Carmen the Nurse has died. The PiPress’s Kristi Belcamino writes, “Although Mary Davies Orfield raised only six children in her home, an entire generation of Minnesotans considered her their TV mom. The singer and actress who played Carmen the Nurse on the WCCO children’s morning TV show ‘Axel and His Dog’ died Friday. She was 88. The show opened in August 1954 and for the next decade, thousands of Minnesota children spent their mornings eating cereal and watching Carmen the Nurse’s kind motherly sensibilities offset Axel’s silliness.”
Another piece on the propane situation. This one from Ken Vogel of the Lake County News Chronicle: “Kinder Morgan Energy Partners plans to terminate propane deliveries to main terminals used by Minnesota distributors in April. The Cochin pipeline system is operating as a dedicated propane system between Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and New Hampton, Iowa. But the company plans a reversal of the pipeline to transport ‘light condensate’, a bitumen thinning agent, from Illinois to western Canada. The diluent is used to thin sour crude produced by oil sands in Alberta. Company officials said they would not reconsider the reversal project amid the current shortage.”
Thomas Content and Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel write, “The price of propane was $4.15 a gallon on average this week, according to the state Division of Energy Services. The average price is twice what it was early last month, but down from last week’s peak of $4.86. … Customer’s Gas clients had prepaid contracts for fuel that wasn’t delivered, according to state officials. Friday, the company was answering its phones but did not respond to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel request for information. Another propane supplier, in Spooner, also appeared to be in trouble. WK Appliance & Propane Co. sent a letter to customers saying it couldn’t get propane and thus its customer contracts were ‘null and void’ … .”
And another Wisconsin story… The AP reports, “The owner of a brewpub in New Brighton is frustrated with a Minnesota law that says he can’t sell his craft beer on store shelves — so he’s decided to build a new brewery across the border in Wisconsin. John Moore, owner of Barley John’s Brew Pub, plans to break ground this spring on a new 10,000-barrel brewery in New Richmond, Wis., and hopes to start selling beer in the fall.”
And purely by coincidence we have this story by the Strib’s Kevin Giles: “ … Chris Polfus has called New Richmond, Wis., home, he’s watched with amazement as the city has slowly doubled, then more than quadrupled in size. But he predicts that growth will be nothing compared with the boom that could develop once a new St. Croix River bridge opens in 2016. ‘At first it’s going to start out slow and then it’s going to go crazy’, said Polfus, who owns Brady’s Brewhouse in downtown New Richmond. ‘The city’s going to get bigger, it can’t help itself. New Richmond’s poised to grow’.” Well, the whole point was development, right?
Speaking of… Neal St. Anthony of the Strib reports, “ … developers could pull another $1 billion-plus in building permits in Minneapolis this year, for a record third year in a row. And more than 70 percent of the construction value, once again, is expected to focus on expanding and renovating downtown, including the Warehouse District.”
And still more development, this time in Rochester. Elizabeth Baier of MPR says, “A Rochester developer bought the [CJ’s Bar] a few years ago and plans to demolish it to make way for a mixed-use, high rise development project with a hotel, apartment rentals, and upscale restaurants. The project is part of a booming real estate market in Rochester, particularly in the blocks near the Mayo Clinic’s expanding downtown campus. Mayo Clinic has launched a 20-year, $5 billion plan to remake its flagship campus. The plan includes $327 million in state aid, largely to fund improvements to public facilities in Rochester, which is expected to grow by 32,000 residents over the next 20 years.”
Also at MPR, Tim Post reports on critics who want the state to get tougher on charter schools. “Increased accountability could be on the way for Minnesota’s charter schools. But what shape that will take is going to be up for debate in the next legislative session. Critics of underperforming charter schools say state law isn’t tough enough. They’re pushing a measure that would flag poor performing charters for closure. If approved by the Legislature, it would pressure charter school authorizers, essentially the sponsors that offer funding and guidance to the schools, to close chronically underperforming charters.”
Sen. Lyle Koenen has a commentary on out-state broadband in the Morris Sun Tribune. “When broadband is simply not available, rural businesses are at a severe disadvantage; and businesses aren’t the only stakeholders. Doctors and patients, high school students and college students alike can all benefit from increased information when broadband is readily available. What we hope to gain from these conversations is an answer to the massive patchwork of coverage across the state. We are not on track to reaching our goal of connecting the entire state by 2015.” Someone has to break it to him than when it comes to public investment, broadband for every Minnesotan is no billion-dollar football palace.