Only without year-round flip-flops and fewer mullets … At MPR, Paul Huttner writes: “The new ‘Florida’ That’s what insurance experts are calling Minnesota when it comes to catastrophic insurance losses from extreme weather events the past several years. In 2013, Minnesota [led] the nation in catastrophic losses for the first three quarters … Minnesota may end up in the number two spot once the final fourth quarter tally comes in. Widespread damage from the Midwest November tornado outbreak may vault Illinois into the top spot for 2013. A big chunk of Minnesota’s losses in 2013 were generated by a single storm. The National Night Out hailstorm of Aug. 6 has generated $700 million in claims in Minnesota and still counting.”
The AP story on the release of Shezanne Cassim, the Woodbury man locked up for that spoof video, says: “In a brief news release, Jennifer Gore, a spokeswoman for Cassim’s family in the U.S., said he will arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday afternoon. It was not immediately clear when he was released from prison. … He and seven others were convicted in December. Cassim was sentenced to one year in prison, a fine and deportation. The U.S. State Department said he got credit for time served and was given time off for good behavior.”
Need more info on that warehouse tax? Tim Pugmire of MPR reports: “State revenue officials have released additional details about how a controversial new warehousing sales tax will work when it’s set to take effect April 1. … The listed examples of taxable services include the storage of nondigital documents, coal, hazardous waste, lumber, liquor and general goods. The exemptions are agricultural products, refrigerated storage, electronic data, self-storage services and petroleum products.”
See you in 2054, pal. Chao Xiong of the Strib says: “A defiant and uncooperative Otis D. Washington was given the longest sentence in Minnesota history for sex-trafficking crimes when a judge sentenced him Thursday morning to 40 years in prison. Washington, 30, his brother and two of their uncles were convicted in a sex-trafficking ring that operated under physical, sexual and mental abuse, targeting vulnerable girls and young women who often came from unstable homes or had mental health issues.”
Predictably … Elizabeth Stawicki says in her MPR story: “The interim CEO and board chair of MNsure, the state’s new online health insurance marketplace, faces a grilling about its troubled website on Thursday from Minnesota lawmakers. Scott Leitz goes before a Legislative Oversight Committee whose members include Republicans strongly opposed to MNsure’s creation. … The committee will also hear from happy MNsure customers, who found better coverage at a lower price than they’d paid before.” James Nord’s MinnPost coverage is here.
B-movie style action at a Franklin Avenue bank Monday afternoon … Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “Gunfire punctuated a Franklin Avenue bank robbery, after the two suspects jumped the counter and grabbed the loot while pushing around some of the people inside, authorities said Thursday. … The two men ordered everyone in the Minneapolis bank to the floor, jumped the teller counter and removed an undisclosed cash from the drawers while pushing people down, the FBI added.”
I suspect the Strib is hearing from adherents of unimpeded Second Amendment rights … In an editorial, it says: “Under current gun permit laws, local units of government may not ban or restrict the possession of legally permitted firearms. That should change, at least to make state law consistent about how guns are handled when it comes to state and local lawmaking bodies. … Other cities have found ways around the law by defining carrying a gun as prohibited “conduct’’— like shouting or inappropriate applause. … the Minnesota League of Cities pointed out that cities may regulate the discharge of firearms and that, like St. Paul, guns can be banned in city halls that are attached to or part of a courthouse.” Which, of course, is precisely where Second Amendment-loving citizens are most likely to be attacked.
Says one commenter: “Government facilities are where citizens have the greatest need to exercise this right. Any government official who faithfully executes their duties should have little concern of law abiding citizens bearing arms. Only tyrants need fear an armed populace.”
$12 million or $15 million to go … . Kevin Diaz’ Strib story on Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden’s campaign jing says: “McFadden, reported $780,000 in fundraising during the last three months of 2013, for a total of $2.2 million since he entered the race in late May. [Al] Franken has yet to make his fourth quarter reports public. His [October] report … showed that he had raised more than $2 million in the previous three months, giving him a war chest of $3.9 million for his upcoming reelection bid.” Let’s get cracking, boys. The bonuses of local TV executives depends on you. Devin Henry provides MinnPost coverage here.
Who will cry, “Enviro-Nazis!”? The PiPress’ Mary Divine reports: “Washington County officials plan to make an offer next week on one of the largest strips of privately held land along the St. Croix River. The 15-acre Aiple property north of downtown Stillwater has 3,500 feet of shoreline. Government officials want to buy the land, which is adjacent to the new Brown’s Creek State Trail, for park space before a developer can get it.”