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Foundation giving tops 2008 levels

Enbridge, opponents square off on pipeline; MNsure’s Latino outreach just starting; low-wage airport workers want increase; medical marijuana effort expected; and more.

In a story by Jean Hopfensperger, the Strib says: “The Target Foundation and Corporation topped Minnesota’s grant making list for 2012, donating $147 million nationally, including $26 million for charities and nonprofits in Minnesota, a new study found. Second place went to the General Mills Foundation and Corporation, which donated $104 million, including $19 million in Minnesota. The McKnight Foundation rounded out the top of the list, paying out $85 million, of which $57 million stayed in Minnesota. The Minnesota Council on Foundations released its Top 50 Minnesota Grantmakers report Monday. Grant making to charities and nonprofits has rebounded, passing 2008 giving.”

Let’s get ready to rummmmble … Says Dan Kraker at MPR: “Canadian pipeline builder Enbridge will file applications this week to build a $2.5 billion oil pipeline across northern Minnesota. Opponents, though, are organizing already for a fight. The 610-mile ‘Sandpiper’ line would carry more than 200,000 barrels per day from western North Dakota’s Bakken fields to the company’s terminal in Superior, Wis. The web of pipelines that transport Bakken oil now is straining to keep up with supply, so a new line is crucial, company officials say. While environmental groups may rally against it, Sandpiper also faces opposition from a different kind of foe — farmers and other property owners who worry the pipeline will destroy their land and way of life.”

A Latino outreach by MNsure is just getting out of the gate. Elizabeth Stawicki of MPR says: “Minnesota’s new online health insurance marketplace, MNsure has been open for four weeks. But efforts to inform hard-to-reach populations about how they can sign up for heath care coverage are only now getting underway. … Southside community worker, Miguel Rivera, who MNsure certified to provide help as a so-called ‘navigator’ only last week said that confusion about the Affordable Care Act championed by the president is common among the people he sees. ‘They’re totally confused,’ he said. ‘The client has to get into it and navigate the system but people can do it.’ “

What’ll they want next? Bathroom breaks? WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler reports: “Low-wage workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are calling for an increase in Minnesota’s minimum wage. The workers say they are forced to rely on government programs to get by. It’s part of a growing debate over whether to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.50 an hour. The Service Employees Union says 600 low-paid workers at Twin Cities Airport — including wheelchair pushers, cart drivers and aircraft cleaners — earn an average of $7.73 an hour, and receive millions of dollars in state public assistance.”

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Is 2014 the Year of Pot at the Legislature? Heather Carlson of the Rochester Post-Bulletin says: “Buoyed by public opinion polls shifting in their favor, medical marijuana advocates are lobbying state lawmakers to legalize the use of pot next year for people with serious illnesses. ‘We have patients in Minnesota who are using medical marijuana because their doctor has advised it right now,’ said Heather Azzi, director of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. … But backers of medical pot face a major hurdle — winning the support of law enforcement. … In 2009, they successfully convinced then-Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty to veto a medical marijuana bill. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton spokesman Matt Swenson said in a statement that ‘the governor will not support any change in current law that does not have the full support of law enforcement.’ ” But if it does pass maybe they can get Phish to play at the signing ceremony.

Big of them … Julia Marshall at the Minnesota Daily says: “This month, colleges and universities across the state have been offering incentives like waived application fees to recruit more students. The University of Minnesota is part of a statewide push, called College Knowledge Month, aiming to help high school students understand the college admissions process and gain better access. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education created the initiative to encourage schools to waive their admissions fees to try and get more students to apply throughout October. Twenty-five institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system are waiving application fees for all new students from Oct. 25-31.”

The GleanNow it’s really official … Janet Moore of the Strib says: “About 100 people attended a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning for the new $20 million-plus destination brewery being built by Surly Brewing Co. in southeast Minneapolis. At the close of the chilly festivities, those attending the event hoisted pints of the Brooklyn Center firm’s signature Furious and Bender brews in celebration. Surly plans to develop the 8.3-acre site, once home to a potato processing factory, into a 50,000-square-foot brewery, with an on-site bar, restaurant, beer garden and event center.”

The AP reports on a Marquette Law School poll … “More Wisconsin residents say they disapprove of the new health care law than approve of it, but they strongly disagreed with shutting down the federal government in an attempt to weaken it. A Marquette Law School poll on Tuesday said 42 percent of respondents have a favorable view of the law, while 48 percent have an unfavorable view. Republicans failed to defund President Barack Obama’s signature health care overhaul with a 16-day partial government shutdown. That tactic wasn’t popular with voters, as 19 percent supported the strategy but 76 opposed it.”

Congressman Erik Paulsen took his shot at the Obamacare website guru … Corey Mitchell of the Strib says: “Paulsen used a hearing on the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange to call attention to what he considers a flawed law that threatens to leave more Americans without care because of high premiums. … ‘Many independent analysts … have been predicting the higher premiums, these cancellations would be coming, you weren’t going to be able to keep your doctor or your health insurance even though the promise was laid out by the president,’ Paulsen told Tavenner. ‘Directly from our constituents, we’re hearing about these challenges.’ ” Devin Henry’s MinnPost coverage is here.

Also in the Strib, Rachel Stassen-Berger reports that GOP Sen. Julie Rosen, one of the chief sponsors of the Vikings stadium bill, is closer to making a big decision: “Rosen said on Tuesday that she’s still considering whether to make a run for governor. ‘I’m getting real close,’ said Rosen, R-Fairmont. ‘It’s not too late.’ There was little buzz about Rosen when Republicans gathered over the weekend for a non-binding straw poll in the governor’s race. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson won that preference poll and former Rep. Marty Seifert came in a surprising third place as a write-in candidate. Seifert, of Marshall, is not yet running but may jump into the race soon. Rosen said on Tuesday that she has spent much of the last month traveling outside of Minnesota. Her trips included a visit to Istanbul and one to Las Vegas, where one of her rodeo bulls (yes, she has a stake in rodeo bulls) performed well in a national competition.”