The $2 billion USS Minnesota is heading to sea. KARE-TV’s Jeffrey DeMars reports: “Delivered to the United States Navy in June, the U.S.S. Minnesota is set to be commissioned and hit the depths of the oceans. ‘She’s going to look pretty for the ceremony,’ said Senior Chief Charles Hystad. Hystad and First Class Tony Finley are from Minnesota and are two of the 134 crew members that will operate the U.S.S. Minnesota. … Roseville’s Jakob Bartels designed the logo for the ship. It depicts an intimidating walleye, the colors maroon and gold for the U of M, and a Viking which is prominently displayed with the North Star.”
An MPR story says: “That’s a huge leap in technology from the original USS Minnesota, which was a wooden steam frigate launched in 1855 and named after the Minnesota River — it would be three years until Minnesota became a state. The ship visited ports in Japan, China and Hong Kong in 1857. During the Civil War, the Minnesota was the flagship of the Union’s Atlantic Blockading Squadron. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, seven African-American sailors manned the ship’s forward gun. The Minnesota’s most enduring place in history is as a witness to the battle of the Ironclads on March 8 and 9, 1862. The Confederate ship, Virginia, demonstrated the deadly efficacy of iron-plated ships when it destroyed two wooden Union ships off the coast of Virginia. While joining the battle, the Minnesota was damaged and ran aground. Darkness prevented Virginia from destroying Minnesota that day. During the night, a first Union ironclad ship arrived on the scene, concealing itself behind Minnesota until Virginia resumed its attack in the morning. The two iron ships fought to a draw and withdrew, allowing Minnesota to be pulled to safety.”
An update on the I-90 bridge crossing from Patrick Anderson of The La Crosse Tribune: “Work on Interstate 90 near La Crosse will continue through the fall as crews lay the groundwork for a $187.5 million bridge replacement. Workers have already cut into the bluffs on the Minnesota side to make room for a new interchange. The bridge to Wisconsin will consist of two sections, with eastbound and westbound portions spanning nearly a half-mile over the river. The project, expected to finish in 2016, will replace the 46-year-old existing bridge, identified as ‘fracture-critical,’ according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.”
Doktor Zoom on the satirical site Wonkette has fun with the Chaska family who suffered a rash of accidental gun discharges … . “A Chaska, Minnesota, family is just not having a good week when it comes to accidentally shooting each other. It’s kind of hard for Yr Wonkette to really identify with, what with not owning a gun and all, which means we are apparently missing out on all the awesome self-protection and unintended flesh wounds, not to mention the public mockery. …
‘Police in Chaska say that three in-laws were accidentally shot by other family members in two separate incidents, one of which happened during a game of Monopoly. Officers say the first incident they responded to a number of days ago involved a man accidentally shooting his father-in-law in the foot with a handgun. Police say alcohol was not involved and the entire incident was due to ‘negligent weapon handling.’ …
So this is what happens … when they’re stone sober?
Speaking of well-armed … Emily Gurnon of the PiPress says: “Investigators found the stolen names and Social Security numbers of 269 public employees in the home of a former state worker, according to a criminal complaint. Roxanne Kay Deflorin ‘may have been a source of some of the stolen identities’ used by three other women charged in the case, the complaint said. Deflorin, 49, of St. Paul, was charged Wednesday with identity theft and two counts of possession of a short-barreled shotgun. The guns were found in her condemned Thomas Avenue home along with the stolen identities, according to the complaint. … Deflorin has been engaged in an on-and-off battle with the city of St. Paul involving her house. The city council ordered her May 15 to vacate the property, which had piled trash, a large hole in an interior wall, exposed wiring, dog feces and urine and clutter-filled rooms. It was condemned in 2009.”
This week’s invasive species … John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “Spiny water fleas, another foreign species believed to have crossed the ocean in the ballast of saltwater ships, has been confirmed in Shagawa Lake near Ely. The tiny creatures, which resemble a large flea, now have been confirmed in several northern Minnesota lakes, including Burntside near Ely, Island Lake near Duluth, Saganaga Lake, Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods. They have been confirmed in Lake Superior since 1987. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources today confirmed an earlier citizen’s report of the Shagawa infestation of spiny water fleas, Bythotrephes longimanus, a small planktonic crustacean that disrupts the native food web and competes with small fish as it forages on microscopic plankton.”
MPR’s Catharine Richert has a reminder list of new taxes you may feel: “If your employer is helping to pay for your education or an adoption, expect a bigger tax bill in the near future. This year, the state will tax certain employer benefits such as tuition assistance and adoption subsidies. Tuition and adoption assistance are on a laundry list of tax breaks that are disappearing from Minnesota’s tax code, even though they are still available under federal tax law. For instance, if you’ve recently been in foreclosure, the state may tax you. That’s because many people technically receive income when their lender sells the house for less than is owed on the mortgage. The state will tax that ‘income,’ but the federal government won’t. Minnesotans will no longer be able to deduct certain student loan interest payments.” It’s not too late to catch the 8 p.m. bus to South Dakota.
It’s a tough “reality” to check in 75 seconds, but WCCO-TV’s “Reality Check” guy Pat Kessler offers this info on MNsure: “The top question at the MNsure call center has been, ‘How much will I pay for insurance?’ … There’s four levels of coverage: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. A 40-year-old making $29,000 will pay about $330 a month for mid-range silver coverage. New federal tax credits will drop that to $193 a month. And 25-year-olds can expect monthly premiums averaging about $270. Then, after tax credits, it’ll be $158 to $193 a month. If Minnesota’s health exchange is similar to other states, you’ll be able to apply your tax credits to buy higher levels of coverage.”
This is kind of what I suspected … . Cassie Hart of KSTP-TV says: “Jim Kowalski, founder of Kowalski’s Markets, died Thursday during a fishing trip in Canada in an accident involving a float plane. The Ontario Provincial Police Red Lake Branch says Kowalski was standing on the float of the plane, which was taxiing slowly toward the shore, when he lost his balance and fell into the propeller. Kowalski was airlifted to the Red Lake airport, where he died.”