‘Distracted driving’ tickets: 55 per day

That “distracted driver” crackdown? Something tells me a few scofflaws slipped through the nets. Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib says, “A 10-day crackdown on distracted driving snagged 550 people who were illegally ­texting while driving on Minnesota roads. … State troopers and police officers have seen it all: people eating burgers, applying makeup, shaving, reading newspapers, scrolling on computers and of course, texting.”

Covering the Byron Smith/home invasion killings trial in Little Falls, Dave Unze of the St. Cloud Times says, “’The dogs always come back to the pail after they’ve been fed so well.’  That’s what Byron Smith told investigators after he shot and killed two teenagers who broke into his house on Thanksgiving Day 2012. What he meant was that he had been the victim of thefts and burglaries at his house before Haile Kifer and Nick Brady broke into his house and that the burglars would likely return again. … Smith’s defense attorney contends that Smith was a man frozen with fear after multiple burglaries that increased in frequency and violence and that Smith was a man scared to be in his own home.”

Paul Blume’s KMSP-TV story says, “Prosecutors told the jury they will hear the full audio recordings taken as Haile Kifer and Nick Brady broke into Smith homes, as well as recordings of the deadly shootings. Prosecutors said Smith piled the bodies [of] Brady and Kifer on top of each other in his workshop, using a tarp to avoid getting blood on the carpet.”

Hot on the heels of Britt Robson’s two-part Glen Taylor interview, MPR’s Martin Moylan asks the new Strib owner if he’ll buy the Pioneer Press. “Taylor said he’d probably take a look. But before he made an offer he’d need to know the financial condition of the Pioneer Press and the potential for the Twin Cities to support two daily newspapers.” P.S. The PiPress’s top out-of-town managers are in town today and tomorrow.

At TIME magazine, Sean Gregory gets into the Minnesota State/Todd Hoffner story, writing, “Hoffner knew his university — which had placed him on leave after a technician found videos of naked or partially clothed children on his Blackberry — had overreacted. And that the authorities had arrested him under false pretenses. “There was shock, fear, and I gradually worked myself towards resolve,” Hoffner says. “I set two goals for myself as I sat in that jail cell. I wanted to be exonerated from the criminal charges, and vindicated by my university.”

In a Strib commentary, Eric Schubert, who has Humphrey Institute and Chamber of Commerce cred, looks at Minnesota’s glass ceiling status and says, “… Minnesota ranks high nationally in Fortune 500 companies that have female board and executive team members. … But hold the Minnesota Rouser for inclusive leadership in our state. … [A]mong Minnesota’s largest 100 publicly held companies, women hold just 14.9 percent of board seats and 18.6 percent of executive officer positions. Thirty-four of these companies have just one female executive officer, and 35 have none.”

On Worthington’s water problems, Patrick Condon of the Strib reports, “The man who manages this city’s dwindling water supply stood on cracked dirt at the bottom of a shrinking, man-made lake outside town and wondered if state lawmakers debating a $1 billion spending plan understand the consequences of another dry spring in Minnesota’s thirsty southwestern corner. … The city’s only wells, seven of them clustered around Lake Bella, have risen 6 inches in March and April. By this time last year, they’d risen 6 feet.”

Very much related … . Dave Peters at MPR writes, “Three-quarters of the state gets its drinking water from wells and how much we can take without taking too much depends on how fast precipitation recharges the water underground. And the speed of recharging can vary dramatically, depending on how much, how hard and when rain falls … . [Says Hydrogeologist Ray Wuolo]: ‘So, if you believe in such things as climate change, impacts to future groundwater supplies could be very dramatic.  … it will be even more important to begin to think about how to augment groundwater storage with flood water.’”

But probably smart enough … . At the Business Journal, Jim Hammerand reports, “[Republican] State legislative candidate and former Fine Line Music Cafe owner Dario Anselmo sold his Edina home for $2.5 million this month.  … ‘I may not be the smartest guy in the world but I know you have to stay in the district to run for office,’ he said … . Anselmo recognized that a multimillion-dollar home sale might not help his campaign … .” I doubt a $2.7 million home is a liability among Edina Republicans.

Not exactly progress on cleaning up the congested, pot-holed atrocity that is the Hennepin-Lyndale bottleneck. Emma Nelson of the Strib writes, “The preliminary designs unveiled at a public open house last month provoked some residents and transit advocates to protest that the new intersection will not be much better than the current one. Now community members are scaling back their vision of the area as the gem of the city. [Says one,] ‘It should be our Champs-Élysées, and it’s anything but that.’” More like a demolition derby on the Oregon Trail.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/22/2014 - 11:40 am.

    Distracted driving

    Those officers couldn’t have been trying too hard to ticket only 550 in 10 days. Are you kidding me? You can see that many distracted drivers on Lake Street in a couple hours.

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