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Minnesota Orchestra CEO Henson to step down in August

Dayton now rips GOP for tax-cut delay; farmland prices still climbing; students are key blood donors; KSTP-TV says Stillwater mayor is investigation target; religious head coverings allowed in jail; and more.

This took long enough … Kristin Tillotson of the Strib says: “Michael Henson, president and CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra, will step down in August, it was announced late Thursday. Some viewed Henson’s departure as setting the stage for the return of former music director Osmo Vänskä, who resigned last October but has indicated he might wish to come back. … Mariellen Jacobson, treasurer of the volunteer support group Save Our Symphony Minnesota, said she is ‘happy to hear the board and Henson have concluded it was time for him to leave, but I wish it was sooner.’ ”

OK, now it’s your turn … Gov. Dayton has shifted gears and is now ripping Republicans for gumming up the tax cut works. In the Strib, Rachel Stassen-Berger reports: “ ‘This is not where we just ram things through,’ said Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake. Kiffmeyer was one of many Republican Senators who refused to go along with the plan to approve the bill just a few hours after the measure was published on Thursday. Without Republican support, the Senate could not muster the votes to take up the bill. Dayton, who directed his ire at DFL senators over the tax bill early in the week, focused it on Republican senators Thursday.”

For the Forum News Service, Don Davis writes: “ ‘I think as a senator, I have the right to read the bill,’ said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, saying he first saw the bill an hour earlier when the 62-page bill still was hot off the copy machine. ‘Folks, they want us to do it and do it right,’ Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, told fellow senators about the desire of Minnesotans that lawmakers know what is in the bill before voting. ‘We need more than a couple of hours; Minnesotans expect that.’ “

The AP story reminds readers: “[S]ome new deductions and credits could be available to people filing tax returns now. Some tax programs and software needs reprogramming. The administration says 300,000 or more people could qualify for at least one new exemption. Delays could force people to file amended returns to claim relief, said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans.”

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Put your money in … dirt. Tom Webb of the PiPress says: “The price of farmland continues to climb in Minnesota, though the rate of increase is easing, according to a new statewide land survey. The average acre of Minnesota farmland sold for $5,071 during 2013, on an adjusted basis, the study showed. That’s up 5 percent from the previous year, and the highest in the study’s long history. … And even in southern Minnesota — the hottest farmland market in the state — increases were more modest in 2013 than in red-hot 2012.”

Draw it from the “invincibles” … Marta Jewson of the St. Cloud Times reports: “Since 2008, the number of 16-year-old blood donors across the state has grown steadily. And teens are a key part of the Red Cross’ blood donations, according to an organization spokeswoman. ‘That demographic is really important to us,’  said Sue Thesenga, the state’s Red Cross communications program manager. ‘Twenty percent of our blood donations come to us from high school and college students in the academic year,’ she said.”

KSTP-TV is saying that the target of the raid on Stillwater’s mayor’s business is, in fact … the mayor: “In a statement, a spokesperson for Mayor Ken Harycki insists the investigation involves a former client, and Harycki is cooperating with authorities. However, sources tell KSTP reporter Beth McDonough Harycki is the target of the investigation. KSTP obtained bookkeeping documents in which former employees allege Harycki falsified the payrolls of some companies including Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Mary, Mother of the Church, Model Health Care and Budget Towing. Several employees of one firm told KSTP off camera, their timesheets were tweaked and they didn’t get money they were owed. Other records accuse Harycki of underreporting income taxes to the state and federal government.”

You know how CNN has gone mono-maniacal over the missing plane? Wait until talk radio reads this; Laura Yuen of MPR reports: “Muslim and Jewish groups are praising a new policy by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office that lets inmates wear religious head coverings in jail. Inmates can wear a jail-issued hijab, the Muslim headscarf, or other religious headwear as long as there’s no threat to safety and security, Sheriff Rich Stanek said Thursday. The jail also will issue yarmulkes and kufi hats. The sheriff’s office said it previously considered inmate requests for religious head covering on a case-by-case basis.”

It was … “out of context,” you see. Michael Longaecker of the Forum News Service says: “State Rep. Andrea Kieffer said Thursday that her widely circulated comment suggesting legislation about women’s workplace issues was ‘almost making us look like whiners’ was taken out of context. … ‘It’s very interesting how that spun out of control,’ she said, adding that she has received ‘vitriolic and vulgar’ emails from around the country in response to the comment. … Kieffer said she supports a market-based system where compensation is tied to business outcomes.” Because that’s always worked well for women.