This, too, will be interesting … Dave Phelps of the Strib writes: “Clawback claims against some of the largest investors in the Tom Petters fraud case can be consolidated into a single legal proceeding to determine if funds should be returned to the Petters bankruptcy estate, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregory Kishel has determined. Kishel’s ruling, filed late Friday, opens the door for bankruptcy trustee Doug Kelley to proceed with efforts to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in so-called ‘phantom profits’ from organizations that were, for the most part, early investors in the $3.65 billion Petters Ponzi scheme. The clawback cases were filed in the fall of 2010 and have been on hold for nearly two years … . The investing organizations include Opportunity Finance, Lancelot Investment Management, Epsilon (Westford) Global Active Fund, A to Z Investors Fund, Edge Capital, Ark Discovery, Arrowhead Capital Management, Metro Gem Capital, Acorn Capital Group and Palm Beach Finance Partners.” All of them, simple ma-and-pa investors snookered by a big-city snake oil salesman.
He’ll stand trial for first-degree murder … Matt Sepic of MPR reports: “First-degree murder charges will stand against a Little Falls, Minn., man accused of killing two intruders last year. Morrison County Judge Douglas Anderson denied a defense motion to dismiss charges against 65-year-old Byron Smith. Authorities say on Thanksgiving Day last year Smith shot and wounded, then later killed, 17-year-old Nicholas Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer after the teens broke into his home. Prosecutors initially charged Smith with second-degree murder. But a grand jury indicted him on the more serious charges in April.”
Too late for the harvest moon, but … The AP says: “In its final crops and weather report of the season for Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday said the corn harvest advanced 4 percentage points to 98 percent complete as of Sunday. That’s 6 points ahead of the five-year average of 92 percent for this late in the season. Minnesota’s sunflower harvest advanced 7 points to 93 percent, slightly behind the normal 94 percent. … As the state heads into winter, topsoil moisture supplies are rated 86 percent adequate and 8 percent short, while subsoil moisture is 75 percent adequate and 22 percent short.”
A little close-up work on TakeAction Minnesota — the anti-Voter ID people — by MPR’s Mark Zdechlik: “[The organization] over the last decade has become a powerful advocate for liberal causes. Since then, the group has played a crucial role in several state and local campaigns, including the race for mayor in Minneapolis. Take Action Minnesota emerged from the 2006 merger of two other groups — Progressive Minnesota and the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action. The group’s supporters are ‘movement builders’ — ready to spring to action during petition drives and elections, said Dan McGrath, executive director of TakeAction Minnesota. … With an annual budget of more than $3 million, 31 full-time employees and an email list of more than 40,000 supporters, the group can devote considerable energy to its work.” Not quite Americans for Prosperity, but it’s a start.
OK, step forward … Who paid $2K for 190 feet of “the Baggie”? ESPN reports: “Some collectors are bringing the Metrodome’s old right field wall home after paying a combined $3,025 for pieces of the ‘Baggie.’. A pair of 16-feet-high, 190-feet-long sections of the famed fence sold during an online auction that concluded Monday. One went for $2,025 and the other for $1,000. Together, the items drew 190 bids.” A 3-foot section, folded eight times, will keep a half-cooked Dome Dog warm for four hours.
But the commercial says they’re all in management with fat 401(k)s and killer health plans … Nina Moini of WCCO-TV reports: “Ahead of Black Friday, workers at Brookdale Shopping Center’s Walmart walked off the job Monday with the support of dozens of other retail workforce activists. Over the past year, protests against the world’s largest private employer have escalated, with some employees threatening strikes on Black Friday. The protest mirrors many rallies happening at stores across the country during this busy holiday shopping season. The group protesting, OurWalmart, is a network of Walmart employees affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The group is asking for better pay and more full-time positions, among other things. … When asked for a comment, a Walmart representative said customers shouldn’t worry [that it will] impact Black Friday sales and accessibility. The representative also said they have an open-door policy where people can express concerns within the company and their average pay for full-time hourly associate is already $12.83 an hour.”
At Roll Call, Anna Giaritelli tells her readers: “State Sen. Julianne Ortman, a Republican, described her recent straw poll victory as proof her party is starting to coalesce around a challenger to Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., in 2014. ‘It’s encouragement that we’re starting to unify the party,’ Ortman said … . A plethora of GOP candidates have declared bids for the May primary: state Rep. Jim Abeler, St. Louis County Board of Commissioners Chairman Chris Dahlberg, financial executive Mike McFadden, bison farmer Monti Moreno, and retired Army chaplain Harold Shudlick. McFadden, in particular, has proved a formidable force in the race with his strong fundraising. But Ortman argued she stood out from the pack with her legislative experience. ‘I bring some things to the race that others don’t … I’m also a mom,’ said Ortman, ticking off the names and ages of her four children. ‘It’s all about their future, really.’ ”
First they tell us humans have affected the weather, now it’s the rivers … The Duluth News Tribune story says: “Nearly half of Minnesota’s miles of streams have been changed by human activity, according to the results of a two-year study released today. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Geospatial Information Office looked at aerial photos dating back to the 1930s, among other data, and found 49.6 percent of stream miles in the state have been altered. While it has been known for decades that many miles of river in the state had been altered for agriculture, logging, damming, development and other human actions, this was the first study to actually quantify how many miles no longer are running their natural course.” Can you smell another liberal hoax?
Speaking of … Dave Shaffer of the Strib says: “As a courtesy to prominent climate activists, the state Public Utilities Commission has set aside time at its Dec. 5 meeting to hear their views on a procedural matter with implications for the future of coal-based electricity in Minnesota. Arctic explorer Will Steger and St. Paul attorney Barbara Freese, author of ‘Coal: A Human History,’ are among the activists who want regulators to consider shutting down the two oldest coal units at Xcel’s Sherco power plant by the end of the decade. … Sherco units 1 and 2 supply about 20 percent of the electricity used by Xcel’s 1.2 million Minnesota customers. The plant 45 miles northwest of the Twin Cities also has a third, newer unit. Altogether, the plant burns three trainloads of coal daily and is the state’s largest greenhouse gas emitter.”