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Collin Peterson competitors mulling runs in the 7th

State unemployment lowest in six years; astronaut Nyberg talks outer space; craft beer’s health benefits; Minneapolis cold case solved; “hipster ZIPs”; and more.

Rep. Collin Peterson
REUTERS/Mike Theiler

At the St. Cloud Times, Mark Sommerhauser says Rep. Collin Peterson may be getting some competition: “GOP State Sen. Torrey Westrom says he’s mulling a run for the Minnesota congressional seat now held by DFL Rep. Collin Peterson. Westrom, whose legislative district includes western and part of central Stearns County, says he’s being courted heavily by Republicans who want him to run in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District. ‘I am giving serious consideration to this,’ Westrom told the Times. Westrom, an attorney and small-business owner, declined to reveal a timetable for his decision but said it’s a ‘fair assumption’ it will come in 2013. Scott Van Binsbergen, a Montevideo businessman, also has said he’s thinking about running as a Republican in the 7th District.”

In the right direction … Adam Belz’s Strib story on today’s unemployment numbers says: “Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in October, its lowest level since 2007, according to state figures released Thursday. Employers in the state had a mixed past two months, shedding 8,700 jobs in September and adding 9,900 in October. The figures for both months were released Thursday, because the government shutdown delayed the job report for September. ‘Minnesota’s unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level in nearly six years, which highlights the continued strength of the labor market,’ said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.” MinnPost coverage here.

MPR’s Jon Collins talks with Minnesota astronaut Karen Nyberg: “After six months representing NASA on the International Space Station, Minnesota astronaut Karen Nyberg recently returned to Earth. Nyberg said the first 24 hours of her return were the hardest on her body. ‘I had trouble walking without getting nauseous to be honest,’ Nyberg said in an interview for MPR’s Morning Edition. ‘That’s fairly typical for people coming back.’ … The astronauts spent much of their time at the space station conducting experiments, including one in which they studied how magnetic fields can change the properties of fluids. Nyberg said it could lead to some breakthroughs on the ground. ‘I think we’re going to be able to see advances in materials for various structures and maybe even suspension systems and brake systems and things like that by being able to change how the property behaves just by introducing a magnetic field.’ ”

Also at MPR, Michael Olson discusses the health issues — pro and con with craft beer: “But what is a health conscious craft beer drinker to do in this time of abundant delicious beer? Katherine Zeratsky, a clinical dietitian with the Mayo Clinic, helps us out with some answers: What are the health benefits of beer? ‘Potentially, beer like wine contains plant compounds, polyphenols that may have a protective or health promoting effect. Red wine over white wines seem to provide greater benefits. This is attributed to the way they are processed. One might say the same for dark vs. light beer. The darker colors (come) from the plant compounds. I think of it as we tell people to eat a variety of colors in their diet to get a variety of nutrients or polyphenols. There may also be a protective role the alcohol itself is playing on the blood and the cells in it.” So … another round for everyone.

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Not good … The Strib’s Paul Levy and Tim Harlow say: “Five young children who were pulled from a car that went off a highway entrance ramp into a St. Louis Park holding pond were at Twin Cities hospitals with serious injuries Thursday afternoon, according to authorities. The car’s driver, Marion N. Guerrido, 23, of Brooklyn Center, the mother of all of the children, was able to escape the car on her own and was not hospitalized. Earlier, the children had been described as “not responsive” after being removed from the car, which was submerged for up to 20 minutes, as it was towed out of the water and after passers-by and first-responders initially were unable to reach the trapped children, said State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.”

For those of us around at the time, this one — so long unsolved — was a scary one. Paul Walsh in the Strib: “Nearly 33 years after a woman was repeatedly stabbed to death in her Uptown bedroom, a 58-year-old man has admitted to the crime, authorities said Thursday. Robert Skogstad, of Edgerton, Kan., pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Mary C. Steinhart, then 22 years old, of Minneapolis. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said it’s the oldest cold case his office has ever successfully prosecuted. … Her body had roughly 25 stab wounds. Steinhart was also strangled, police said. Someone had covered her face with a pillow. There was no sign that anyone had broken in.” I remember the cops saying how particularly vicious that attack was.

Proof that the “hipster” vibe = money. Nick Woltman of the PiPress reports: “If you’re going to rent to hipsters, do it in St. Paul — specifically, in the 55101 downtown ZIP code. That’s where you’ll likely see the highest return on your investment in rental housing for the Pabst-drinking, vinyl-record collecting, ironic subset of 25- to 34-year-olds, according to a new report from market research firm RealtyTrac. ‘Thanks to an influx of trendy restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other amenities, a neighborhood branded as hipster is likely to see property values and rental rates rise while vacancies and foreclosures decline,’ the report said. ‘RealtyTrac recently analyzed zip code-level data to identify established and emergent hyper-local hipster markets where investors can realize solid returns on rental properties while also enjoying low vacancy rates that ensure they won’t have much down time between renters.’ ” If you can’t pull off the Red Wings and goofy fedora look, stay up in Frogtown.

NOAA has released its winter weather forecast: “Winter is likely to offer little relief to the drought-stricken U.S. Southwest, and drought is likely to develop across parts of the Southeast as below-average precipitation is favored in these areas of the country, according to NOAA’s annual Winter Outlook announced today. … Sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific have been near average since spring 2012, and forecasters expect that to continue through the winter. This means that neither El Niño nor La Niña is expected to influence the climate during the upcoming winter. … The Temperature Outlook favors: … Below-average temperatures in the Northern Plains and the Alaskan Panhandle. Above-average temperatures in the Southwest, the South-Central U.S., parts of the Southeast, New England and western Alaska.”