99,000 … . The Strib’s Chris Serres says, “All told, nearly 99,000 Minnesotans have signed up for subsidized coverage through Medical Assistance, the state’s version of Medicaid, since MNsure’s launch six months ago. … the program is projected to reach 835,000 this fiscal year, up 13 percent from 2013 — the largest year-over-year surge in at least 15 years and, percentage-wise, one of the largest in the nation. And the numbers almost certainly will climb higher.”
Even NRA leaders call this a ‘bad shooting’ … . The AP’s Amy Forliti writes, “On Monday, attorneys will begin selecting jurors to decide whether [Byron] Smith acted reasonably when he shot Nick Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18, or whether his actions amounted to a cold-blooded, calculated execution. The trial is expected to stir up emotion in this rural area that straddles the Mississippi River about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Many residents who spoke to The Associated Press said that the teens were wrong to enter Smith’s home — but that he went too far.”
Even in Minnesota, Obama looks like damaged goods. KSTP-TV’s spring survey pegs the President’s approval ratings at just 36 percent, with 54 percent disapproving. That suggests Obama-bashing could broadly work in this fall’s elections, in which Al Franken (46 percent approve, 42 percent disapprove) and Gov. Mark Dayton (49 percent/40 percent, respectively) are up. The 600-person survey had a relatively small +2 percent DFL voter lean.
Shocker … . Tom Emmer won an endorsement in the state’s most conservative congressional district. MPR’s Dan Kraker writes, “Tom Emmer has won the Republican endorsement in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th District. The former state Representative received 76 percent of the vote at the GOP convention in Monticello Saturday. … Anoka County Board chair Rhonda Sivarajah and former state Representative Phil Krinkie have both announced primary campaigns.”
For the Strib, Jim Adams says, “Phil Krinkie, a state representative from Lino Lakes for 16 years and president of the Taxpayers League for seven years, said he didn’t attend the convention because it would be hypocritical to do so when he already planned to run in the primary regardless of who was endorsed. ‘I don’t believe that 300-plus people are truly representative of the voters in the Sixth Congressional District’, he said. He said the convention delegates are chosen ‘top-down’ by party leaders rather than a grass-roots selection. ‘I believe in the process, but involvement is waning,’ he said.” Michael Brodkorb’s blog previously stapled Krinkie, and MinnPost covered the intramural battle here.
At Minnesota Conservatives, John Hugh Gilmore chews up GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden for that weird answer-free “press conference” last week. Says Gilmore, “After talking for less than six minutes, in a vocal style that most resembled speaking while sleepwalking, the hapless McFadden opened up the press conference for questions. His public speaking style got worse but his substantive response should embarrass his supporters, who tend to be rather full of themselves while oblivious to that fact. Evasive, rote, repetitive and canned, the man behind the podium wasn’t simply not ready for the Senate, he wasn’t ready for his own press conference. He has only so many tapes to play before they start to loop.”
From North Dakota, the AP reports, “About 560 barrels of production fluid have leaked from a pipeline into a drainage system in western North Dakota. … Oklahoma-based Continental Resources operates the pipeline. State officials say the company reported that the fluid leaked from a pipeline into a dry drainage, and some of the material reached a flowing drainage.”
At what they pay for tuition, it would seem a basic right. Maura Lerner of the Strib says, “For the first time, students would be able to look up any course on the U website and see what other students have to say about it, under a proposal before the Faculty Senate. If approved, it will be the culmination of more than a decade-long campaign by student leaders to try to pry the ratings open.” Students won’t see individual-teacher ratings, however.
9994 to go. According to the AP, “In a true sign of spring, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has declared official ice-out dates for six lakes. All six lakes are shallow bodies of water in southern Minnesota. They were officially declared ice free last week. The first was Iowa Lake in Martin County, which saw ice-out Tuesday. The other five lakes were Hall Lake, Budd Lake, Park Lake, Smith Lake and Lake Shetek.”
Pay as you go pothole repair? At KSTP-TV, Jay Kolls reports, “Instead of using money from property taxes, cities could use yearly tax assessments for ongoing upgrades. [DFL Sen. Ron] Erhardt says it’s a good investment strategy that actually saves money in the long run. ‘Wasted money, temporary stuff, into the potholes which will blow out of there in short time and it’s not the potholes, it is the road deteriorating that bad.’ Now, the challenge is convincing taxpayers, and other lawmakers, this is a good idea before the legislature goes home next month for summer.”
Minnesota looked … well, pretty stupid … after the Gophers loss to Union in the NCAA hockey tournament. At the sports site, Deadspin, Samer Kalaf writes, “Drunk students — and at least one old guy who enjoys making faces into TV cameras — gathered in the streets of Dinkytown, reportedly jumping on cars, throwing bottles, and being general [bleep]holes. At least 19 people were arrested, according to police. A group of students laid down in the middle of the street as some sort of demonstration. (They also chanted ‘U-S-A!’) The assembly did not work. Eventually, police in riot gear used their lethal weapons, and the crowds dispersed. There was also a helicopter at some point, too.”