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GOP’s Zellers and Thompson say they’ll suspend minimum wage if elected governor

Missing hikers; horse thieves; Legacy Fund likers; priest conviction overturned; and more.

Sen. Dave Thompson vowing as governor to suspend minimum wage indexing.

The latest on the minimum wage deal … start with our own story from Briana Bierschbach.

For the AP, Brian Bakst says, “If the bill passes, Minnesota would go from having one of the nation’s lowest minimum wages to one of the highest. ‘No Minnesotan should have to work a 40-hour week and continue to live in poverty,” House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said. The wage would be indexed for inflation starting in 2018, with an annual 2.5 percent cap. A decision on whether or not to block an automatic increase would rest with the Department of Labor and Industry,” i.e. the governor.

Stribber Rachel-Stassen-Berger is saying, “The final agreement would phase in the wage hike by 2016, by which time most large businesses would have to pay their workers $9.50 an hour. Smaller businesses, those with gross sales under $500,000 a year, would be able to pay workers $7.75. Businesses employing workers aged 16 and 17, teenage workers during a 90-day training period and workers in the country on J1 visas would also be permitted to pay employees $7.75 an hour. After 2018, the minimum wage would continue to rise as inflation increases. … But it won brickbats from two of the Republicans running for governor. Both Sen. Dave Thompson and Rep. Kurt Zellers said immediately after DFL leaders announced the wage deal that if they became governor they would [work] to rescind the wage increase.”

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On the father/son hiking duo missing in the Colorado high country KARE-TV is saying, “Damian McManus, 51, and his 18-year-old son Evan, from St. Louis Park, were last heard from on Wednesday. The father and son planned a spring break trip and were supposed to return to Minnesota this weekend. They never returned to their car or hotel after hiking at Echo Lake in Clear Creek County, Colorado around two hours west of Denver. According to Bill Barwick with the Alpine Rescue Team, the search is resuming in an area just south of Echo Lake Lodge off Highway 103. Barwick said there is no cell service in that area. He said the altitude is around 10,000 feet and it’s very cold and windy. The area has had a number of snowstorms between Monday and Sunday.”

The AP has one guy who likes what Legacy Funding has done … . “Courtland Nelson, 62, retires April 21 as director of the Parks and Trails Division of the Department of Natural Resources. Assistant DNR Commissioner Erika Rivers takes his place just in time for the upcoming tourism season. The extra sales tax money under the 2008 Legacy Amendment is a major reason the Forest Lake native rates the state’s parks and trails system in better shape than when he took the job in 2004. … Nelson warned of challenges ahead. Legacy money is meant mostly for one-time projects that wouldn’t get done otherwise, not operations and maintenance.”

A model of recidivism … . Stephen J. Lee of the Forum News Service writes, “A northwest Minnesota man convicted in recent months of stealing a plane in Roseau County, a horse trailer in Clearwater County and a horse in Marshall County, is wanted again — and his mother says she has filed a complaint against him with police. Geoffrey Marshall Biteman … got a lot of attention last fall after he was charged with ‘borrowing’ a 1971 Cessna stored at the small Roseau airport many times over several months and flying it to Thief River Falls where he was living … .”

One local priest may be getting a new trial … . Rochelle Olson of the Strib says, “A Catholic priest from a St. Paul parish saw his conviction overturned Monday for sexual misconduct in a case involving a 21-year-old parishioner in 2003. The state Court of Appeals sent the case of Christopher Thomas Wenthe back to Ramsey County District Court — possibly for a new trial, depending on what County Attorney John Choi decides. The Court of Appeals ruled that Wenthe’s first trial in 2011 had three significant errors.”

The GleanA loving daughter … . The Strib’s Dave Chanen writes, “A longtime Maple Grove City Council member was sentenced to four months in the county workhouse Monday for financially exploiting her father. LeAnn Bobleter Sargent, 63, was also ordered to pay restitution of $107,348 to the estate of her deceased father and $12,918 to her half brother Robert Bobleter Jr. Hennepin County District Judge Luis Bartolomei considered a felony-level sentence, but that would force to quit the City Council and make it difficult to hold onto her sales job.” Like the Council gig will cover the restitution?

Oh, and remember the local guy who carved his initials next to William Clark’s out in Montana? Paul Walsh of the Strib says, “A Twin Cities man has been charged and owes thousands of dollars for defacing a federal monument in Montana by carving into a sandstone wall his newlywed wife’s name and his own near the revered 200-year-old signature of Captain William Clark of Lewis and Clark expedition fame. Cole B. Randall, 24, of Plymouth, ‘accepted responsibility’, last week and has agreed to pay $1,000 in fines and $3,400 in restitution for the act of vandalism on Oct. 10 at Pompeys Pillar National Monument … .”

My guess is he’ll soon have plenty of time to hit the law books again … .  Another Walsh story says, “An oft-disciplined Twin Cities attorney has been charged with dousing his longtime girlfriend with hair spray, nail polish and nail polish remover, then setting her ablaze in his Burnsville condominium. The woman lost an ear to the fire, set on Feb. 9, and also suffered burns to her scalp, face, neck, both legs and one hand, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in Dakota County District Court. David J. Gherity, 60, was charged with first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree assault.”