Here’s a twist on the ol’ “leaving the state due to a higher minimum wage” story … . WEAU-TV says Cheesehead businessmen are worried about the gusher of new cash falling into the hands of low-paid Minnesota workers. “With Wisconsin’s minimum at $7.25, there’s some concern people may choose to move or work in Minnesota for a higher wage. For border counties like Pepin, there’s some question whether people making wages below $9.50 would drive or move for a bigger paycheck, and what that would do to businesses in Wisconsin. David Klein is the store manager at Countryside Co-op in Pepin. He said he expects no problems filling part time job openings, but that could get more competitive when Minnesota raises its minimum wage over the next three years.”
Whoa! Tad Vezner’s PiPress story says, “State and federal law enforcement officials announced what they said was the largest heroin bust in Minnesota history, arresting dozens of distributors statewide Thursday. The crackdown, dubbed ‘Project Exile’ and organized largely by the U.S. attorney’s office and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, resulted in 65 arrests throughout Minnesota. Federal officials said more arrests were likely to follow in the coming weeks.” They also nabbed $250,000 in cash, the Strib’s Paul McEnroe reports, adding the bust represents a change in investigative strategy.
The Strib home page link says it all: “At U, Condoleeza Rice defends war on terror.” MinnPost’s Eric Black will analyze the speech today, but the Strib story notes Rice earned her $150,000 for just 45 minutes on stage, though there were other events. About 100 protestors showed up.
On second thought … we’re cool with the coach. Jim Rueda at the Mankato Free Press says, “A day after the Minnesota State football players revolted and said they wanted their coach for the past two seasons to continue his duties — and not the recently reinstated Todd Hoffner — emotions have cooled. At a news conference Thursday involving Hoffner, associate head coach Aaron Keen, MSU athletic director Kevin Buisman and player representative Sam Thompson, all parties said they are ready to move forward with the program and play football.”
Chad Courrier at the Free Press adds, “Where to start? In 28 years in the business, there has never been a more odd, twisted, rollercoaster story than the Todd Hoffner saga. And that was before he came back to the Minnesota State campus this week, when strange became tragic and the chance to have any ‘winners’ in this case was completely squashed.”
It seems Afghan and Iraq vets are not interested in county services they are entitled to use. Paul Levy of the Strib says, “Pride, resistance to government programs and a preference to use the Internet are among the reasons some avoid the [veterans] services offices, officials say. And there is the simple matter of age. ‘Let’s say you’ve just been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan,’ said Milt Schoen, Hennepin County veterans services officer. ‘You are invincible. You’re always going to be strong. You don’t need to go to an office where somebody can tell you about benefits if you have PTSD.’”
Another prominent female government leader has passed away. Joy Powell’s Strib obit says, “Former state Sen. Nancy Brataas died Thursday, leaving legislators past and present speaking of a woman they say helped shape Minnesota history. The Rochester Republican served 17 years and was the second woman elected to the Senate. The first woman, Laura Emelia Johnson Naplin, served from 1927 to 1934 but was elected to fill her husband’s seat after his death, prompting Brataas’ former colleague, Sen. Carla Nelson, to call her the first woman ‘elected in her own right.’”
Can any of the GOP contenders get Ted Nugent? Stribber Corey Mitchell tells us, “In an e-mail sent today, campaign manager Matt Burgess is offering supporters who donate to Franken’s campaign by noon Friday a chance to party with him and ‘Parks and Recreation’ star Amy Poehler in Los Angeles next Wednesday. Franken’s campaign will cover the cost for airfare and lodging for the winner and a friend.”
Speaking of … . Julianne Ortmann’s campaign brought in some OK cash last month. Mark Zdechlik of MPR writes, “State Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, says her U.S. Senate campaign raised $375,000 during the first three months of 2014. Campaign officials say that’s a more than 300 percent increase over Ortman’s 4th quarter 2013 fundraising. Her fundraising total now stands at $610,000. That’s well below businessman and political newcomer Mike McFadden’s $2.8 million total … .”
Considering this godawful, miserable, [bleepity bleepin’] winter do they really want to go with the tag line, “Only in Minnesota?” Stribber Baird Helgeson says, “Gov. Mark Dayton and the state’s top tourism official are making a dramatic push to increase tourism with a new campaign to showcase things visitors can do only in Minnesota. An additional $11 million in state funding is allowing tourism officials to reach beyond the immediate Midwestern states and Canadian provinces to 14 new markets including, for the first time, into Missouri, Kansas and Western states. The campaign features new television commercials that showcase local musicians.”
Thanks to tipster Rob for this one on the General Mills “like=immunity” issue. From Yves Smith at NakedCapitalism.com: “We have just moved beyond an event horizon as far as the corporate version of neo-feudalism is concerned. Remember that one of the salient qualities of feudalism was that the nobility had far more rights than the peasants. By contrast, one of the hoary old notions of jurisprudence is equality before the law. … Subverting jurisprudence over time via inculcating pro-business thinkings through the law and economics movement apparently isn’t good enough for them; they want even higher odds of favorable outcomes. One of them is sneakily getting customers to relinquish their right to sue via getting them to agree to be subject to binding arbitration.”
Finally, if you’re working near any Minnesota Wild fans today, please be considerate of their feelings.