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Drug testing for welfare recipients has counties scrambling

Sid Hartman estate sale could draw many “close, personal friends”; AG Swanson sues debt firm; stadium bonds ready; “romantic” St. Paul; and more.

The Draz … looking out for your hard-earned tax money. KARE-TV’s story says: “County human services agencies across Minnesota are scrambling to launch a new program that ramps up drug testing for some recipients of public assistance. A law passed during the 2012 session requires the State Dept. of Human Services to make a list of all the people with past felony drug convictions, and cross check that against the list of those receiving cash aid … ‘Minnesotans don’t want their generosity abused by people using drugs,’ Rep. Steve Drazkowski, the Mazeppa Republican who authored the bill, told KARE.” Is it just me, or is “generosity” an odd word ichoice?

And you know there’ll be a line a block long trying to get in … Kevin Mahoney at Twin Cities Business says: “Sid Hartman, the 93-year-old Minnesota sports legend and longtime sports columnist for the Star Tribune, is cleaning out his closets with an estate sale this weekend. … Best known for his many ‘close, personal friends’ in the sports community, Hartman has been a fixture of Minnesota sports journalism for nearly 70 years. According to Estate Sales, he will attend Saturday’s sale at 10 a.m. for about two hours to sign autographs for those who make purchases.” I want the tape recorder that only picks up pro-stadium quotes.

Sullying my city’s image … John Welbes of the PiPress reports: “Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed suit against Bradstreet and Associates, an Edina-based debt collection firm. She accused the firm of charging up to 21.75 percent interest on consumer debt, though a Minnesota law caps the interest rate at 6 percent. … Since 2009, Swanson said, Bradstreet has bought $18 million in debt from U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, Minnesota’s two largest banks. There could be 16,000 Minnesotans affected by the case, and Bradstreet has obtained court-ordered judgments against 2,300 Minnesota consumers. An email sent to Bradstreet Wednesday seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.” Try the country club bar.

If you missed out on Metrodome seats, consider buying a bond. According to the AP: “The Minnesota Vikings stadium project is about to get its formal infusion of money from the state. The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget will sell $467 million in bonds early next week to cover the public share of the $1 billion construction budget.” Remember, you’d be helping assure a Super Bowl for the Vikings.

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WCCO-TV reports: “A Monticello, Minn., man with a history of drug abuse and mental illness skinned and baked his pet cat on Monday afternoon because ‘he wanted to try cooking it with onions,’ charges state. Cody Alexander Mann, 28, has been taken into custody and now faces felony charges of cruelty and torture of an animal. According to the criminal complaint, Mann’s father contacted police after his son started making ‘strange comments.’ ”

The GleanThe not-exactly award-winning Washington Times has a Minnesota-themed editorial up: “The nation is in the grip of a remarkable deep freeze, but Al Gore and the global-warming caballeros are thinking about the sun. The former vice president tweeted his news over the weekend that ‘solar energy [is] poised to grow rapidly in Minnesota as steep drop in price undercuts natural gas’. … With temperatures tumbling 17 degrees below zero Wednesday, few Minnesotans would endorse a plan to make the planet colder, though this was a key feature of the solar deal.’ ”

Personally, I’ll still take Paris. St. Paul (and not Minneapolis) made a USA Today list of “Romantic Getaway” cities. “While not an obvious choice as a romantic getaway, couples love it for its diverse romantic offerings, like leisurely paddle-wheeler rides along the Mississippi, beer tastings, or ice skating. St. Paul also has a thriving performing arts scene.”

Following the sad story of Alyssa Lommel … The Forum New Service says: “The 19-year-old University of Minnesota-Duluth student found in subzero weather in mid-December in Duluth had surgery Monday to remove parts of her feet. Alyssa Lommel’s mother, Teri, wrote on her daughter’s CaringBridge site Monday night that the surgery at Regions Hospital in St. Paul ‘went well.’ Her daughter had been in a lot of pain Tuesday morning, she wrote Tuesday afternoon. ‘She ended up basically only losing the tips of her toes on one foot, so she has little nubs yet, which will help greatly for balance and walking, but the other foot they had to take just below the ball of her foot’, Teri Lommel wrote.” Good luck, kid.

And what would be alternative verbiage for “boundary invasion”? Emily Gurnon of the PiPress says: “When the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said late last month that it had placed two priests on leave because of inappropriate conduct with minors, it said the conduct was not sexual abuse. It labeled the actions ‘boundary violations’ and did not elaborate. … On a couple of occasions, while visiting their home, [one of the priests] gave the children what he called ‘root beer barrel kisses,’ in which two people place their cheeks together and stick their tongues toward their cheeks, the children’s father told Detective Bryon Fuerst.”