It’s “No Low or No” at St. Paul food banks. Nick Ferraro of the PiPress says: “Last month, the Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center began asking its volunteers to sift through donations and set aside food with ‘low or no nutritional value.’ And for about three weeks, packages of ramen noodles, bakery goods and other food deemed unhealthy by the food shelf was being discarded into a trash bin instead of given away. ‘LOW OR NO, out they go!’ read a posting at the pantry last month that detailed what could be distributed according to its ‘Healthy Food Policy,’ which began Sept. 1.” Clearly, a lost option for State Fair leftovers … .
Feel-good story of the weekend … . Tom Cherveny of the Forum News Service says: “The phone call came four years after Owen Schipnewski’s favorite hunting jacket flew out of the back of his pickup truck. The guy who found it called to apologize. Profusely. Trent Jorgenson felt bad that he had never dug through the jacket to discover the wallet tucked away in an inside pocket. But now he had, and learned who owned the jacket. He wanted to make sure Schipnewski got back his jacket, wallet and the $1,700 it contained.”
On the matter of Archbishop Harry Flynn resigning from St. Thomas’ Board of Trustees, MPR’s Madeleine Baran writes: “Flynn oversaw the handling of sexual misconduct cases from 1995 to 2008 as the leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. An MPR News investigation found Flynn kept the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer in ministry despite Wehmeyer’s sexual addiction and sexual misconduct. Wehmeyer was eventually convicted of sexually abusing two children and possessing child pornography and is now in prison. Flynn also failed to tell police about a church investigation that found ‘borderline illegal’ pornography on a priest’s computer in 2004, and he approved extra monthly payments to priests who had admitted to sexually abusing children.”
Missouri River water may yet come to southwest Minnesota. Mark Steil of MPR reports: “The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System is supposed to deliver Missouri River water to southwest Minnesota. But construction ended when Congress failed to deliver promised funding. The project is already pumping Missouri River water to communities in South Dakota and Iowa, but so far Minnesota participants have been left out. The vote will ask the system’s 20 members to shoulder the cost for the next phase of the project. It’s a divisive issue. Lewis & Clark’s largest member, Sioux Falls, S.D., says it will vote against the funding plan.”
Speaking of piping water … Dan Kraker of MPR says: “A new $5 million pipeline to carry water from Lake Superior to Lutsen Mountains ski area is scheduled to break ground Tuesday. The water will be used for snowmaking at the ski resort on the North Shore. It will also replace an irrigation pipeline to Superior National Golf Course, and provide water to nearby vacation homes and firefighters. The project will replace a controversial pipeline from the Poplar River, a designated trout stream.”
Is it just me, or is there something oxymoronic about “up-scale frozen pizza”? Mike Hughlett of the Strib says: “[W]ithin the past year, the company has been phasing out the Bernatello’s pizza brand in favor of a new premium offering — cheese-and-meat-packed Brew Pub — and a brand picked up with the acquisition last year of Wisconsin-based Five Star Foods. … higher-quality offerings are essential to fending off the growing competition from takeout and delivery pizza chains, said John Frank, manager of the food and drink team at Mintel, a market researcher. Mintel’s outlook for the frozen pizza market is anemic at best, and in a recent report the researcher notes fierce competition from pizza outlets.”
Talk about a tough sell. This is the week Tom Petters goes back to court … to ask for a lighter sentence. Says Dave Phelps in the Strib: “With all other appeals exhausted, this may be his last chance to shorten his 50-year prison stay. Petters, 56, who resides at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., will take the stand on Wednesday in a hearing where the main witnesses against him will be the attorneys who defended him during his 2009 jury trial. … The issue at the heart of this week’s hearing is whether federal prosecutors offered Petters a plea bargain with a sentence capped at 30 years, whether attorneys for Petters relayed that offer to their client and whether he had the opportunity to accept it.”
A Chamber of Commerce exec says there’s no good reason to credit last year’s Legislature for the state’s healthy economy. William Blazar, in a Strib commentary, says: “[F]ew reporters … ask the obvious question, ‘What’s driving today’s economic results — actions by the 2013 Legislature or previous legislatures’? Of course, it’s the latter. You don’t need to be a Nobel laureate in economics to know that economies don’t turn on a dime. Current economic successes — or failures, for that matter — are a direct result of decisions made years ago. We won’t know the actual impact of 2013 legislative decisions for years. … business owners have little confidence that current policymakers will do the right thing to keep Minnesota competitive in the global economy. Among business owners and managers, 93 percent say government plays a somewhat or very important role in shaping the development and growth of Minnesota’s economy. However, two-thirds say the governor and Legislature do not understand the challenges of running a business; of those, 78 percent say politicians may understand the basics of running a business but don’t understand how government can get in the way of a business being successful.”
They’re still crushing the entrepreneurial spirit in Wisconsin. Lydia Mulvaney of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tells us: “The Snuggle House, a new business in Madison where customers can cuddle with young staff members for $60 an hour, postponed opening this week after failing to convince city attorneys it wasn’t a front for prostitution. The business was supposed to launch on Tuesday but now hopes to open next Wednesday after addressing permitting and other concerns. Meanwhile, more than 300 clients are waiting in line for snuggle sessions with the Snuggle House’s four staff members, owner Matthew Hurtado said. … The Snuggle House now has a manual that’s more than 100 pages detailing the business’ various procedures, Hurtado told the Journal Sentinel in a phone interview Friday. Clients are prescreened and instructed about boundaries, and he said staff members received hours of training about how to react to possible scenarios.” Yeah … like what do they do if some guy wanders in and wants to snuggle through all of “Saw VI”?