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Dayton: Zimmerman ‘went way beyond what was called for’

Local governments lobbied big at state Capitol; another worrisome invasive critter; Alberta Clipper pipeline decision looms; peak time for Lyme disease; and more.

Gov. Dayton waded into the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin issue. Says the AP story: “Dayton said Wednesday that the Florida case involving Trayvon Martin’s death in a scuffle with a neighborhood watch volunteer has stiffened his opposition to efforts to expand cases where lethal force is presumed legitimate. Dayton commented on last weekend’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Martin in 2012. Dayton said …  he personally believes Zimmerman ‘went way beyond what was called for in the situation.’ He tied the case to proposals recently before lawmakers to expand Minnesota’s stand-your-ground law in which people can use reasonable, potentially deadly force to defend themselves, their home or dwelling. A bill he vetoed in 2012 would have included hotel rooms, tents, cars and boats.”

There’s a “what one hand giveth” kind of feel to this story … Stribber Jennifer Brooks writes: “Minnesota’s cities, counties, school districts and local government associations spent $7.8 million lobbying their own state last year. That’s almost half a million dollars less than local governments spent lobbying in St. Paul in 2011. … Unsurprisingly, the 10 communities that spent more than $100,000 on state lobbying in 2012 included the communities lobbying hardest to be the new home of the Vikings. Minneapolis spent $394,000, Hennepin County spent another $213,000, the Metropolitan Sports Authority Commission spent almost $341,000, Ramsey County spent $145,000, St. Paul spent $123,000 and Anoka County spent $121,000.”

Your invasive critter-of-the-day story … . From the AP: “A harmful new fruit fly is threatening Minnesota’s berry crops. The tiny spotted wing Drosophila is native to Asia. It was first found in the U.S. in 2008, in California, and quickly caused sizeable losses along the West Coast. The pest’s first arrival in Minnesota was detected late last summer, and the state’s raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, cherries and plums are all vulnerable … . maggots hit fall raspberries hard last year. Some pick-your-own growers had a 50 percent loss and had to shut down, he said. Officials urge berry and grape growers to check for the pests and take action, but they concede the fly is so new to Minnesota that there’s a lot they still don’t know.”

Pump baby, pump. Elizabeth Dunbar, at MPR, reports: “State regulators on Wednesday will consider whether an oil pipeline crossing northern Minnesota should be able to carry more crude from Alberta’s oil sands. Enbridge’s proposed expansion for its Alberta Clipper line, which opened in 2010, needs permission from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and a permit from the federal government before it can go forward. The decision by the PUC expected Wednesday could allow for the first phase of expansion — an increase from 450,000 barrels per day to 570,000 barrels per day. Enbridge has also applied for a certificate of need for the second expansion, which would increase capacity to 800,000 barrels per day.

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“Like childbirth”… Elizabeth Stawicki’s MPR coverage of a MNsure town hall meeting in Minneapolis last night includes this: “Several DFL legislators and the head of the upcoming online insurance marketplace, MNsure, tried to explain the federal health care law as part of a town hall meeting last night in Minneapolis. Saundra Crump, of Minneapolis, thought they put too high a gloss on what will be a major change. ‘Quit talking to us like it’s going to be some cakewalk,’ she said. ‘At least explain it like childbirth: it’s going to be painful, it’s going to be awful, but you’re going to get a baby at the end.’ The group told the audience that the cost of health plan premiums will be available Oct. 1 for plans that will take effect in January 2014. They said Minnesotans should prepare for a deluge of mass media campaigns, coming in mid-August, to explain how the law will work.” … which will be kind of like a prostate exam.

The GleanAlso out of MPR, Lorna Benson writes: “Minnesota is entering its peak period for Lyme disease diagnoses. As common as the tick-borne disease is, there’s still a lot unknown about it. A debate has raged for many years over how to treat it, especially for people with suspected chronic Lyme disease. Even the existence of that condition is disputed. Dr. Johan S. Bakken, an infectious disease doctor at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, believes some physicians are treating an infection that doesn’t exist. He helped write the latest guidance on treating Lyme disease. The treatment debate, he said, is ‘to a large extent driven by emotions that are not supported by scientific evidence.’ ”

Talk about an unlucky bird … . Sam Cook at the Duluth News Tribune reports: “A bald eagle was found dead Monday evening along the St. Louis River, ensnared in fishing line. That was its second unfortunate experience this year. The bird was one of the two eagles found with their talons entangled May 12 when they crashed to the tarmac at the Duluth International Airport. Mike Schrage, wildlife biologist for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said one of the band’s conservation officers found the dead eagle Monday evening just south of the U.S. Highway 2 bridge over the St. Louis River near Brookston. … When Schrage received the bird, it was wearing a band on one leg. Schrage called the band number in to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bird Banding Laboratory at Patuxent, Md. He confirmed the bird was one of the two found on the Duluth tarmac.”

Return of The Suburban World … . Eric Roper of the Strib says: “The historic, 85-year-old property — more recently known as the Suburban World theater — has sat empty for more than a year on one of Uptown’s most bustling commercial corridors. Plans call for it to be turned into a retail space. A description of the plans from DJR Architecture says the restoration will include repairing the twinkling ceiling lights, rehabbing damaged walls and ceilings and removing some 1990s elements. The building’s facade will also be cleaned. It remains unclear who the retail tenant will be, however.”

Finally, buried in a BuzzFeed Politics story by McKay Coppins and Jacob Fischler about the ongoing meltdown of Our Favorite Congresswoman’s primary political consultant is this: “The series of emails and text messages … adds further detail to that meeting, and shows the extent to which the company’s managers were worried about [CEO Rex] Elsass’ psychological and spiritual health. They also reveal potentially embarrassing anecdotes for the company, including one incident in which an executive said Elsass accidentally mailed a ‘female pleasure machine’ to Rep. Michele Bachmann. … one person familiar with the story told BuzzFeed that Elsass had intended to give Bachmann a vibrating head massager to help alleviate her migraines, and that the employee he sent to buy the gift accidentally purchased something that more closely resembled a sex toy — and sent it to her office. … The person familiar with the story said the firm successfully retrieved the gift before Bachmann could open it.” Thank God for that.