In a Strib commentary, DFL Sen. Dick Cohen argues in favor of maintaining the so-called “Snowbate” for filmmakers: “Minnesota has not had the opportunity to see if a reasonable rebate program will work; the money for the program at its current level was only available on Aug. 1 … I believe that this type of economic development for a very limited amount of dollars will produce a much higher rate of return than many other development efforts (such as professional sports stadiums). Why don’t we give the Minnesota Film & TV Board the opportunity to show what it can do for the state over the next two years rather than a mere four or five months?” Also, moviemaking might provide the “nationwide recognition” we seem to crave.
There’s just no keeping up with Wisconsin … Curt Brown of the Strib says: “Minnesota schools showed up high in the rankings of a new study that looks at drug and alcohol arrests. But in the border battle with Wisconsin, it was no contest, according to the report on rehabs.com. That report ranks University of Wisconsin campuses 1-2-3, with Oshkosh, Stout and La Crosse all showing more than 20 students per 1,000 getting arrested. The University of Minnesota-Duluth ranked seventh, with just over 14 students per 1,000 getting busted, according to the 2011 data used in the study.”
Now here’s a revenue-generating idea … Says the AP’s Brian Bakst: “Approaching access policy changes for Minnesota driver’s licenses and vehicle registration data have the auto insurance industry warning of higher rates and car dealers saying safety recalls could be hampered. In the name of enhanced data security, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety plans to end subscription-based bulk sales of the records in March and require specific queries at $5 per lookup for potentially millions of searches annually. Companies that amass the records for databases and those that rely heavily on the information are lobbying Gov. Mark Dayton to halt the policy switch and haven’t ruled out going to court if he doesn’t.”
Speaking of … Dan Nienaber of The Mankato Free Press writes: “Several cities and counties in the Mankato area have been named as defendants in one of the latest lawsuits accusing public employees of abusing their access to driver’s license information through a state database. The lawsuit, filed by Twin Cities Fox 9 Morning News anchor Alix Kendall, claims her license information was accessed more than 3,800 times during a 10-year period.” To repeat, the cops don’t seem to be looking up a lot of fat, hairy guys.
He really thought this one through … Nick Ferraro of the PiPress reports: “A 20-year-old South St. Paul man upset over a speeding ticket from a Minnesota State Patrol trooper turned to Twitter to threaten to kill the trooper and St. Paul police officers, prosecutors say. Harrison William Rund was charged Thursday in Dakota County District Court with one count of terroristic threats — a felony that carries up to five years in prison.” A billboard might have been more discreet.
The Independent Party is in the race! The MPR story says: “A Roseville resident who backed former Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign for president in 2012 plans to run for the Independence Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate. Hannah Nicollet is the first person to step forward as an IP candidate to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken.”
As it is, the place just screams “green” … A WDIO-TV story says: “Officials with the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority were in Duluth Wednesday to give a progress report and gather input. … Another idea brought up Wednesday was for solar panels on the stadium. Lionel Coulomb from Allete Clean Energy was there and suggested the use of panels from Silicon Energy on the Iron Range. Stadium officials said panels would not work on the roof of the stadium because of its design. They’re not ruling out panels on the parking ramp.”
A gestation longer than an elephant … Kevin Duchschere of the Strib says: “The Penfield, a city-developed downtown St. Paul luxury apartment project that nearly bowed several times to market and recessionary pressures, formally opened Thursday with smiles and undisguised relief all around.”
BTW … have you caught Gov. Arne Carlson’s take on the Chris Christie flame-out? On his blog, he writes: “[U]nlike Elliot Ness, Christie was neither modest nor retiring in his manner. No, he was the bull elephant who trampled the peoples’ enemies and took regular [s]wipes at anyone including reporters or citizens who dared ask questions that he deemed inappropriate. … To many, he was the resurrection of Theodore Roosevelt. … the politics of politics was way more important than the substance of governance and that is why the national media focuses and advances the show horses of politics rather than the diligent and purposeful efforts of the work horses.” Heh, heh.