Something tells me this isn’t going to cut it. A WCCO-TV story says: “A Republican state lawmaker is introducing a bill to establish civil unions for Minnesota gay couples as an alternative to legalizing same-sex marriage. Republican Rep. Tim Kelly of Red Wing planned to unveil his proposal at a Wednesday press conference at the Capitol. He said his bill has support from lawmakers in both parties. Kelly was one of four Republicans who voted against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage when the Legislature put it on the ballot in 2011. But he has said that gay marriage supporters overreached when they turned from defeating the constitutional ban to pushing for legal gay marriage, arguing that opposition to putting the ban in the constitution didn’t necessarily equate to supporting gay marriage.”
They’re having their own dang prom … . Amy Bowen at the St. Cloud Times says: “Local LGBT teens will kick off this year’s prom season in Central Minnesota with area high schools following suit nearly every weekend into late May. This is the second year of alternative prom, and the event is the only one in the area aimed at LGBT teens and allies. Organizers hope to attract 100 attendees ages 17-21. The Central Minnesota Prom Alternative Committee will host ‘Masquerade,’ a dance from 8 p.m.-midnight Saturday at the Quarry at St. Cloud State University. The event is free. The night will be alcohol free.” Well, that will be different.
The latest in our paper-free world … The AP says: “Timber producers are hopeful another $8 million proposed for forestry management will stay in the state budget to help sustain the industry. Industry representatives say the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wouldn’t have been able to consistently produce 800,000 cords of wood a year under Gov. Mark Dayton’s original budget proposal. Eight-hundred-thousand cords is considered a production mark needed to sustain the timber industry. Output would have decreased significantly under Dayton’s original budget proposed in January, according to Minnesota Timber Producers Association executive Wayne Brandt.”
Today’s best mug shot … Sarah Horner at the PiPress reports: “A Ramsey woman is in custody Wednesday, April 3, after reportedly driving with a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit with a child in her car. Jennifer Ann Kojetin, 35, was pulled over just after midnight Tuesday near the intersection of Coon Rapids Boulevard and Hummingbird Street after a police officer saw her driving the wrong way down the road, according to Coon Rapids Police Capt. John Hattstrom. The officer discovered a 14-year-old girl in the car had also been drinking, Hattstrom said. The teen was not her own, though the initial police report did not detail how Kojetin knew the girl.”
An editorial in the Duluth News-Tribune argues for further supporting the more enlightened attitudes toward prostitution: “Prostitutes are criminals. They break the law by selling sex. They should be arrested. They should be prosecuted. Those sorts of long-held attitudes are no longer the official line in Minnesota. In 2011, the state became a national leader by adopting a more-enlightened view of the women picked up on the streets — and of the children visited in cheap hotel rooms, shabby apartments and elsewhere. A decision was made to see them, and to treat them, not as wrongdoers but as the victims they truly are. … Legislation known as ‘Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door’ — co-sponsored in the House by Duluth DFLer Rep. Tom Huntley and in the Senate by Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick — would provide $13.5 million.”
A la carte it is … . The AP reports: “A central Minnesota businessman has gotten a temporary break from a new federal requirement to provide mandatory contraception coverage to his employees. U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim has granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the contraception provision of the federal law for Greg Hall, owner of American Manufacturing Co. in St. Joseph. Hall is a Catholic deacon who objects to providing insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and abortion drugs.” Is there a religion that objects to paying taxes?
Sequestration, which has yet to be fully felt, may have dropped pretty low on the public radar, but Randy Furst of the Strib writes: “U.S. District Judge Michael Davis, chief federal judge in Minnesota, has expressed deep concern about the impact that sequestration will have on the U.S. judiciary, including Minnesota. ‘The cuts to the judiciary are going to change the administration of justice in the United States,” Davis warned in an interview. While no furloughs in Minnesota courts have been announced, other court districts around the country have reported major reductions. In the Central District of California, which covers Los Angeles, staff are being furloughed and court services will be reduced on seven Fridays from April through August. The courthouses will be open, but the clerk’s office will be closed, except for the criminal intake section and specified emergency civil filings. ‘When I see that it happens to the Central District of California, I know that more than likely it will spread across the country,’ Davis said.”
Good news. Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress says: “Prevention efforts apparently have stalled an increase in the number of infant deaths at child care centers, according to a state report released Wednesday, April 3. Since July, there has been only one infant death in child care centers, according to the report from the state Department of Human Services. A previous report from the department showed the number of infant deaths in child care settings had risen from six per year prior to 2006 to more than 11 in both 2010 and 2011.”
Today in fraud … John Welbes of the PiPress says: “Joseph Meyer, a former employee of St. Paul developer Jerry Trooien, was sentenced Wednesday to a year and a day in prison for his role in the Minnetonka Cloud 9 Sky Lofts mortgage fraud scheme. U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson told Meyer his conduct was serious and that ‘you’re the most culpable of the people involved in this case.’ A total of nine people were charged with crimes related to the scheme at the Cloud 9 condominium complex in Minnetonka, which Trooien owned. … Wednesday’s hearing featured extended arguments from attorneys about the actual loss in the case and whether a loss was intended. What was undisputed, Robert Lewis, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case said, was that there was a kickback of $467,000 on the five Cloud 9 deals that were part of Meyer’s deal to plead guilty.”
Video of Aaron Schaffhausen’s police interrogation last summer has been introduced at his sanity trial. Pam Louwagie of the Strib says: “For most of the video shown to jurors Wednesday, Schaffhausen sat still and in silence, not responding to River Falls officer Charles Golden’s questions about whether he understood his rights and what happened to the girls. Schaffhausen can be heard crying somewhat quietly when the officer read him his Miranda rights, then he sat motionless again. … When Golden talked of putting the girls in bed and covering them up “because you wanted them to have peace,” Schaffhausen cried and put his head down on the desk that he sat facing, the video shows. At one point Golden asked if there was anyone else police should have been looking for and Schaffhausen shook his head no.”
SuperValu is shedding executives. Mike Hughlett’s Strib piece says: “Supervalu’s chief financial officer and general counsel will both exit the company, the latest retooling of its top executive ranks under new CEO Sam Duncan. The company said Wednesday that Sherry Smith, a 26-year Supervalu veteran who’s been CFO since December 2010, will leave at the end of May. Eden Prairie-based Supervalu plans to announce a new CFO at a later date. Todd Sheldon, executive vice president and general counsel and corporate secretary, will also exit at the end of May, after assisting the company in completing its fiscal 2013 filings. He’s been with Supervalu since 2008.” Do we assume they are being adequately compensated?