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Tension bubbling between Dayton and business leaders

Family fighting over fund for slain officer; tech-skills shortage cited; zoo concert series; Twins season opener; Zimmerman, Minn., victims identified; and more.

Would you really rather have it the other way? Mark Zdechlik of MPR writes: “[In a speech before the Chamber of Commerce, Chief of Staff Tina] Smith defended Dayton’s budget, including his call for a new income tax on the top 2 percent of earners. She also thanked the businesspeople for their contributions to the state. ‘We may not always agree, but the governor respects deeply your perspective,’ she said. Smith’s cordial tone is one that some business leaders say the governor needs to take. The issue could come up on Tuesday, when David Olson, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, plans to meet with top Dayton administration officials to discuss tension between the governor and business leaders. Chamber officials accuse Dayton of misrepresenting Minnesota’s business climate and dismissing their concerns about the repercussions of raising taxes on top earners. They point to a speech Dayton delivered a couple of weeks ago to the chamber in which Dayton took the group to task for criticizing him as he beat back its arguments against tax increases.” Everybody might need a little thicker skin.

Death, money and families. Things can and often do get ugly. The Strib’s Curt Brown reports on the aftermath of the death of Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker. “A Stearns County judge said Monday that he will issue an order creating a receivership to collect the money donated to the family of slain Cold Spring police officer Thomas Decker. District Judge John Scherer also said during the brief hearing in St. Cloud that he will schedule a hearing for a later date to determine how the funds will be distributed. Four months after Decker was shot and killed in an alley, his widow, ex-wife and two of his brothers are haggling over who should control the donated money. An undisclosed sum has been contributed by the public to various banks after his death.” “Haggling” seems euphemistic.

The blue-collar tech-skills shortage gets another look from MPR’s Tom Robertson: “Pequot Tool and Manufacturing, whose 135 workers fabricate metal and plastic parts for aviation, agriculture, medical and other industries, is poised for growth in Pequot Lakes, about 25 miles north of [Brainerd]. But the company is turning away customers, chief executive officer Karlo Goerges says. Goerges can’t find workers with the right skills, he said. And here in Brainerd, John Newhouse struggles with the same problem. He’s president of Lakeland Mold Company, a manufacturer of custom molds, including things like plastic fuel tanks for agriculture equipment. Demand is up, but Newhouse, too, has had to turn down business because workers skilled in machining, fabricating and welding are scarce.”

The list of summer concerts at the Minnesota Zoo has been released. Ross Raihala at the PiPress says: “Single tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. April 27 through Ticketmaster. Package deals will be announced soon and will go on sale April 19. All shows are all ages and will take place rain or shine at the Minnesota Zoo’s Weesner Family Amphitheater. This year’s lineup includes numerous Zoo favorites (Dave Koz, Dark Star Orchestra, BoDeans) and one dual-header of Marc Cohn and Mary Chapin Carpenter booked for a two-night stand. A number of this year’s other concerts will feature two headliners, including Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys, Trombone Shorty and Mavis Staples, and John Hiatt and Steve Earle.” Also … Dr. John and Sonny Landreth. Nice.

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The Glean And what are they saying in Detroit about this afternoon’s season opener here against the Twins? Anthony Fenech of the Free Press writes, “[Justin] Verlander pitching against the Twins, in Minnesota, in April. Game-time temperature in the mid-30’s. Verlander throws in the mid-90’s. He is good. The Twins are bad. (Also see: recipe for success.) The Tigers’ ace is looking for his first opening day win in six tries. He’s unbeaten at Target Field in four starts (3-0, 2.67). For the Twins, Vance Worley gets the starting nod. Did I mention the Twins are bad? He came over from the Phillies in an off-season trade for Ben Revere. Worley has only faced two Tigers: Prince Fielder (3-for-9) and Omar Infante (0-for-6). Matchup to watch: Verlander vs. Twins’ catcher Joe Mauer. It doesn’t — and shouldn’t — get old watching these two play chess at the plate. A great pitcher vs. a great hitter who happens to be a great catcher.” I’ll tell you what’s “bad,” pal. Detroit.

At SB Nation, Jon Marthaler offers an April 1 recap of … the Twins 2013 season. Some samples:
APRIL
… as sub-freezing temperatures threaten Opening Day. Bud Selig, off his medication, announces that the game will be played in Milwaukee.

Sid Hartman is tossed from a postgame press conference for repeatedly referring to Vance Worley as “Gump Worsley.”

MAY
…when Chris Parmelee misses two days after being hit on the head by a fly ball. Though the team assumes that he’d simply lost the ball in the sun, the right fielder later confesses that he’d tried to get out of the way, but was just too slow.

After Aaron Hicks goes 0-5 with four strikeouts, Ricky Rubio tweets at him, “Stay positive and hang in there Aaron!!” with an attached picture of a kitten, causing the entire local sports blogger population to require treatment for third-degree swooning.

AUGUST
… as every local TV channel begins airing five minutes of Joe Mauer Child Watch. FOX 9 replaces the weather with a nightly segment consisting of an increasingly out-of-his-depth Ian Leonard trying to explain how babies are made without getting an FCC fine.”

One more Opening Day-related piece. The Strib’s Jim Souhan offers some unusually pointed advice for manager Ron Gardenhire:
“4. Avoid using the media as his messenger. A handful of players have chafed the past couple of years when they have heard criticism from Gardenhire via reporters rather than via the manager or his coaches. Gardenhire has definite strengths as a manager. He’s knowledgeable and experienced. … He’s remarkably intense and driven, and that intensity cuts both ways. It can enliven a clubhouse and dugout during what can be a long and boring season, but it’s essential for his future that he learn how to …
5. Maintain his composure. His blowups with umpires are entertaining but don’t necessarily help his team. And more than one player has mentioned that when he begins pacing and wiping his face when a pitcher struggles, his nervousness can be viewed as a lack of faith in his players.”
I don’t know about you, but watching Gardy go after an umpire has been the only entertaining part of some of these games the last two years.

The latest on those three deaths in a home in Zimmerman … WCCO-TV says: “Authorities have identified the three people who were found dead inside a home in Zimmerman Sunday morning. The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office said a 35-year-old woman, 7-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl, all from Zimmerman, were found dead in the home. They were identified Monday morning as Stephanie Shields, Nolan Shields and Josephine Shields. … Authorities have released very little information about the incident, but said that they are not seeking any suspects.”

We beat the milk dip.  The AP says: “Milk production declined across most of the nation in February, but Wisconsin and Minnesota weathered the decrease better than most other states. Wisconsin dairy farmers harvested 2.2 billion pounds in February, essentially unchanged from February of last year. And Minnesota produced 728 million pounds, a 1 percent dip.” Why do they measure milk in pounds instead of gallons?