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Minnesota begins to bump up speed limits

Reaction to NFL’s Super Bowl demands; Latino farm co-op efforts; Vikes’ “Yard” contract provisions; weekend’s northern lights show; and more.

Does 60 still (wink) mean 69?  Beena Raghavendran of the Strib says: “This summer, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will begin examining the state’s 55 mph roads to determine which ones can be bumped up to 60 miles per hour. The change comes from an amendment tacked onto the budget bill at the end of the legislative session that requires MnDOT to examine all roads with a 55 mph limit — about 6,700 miles — to determine whether the increase is possible. The work will continue until 2019, but speeds will increase as decisions are made.”

Stribber Tom Meersman has a piece on Latino farm cooperatives: “[T]he Agua Gorda cooperative is in its early stages of growth. Its five members are part of a pilot program that’s preparing Latinos to learn the American way of farming, and perhaps position themselves to take over for retiring farmers whose families want out.” Do they need Monsanto’s approval for this?

Reaction to Mike Kaszuba and Rochelle Olson’s Sunday piece on the (very) long list of freebies and four-star privileges demanded by the NFL in return for the right to host their title game, includes Sid Saraf at Fox Sports: “There’s a lot more in the document, but are you noticing the trend here? The NFL reportedly wants a lot of stuff … and apparently doesn’t want to pay anything to get it.” Because … there is no end of chumps willing to hand over whatever the NFL wants.

At Yahoo Sports, Frank Schwab writes: “Just because the NFL presented the requirements doesn’t mean every one had to be agreed upon. A city bidding on the game was allowed to detail which specifications could not be met. The host committee told the Star-Tribune ‘while the Minnesota Super Bowl Bid Committee did not agree to all of the NFL’s Super Bowl bid specifications, the competitive bid remains private.’ However, to beat out finalists New Orleans and Indianapolis, most of the demands were presumably agreed upon. Until the Star-Tribune leaked the document the entire process had been very secretive, which doesn’t seem to be fair to the Minnesota taxpayers who are paying for the Vikings’ new stadium.” If you want to be major league, you gotta pony up like the big boys.

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Speaking of … Following David Brauer’s piece in the Southwest Journal, Eric Roper of the Strib checks into the Vikings’ contractual claim on the to-be-built “Yard” and, among other things, notes: “On Vikings game days, [the Vikings’ Lester] Bagley said they anticipate ‘an evolved tailgating space’ taking shape on The Yard, because it won’t allow for the same park-and-grill option of the current surface parking lots.” The kiddies will love playing soccer after that “option.”

The GleanQuite the northern lights display over the weekend. Check it out via “A powerful G2 Class Geomagnetic Storm impacted the earth overnight and created a vivid display of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights over central Minnesota.”

Are you wanted … by the cops, I mean? Raya Zimmerman of the PiPress reports: “The Hennepin County sheriff’s office is urging individuals who have a warrant out for their arrest to turn themselves in — or be arrested at work or at home. Starting Tuesday, officers conducting the warrant sweep will try to clear active warrants and make arrests, with a focus on offenders facing drug-related charges, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office. … Police will be looking for more than 160 people with active felony warrants, many of them repeat offenders with multiple active warrants.”

A tale worthy of Flannery O’Connor or John Kennedy Toole … The AP says: “[A] Minnesota woman was held as a slave in rural Louisiana for two years. The woman escaped captivity and was picked up last week near an exit on Interstate 49 near Natchitoches. The transgender woman, whose name wasn’t released, reportedly came to Louisiana after meeting her captors online. The victim is in her early 50s.”

Think of it as a suite hotel for … pigs. Mike Hughlett of the Strib says: “Pork producers across the United States have long kept their sows in small, barred stalls or crates, with so little space they can’t turn around. The sows here at Cargill’s sprawling hog complex mill about in pens, snorting and jostling. Some just flop on the concrete floor to rest. It’s not Club Pig, but at least the ­animals get some room. The move to group sow housing by Cargill and other U.S. pork firms reflects an important shift in thinking about animal welfare, from consumers to large food ­corporations.” Treat the piggies well … right up until they’re slaughtered.