Latest data: Coldest winter in 30 years

REUTERS/Eric Miller

What your numb fingers were already telling you … Paul Huttner of MPR writes: “While you’ve been crunching on the snow in your driveway, your local National Weather Service gurus have been crunching the numbers. They tell us that so far this winter is the coldest in 30 years, depending on which numbers you measure. … So far this winter is running about 7.5 degrees colder than average through December and January. Add up all the highs and lows and you come up with 10.2 degrees. That’s it, folks. And that’s only good enough for 17th coldest winter on record going back to 1894.”

Nevertheless … Dee DePass of the Strib says: “Manufacturers nationally and in the Midwest grew and added jobs for yet another month in January despite lousy weather and weak sales of products with short shelf lives, according to two widely-followed economic reports issued Monday. For the nine-state region that includes Minnesota, business conditions reported by Creighton University improved for a third straight month.”

Good take by City Pages’ Erik Thompson on that surprising Bob Dylan ad in the Super Bowl last night: “My issue with Dylan’s Chrysler spot doesn’t have anything to do with him actually appearing in an advertisement at all. I just wanted the ad itself to be better, and to come close to being worthy of the iconic legend who is starring in it. … it’s thrilling to see a musical hero appear amidst the inane, interminable din of most advertising (or Fox sitcom programming). I just wish that Dylan was simply given — or had written — better material. The sheer amount of words he uttered throughout the advert amount to just as much as Dylan has shared on stages over the past couple decades combined.”

Deaths in home fires were down last year. In Paul Walsh’s Strib story, he says: “Deaths in residential fires last year in Minnesota were down 14 percent from 2012, according to preliminary data from state safety officials. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s State Fire Marshal Division said there were 43 deaths from fires in homes in 2013. There were 50 in 2012 and 56 in 2011.”

And you thought everyone trying this was a goofball 18-year-old … Says Mike Binkley at WCCO-TV: “At a time when most drivers become more cautious and more attentive to their brakes, there are others who prefer to hit the gas. They’re the ones who create race tracks on frozen lakes so they can take slippery turns over and over again. ‘It’s a feeling like no other in any other form of racing I’ve ever done,’ said veteran ice racer Mark Utecht. ‘We’re going through some corners at 80, 90, 100 miles an hour.’ Competitors pay to race on weekends in Minnesota, simply for the adrenaline rush.”

Speaking of adrenaline … LaReesa Sandretsky of the Lake County Chronicle reports: “Two men who led Department of Natural Resources conservation officers on a high-speed snowmobile chase made their initial appearances in Sixth District Court today at the Lake County Courthouse. One of the men is the ringleader of a 2007 drunken, gun-shooting, fireworks-lighting terroristic rampage on Basswood Lake. This time, he and his companion tore through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on snowmobiles, leading officers on a chase across the same Basswood Lake.” Someone needs to explain law and order to these boys.

She says, “No.” Mary Divine of the PiPress tells us: “State Sen. Karin Housley of St. Mary’s Point, who was seriously considering jumping into the crowded field of men seeking the Republican nomination for governor, announced Monday that she will not run. Housley, a real estate agent and first-term senator, said ‘it was not the right time’ for her to launch a gubernatorial campaign. … Housley said Monday that she made the decision over the weekend after she had a chance to ‘sit down with the whole family’ and talk about it. She is married to professional hockey coach and former NHL star Phil Housley; the couple has four children.”

A real estate expert/”urbanist” thinks the skyways crossing the Nicollet Mall should be torn down. At MPR, the story says: “The real-estate consultant and writer suggested in a recent blog post, and again Monday on The Daily Circuit, that planners working on the mall’s redesign should get rid of the four skyways that cross it. … ‘Great cities include walkable streets and buildings that relate well to the streets, that have windows and doors and are pedestrian-friendly, and the third thing is people — people going about their daily routine’, he said. ‘Skyways are one part of what prevents great streets from happening in Minneapolis.’ ” Sam Newberg talks more about it at MinnPost.

There’s been a formal charging in that “good Samaritan murder” over the weekend. Says Matt McKinney in the Strib: “A 20-year-old man first pleaded for help from a north Minneapolis homeowner, then used the homeowner’s gun to fatally shoot him in the head, according to criminal charges filed Monday. Devon Parker, of Minneapolis, faces one count of second-degree murder in the death of Thomas K. Sonnenberg, 69, who was killed in his home in the 3700 block of Aldrich Avenue N. shortly before noon Friday.”

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