Farmers feeling effects of expired farm bill

In the St. Cloud Times, Mark Sommerhauser says: “The gridlock in Washington has led to a turbulent October for farmers. The failure of federal lawmakers to pass a new farm bill — the last one expired Sept. 30 — is halting new enrollment in conservation programs, sowing uncertainty about the future of federal farm policy and raising the specter of a jarring disruption in farm prices next year if no bill is passed. Meanwhile, the federal government shutdown halted most Department of Agriculture functions from Oct. 1 through Oct. 16, delaying payments to farmers and interrupting crop reports and other vital information. Area farmers told the Times they’re counting on federal lawmakers to pass a new farm bill soon. The House and Senate have passed dramatically different versions of the bill.”

Consolidating some counties might be a good idea, too. Dave Peters at MPR writes: “It looks like the flooding that hit the Duluth area in June 2012 might claim one more victim: the small city of Thomson itself. The residents of Carlton and Thomson, two small towns southwest of Duluth, are voting Nov. 5 whether to consolidate. A vote in favor by both would mean Thomson would become an official neighborhood of Carlton at the end of 2014. If you’re counting, that would reduce the number of Minnesota cities to 853. Residents in Carlton and Thomson have been talking formally for several years about consolidating, but the floods that evacuated Thomson and cut off services really taxed the part-time staff of the town and made the need greater, city clerk Ruth Jorgenson said.”

Dear Canuckistan: You’re welcome. MPR’s Dan Gunderson says: “Zebra mussels have moved north of the border. Manitoba officials are trying to determine the scope of an infestation discovered recently in Lake Winnipeg. It’s not known how the zebra mussels reached the world’s tenth largest freshwater lake, but the Red River flows north into the lake, bringing water from Minnesota lakes where zebra mussels are established. Zebra mussels have not been confirmed in the Red River, but veligers, the immature mussels that float with the current, have been found in the river. It’s also possible (and perhaps more likely) that anglers traveling north to fish Lake Winnipeg carried the zebra mussels with them on their watercraft or equipment.”

So much for mellowing with age … Marino Eccher of the PiPress reports: “In an early summer road-rage incident in Eagan, one driver smashed up the other’s car with a golf club, Dakota County prosecutors say. Roger C. Pautz, 70, of Eagan committed felony property damage and misdemeanor assault May 4 in a Taco Bell parking lot at 1325 Town Centre Drive in Eagan, charges said. … One of the victim’s passengers captured some of the incident on video, which shows Pautz getting angrier and telling the teen to get out of the car, according to the complaint. The younger driver refused. In the video, Pautz ‘then places his hands into the window of the victim’s vehicle and shakes the vehicle,’ the charges say. He then tells the victim ‘he’s going to kick his a–.’ ” Maybe it was just a bad burrito.

Ok, let’s air that baby out … KARE-TV reports: “Go ahead and push the pedal down a bit harder on 730 miles of Minnesota highways. The Minnesota Department of Transportation says it’s raising the posted speed limit from 55 miles per hour to 60 along three highways in greater Minnesota. New signs reflecting the higher limits began going up on Monday. … The higher limits include the entire length of Highway 75, which enters Minnesota south of Luverne and runs through Pipestone, Canby and Breckenridge and is the main north-south route through Moorhead. … The 60 mph limit also affects the majority of Highway 59, which also spans the state from south to north. Fourteen miles of Highway 7 will also see a change.”

OMG, Did U hear that? Paul Walsh of the Strib reports, “A 24-year-old motorist ran over and seriously injured a 57-year-old woman walking in a Minnetonka crosswalk and then lied to police at the scene about whether she was texting while turning, according to authorities. Stephanie M. Deloye, of Minnetonka, was charged last week in Hennepin County District court with criminal vehicular operation in connection with hitting Malia McElveen, who was crossing near her home at the busy Hwy. 101 and Excelsior Boulevard intersection. McElveen was hospitalized at Hennepin County Medical Center and treated for numerous pelvic fractures. … Deloye also never got out of her vehicle to aid McElveen, and the first call to police about the crash came from someone else.”

The GleanYou know how critics find a special deep reservoir of bile for really bad movies? Same thing for sportswriters. After last night’s remarkably awful Vikings-Giants game, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated writes: “Josh Freeman’s epic meltdown Monday night in the Meadowlands was just the latest, and perhaps most ghastly, miscalculation at quarterback this season. Freeman’s play was almost mesmerizingly ugly in the 23-7 loss to the previously winless Giants, and most of the blame for his primetime implosion in MetLife Stadium seemed to stick to the desperate Vikings … Freeman led a Vikings offense that didn’t score, and threw for 190 yards, with an interception and a 40.6 passer rating. And those anemic numbers don’t even begin to tell the story of how bad he really looked. Consistently misfiring high, low and wide, Freeman sprayed the ball around the field like he was trying to knock down milk bottles at the county fair to impress a date.”

At Bleacher Report, Arif Hasan writes: “In what might be the worst Monday Night Football game ever, the Minnesota Vikings found themselves testing out newly acquired quarterback Josh Freeman against an injured and struggling New York Giants team. … Of the 4,820 games since 2004, there have been 81 total performances with a worse completion percentage. It is in no way encouraging that the Vikings threw it better than 1.6 percent of history’s worst performances, because players at nearly every level were culpable. Freeman looked terrible, while his receivers and the offensive line nearly looked worse.”

And while demolition of a sort seems to have already begun, the Metrodome-destruction schedule was made a bit clearer in a Pat Kessler piece for WCCO-TV: “Michele Kelm-Helgen, the head of the state commission overseeing new stadium construction, says people shouldn’t expect a dramatic, dusty knockdown in Feb. of 2014. ‘They’re not going to do an implosion, they’re going to take it down section by section in a more traditional demolition fashion, so we don’t have a bunch of dust and dirt that’s kicked up all over the neighborhood,’ Kelm-Helgen said. First, the iconic dome roof is deflated and removed. Then the walls come down, section by section, starting at Gate B on the east side and moving in a westward circle. The demolition process should take a month or less, even as new construction is already underway east of the Dome where parking lots now sit.”

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