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Abu Dhabi release for Minnesotan locked up for spoof video

Campaign data a bigger mess than thought; two teen shooting victims; biodiesel mandate; hog farm fire; Napa Valley Grille closes; frostbite remedies popular; Southwest LRT debate lingers; and more.

The Minnesota man locked up in Abu Dhabi for nine months for “insulting” the culture with a spoof video … is being released. Corey Mitchell of the Strib says: “The United Arab Emirates will release Shezanne ‘Shez’ Cassim, a Minnesota man jailed in the country for nine months for posting a spoof video about youth culture in Dubai to YouTube. Cassim is expected to return to Minnesota this week … . Emirati officials said Cassim and his friends violated a 2012 cybercrimes law and posed a threat to national security.”

Remember that campaign-finance data mess? The mangled data reporting? It’s worse than even the Strib thought. Rachel Stassen-Berger says: “The Minnesota campaign finance agency disclosed on Tuesday that it had found $26 million worth of data problems in its records late last year. The data errors were woven through the campaign records going back to 2000, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board found. The agency said there were problems in about 13 percent of all contributions from one campaign group to another. The other 87 percent of records were correct, the agency found. The agency’s analysis found an even greater dollar disparity in the campaign finance data than the Star Tribune found back in November.

Sadly, a familiar tale … KMSP-TV reports: “Olmsted County sheriff’s officials confirmed that authorities are investigating the deaths of two teens in New Haven Township. … Police found two shooting victims in the garage but did not release any details about the owner of the residence. An 18-year-old woman from northwest Rochester was found dead and a 19-year-old man from Pine Island was brought to the Mayo Clinic where he later died. Both are college students and friends, but were not in a relationship, sheriff’s officials said. Police recovered a handgun from the scene.”

Well, there are plenty of potential customers … Says Jonathan Knutson of the Forum News Service: “With Minnesota preparing to switch to a higher biodiesel mandate, soybean industry officials in the state recently visited New York to learn more about biodiesel use there. … Biodiesel already is used to heat homes and power vehicles in New York City. Officials there are considering whether to mandate even more biodiesel use, according to published reports.”

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And before they were bacon … Erin Trester of the Forum News Service writes: “A fire at a southwest Minnesota hog farm Sunday killed about 3,700 sows and many piglets. Fire departments from eight different counties responded to a fire at New Horizon Farms near Hardwick in Rock County at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. The facility represents about 20 percent of hog production for New Horizon.”

The GleanAll in all, a pretty good run … Strib foodie Rick Nelson reports: “Along with bracing weather, the new year often brings a rash of restaurant closings. The most recent example: Yesterday’s abrupt closing of the Napa Valley Grille at the Mall of America. ‘We regret to announce that today will be our last day of operation’ is how the restaurant’s management phrased it in an email to customers on Monday. … The restaurant isn’t an original Mall of America tenant, but it’s close, having replaced the Blackhawk Steak House in 1993, less than a year after the mall’s opening.”

Former Sen. Dave Durenberger always has valuable thoughts on this country’s byzantine medical care system. In today’s Strib commentary, he responds to liberal activist Michael Moore’s proposal to keep pushing for single-payer: “There have always been health professionals who have tried to shape their practices and government’s role in ways that improve quality, access and affordability. But the predominant American medical culture — and therefore our expectations — assumes that we are each entitled to the best our country can produce, that government needs to keep financing invention and discovery, that discoverers and inventors and the professionals who apply their products need to be richly rewarded, and that government will have to pick up an increasing share of the costs.”

As you might imagine, there’s been a run on frostbite remedies … . Lialal Hilal of MPR says: “Medicines for strokes or clogged arteries in the heart are now being used to treat frostbite. Clot-busting medications can dissolve clots and restart blood flow in frostbite victims, just as they do for strokes in the brain, Dr. William Mohr, medical director of the burn center at St. Paul’s Regions Hospital, said Tuesday on MPR News’ Morning Edition. With frostbite, when there is no blood flow to an area, ice crystals form in the tissue. Then, when the body is re-warmed, the inside lining of the arteries ‘slough off, travel downstream, and then plug up the arteries to the hands, feet, toes, fingers,’ Mohr said.”

How much more debate over the Southwest LRT route can you take? Laura Yuen of MPR says: “The head of the Metropolitan Council says she is ‘absolutely open’ to routing Southwest light-rail trains through the Kenilworth Corridor in Minneapolis at ground level. Chairwoman Sue Haigh said she firmly believes in the current light rail alignment, but is undecided on whether the passenger trains should pass through a shallow tunnel or move above ground.”