Steel dumping has become a hot topic: Baird Helgeson of the Strib says, “DFL Gov. Mark Dayton urged iron miners to step up the fight against foreign countries illegally dumping steel in the U.S. and threatening the local mining industry. ‘The story of the Iron Range is one of standing strong against exploitation and oppression, and too often of a government that will not stand with them,’ Dayton said to a cheering crowd of 1,500 iron miners. ‘Today’s enemies are not the companies, but the countries that dump their steel in the U.S. market, depress the prices and take away your jobs’.”
More Brooklyn by the minute … A Strib piece on “craft coffee” by Eric Best says, “Behind an espresso machine at Black Coffee and Waffle Bar in southeast Minneapolis, Kelly Nelson crafts an espresso. He carefully weighs and grinds the locally roasted beans, then tightly tamps the grounds. To the casual coffee drinker, the process might not look all that unusual. But it is. Nelson, Black Coffee’s project manager, and co-owners Andrew and Lisa Ply recently rebranded their shop, formerly Muddsuckers Cafe, to serve the high-end craft brews, which are picking up steam in the Twin Cities.” How long before they serve it at the Flying J truck stops?
On the flood watch … A trio of MPR reporters write, “A U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist says most of the state is vulnerable to flooding at this point. Survey crews are out measuring river flows and stream gauges in the wake of the heavy rains that have caused flooding in many parts of the state. … MnDOT has closed 15 river crossings or roadways due to flooding. Hwy. 169 remains closed between St. Peter and Mankato. Two Minnesota River crossings — Hwy 41 near Chaska and Hwy 101 in Shakopee — are closed in the metro area. I-35W northbound will be reduced to one lane in Burnsville, starting at 7 p.m. Monday. The lanes should reopen by midnight.”
It’s not quite like Tupac Shakur, but the late Vince Flynn is still in business. Jeff Baenen of the AP says, “Best-selling author Vince Flynn died just over a year ago, but his terrorist-fighting protagonist Mitch Rapp will live on in new books written by someone else, Flynn’s publisher says. Simon & Schuster and Flynn’s estate have commissioned thriller writer Kyle Mills to complete Flynn’s unfinished novel, ‘The Survivor,’ and to write two more books in the Rapp series. ‘The Survivor’ is tentatively scheduled to hit shelves next year.” Personally, I prefer Allen Furst.
The WalletHub website, a font of quotable listicles for every occasion says … we’re #3! At KSTP-TV McKenzie Gernes writes, “With more Americans hitting the road and gas prices approaching $4 per gallon this summer, Wallet Hub has created the Best & Worst States for Summer Road Trips. Using 21 key metrics, Wallet Hub compared each of the states to determine which one offers the most enjoyment and least damage to one’s wallet. … Minnesota was ranked third overall, behind Oregon and Idaho for the best states. West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Mississippi received the lowest ranking out of all the states.”
But we are … #1! … in electric car recharging. Stephen Edelstein at Green Car Reports says, “Minnesota has now become the first state in the nation to mandate lower off-peak electricity rates for electric-car charging. While a number of public-utility commissions permit such rates — and many states also encourage the installation of public charging stations for plug-in cars — so far Minnesota is the only one to pass legislation requiring such an incentive for home charging at optimal times. Signed into law by Governor Mark Drayton, the mandate requires utilities to develop an electric-car charging tariff that includes a cheaper off-peak rate. It’s set to take effect in early 2015.”
Also in green(-ish) news: Zarah Hinji at Inside Climate News says, “How much dangerous dust is being kicked into the air from the mounds of frac sand hauled daily across the southern Minnesota town of Winona? … The state Pollution Control Agency (PCA) said the data would be released in March. But because of delays in finding a lab to process all of it, Winonans aren’t any closer to answering their question.”
Also … Even with pretty much everything a wetland, the authorities are vigilant for miscreants degrading the … real … wetlands. Kirsti Marohn at the St. Cloud Times writes, “As the price of corn and other commodities soared in recent years, farmers faced increased incentive to plant crops on untilled land. That could be one of the factors causing an uptick in violations on federal easement lands. There are 89 open enforcement cases in the four Central Minnesota wetland management districts, including Litchfield, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls and Morris.”
How Second Amendment types enforce scholastic discipline: Says Kevin Giles of the Strib, “The Ramsey County Attorney’s office has dismissed criminal charges against a St. Paul man accused of pointing an assault rifle at his daughter and wife in a dispute over the teenager’s grades in school. Kirill Bartashevitch had been charged with two counts of terroristic threats, both felonies, in connection with an incident at the family’s home on Jan. 13, 2013. … Bartashevitch had purchased an AK-47 out of fear of an impending gun ban, the charges said. He allegedly had threatened his daughter with it because she was getting two B’s in school rather than straight A’s, according to the complaint.” Who wants to be the kid who brings the daughter home late from a date?