Minnesota is also above average in treatment of vets. Steve Karnowski’s AP story on the VA Hospital scandal says: “Waiting times at the two Veterans Affairs medical centers in Minnesota are considerably lower than the worst trouble spots in the VA system, new audit data released Monday show. The average wait time for a patient seeking primary care for the first time is 28 days at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and its outpatient clinics.”
The Faculty v. Chancellor fight at MnSCU is heating up. In the PiPress, Mila Koumpilova writes: “Minnesota’s state university faculty union sent a harsh critique of Chancellor Steven Rosenstone’s performance to the MnSCU governing board as it gears up to evaluate him. The union and Rosenstone have had a tense relationship. Since last fall, they have clashed over a new strategic planning process for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. And they have been caught in contentious contract negotiations for more than a year.”
The latest in the ongoing Plague of Invasive Pests … Jim Anderson in the Strib: “Homely, smelly and destructive, the brown marmorated stink bug is the very definition of the unwelcome guest. But now that the insect has gotten its creepy little toehold in the state, scientists are taking steps to head off one of the newest invasive species to hit Minnesota. Since first being discovered in St. Paul in 2010, the bug … emits a pungent smell often compared to dirty socks.” So, before you gas the basement, be sure the problem really isn’t dirty socks.
We’ve politicized climate change, so why not the state auditor job? Mark Haveman, executive director of the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence, offers a Strib commentary saying: “Over time, and in a truly bipartisan fashion, themes of political advocacy have crept into this watchdog role. However, recent candidate announcements have taken this to a completely new level. It’s jarring to hear candidates for the office overtly pledge to pursue ideological agendas and involvement in a wide variety of policy areas like closing education achievement gaps and civil-rights enforcement, when legislators have not given the state auditor authority in those matters.”
In the Winona Daily News, Tesla Mitchell tells us: “The challenge to Winona’s so-called 30 Percent Rule has made its way to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which is expected to provide a final ruling later this year on the nearly decade-old ordinance. The court recently chose to take on the case challenging the ordinance — which limits rental properties to 30 percent of any block — after the ordinance was upheld in Winona’s district court, then by a state appeals court.”
In the Minnesota Daily, Nicholas Studenski looks at the Doran company’s moves around Dinkytown and says: “Around the same time Doran Companies put five apartment complexes up for sale, the development firm snagged two Dinkytown sites, adding to its hefty portfolio of University of Minnesota-area properties. Doran Companies, which is now selling all its luxury housing complexes near the University, recently made a $1.76 million deal on property that has faced up-and-down development drama for nearly a year.” Luxury housing for … students. Talk about living in the first world.
Even Bob Collins at MPR is upset about the opaque sweetheart deal the NFL squeezed out of local business leaders: “The host committee, the group of business titans who made the pitch to the NFL, doesn’t want to talk about the deal. It cites the data privacy law in Minnesota, which allows deals to remain secret until the event occurs or five years later. Early in the process, they said the agreement would be public. They just didn’t say in what decade.”
Also at MPR, Brandt Williams wades into some gun stats: “Speaking of guns in Minnesota, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) released the 2013 U.S. trace reports today. According to the report, 2,636 firearms recovered in Minnesota were traced with the help of the ATF. That’s slightly more than the 2,603 guns traced the previous year. The report shows 33 of the guns traced last year in Minnesota were used in homicides, and 47 in suicides.” The only thing that stops a suicidal person with easy access to a gun is …
The Big Dog spoke. Doug Belden of the PiPress covered Bill Clinton’s Humphrey Institute speech Monday: “These days, we’ve become less racist, sexist and homophobic, Clinton said, but ‘our one remaining bigotry’ is that we don’t want to be around people who disagree with us, and we don’t trust our opponents enough to resolve conflicts. As a result, problems ranging from the cost of college to income inequality to Medicaid expansion go unsolved, he said.” Fine. Fine. But did he apologize for Benghazi? Or the death of Vince Foster? Or Whitewater?
Today in entrepreneurship … . Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib reports: “The Florida owner of a major debt-buying company that’s been sued by the state of Minnesota was arrested and charged with bribing a U.S. Bank official to get inside information on the sale of debt portfolios. Leonard G. Potillo III, who runs Florida-based United Credit Recovery LLC, allegedly paid the bank employee $1 million for details on the sale of overdrawn checking and savings accounts it had charged off, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.”