“ … To keep Minnesota the premiere state it is.” MPR’s Mark Zedechlik says: “[A]s he prepares to run for re-election, Gov. Dayton says he may push for state-run slot machines at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport if re-elected next year. ‘I’m very interested in it,’ Dayton told MPR News. He called casino gambling at the airport an innovative funding approach, the kind ‘we need if we’re going to be able to do what we need to do to keep Minnesota the premiere state that it is.’ Whether it flies is another matter. Casino gambling plans have always been controversial and it’s not clear how much money airport gambling would generate. In the past, the Minnesota Lottery has advised the Legislature that 300 slot machines at the airport could net the state about $12 million a year.” Let’s let the same folks who projected e-pulltab revenues figure it out.
As predicted … Dan Gunderson of MPR reports: “White Earth Band of Ojibwe tribal members have approved a new constitution that dramatically changes tribal government and expands membership in Minnesota’s largest Chippewa tribe. The new constitution eliminates the blood quantum which requires a person to prove they have 25 percent Indian blood and changes to a system based on family lineage. But choosing a new constitution is only the first step in what will likely be a long and challenging process.”
A “smear,” they say … Brandon Stahl at the Strib writes: “In a letter this week to more than 20,000 nursing union members, the president of the Minnesota Nurses Association said recent Star Tribune stories about nursing discipline unfairly tarnish all nurses. ‘The cases reported by the newspaper are disturbing but also very limited,’ wrote Linda Hamilton, who has been president of the state’s largest nurses union since 2009. ‘It would be a disservice to good nurses everywhere to let this smear campaign gain a groundswell.’ ”
Save Our Symphony Minnesota is tired of mincing words … . At the Strib, Kristin Tillotson says: “A grass-roots group aligned with locked-out Minnesota Orchestra musicians publicly reiterated claims Wednesday that orchestra management has misled the public and its locked-out musicians about its finances. At Open Book, the group issued a call to action by community leaders, board members and elected officials to resolve the labor dispute that has lasted more than 13 months, resulting in canceled seasons and the resignation of music director Osmo Vänskä. At the event, called ‘The MOA Debacle: Unlocking the Truth,’ Save Our Symphony Minnesota presented findings based on analysis of Minnesota Orchestral Association documents detailing what it calls ‘troubling financial performance for over a decade’ and ‘excessive use of the endowment’, said the group’s treasurer, Mariellen Jacobson.”
The foreclosure epidemic appears to be sort of over. Jim Buchta of the Strib says: “HousingLink, a Minnesota non-profit housing group, said that there were 2,972 foreclosures … statewide during the third quarter, down 33 percent from the same quarter last year. This was the first quarter during which the number of sheriff’s sales fell to less than 3,000 since 2006, and it was the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines. All of this is great news for the broader housing recovery, but an alarming number of homeowners are still struggling. Foreclosure levels are still nearly twice that of pre-crisis levels.
Niiiiiice … Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib reports: “The latest draft designs for the Minnesota Senate’s $90 million new legislative office building and parking ramps shows an expansive five-story building, with high windows, new offices and hearing rooms, a reflecting pool, a glass-enclosed walkway along University Avenue and a new gymnasium space. The building’s glass-front facade forms arcs inward to accommodate the view of the State Capitol across the street. … The project also worries Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, who chairs the House Capital Investment Committee. ‘My great fear is that we are overbuilding,’ said Hausman, noting that senators who currently occupy two floors in the State Office Building are about to get a five-story building of their own.”
More on Lake Superior’s rising water level. Dan Kraker at MPR says: “For 14 years, water levels in Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake, have remained below their long-term average, the longest stretch of below-average levels in recorded history. The big lake reached its all-time low in 2007. This past spring, Lake Superior rose by 20 inches, fueled by massive runoff from big rain and snowstorms, said Keith Kompoltowicz, watershed hydrology branch chief for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That was one of the largest seasonal rises ever recorded since measurements began in 1918. Typically the lake rises only about a foot when the snow melts. In October, Lake Superior’s water level reached more than 601 feet, only two inches shy of its historical average and about 11 inches above its levels of a year ago.”
The Strib likes Gov. Dayton’s response to President Obama’s health insurance tweak … “Giving states the one-year option to continue sales of the old plans, which may be cheaper but offer sketchier coverage, was politically convenient for the president. That’s especially true after the disastrous rollout of the federal insurance marketplaces for states that chose not to build their own. … Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration stepped up this week and made the responsible call for Minnesota and for the future of the fledgling health reform law. On Monday, Dayton announced that the state will ‘continue the implementation of MNsure, as it is presently designed.’ … Those complaining, however, should realize that they’re demanding special treatment. Americans who get their coverage through employers generally don’t get to pick and choose what care their plans cover. Nor do younger workers pay less than older workers, even though older workers are likely to incur more costly care. The ACA applies these same standards to the narrow individual market, bringing with it critical consumer protections such as those for preexisting conditions.” Thaaaank you.
When it comes to gay, St. Paul isn’t as “perfect” as Minneapolis. Mila Koumpilova of the PiPress tells us: “St. Paul’s policies and practices became much more gay-friendly over the past year, according to an annual scorecard by a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group. In the Human Rights Campaign’s municipal equality index, the city almost caught up to Minneapolis, which this year earned a perfect score. St. Paul’s score jumped from 67 out of 100 last year to 96 this year. A statement from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman credited the efforts of the city’s Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Department.” MinnPost coverage here.