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St. Paul may increase levy to cover stadium

In the nitty gritty of the Saints Lowertown stadium deal, Frederick Melo of the PiPress writes: “When the St. Paul City Council takes up a $9 million amendment to the Lowertown regional ballpark budget on Wednesday, members likely will designate the St. Paul Port Authority as the issuer of ballpark revenue bonds. … At 2 p.m. Tuesday, the board of the Port Authority will consider a resolution that would give preliminary approval to the ballpark bonds. The Port Authority board also will take a look at possible increases next year to its mandatory levy, the amount charged to taxpayers to help fund its work.”

We’re #10!  Andy Greder of the PiPress has the Beer Survey du Jour: “The amount of suds produced in the state in 2012 skyrocketed with an 80 percent increase in barrels over 2011 — the second highest jump of any state in that period, according to the Brewers Association, a national trade organization. With about 50 craft breweries — more than double the amount in 2011 — Minnesota became the No. 10 craft beer-producing state, the association said. And with passage in 2011 of the state's taproom law, or the ‘Surly bill,’ allowing breweries to sell pints on site and with the upswing of an overall ‘locavore’ movement to consume more locally produced food and drink, brewers and industry insiders are raising their glasses to what looks to be a growing future.”

At Salon, Jessica Benko is on the story of Minnesota’s dying moose. She writes: “In the past year alone, their numbers plummeted 35 percent, leaving only about 2,700 moose. That’s a mortality rate unseen anywhere else in North America—in fact, in other parts of the continent, moose are thriving. But something, or a combination of somethings, is threatening to wipe out moose from the North Woods in less than a decade, if the current decline continues unabated. Scientists suspect that everything from blood-draining ticks to brain-tunneling parasites to stress from higher temperatures—or a combination of all those factors and more—could be to blame. … Four percent of the moose brains had healed-over tracks from brainworm, which can cause death if the worm burrows through critical tissues of the brain. Another ten percent had brain lesions of unidentifiable origins. Thirty percent had cysts in their livers from Fascioloides magna, giant liver flukes that can grow up to three inches long and migrate elsewhere in the body.”

Meanwhile, down south…  John Weiss of The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports: “Reports of black bear sightings are continuing to come into the Department of Natural Resources in southeastern Minnesota. Earlier ones came from Fillmore and Houston counties, while the most recent ones have been in the Cannon Falls area. DNR officials say more bears are coming into the region from the north or across the Mississippi River from Wisconsin. Don Nelson, DNR area wildlife supervisor, said he got the first calls this spring, leading him to believe that those bears had made dens and spent the winter here. Those were more in the Fillmore-Houston area. In past years, farmers harvesting crops have rousted a number of bears from dens. … Black bears are expanding their range in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Southeastern Minnesota actually has excellent bear habitat because there is ample food and a lot of woods…”

Mary Juhl and Tesla Rodriguez of the Winona Daily News report: “The demand for frac sand in western Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota exploded several years ago, spurring a dash to open mines and processing facilities and ship the valuable sand across the country for fracking operations. But that demand has cooled significantly this year, according to industry representatives and reports from government agencies. There’s simply more sand available than the industry needs at the moment. Some of the region’s newly permitted sand mines are idle, as are loading and hauling facilities, and some operations are stockpiling sand.”

At MPR, Julie Siple has a piece on the suspicious/cynical decision to split food stamps out of the farm bill. “Food stamps are traditionally part of the farm bill, but the House split the bill into two pieces in order to get more conservative support. The move came after disagreement over food stamp cuts sunk an earlier version of the bill in the House. … The debate hasn't surprised Joe Soss, a professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He saw it coming during the presidential campaign, when Newt Gingrich called Barack Obama the food stamp president. ‘I think that what's happened is a kind of 'welfare-ization' of food stamps,’ Soss said. ‘Food stamps in recent years has really been targeted to take on the same kind of symbolic meaning that cash welfare has in the past.’ … In the past, the concern was exclusively about hunger. Now, there's also a discussion about obesity, and whether people are eating the right food. That concern comes not just from the right, but increasingly from public health experts who support food stamps. The criticism echoes old storylines about people using government benefits improperly, said Soss.”

It took them three weeks after Forbes broke the story, but the Strib got around to the Pohlads' quarter of a billion dollar disagreement with the IRS. On yesterday’s front page, David Phelps wrote: “The agency claims that Pohlad’s heirs owe the IRS more than $207 million, largely on the basis of a purportedly low valuation the estate placed on the late patriarch’s most visible asset, the Minnesota Twins. The tax collector also wants $48 million as an ‘accuracy related penalty’ for a total potential tax bill of $255.8 million. …  according to tax attorneys not connected with the case, the Pohlads will be on the defensive in this dispute.”

The GleanInside, business page columnist Lee Schaffer writes: “Is it common for patriarchs to pass control to heirs as part of minimizing the value of a taxable estate? ‘Absolutely,’ said Bob Strachota, president of the Shenehon Co., a leading business valuation firm in Minneapolis. ‘It’s not only a strategy that they employed, it’s a strategy that everyone today is doing.’ Strachota counts the Pohlad interests as a past client and he declined to discuss the current dispute, but he did outline how family-held businesses can minimize the amount of tax liability. … Is it possible to threaten, cajole, spin or otherwise influence a seasoned valuation expert working for a major international firm into dropping his estimate? To get assets purportedly worth $293 million valued at $24 million it’s not. When this is settled, the final number won’t be public, but it’s my guess it’s going to be much closer to the position of the Pohlads than the IRS.”

Sally Jo Sorensen wasn’t wasting her Sunday idling in her hammock. On her Bluestem Prairie site she posts: “Bluestem's editor can understand the desire to appeal to the presumed authority of dead Presidents, but after spending some years toiling in Franklin's Library Company, we also prize Ronald Reagan's maxim about verifying information. Fake quotes have a whiff about them, an odor of present-ist convenience, and thus when we read America’s future depends upon being ‘one nation under God’, a column by Nate Borge, pastor of Little Falls' Faith Luthern Church (LCMC), in the Morrison County Record, we paused on the first paragraph:

James Madison (our fourth President), the primary author of the Constitution, said, ‘We have staked the whole future of our new nation not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.’

Well, no. Madison never said or wrote that.  Those who comb through the tiny man's writings find little trace of religion. As Snopes' source notes about this specific quote:

The inaccurate Madison Ten Commandments quote was circulated among the Religious Right chiefly by David Barton, a Texas man who peddles a revisionist history arguing that the United States was founded as a ‘Christian nation’. In 1996, Barton admitted that the quote is bogus and recommended that people stop using it.

In 1993, the curators of the Madison Papers at the University of Virginia were asked if they could verify the quote. They replied that they could not. Wrote Curators John Stagg and David Mattern, ‘We did not find anything in our files remotely like the sentiment expressed in the extract you sent us. In addition, the idea is inconsistent with everything we know about Madison's views on religion and government, views which he expressed time and time again in public and in private.’

It's 2013, and yet this fake quote still walks among us.”

Well, we seem fascinated by zombies these days…

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Comments (1)

Has the DNR considered

flying squirrels as a possible cause for the decline of Minnesota's moose population?