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Mayo to partner with Timberwolves and Lynx on Block E

Target learned of breach three days earlier; banks, retailers debate who’s responsible; Girl Scout cookie time; finally, farm bill is ready to pass; and more.

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Possibly better than a deserted Applebee’s. Janet Moore of the Strib says: “A scintillating invitation arrived in my email box last night from the Mayo Clinic. It said Mayo Clinic, Minnesota Timberwolves and  Lynx, and Provident Real Estate Ventures (the owner of Block E) will announce a ‘collaboration’ at Block E today … . It was long rumored that the Mayo Clinic would follow with some sort of sports medicine operation, but no one would confirm that on the record.”

I’m not an expert, but 72 hours seems significant … Jim Spencer of the Strib says: “Target Corp. knew its computers had been hacked on Dec. 12, the company admitted in a statement to a Senate committee Tuesday. Target had previously said it learned of the data breach, one of the largest in U.S. history, on Dec. 15. In a statement filed ahead of testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, chief financial officer John Mulligan said the U.S. Justice Department told the company about ‘suspicious activity involving payment cards used at Target.’ He said it took until Dec. 15 to confirm the theft of data.”

Meanwhile, for ABC News, Mary Gordon writes: “Banks and big retailers are locked in a debate over the breach of consumer data that gripped Target Corp. … At issue: Which industry bears more responsibility for protecting consumers’ personal information? The retailers’ argument: Banks must upgrade the security technology for the credit and debit cards they issue. The banks’ counter-argument: Newer electronic-chip technology wouldn’t have prevented the Target breach. And retailers must tighten their own security systems for processing card payments. The finger-pointing is coming from two industries with considerable lobbying might.” A compromise might be to blame Obamacare.

So … so … Minnesota. At WCCO-TV, freelancer Amy Rea reports: “They took a year off and changed venues, but the Art Shanty Projects opened for the season this past weekend, and it’s just as much fun as it’s ever been (which is to say, quite a lot). … If you’re not familiar with the Art Shanty Project, it’s a collection of shanties — some similar to fish houses — that are themed, decorated, and often have activities associated with them, all run by different artists or groups.”

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I was guessing the same place as windfall profits on propane … Also at WCCO-TV, Heather Brown asks where all that Girl Scout cookie money goes? “This Saturday, the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys will start its annual cookie sales fundraiser. Last year, the 41,000-strong Girl Scouts River Valleys council sold 4.3 million boxes and brought in $17 million. … After paying to make the cookie, 21 percent ($0.84) goes straight back to the troop. Ross says local troops can use it for supplies or pay for uniforms.”

Speaking of propane … Dan Haugen of Midwest Energy News reports: “The U.S. is producing more propane than it did five years ago, but it’s exporting much more, too. Domestic propane production increased 27 percent over the past five years to 1.4 million barrels per day, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, exports more than tripled in that time … Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who chairs the Senate Energy Committee, told Reuters through a spokesman that he believes the propane price spike is a ‘concrete example’ of the risks consumers face when companies are allowed to freely export U.S. energy resources.”

The gigantic farm bill (with Minnesota’s Collin Peterson playing a leading role) is, of course, full of all sorts of stuff with little or no relation to … farming. The AP has a story saying: “The compromise farm bill ready to pass the Senate on Tuesday sets policy for food stamps and farm programs. The five-year bill would cut food stamps by around $800 million a year and continue generous farm subsidies. Some of what’s in the bill: Test programs in 10 states that would allow new work requirements for food stamp recipients … A prohibition on lottery winners, convicted sex offenders and murderers from receiving food stamps.” I hope everyone also gets a pony …

Tom Scheck’s MPR story on Gov. Dayton’s selection of Chief of Staff Tina Smith as his running mate, says: “Dayton’s Republican opponents were quick to criticize the choice, noting that both Dayton and Smith come from Minneapolis. ‘While the policies of Mark Dayton’s first term have already put Greater Minnesota on the back burner, his selection of another Minneapolis resident for the 2014 LG position only confirms that this disregard for Minnesotans outside of the urban core will continue’, said former state Rep. Marty Seifert.” How did he miss the chance to squeeze in … “the needs of most hard-working citizens in our state”? MinnPost’s Briana Bierschbach has coverage here and here.

What’s that line from “The Godfather”? “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? Well, you might want to keep your cellphone closest of all. In the PiPress, Mara Gottfried says: “St. Paul’s police chief heralded statistics Monday that show serious crime in St. Paul was the lowest last year in at least 14 years, but said he has some concerns, especially about the number of cellphone robberies. … Last year, 258 cellphones were stolen, compared with 170 in 2012, police said.” I know the thought of keeping the thing in a pocket or purse until you absolutely need it paralyzes some folks …