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Duluth voted ‘Best Town 2014’

Minnesota on top in Michigan comparison; New Yorker piece on violence in TV’s ‘Fargo’; where will they teach all the new kindergarteners?; governor’s trip to southwestern MN pushed to Friday; and more.

MinnPost file photo by Paul Walsh

Booya Provo … . Outside magazine has declared a winner. ”Duluth, MN, took down Provo, UT, Sunday night to earn the title of Outside’s Best Town 2014. We’ll be following up with coverage of both towns in print and online this September, so look out for our Best Towns special — and maybe start planning a trip to Duluth. Round 6 Results … (6) Duluth, MN, defeats (16) Provo, UT, with 55% of the vote: 66,758 to 54,875.”

We look smart in comparison to … Michigan. Brian Smith at the Michigan website Mlive writes, “Michigan and Minnesota share a historical heritage and proximity to the Great Lakes, but the states have vastly different budget priorities that have pushed Minnesota to the top in the Great Lakes region, a new analysis by Michigan Future argues. The report, ‘State Policies Matter,’ compares how Michigan and Minnesota have prioritized taxes, spending and social issues to examine why Minnesota’s economy is stronger than Michigan’s.”

In The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum looks at the Minnesota-placed drama “Fargo” and wonders about the appeal/effect of sadism. “Maybe I’m burned out on bloodbaths. But ‘Fargo,’ FX’s adaptation of the great film by the Coen brothers, created and written by Noah Hawley, left me feeling a thousand miles away, despite its strong cast and shrewd beauty. It also raised a question that’s become a cable-drama default: How good does a violent drama need to be to make the pain of watching worth it?”

The AP looks around the state and asks where we’re going to find room for all the kiddies promised all-day kindergarten. “In the past, some districts required parents to pay tuition for all-day kindergarten, which meant some families opted for free half-day programs — with afternoon and morning sessions often sharing a classroom. With all kindergarteners poised to attend school full-time, though, many schools are looking for ways to accommodate them all. Although the new funding will help pay for schools to teach their kindergarteners all day, it can’t be used to add new learning space.”

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Bad dude on the loose: KAAL-TV is reporting, “Wisconsin authorities are warming residents in Minnesota to be on the lookout for Eric ‘Buck’ Hall. Hall was released from prison on Tuesday, June 10th and, according to authorities, has been on a crime spree ever since. … Law enforcement officials say Hall is also a felon in possesion of two guns and that he may be making his way to Saint Paul Park, Minnesota, because he has a ‘connection’ there.”

The governor was to visit southwestern Minnesota today to look at flood damage, but weather didn’t permit and the trip was rescheduled for Friday. Paul Walsh wrote about the later-postponed plans in the Strib: “Gov. Mark Dayton quickly put on his schedule a trip to southwestern Minnesota, where a state park dam structure gave way, cattle took advantage of downed fences and many homes had feet of water in their basements. …”

Speaking of weather, we were/are apparently under the influence of “undular bores.” Says MPR’s Paul Huttner: “A relatively rare and unpredictable weather phenomenon called gravity waves may have been the culprit for the severe weekend storms that pounded the Twin Cities. Saturday’s unusual wave-like cloud photos are a tip of for the unusual ‘undular bores’ that focused the sustained severe wind gusts.” And here I thought they were all out on the campaign trail.

Yet another nice piece of storytelling from KARE-TV’s Boyd Huppert. This time the subject is a longtime bachelor farmer, his new bride, a tragedy and his gift. “Greeted by a standing ovation, this spring [Curt] Chergosky announced at a gathering in St. Paul, the donation of his entire farm to 4-H. Addressing the crowd, he quoted one of [Andrea] Ruesch’s favorite sayings: ‘If it’s not illegal or immoral, we’ll do it for the kids.’ Four hundred acres of prime Jackson County farm land is no small gift. At current prices, it could easily fetch $4 million.”

Juuuust a bit cheaper than Sir Paul … . Strib music critic Jon Bream tells us, “Imagine Dragons — rock music’s answer to young baseball sensation Yasiel Puig — will headline a free concert July 12 at TCF Bank Stadium as part of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week in the Twin Cities. The Las Vegas rockers, who won a Grammy this year for the smash hit ‘Radioactive,’ performed in March 2013 for about 700 people at the Varsity Theater, just down the block from the University of Minnesota football stadium. Since then, the Dragons rocked sell out crowds at Roy Wilkins Auditorium and Xcel Energy Center, in March.”