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Big Minnesota companies funding effort to bypass school nutrition rules

High water cuts off Wisconsin; no excuses needed for absentee voters; the president is coming (again); Blue Line death was a suicide; and more.

Hey, kids like Cheetos and Mountain Dew … .  Allison Sherry at the Strib says, “A special-interest group representing school nutritionists and backed financially by big food companies — including six from Minnesota — is pushing legislation that would allow school districts to bypass new lunch rules restricting sodium and requiring more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The Minnesota companies — Schwan’s, General Mills, Cargill, Land O’Lakes, Hormel and Michael Foods — have officially stayed neutral on the issue … .”

High water has cut Wisconsin off from civilization. Says the AP, “A bridge connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin will be closed indefinitely starting Monday because of high water, officials said Sunday, as authorities around Minnesota braced for flooding from bulging streams and rivers. The Stillwater Lift Bridge over the St. Croix River, which joins Minnesota Highway 36 and Wisconsin Highway 64, will be closed to traffic in both directions from Monday morning until further notice, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced. Drivers are being told to use Interstate 94 or Highway 243 instead.”

You can only imagine the rampant voter fraud to follow … . Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib reminds readers, “Minnesotans will no longer have to stretch the truth to get an absentee ballot. A law, approved overwhelmingly last year, will allow voters to request absentee ballots whether or not they will be able to get to their polling places on Election Day. The program, coupled with online tools that will let voters register online and check the status of their ballots, is part of a nationwide movement to make voting easier.”

The DNR is moving toward opening Scientific and Natural Areas to … hunting and trapping. Tony Kennedy of the Strib explains, “Townsend Woods is one of Minnesota’s 160 Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs), places that are considered so precious that only the lightest human touch is permitted. Camping, ­picnicking and swimming are not allowed. Visitors are prohibited from walking a dog or picking berries. They can take photographs or simply sit beneath the canopy of virgin oak, sugar maple and basswood to look and listen. … Despite growing opposition, the Department of Natural Resources plans to open more of the sites to hunting and trapping.”

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The Prez is coming … again. WCCO-TV says, “This Thursday, Democratic [P]arty officials said the President is headlining a fundraiser in Minneapolis on Thursday. It’s being held at the home of Sam Kaplan, the former U.S. ambassador to Morocco. … It’s not yet known if Obama will hold any public events or if he’ll tour any of the flood-damaged areas of the state. Several areas hit by heavy rain are suffering from flooding and mudslides.”

At this point it’s hard to say anything new … . Peter Cox of MPR reports, “A Mendota priest has resigned from his parish after a Clergy Review Board reviewed a 1998 incident in which the priest allegedly touched a 17-year-old boy and considered other recent evaluations of the priest, Archbishop John Nienstedt announced Sunday. In addition, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said a deacon is stepping aside temporarily while a sex abuse investigation is reopened.”

Speaking of our neighbors … . “It’s working” so well next door, expanding Medicaid is a campaign issue. The Wisconsin State Journal says, “When state residents were asked this spring to name the most important issue facing the country, health care came in fourth in the Wisconsin Survey by St. Norbert College. The top three issues were economy and jobs, gridlock or polarization, and budget-deficits and debt. When respondents picked the most important issue facing the state, health care fell to eighth, also trailing education, infrastructure, welfare issues and drug/alcohol abuse.” I would have thought bear-baiting and beer pong would be in there somewhere.

Her death was a suicide … . Raya Zimmerman of the PiPress says, “The pedestrian fatally struck by a Blue Line light-rail train Friday afternoon was identified as Karen Lynn Fraser of Minneapolis, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner. The 41-year-old’s death was ruled as a suicide, the medical examiner said. … The Blue Line operates between the Mall of America in Bloomington and downtown Minneapolis. This is the 11th fatality involving the Blue Line since it opened.”

The GleanPrince gave a couple local reporters a preview of his new album. Stribber Jon Bream writes, “Suddenly, the phone rang. It was Prince. Via speaker phone, we chatted. He said he believed in albums, not singles. ‘I’ve finally got something that is a cohesive statement,’ he explained. He didn’t mention the album’s title or release date, but he did discuss the difficulties of getting a hold of top executives at Warner Music Group, with which he signed a new deal this spring. Then he whined about how slowly wheels turn in the record business.”

The routinely (and refreshingly) blunt Steven Pearlstein, biz columnist for the Washington Post pens a letter to Medtronic’s CEO as though written by Barack Obama. “As I see it, the nub of the issue is this: Medtronic wants all the rights and privileges of being an American company without the full complement of responsibilities that go along with it. You want the peace and security guaranteed by a muscular military and intelligence apparatus that make it possible for you to operate and market in all the advanced economies of the world. You want the world’s most sophisticated and enforceable patent system to protect your intellectual property. You want a fair and efficient judicial system to enforce contracts.”