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Six more inches of rain, 35-county ‘state of emergency’

More on Medtronic; no drought left in Minnesota; state’s employers added 10,300 jobs in May; prosecutors allege Wis. Gov. Scott Walker involved in illegal coordination with conservative groups; and more.

Even ducks have to be tired of this. A Strib team reports, “Following many days of heavy rain in all parts of Minnesota and in anticipation of more yet to come, Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency in 35 counties affected by flooding that has swamped farm fields, urban highways and small-town streets from one end of the state to another. … The National Weather Service (NWS) said more than 6 inches of rain has fallen in some parts of the Twin Cities area Thursday … .”

For the St. Peter Herald, Jessica Bies has a long list of road closures and restrictions. “Highways CLOSED include:

  • Hwy 19 west of Gaylord (low spot about one mile from town)
  • Hwy 19 Henderson to Hwy 169 – long term river closure
  • Hwy 93 Henderson to Hwy 169 – long term river closure
  • Hwy. 19 (2 miles north of the Le Sueur area) and Scott County Road 53 (near Belle Plaine). Look out for flooding. The right lane is closed.”

And yes … the drought is over. The AP says, “This week’s heavy rains have extinguished the last remaining patch of drought in Minnesota. Thursday’s update from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows the state completely free of drought and abnormally dry conditions. Pete Boulay, a climatologist with the Department of Natural Resources, says the last time Minnesota was completely free of any drought designation was for two weeks in July of 2011.”

But … Says Dave Peters at MPR, “ … that’s not the same thing as ending concern about the state’s groundwater, Jim Stark, director of U.S. Geological Survey in Minnesota, told MPR News’ Cathy Wurzer on Morning Edition today. Unlike big parts of the West, Minnesota is drought free this week for the first time in a long time. Aquifers — water-containing rock and sand layers underground — that are near the surface are responding to the heavy rains, Stark said. ‘They’re up several feet in many cases and that is a really good thing for our groundwater systems.’ But aquifers that are deeper and that are often the main source of drinking and other water for many city systems respond more slowly.”

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Minnesota’s allegedly toxic business environment failed to rear its head again in May.  Adam Belz of the Strib writes, “Minnesota employers added 10,300 jobs in May, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. ‘The long-awaited spring arrival came in May,’ said Steve Hine, the state’s labor market economist. ‘It was the best month we’ve had this year.’ ”

Meanwhile, next door in “It’s Working”-land: Scott Bauer of the AP reports, “Newly released documents show prosecutors are alleging Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of a nationwide ‘criminal scheme’ to illegally coordinate with outside conservative groups. … Prosecutors say Walker, his chief of staff and others who worked for him were discussing illegal coordination with a number of national groups and prominent figures, including GOP strategist Karl Rove.” And yes, I’m as shocked as you are.

According to the Strib, Medtronic is doing exactly what it should do. “Presuming the merger makes strategic sense and the price is right, publicly held Medtronic is doing exactly what it should do to maximize shareholder value. … There is little reason to doubt Ishrak’s promised $10 billion in additional investment, given that the United States remains the global leader in medical technology and innovation. Presuming he remains in the top job at Medtronic, he’ll also no doubt make good on his Minnesota job-growth pledge.” In other words, let’s put healthy skepticism aside in this matter.

Meanwhile, the paper’s biz columnist, Lee Schafer, breaks the news that Medtronic has indemnified its top executives, but not its shareholders from the tax consequences of its Irish exodus. “When holders exchange their Medtronic stock for shares in an Ireland-based company the regulatory filings refer to as ‘New Medtronic,’ it’s treated like a sale — a sale that will generate a tax but no cash proceeds that could be used to pay it. … Medtronic … agreed to cover any liability for its insiders related to this excise tax.” Classy.

The Glean You owe it to yourself  to read Mike Mosedale’s Politics in Minnesota piece on GOP Supreme Court nominee Michelle MacDonald. A snippet: “In an hour-long interview at her law office in West St. Paul Friday afternoon, MacDonald spoke with Capitol Report about her candidacy, her longer-term aspiration to serve on the United States Supreme Court and her most immediate goal: eliminating a ‘broken’ family court system that she views as too litigious, often corrupt and sometimes unconstitutional.’ ” Stick with it for the part where she’s placed shoeless in a wheelchair for refusing to cooperate with deputies during one of her court cases.

The re-development of the Fred Richards golf course in Edina is a pretty “local local” issue, but you have to laugh at the recommendations from a public meeting, as recorded by the Sun Current’s Lisa Kaczke. “About 100 residents filled a room at the Public Works facility on Thursday, June 12, for the first meeting on the re-purposing of the course … . Comments from residents also included the following ideas or concerns:

  • Want walking paths, but not directly next to houses on the north side. Keep it natural with trails similar to Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield.
  • Want an area that’s friendly to children and a place where families can go for a few hours on a weekend afternoon.
  • Want soccer fields because Edina lacks sports facilities and programs can’t expand. Others said they don’t want athletic fields because of the noise.
  • Want a wildlife feel to the area.
  • Don’t want to see a large number of people at the park.”