Real estate prices have rebounded, but not “food insecurity.” Julie Siple at MPR writes: “The number of Minnesotans who struggle to put enough food on the table remains at its highest level since the government started counting two decades ago. A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says about one in 10 Minnesota households doesn’t have access to enough food for healthy living. The report is the closest thing the government has to an official hunger count. … This latest report shows 10.6 percent of Minnesota households are food insecure. It also shows that 4.8 percent fall in more severe category called ‘very low food security,’ which means they sometimes ate less than they should have or skipped meals due to insufficient funds.”
So this year, they’ll actually have to sell all the tickets … Brian Murphy at the PiPress says: “To avoid blackouts this season, the Vikings will have to sell out their home games the old-fashioned way. Last season, the team took advantage of the NFL’s relaxed rules to ensure all of its games were locally televised. But with the team coming off a 10-6 season and playoff berth, vice president and chief marketing officer Steve LaCroix said ‘strong’ advanced sales persuaded the Vikings to revert to full capacity at the 64,216-seat Metrodome to define a sellout. … Minnesota has not had a game blacked out since Dec. 14, 1997. By opting to lower the threshold, however, the Vikings were bound to split revenue earned above the 90 percent threshold with the league instead of retaining the standard 66 percent.” Considering the public investment in this business, shouldn’t we be setting terms for them?
Innovative … but illegal. Jon Collins of MPR writes: “Drivers busted for speeding in Wabasha County have two choices: Cough up $127 for a speeding ticket and blemished driving record, or pay $125 to attend a driving safety class that will keep their records clean. Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsh said his Safe Driving Class is responsible for a drop in traffic accidents in the southeast Minnesota county. The program’s also brought in almost half a million dollars to the county — some of which would have been kicked up to state coffers if officers had issued speeding tickets instead. The problem with Wabasha County’s safe driving program, according to some of the highest legal authorities in the state, is that it’s illegal. The county has maintained the program despite frequent reminders from state authorities that it’s not in line with state law. But no Minnesota agency has stepped forward to stop it.”
That high-capacity Enbridge pipeline is going to have to make its case in a kind of court. Dave Shaffer of the Strib says: “As more than 40 anti-pipeline activists sat quietly in the audience, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to authorize a contested-case review — similar to a trial — of the need to expand the carrying capacity of the 1,000-mile ‘Alberta Clipper’ pipeline. The line, owned by Enbridge Energy Co., runs from Hardisty, Alberta, across northern Minnesota and ends at an oil terminal in Superior, Wis.”
We’ve definitely got a pattern going here … . The AP says: “The late-summer drought is deepening in central Minnesota, according to data released Thursday. The new U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that several counties in central Minnesota are now in a severe drought. The area makes up nearly 5 percent of the state, including the city of St. Cloud. It’s the first time since June that any part of Minnesota has been rated that dry. Overall, the total area of Minnesota rated abnormally dry or worse shrank slightly in the past week, from 85 percent to 79 percent, mainly due to improving conditions in parts of northeastern Minnesota. Fifty-three percent of the state is in a moderate to severe drought, down about 2 percentage points from last week.”
You’d think there’d be rules about this sort of stuff … . Paul McEnroe and Mike Kaszuba of the Strib report: “Mary Manney resigned as deputy director of the Minnesota Racing Commission in June, several months after a state investigation faulted her oversight of the Running Aces harness track in Anoka County. She landed a job days later — at Running Aces. Her employment at a track she once regulated is legal, part of the revolving-door pattern of public officials taking private sector jobs in areas they once oversaw. But it is also the latest trouble for the Racing Commission, the governor-appointed group responsible for ensuring Minnesota’s multimillion-dollar horse racing industry is transparent and above reproach. The investigation into Manney’s oversight, completed by a state-contracted attorney in December, faulted Manney for being indifferent to the rights of horsemen, failing to follow commission directives and portraying herself in a way that could be considered threatening to a witness.”
The Duluth News Tribune editorial board supports Congressman Rick Nolan’s opposition to bombing Syria: “While too many in Congress are remaining silent — or, worse, supporting President Obama in his call for a strike — Nolan is working the talk-show circuit and major national media outlets. He has become an opposition leader, ‘disappointed there aren’t more people out there taking on this challenge and this task,’ as he said later in an exclusive interview with the News Tribune Opinion page. … Nolan is receiving broad and nearly unanimous support for his position from constituents, he and members of his staff told the Opinion page. He’s listening to the people, who aren’t being shy, either, about their opposition. Others in Congress can do likewise, including Sens. Al Franken (who said in a statement he sided with the president) and Amy Klobuchar (who hasn’t taken much of a stand yet), both of Minnesota.”
Not that we don’t have infrastructure issues we could spend money on … . Says Paul Walsh of the Strib: “A water pipe broke in the middle of the night early Thursday along a historic street in Minneapolis, soaking a number of businesses. The break in the privately owned service line occurred along St. Anthony Main, just across the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis, said city spokesman Matt Lindstrom. Among the waterlogged businesses is the Aster Cafe, where a fire alarm went off shortly before 4 a.m. There was plenty of water but no flames. City workers got the water shut off about 4:30 a.m., Lindstrom added. Taking the brunt of the flooding was a building that houses the Aster, other dining spots and a movie theater.”
Want to judge for yourself how “inappropriate” the photos that fired Benilde-St. Margaret teacher was taking of students really are? At City Pages, Aaron Rupar writes: “A Facebook page for Jon Hickman Photography says, “I love to help graduates express who they are through their senior portraits. We are a Christ-centered photography business focused on helping students (especially high school seniors) capture the essence of their lives in photographs while preserving their God-given modesty and integrity,’ the Facebook bio continues. However, some of Hickman’s photos feature scantily clad young women posing suggestively. Check them out for yourself here and ask yourself — what would Jesus think?” Besides the usual 16-going-on-30 look, it’s the cigarette that bothers me more than the bikinis.