS Capital Partners, of New York, plans to acquire another company that will be combined with the specialty paper business. The Rhinelander and Mosinee paper mills employ about 900 workers. Wausau Paper put its specialty paper business up for sale earlier this year while in a proxy fight with a New York-based hedge fund. Employees have been anxiously awaiting the outcome of the sale. The deal with KPS requires United Steelworkers to ratify collective bargaining agreements with the new company.”

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The inside jobs might get more attention … . Brad Schrade of the Strib says: “[S]everal high-profile incidents in recent years … have led to a proposal that would force more scrutiny of medical drug thieves. The legislation, which is scheduled for a House committee hearing Friday, would require hospitals and other health care employers to report employees to the state’s professional licensing boards if they steal medication intended for patients. ‘The boards need to know about these people,’ said Keith Berge, a member of the state Board of Medical Practice and a physician for the Mayo Clinic. ‘It’s become more and more clear this is a hell of a patient safety issue.’ ”

If you get a party e-vite from this crowd, you might want to decline … Says Paul Walsh in the Strib: “A liquor-fueled brawl at a home in northern Minnesota left a man beaten to death, two others badly hurt and two people jailed on suspicion of murder, authorities said Friday. The violence occurred Thursday evening at a home in Ten Lake Township, about 13 miles east of Bemidji, and involved ‘a large group of extremely intoxicated individuals who were bleeding and in various states of distress,’ according to a statement from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office. Emergency personnel attempted to revive Leslie Headbird, 44, but he died at a nearby hospital from a severe beating, the sheriff’s office said. Two others, a male and female, were hospitalized with what the sheriff’s office called ‘possible life-threatening injuries.’ ”

The GleanThe loss of Cheapo is bad enough … Kevin Duchschere of the Strib files a story on a development on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul, saying: “News that Buffalo Wild Wings had leased space in the Snelling Avenue mall — news that many residents feel reached them too late — has fueled a growing neighborhood movement that seeks not only to limit the restaurant’s impact but also play an ongoing role in Snelling’s development. It’s the latest skirmish between neighborhoods and businesses trying to establish a presence in St. Paul. The city has a reputation for being particularly responsive to a neighborhood’s concerns. But in this case, it’s not clear what, if anything, the group can do to stop Buffalo Wild Wings from serving up its Caribbean jerk or sweet barbecue wings on Snelling Avenue. Still, some of the residents around the new restaurant have launched a Facebook Web page, ‘Citizens for a Better Snelling Avenue,’ to trade information and chatter about the restaurant’s progress.”

Misrepresenting a political opponent’s actions violates a rule? The AP says: “Minnesota’s Democratic Party asked an administrative judge Thursday to rule that a veteran Republican lawmaker broke the law with letters to newspapers that say four Democrats had voted for billions in new taxes. The party’s complaint against Rep. Greg Davids of Preston was filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings. It claims Davids was conflating routine procedural votes as support for the substance of legislation. Before a bill approved in one committee can be heard by the next, a committee report is adopted by the full House. That step is increasingly resulting in recorded votes. The complaint is something of a pre-emptive strike aimed at heading off use of the votes in campaign materials in 2014.”

Now that was one mean dog … Emily Gurnon of the PiPress reports: “A pit bull attacked a St. Paul police officer who responded to a 911 call about the dog biting someone else, according to a criminal complaint. The officer, Mark Lundquist, suffered bloody puncture wounds on his leg. His pants were torn and his glasses broken. … The officers saw a 13-year-old girl and a 6-year-old girl walking the dog across the street. The 13-year-old held the leash — a 3- to 4-foot piece of nylon rope tied to a large metal chain — and ‘was having a hard time controlling the dog’, the complaint said. Their uncle, Charlie Williamson, 31, told the girls to bring the dog to the officers. Lundquist ‘tried to get the relevant information from the girls and (Williamson) without much success,’ the complaint said. When Lundquist turned around to go back to the house where the victim was, the girl let go of the leash. The dog bit him in the right calf. When it attacked again, the officer shot and killed it.” Girls, how about next time we get a nice little purse dog?