With the clamor to bear arms at the Capitol, more cops are scheduled to be on hand up there. Now U of M students want more … Maura Lerner of the Strib says: “As of Tuesday, more than 3,100 people had signed an online petition started by two U students, saying ‘we have reached our breaking point’ and demanding a bigger police presence on and off campus. ‘The crime on campus has gotten out of hand, and it needs to be stopped before it gets any worse,’ says the petition on MoveOn.org. It was created last week by two liberal arts students, Sara Gottlieb and Rachel Sadowsky, before Sunday’s report that a female student had been sexually assaulted near campus by a man posing as a police officer.” Shouldn’t the NRA be showing up about now demanding that more kids pack guns?
The rate hike fight is full on. Dave Shaffer of the Strib says: “Minnesota utility regulators should slash CenterPoint Energy’s proposed natural gas rate increase almost in half, the state Commerce Department said Tuesday. The department, which analyzes utility rates on behalf of consumers, recommended a $21 million reduction in the $44 million rate increase requested by CenterPoint Energy. In a statement, the department said CenterPoint will be able to offer safe, reliable service and make improvements to its distribution facilities even with a 48 percent reduction in what it seeks.”
We have a broadband czar, or czarina. The Forum News Service story says: “Cook County’s information systems director will become the Minnesota Broadband Office executive director. Gov. Mark Dayton [Tuesday] named Danna MacKenzie to that post, charging her with the job of planning stateside broadband Internet efforts. She has worked in the field 18 years, most recently in the Cook County position in Grand Marais since 1998. … The Legislature this year established the job MacKenzie is taking to coordinate broadband infrastructure development, plan strategy, find federal funding for expansion, recommend policies to improve access and report on progress.”
Another cold-case resolution? Ryan Foley of the AP reports: “Investigators arrested a former University of Iowa researcher on Tuesday in connection with the 1997 strangulation death of his wife, whom he had reported missing after returning home from a business trip. Officers arrested John Richard Bloomfield at his home in St. Paul, Minn., on a warrant charging him with first-degree murder in the death of 57-year-old Frances Bloomfield. He was being held in custody at the Ramsey County Jail awaiting a hearing on whether he will be extradited to Iowa to face the charge.” Sixteen years to get … the husband?
Like just about everyone this side of Tea Party radio, the Strib is pro-”nuclear option”: “[S]ince the dawn of the 21st century, and especially since the inauguration of the current president, the filibuster has been pushed pedal-to-the-metal. Twenty of the 23 filibusters of federal district court nominees in all of Senate history have occurred in the past four years, at the hands of the Senate GOP minority. Wishing for more restraint in Republican use of the filibuster to block the confirmation of executive and judicial branch appointments wasn’t making it so. … If the filibuster had not been ‘nuked,’ it’s not clear when or even if the D.C. Circuit would be back to its full 11-judge complement. The same goes for the rest of the federal court system. Nearly 11 percent of federal judgeships are vacant, causing stress and delay that ultimately erodes the quality of the administration of justice. A functional courts system is too important to an orderly society to be treated as a political hostage in the Senate. When the GOP stepped up its use of the filibuster on judicial appointments, it went too far.” But only then?
One year, 10 years, a person can get confused in these matters. In MPR’s latest on the archdiocese’s sprawling portfolio of sex scandals, Madeleine Baran writes: “Top officials at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have said they didn’t know about sexual misconduct by the pastor at the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood until this year, but a document obtained by MPR News shows that a church official flagged the priest for sexual misconduct a decade ago. The internal church document says that the Rev. Mark Huberty’s misconduct involved women and that he remains an active priest. It does not include any other information. The archdiocese’s code of conduct forbids sexual contact by priests. … Maplewood Deputy Police Chief Dave Kvam told MPR News today that police received Huberty’s clergy personnel file as part of the recent investigation, and that it included information about past allegations. The police investigator assigned to the case has had limited contact with the archdiocese at the request of the prosecutor, Kvam said.”
Getting in the mood for the holidays … Dan Gunderson of MPR files a story on a craft distillery way up north: “From the outside, the distillery looks like a typical farm shop. Inside the metal building, a burner roars under a hot water tank and workers put the finishing touches on a grain mash cooker fermenting tanks and two shiny copper stills. [Mike] Swanson,41, and [Cheri] Reese, 46, spent years researching craft distilling, learning the process in Colorado, Illinois and Wisconsin. ‘Our first year we’ll be able to make about 4,700 cases of product,’ said Swanson. ‘Our equipment is capable of slightly over 10,000 cases. Bacardi, by comparison, makes about 100,000 cases a day’, he added. ‘So the difference in scale is massive, but the difference in quality will be massive as well’. The smaller scale means craft spirit prices are a bit higher. Gin will cost about $35 a bottle, whiskey about $45. A St. Paul distributor will sell the spirits across North Dakota and Minnesota. Nationally, the craft distillery industry has exploded in recent years. The American Distilling Institute, a craft trade group, has 400 member distillers and projects 600 by 2015.”
I should have posted this earlier … There’s a very nice photo gallery and roundup of the action at the Tribute to Sue McLean by Andrea Swensson of The Current. The popular concert promoter passed away this year. “Sue McLean’s favorite saying was that “Music is good for your soul,” and they didn’t need to project it onto the screen at First Avenue Saturday to [prove] that was true. After a few quieter, more pensive sets by Sue’s nephew, Jake, and the Jayhawks’ Tim O’Reagan and Marc Perlman, the night reached its first climax when Paul Metsa brought out an unbelievable cast of characters to power through an emotional and hair-raising rendition of Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’ that got more than a few concertgoers misty. … All told, it was one of those beautiful, scene-spanning nights that can only seem to happen on that magical Mainroom stage, and a fitting tribute to one of our music community’s biggest champions.”
Spiffin’ up the Parkway … Frederick Melo of the PiPress says: “Ramsey County Public Works has narrowed focus on a planned resconstruction of Ford Parkway in Highland Park scheduled to begin in 2015. County officials still are discussing possible amenities for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. The project will rebuild the parkway between Snelling Avenue and Howell Street. Three concepts presented at a public meeting Oct. 23 have been refined into one, said Ramsey County traffic engineer Erin Laberee. She said the county is studying one travel lane in each direction, a parking lane on each side of the road, a bike lane, and a raised median with breaks at intersections.”