Minnesota can’t restrict coal plants in North Dakota, MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar reports. Our state’s Next Generation Energy Act forbade coal imports from places like NoDak without carbon offsets for the resulting greenhouse gasses; U.S. Judge Susan Richard Nelson said that violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution as a state restriction on interstate trade. No word yet on an appeal.
Tear the damn thing up … . The Strib’s Kevin Duchschere reports, “Vibrations from traffic crossing light-rail tracks are disrupting recording operations in several of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media’s state-of-the-art studios, only two months before trains will start running daily past their downtown St. Paul headquarters. ‘The floor is vibrating, the ceiling is shaking, the structure is making noise, and that affects the recordings’, said Nick Kereakos, chief technology officer and operations vice president for MPR and American Public Media. MPR and the Metropolitan Council, which oversees Metro Transit, say they’re working on a solution to meet the terms of their 2009 mitigation agreement … .”
A name from the past … . Don Davis of the Forum News Service says, “An American Indian environmental group led by nationally known Winona LaDuke is fighting a northern Minnesota oil pipeline. Honor the Earth officials say the Sandpiper pipeline is planned to go near or through some of the most environmentally fragile areas of the state, including the country’s largest wild rice bed. Enbridge, Inc. officials say they have 65 years of safe experience with Minnesota pipelines.” Ralph Nader can’t be far behind.
Feel good animal story of the day … . The AP says, “A rare snowy owl that was apparently hit by a bus in the nation’s capital and sent to Minnesota for rehabilitation is scheduled to be released into the wild. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota plans to release the owl on Saturday along the northern Minnesota and Wisconsin border. The injured owl was found in downtown Washington in late January … .”
For the power-paranoid, the Pioneer Press’s Tom Webb reports MSP airport is adding electrical outlets to 1,000 airport seats. Handy for those frequent delays.
The guy with the name that couldn’t sound more German, Helmut Schmidt of the Forum News Service, reports, “North Dakota is keeping its low-income residents better fed than other states, according to a national hunger relief charity. In 2012, North Dakota had the lowest rate of food insecurity in the nation at 7.7 percent, followed by Minnesota at 10.7 percent, according to a report by Feeding America, which used data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
The housing rebound hasn’t yet provided a bounce for all players. The Strib’s Jim Buchta writes, “With house prices on the rise, the number of homeowners who owe more than their house is worth has been steadily declining — good news because more people are able to sell their houses without taking a loss. In Minnesota, only 9 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage are still ‘seriously underwater,’ which means the debt on the property exceeds the property’s estimated market value by 25 percent or higher … .”
Andrew Johnson at The National Review on the Condi Rice visit: “Rice is also an accomplished amateur pianist and was a registered Democrat early in her career, but the letter states that her ‘high speaking fee’ is ‘inconsistent with the civil rights movement’s emphasis on economic justice.’ They argue that her presence at the event is ‘not well thought through.’ Meanwhile, students have taken the war on Rice one step further and asking for her to be arrested.” Our own Eric Black decanted the speech here.
The search for the River Road Fellowship “maidens” guru is sounding a bit like Elvis-at-the-mini-mart sightings. Jenna Ross of the Strib says, “Officers in Minnesota and Washington are chasing down dozens of leads in their search for Victor A. Barnard … . Investigators are working to sort out the good tips from the bogus, he said. Judging from the deluge of calls and e-mails, Barnard has been seen in convenience stores, churches, garbage dumpsters and restaurants in several states, ‘all at the same time’, [Pine County Sheriff Robin] Cole joked. One fellow ‘swears up and down that Victor Barnard bummed a cigarette from him,’ he added.
At City Pages, Aaron Rupar offers somewhat more revealing information than the mainstream papers. From the complaint against Barnard:
“1. Barnard told the girls that thanks to him being the son of God, they’d remain virgins despite having sex with him:
‘C said the first time it happened she was at the lodge with him where Barnard lived. She had been talking with him and he asked her if she wanted to have sex with him. She told him she did not. He asked her many times and began to explain that sex with him was not wrong because the flesh. He began to touch her.’”
Call them “artisanal plants” … . Dan Gunderson of MPR says, “Gardeners shopping for plants this spring at Bachman’s nurseries will find some new signs in the soil. The company will begin telling customers which of its plants are safe for bees. Bachman’s is growing plants now at its Lakeville production center that are free of neonicotinoid insecticide, a widely used treatment that experts partly blame for the die-off of bee populations in Minnesota and across the country in recent years.”