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Major league soccer in Minnesota may not be a sure thing

Capitol renovations continue; zebra mussels spread while frogs decline; Scott Walker profiled; and more.

You’re all jazzed up about soccer now. But a local MLS team might be a ways off. In the Strib, Jon Marthaler blogs, quoting his friend, Wes Burdine, “Major League Soccer’s expansion strategy has followed three principles. Their top priority is working toward better TV deals, and so they have targeted top TV markets such as Atlanta, and a New York City team in one of the five boroughs. They have also looked to fill out their geographic profile, specifically the glaring gap in the American Southeast. Finally, they are looking for teams in cities that will develop unique and passionate soccer cultures.”

Next… the roof. WCCO-TV says, “Getting in and around the Minnesota Capitol will become a bit harder next week. The Minnesota Department of Administration cautioned Thursday that the ongoing renovation project will kick up a notch after the holiday weekend. There won’t be any access to the Rotunda, the building’s east wing and two floors in the west wing.”

It’s like surrendering to Genghis Khan and the Mongol horde. Erik Burgess of the Forum News Service says, “With zebra mussels discovered in Lake Melissa just south of here last week, officials say boat inspections across lakes country will be stepped up this summer. But for some who live and work here, there’s a certain feeling of resignation, like the battle against the pesky mollusk is already lost.”

At MPR, Dan Gunderson has a piece on researchers continuing to monitor the decline of the frog population. “Analyzing the memory cards [from remote monitors] can tell scientists when frogs are first active in the spring, and when mating season peaks. They can also gauge frog populations. Data collected from 34 sites across North America allowed researchers to quantify the decline in frog populations for the first time. They found that between 2002 and 2011 all frog populations were down nearly four percent. Populations of species considered at risk fell nearly 12 percent.”

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On the long road back… The Mankato Free Press reports, “Isaac Kolstad, the former Minnesota State University football player injured in a downtown assault, is now walking up to 200 feet a day during his recovery at an inpatient rehabilitation program in the Twin Cities. … He snapped his fingers and made a ‘come here’ motion with his hand. He also managed to complete small tasks by himself, such as removing his own socks. He struggled with similar actions only a few weeks ago.”

The case of the ex-cop who allegedly killed two women and stuffed their bodies in suitcases only gets more sordid. M.L. Johnson of the AP says, “A former police officer charged with dumping two bodies hidden in suitcases along a rural Wisconsin highway said he killed the women during separate meetings at hotels to have rough sex, a detective testified Thursday. … Zelich’s public defender Travis Schwantes said Thursday in court that the deaths were accidents that may not merit additional charges.” Hmmm… Might need a better argument.

Wabasha Police are adding a cold-case unit. John Weiss of the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports, “For many years, former Wabasha Police Chief Dave Kruger tried to find answers to the Dec. 16, 1990, disappearance of Donna Ingersoll, who was last seen leaving her Wabasha apartment. She was never found, and Kruger has retired. Now, current Police Chief Jim Warren has taken up that quest and is adding a cold-case unit, calling on several others in the police and sheriff’s departments, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and a national missing persons group to try to solve the vexing case.”

Mario Loyola at The National Review does provides a textbook example of hagiography…  “It was a precipitous ascent from the small Wisconsin farm town where [Scott] Walker was raised. His father was a Baptist preacher. His mother is fond of saying that ‘to do good in life, we must do good to others.’ (She regularly bakes cookies and cakes for the staff.) Walker tells me that his upbringing — and the presidency of Ronald Reagan — gave him a calling to public service early on. … Walker’s reforms allowed him to avert public-sector layoffs and balance the budget, even with $2 billion in tax cuts. They also allowed local governments to fix their finances.”

Meanwhile, Matthew DeFour at the Wisconsin State Journal reports, “A longtime aide to Gov. Scott Walker has a new state job that pays her 31 percent more than what her predecessor made last year. Cindy Archer was selected as the top candidate for chief information officer for the State Public Defender’s Office. In September 2011, her Madison home was raided as part of a now-closed John Doe investigation that led to six convictions of former Walker aides and associates.” I think they were just looking for cookies.