Since the hometown press isn’t exactly all over this … Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register reports: “Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was aware of the financial arrangement between an Iowa senator and her presidential campaign that’s now the subject of three separate ethics investigations, according to a former aide. Campaign aide Andy Parrish, a confidential informant who agreed this week to step forward to testify to the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee, will detail an arrangement for potentially improper payments to state Sen. Kent Sorenson, R-Milo, for presidential campaign work, his lawyer said today. … Parrish has emails that spell out an arrangement for Sorenson to get $7,500 a month via C&M Strategies, a fundraising consulting firm with ties to Bachmann, said Parrish’s lawyer, John H. Gilmore of St. Paul, Minn. Sorenson was the chairman of Bachmann’s Iowa campaign until he switched allegiances to Ron Paul on the eve of the Jan. 3, 2012 Iowa caucuses. ‘Andy is prepared to say that Michele Bachmann understood that Sorenson was being paid, the nature of the payment and the source of those funds,’ the lawyer told The Des Moines Register today.” Will these “politically motivated attacks” never cease?
A bit close for comfort … Paul Walsh of the Strib writes about an Edina guy caught close to the crossfire in Boston last night: “A long night of violent drama unfolded early Friday outside the Watertown, Mass., bedroom window of Edina native Andrew Kitzenberg as heavily armed law enforcers closed in on the two suspects in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, at one point leading to bullets puncturing his apartment. … One of his latest of many tweets, posted shortly before 8 a.m., read: ‘Suspect may be in 18 oak st. Next door to us. 9 brave people in a basement,’ followed by ‘Evacuated for the 2nd time out of a house on oak st. Laurel st. is still off limits.’ In a text message exchange with the Star Tribune at about 8:30 a.m., Kitzenberg was asked whether it was safe to talk on the phone: ‘No,’ was the sum of his response.”
If you think it’s bad here … Dan Kraker and Tim Nelson of MPR report on what its like up north. “Nearly two feet of snow has fallen in the last 24 hours in northern Minnesota in a storm that has disrupted travel and closed schools. … Observers reported 22 inches of snow near Two Harbors, more than a foot in St. Cloud, 7 inches near Fort Ripley, and nearly 6 inches in St. Louis Park. Nearly 18 inches of snow fell in Duluth, making it the snowiest April ever in the city with 40 inches of snow. It’s also been the snowiest winter on record. … Temperatures statewide were expected to drop Friday night, possibly breaking more records. National Weather Service forecaster Deckan Cannon said Duluth could break the record of 14 degrees overnight.” Minnesota …the new Saskatchewan.
There’s serious cash in fees. Tom Scheck’s MPR story says: “The Minnesota House and Senate have been working on their budget bills this week. Democrats in the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton are planning to raise taxes by about $2.5 billion. The fees and surcharges would raise hundreds of millions more. The list includes $3 more for a driver’s license, a $5 surcharge on homeowner’s and auto insurance policies, a new fee on prepaid cell phones and a $15 surcharge on traffic violations. The House environment budget bill raises fees on water. Lakeville City Administrator Steve Mielke said his city’s water fees would go from $45,000 a year to $125,000 a year. ‘The only way we pay for that is to pass the cost on to our water customers,’ Mielke said. ‘We’ve estimated that we would have to raise rates somewhere in the area of 2 to 3 percent depending on where this ends up.’ “
Minnesota’s vets want their slice of the pie. The AP says: “Minnesota veterans groups are exerting pressure on state lawmakers to come through with money for a proposed facility for veterans needing intensive care. The $54 million project on the Minneapolis veterans’ home campus is part of a construction plan put forward by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. But it was left out of a House proposal nearing a floor vote. … But House Capital Investment Committee Chairwoman Alice Hausman has questioned whether a centralized facility makes the most sense when there are almost 900 veterans on waiting lists around the state. She says lawmakers should discuss whether to build smaller facilities in more places.”
Sasha Aslanian of MPR reports on a new book on sex abuse cases involving the Catholic church. Two Minnesotans get a lot of attention: “In Minnesota, victims of childhood sexual abuse must file civil suits before they turn 24 — a stricter threshold than many states. Four states have eliminated statutes of limitations for these kinds of cases, and three others have opened windows for victims to file. It’s impossible to know how many cases may have been blocked by the statute of limitations, said Michael D’Antonio, author of ‘Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime and the Era of Catholic Scandal.’ His book tells the story of sex abuse cases in a Louisiana parish, first coming to light in 1984 and swelling to a worldwide crisis. … He talks about the book at 4 p.m. Friday at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. He will also read at noon Saturday at Valley Bookseller in Stillwater. Jeffrey Anderson, a local attorney who is internationally known for suing the church on behalf of victims, will also speak.”
Someone should tally up the wasted expense in this turn of events. At WCCO-TV, Esme Murphy reports: “Thousands of DWI cases could be tossed out because of a Supreme Court ruling. The ruling, issued Wednesday, says that law enforcement must have a search warrant before taking a blood alcohol sample. The ruling specifically talks about blood alcohol tests. Right now in Minnesota, blood tests make up less than 20 percent of DWI cases — 80 percent of arrests are made after a breathalyzer test. But DWI attorney Chuck Ramsey said the ruling will impact all DWI tests. ‘This will definitely affect breath test cases.’ Ramsey said. But the State Patrol sees it very differently. They said in a statement, ‘The decision will not impact the vast majority of DWI arrests in Minnesota.’ ”
Usually it helps if you can see the grass you’re playing on. But the Strib runs a list of “The Top 10 Golf Courses” in the Twin Cities. At the top … : “The top 10 public 18-hole golf courses in the Twin Cities, as rated by Hacker’s Guide: 1. Rush Creek Golf Club (Maple Grove, 945 points)
2. The Links at Northfork (Ramsey, 940)
3. Prestwick Golf Club (Woodbury, 937)
4. Chaska Town Course (Chaska, 936)
5. Oak Marsh Golf Course (Oakdale, 923) …”
May I suggest a slush wedge …
So now who? Jason Lewis? Kurt Bills? Bob Davis? The AP reports: “Rep. John Kline says he’s not interested in running for the U.S. Senate or governor next year. Kline, a Republican, said Friday, April 19, he wants to take his name off the table now so it will help others who might run against Democratic Sen. Al Franken or Gov. Mark Dayton. Kline says his party needs a candidate to emerge soon to oppose Franken because the senator has a big head start on money.”