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Metro-area ice-out 42 days later than 2012

Minnesota could be 12th state to approve gay marriage; GOP all clear with campaign board; $1M potato chip; Eagan outlet mall advances; and more.

42 @#!!%@## days … !!! On his weather blog, Paul Huttner of MPR says: “1) “Ice Out Whiplash” 2012-2013: Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman coined the phrase ‘Weather Whiplash’ back in 2009 to describe our wild swings in weather patterns from one extreme to another. It also describes the remarkable swing in ice out dates from 2012-2013 in Minnesota. Take bellwether Minnetonka as an example. Last year Tonka was ice free on March 21st…tying the 3rd earliest date in the 134 years of records from the Freshwater Society. The result? A 7 month boating season with boats on Tonka from late March into early November. This year the ice on Tonka finally gave way on May 2nd, tying for the 3rd latest date on record. The ice on lake Minnetonka went out 42 days later vs. last year. Ice out can be considered one measure of the start of spring in Minnesota…and spring came 42 days later this year vs. 2012.”

So, straight party-line on this one, too? Megan Boldt of the PiPress says: “Minnesota may be poised to become the 12th state in the nation to legalize gay marriage, as House leaders prepare for Thursday floor vote. House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he believes the 73-member DFL majority has the 68 votes needed to pass the bill, even without one Republican vote. So far, no GOP House members have said publicly they would vote ‘yes.’ … there are 17 non-metro DFLers seen as swing votes because their party favors legalizing gay marriage but they represent districts that voted for a constitutional amendment to limit marriages to heterosexual couples.”

For Politics in Minnesota, Briana Bierschbach says: “At least seven swing district or rural Democrats are on the record as planning to vote yes, bringing the known DFL total to 63 votes, but many more have said they are undecided or refused to comment on their upcoming vote. … There are several amendments being prepped for the debate on Thursday, including one from Red Wing GOP Rep. Tim Kelly to allow civil unions in the state. Kelly, along with four other Republican House members and Rochester DFL Rep. Kim Norton, introduced a bill earlier this session to insert the words ‘or civil unions’ alongside any mention of the word marriage in statute. But Kelly recently amended that proposal to remove the word marriage from statute altogether, after gay marriage advocates complained that his original proposal didn’t go far enough.”

The state GOP is back in the good graces of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says: “The Minnesota campaign finance watchdog on Tuesday announced it had concluded its investigation into the Minnesota Republican Party. The conclusion comes months after the state’s Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board started looking at the party’s financial dealing. The investigation resulted in a fine and revealed accounts that were in disarray and debt. But after a painstaking accounting, the party is now in the clear. … ‘The Board finds that the Republican Party of Minnesota has filed amended year-end Report of Receipts and Expenditures for 2009, 2010, and 2011, that accurately disclose the party’s financial transactions during those years.’ “

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Local attorney Lee Henderson has some ideas for resolving the Minnesota Orchestra lockout. In a Strib commentary, he says: “As a lawyer who works in the business world, I understand the need for revenue and expenses to balance. Management’s goal of making sure the orchestra sits on a stable foundation for years to come is important. Yet, I have not heard management express that its goal is to maintain a world-class orchestra. I would think that the board and management would understand that you cannot cut your way to prosperity. … Management says there is a $5 million problem. For the next five years, do the following (all with new money): Musicians must reduce their costs by $1 million a year. How this is done can be determined by people much more familiar with the numbers. The parties should look for creative solutions that do not change the quality of the orchestra musicians.” And he goes on …

The GleanAnd you thought it’d be Michelob Golden Light-bratwurst … The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports: “A northern Wisconsin woman’s suggestion for a new Frito-Lay potato chip flavor has won her $1 million. Karen Weber-Mendham’s entry for cheesy garlic bread-flavored potato chips was chosen the winner in the company’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest announced Monday night. Weber-Mendham wins $1 million or 1 percent of her flavor’s net sales this year, whichever is higher. The other finalists were Christina Abu-Judom, a Brookfield native who came up with Chicken & Waffles flavor, and Tyler Raineri from Lake Zurich, Ill., who submitted Sriracha flavor. They each receive $50,000.”

Finally! A huge, long-standing cultural void is filled … Janet Moore of the Strib reports: “All the pieces are falling into place for the new Paragon Outlet mall that is planned for Eagan. Recently, the CBRE Minneapolis Land Services Group said it represented the Baltimore-based outlet mall in the purchase of 29 acres for the development. The seller was the city of Eagan, and the selling price for just the land was $5.8 million. The overall sale price was $14.73 million, which included funds to relocate streets and utilities, and a contribution for parking. Paragon Outlet Partners plans a $100 million 400,000-square-foot upscale outlet mall for the southeast quadrant of Highway 77 and Highway 13. The open-air mall is expected to open in late 2014.”

Maybe next time … eHarmony, or Christian Singles … Mara Gottfried of the PiPress says: “St. Paul police arrested the former longtime director of St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health in an undercover prostitution sting Monday, May 7. Police posted an ad on, and Rob Fulton, 72, responded to it, making a sex-for-money deal with an undercover female officer, said Sgt. Paul Paulos, St. Paul police spokesman. … Fulton retired in October 2010 after 22 years at the helm of the St. Paul-Ramsey County Department of Public Health. He’d been a public servant for 33 years in various jurisdictions. He is currently on the board of Teenwise Minnesota, according to the website of the organization that says it works to promote adolescent sexual health, prevent adolescent pregnancy and gain support for adolescent parents.”

There’s no real local news impact here … but I can’t resist drawing attention to local conservative blogger, John Hinderaker’s rhetorical question, “Benghazi vs. Watergate: Which Was Worse? Part 1.” OK, so you already know where he’s going with this one. But read on …

“[L]et’s start with the crime, where I think it is beyond dispute that Benghazi is far worse than Watergate. It must be admitted, of course, that Watergate began with an actual crime, a breaking and entering, whereas the conduct that gave rise to the Benghazi cover-up was appalling, but not criminal. That said, the Benghazi “crime” – the conduct that the administration tried to cover up – was infinitely worse than the Watergate break-in. The Obama administration was grotesquely negligent in failing to respond to pleas for better security that came all the way from the top … Contrast that with the Watergate burglary, a minor incident in itself. The Watergate burglars didn’t kill anyone, let alone an ambassador. In fact, no one has ever quite figured out the motive behind the burglary. But whatever it was, its consequences were several orders of magnitude less than the Obama administration’s catastrophic failure in Libya. Another factor should be considered as well. President Nixon had nothing to do with the Watergate break-in. There is no evidence that he had any knowledge of it, and it is universally assumed, as far as I know, that he did not.”

Re-read that line … “universally assumed, as far as I know” … A Power Line classic.