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Institute of Arts receives $25 million gift of Japanese art

New help for veterans; Hazelden and Betty Ford Center team up; Great Lakes’ oldest shipwreck; mind-control robots; Ritchie successors line up; ACLU hits marijuana racial-arrest ratios; and more.

Well … THANK YOU. Mary Abbe’s Strib story says: “Friendships rooted in farming and a passion for art have inspired a California cattle breeder to give the Minneapolis Institute of Arts $25 million worth of Japanese art. The gift, announced Tuesday, is among the largest in the MIA’s history, consisting of nearly 1,700 objects — paintings, sculpture, ceramics, woodblock prints, bamboo baskets — spanning more than 1,000 years. Combined with a pending bequest of 500 Japanese objects from a New York collector, the Californian’s gift will transform the Minneapolis museum into one of the country’s largest and most comprehensive centers of Japanese art.”

Veterans did get something out of the last legislative session. Mark Brunswick of the Strib says: “The Minneapolis Veterans Home will receive $18.9 million from the bonding bill as the state’s share of a project to improve a residential building on the grounds. The Legislature also expanded eligibility for the Minnesota GI Bill to include all veterans who served honorably (eligibility had been limited to post-9/11 veterans) and to all surviving spouses or children of veterans who either died as a result of military service or who have total permanent service-connected disability. County veteran service officers, the front line for veterans who seek help, have $2 million to increase outreach to veterans on issues such as homelessness and reintegration of combat veterans into society.”

Chad Terhune of the Los Angeles Times reports: “The Betty Ford Center, the most prestigious name in drug and alcohol treatment for decades, is pursuing an alliance with another well-established addiction treatment organization in Minnesota. The Hazelden Foundation and the Betty Ford Center said in a statement Tuesday that both of their boards ‘have approved in principle the concept of a formal alliance.’ Susan Fox Gillis, chair of Hazelden’s board of trustees, said the implementation of the federal healthcare law was a key driver behind the move as all types of medical providers look at consolidation in order to better compete in a changing industry.

Really? The oldest known shipwreck? The AP says: “An organization that believes it has discovered the wreckage of the oldest known shipwreck in the Great Lakes has received a state permit to conduct a test excavation at the site in northern Lake Michigan, officials said Tuesday. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the state archaeologist’s office approved a plan by Great Lakes Exploration Group, which hopes to identify the vessel as the Griffin, also known by the French equivalent Le Griffon. Legendary explorer Rene-Robert Sieur de La Salle built and commanded the ship on behalf of King Louis XIV. During its maiden voyage in September 1679, the Griffin departed from the area near present-day Green Bay, Wis. Carrying a crew of six and cargo of furs, the ship was never seen again.” … and The Sun King was not pleased.

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Obviously, justice  — like rust — never sleeps in North Dakota. Stephen Lee of The Grand Forks Herald writes: “Kenneth John Knutson, 44, was convicted of a misdemeanor forgery charge in state district court in Grand Forks in 1992. Somehow an old warrant surfaced and a court ‘review’ was ordered over whether he ever served his way-back sentence. Knutson, who has been living recently in Tenstrike, Minn., northeast of Bemidji, had no defense attorney Monday. … The old charge meant state District Judge Sonja Clapp had to recuse herself from deciding on it, because she had been the prosecutor on the case back then. David Jones, the current assistant state’s attorney on the case, said he had nothing to prosecute. ‘The sentence was served,’ Jones told Clapp. ‘There’s not even a case to dismiss.’ ”

The GleanThese have no relation to certain political caucuses … Richard Chin of the PiPress reports: “Robots are a step closer to reading our thoughts, thanks to researchers at the University of Minnesota. Biomedical engineers in the U’s College of Science and Engineering have developed a non-invasive system that allows people to control flying robots using only their minds. The engineers created a skullcap fitted with 64 electrodes that can track the electrical activity of a subject’s brain. The brain signals were sent to a computer, which translated them into Wi-Fi commands to a four-blade flying robot.”

And who wants Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s job? Rachel Stassen-Berger writes: “On Tuesday afternoon, state Rep. Steve Simon, the chair of the House elections committee and a Hopkins Democrat, said he was ‘seriously considering’ a run, Rep. Ryan Winkler, a Golden Valley Democrat, is giving it ‘serious thought’ and Rachel Larson Bohman, a high-profile county election official, has already announced her candidacy. Former state Rep. Jeremy Kalin also said he is also looking into a possible run. Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, said he is ‘strongly thinking about a run.’ Reinert said being one of the few candidates from outside the Twin Cities could give him a unique edge. Republican Kent Kaiser, who worked in the Secretary of State office when it [was] last in Republican hands, said he would also seriously consider a run. Republican state Rep. Pat Garofalo, of Farmington, has also been talking about a potential run and said, ‘the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.’ Rep. Joyce Peppin, who hails from Rogers and recently completed a law degree, also says she is considering a run.”

Interesting piece from Dan Olson at MPR: “To the untrained eye, a certain greenhouse of plants at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus may seem like nothing special. But Dennis McKenna, an ethno-pharmacologist, sees much more than that. Some can cure disease, like the Madagascar periwinkle. ‘It is the source of two really important drugs to treat childhood leukemia,’ McKenna said. Other plants in the greenhouse are the source of psychedelic drugs that some scientists say could be therapeutic. McKenna, who teaches at the university’s Center for Spirituality and Healing, is an authority on hallucinogens derived from plants such as ayahuasca, a tea brewed in South America’s Amazon basin and used as part of religious ceremonies.”

The ACLU is not pleased with the arrest ratio of blacks with marijuana. It says: “According to a new report by the ACLU, Blacks were arrested for marijuana possession at 7.81 times the rate of whites in 2010, despite comparable marijuana usage rates. … In Minnesota, the counties with the largest racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests were Hennepin, Ramsey, and Dakota. Statewide, police officers made 7,494 arrests for marijuana possession in 2010, and marijuana possession rates accounted for 42.8 percent of all drug arrests in 2010. From 2001-2010, overall marijuana possession arrest rates fell -0.5% and the racial disparities among such arrests increased 231%. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans now support marijuana legalization, Minnesota spent as much as $69 million enforcing marijuana laws in 2010. Nationally, states spent a combined $3.61 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010 alone.” Is someone calculating the ROI on that one?