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McFadden hurriedly walks back gas-tax idea

PLUS: Hodges proposes property tax increase; Byron Buxton makes the papers in UK; MIA’s rooftop beehives doing well; and more.

McFadden for Senate

What I really meant to say … Abby Simons of the Strib reports on GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden hurriedly walking back his talk of supporting a … (gasp!) … tax. “… the visit to the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce also produced a stumble that had McFadden quickly backpedaling on whether he would support a higher federal gasoline tax to replenish the nearly depleted U.S. Department of Transportation Highway Trust Fund. Under questioning from a local reporter, McFadden initially said he would support a higher gasoline tax if revenues were cut elsewhere, so that the total amount of taxes from all sources would not rise. … Seconds later he reappeared and addressed reporters again.” Could Grover Norquist really have called that fast?

Speaking of ruinous tax rates that have already cratered the local economy and driven all our millionaires to South Dakota … . Stribber Eric Roper says, “Highlighting investments in public safety and initiatives to reduce racial disparities, Mayor Betsy Hodges offered many specific proposals Thursday for growing city services in her first budget speech. The mayor proposed raising the amount the city collects in property taxes, the property tax levy, by 2.4 percent. That’s the largest increase in several years, on the heels of a boost in state aid after years of cuts.”

This took long enough. Mike Durkin at KMSP-TV posts, “A semi driver who illegally passed a school bus on the right shoulder of a Minnesota highway, nearly hitting a 6th grade student, has been charged with two misdemeanors. Allen Morris, 48, surrendered to the Minnesota State Patrol just 7 hours after video of the May 30 incident was released. … The charges against Morris each carry a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.” And he stays on the road?

The Twins’ much touted salvation, Byron Buxton, made the papers in Britain. Michael Zennie says in The Daily Mail, “The top-rated baseball prospect in America lay unconscious on the field for ten minutes after a sickening collision with a teammate while both dived for a fly ball. … On Thursday, Buxton took to Twitter to reassure his fans: ‘I greatly appreciate all the support and prayers! I’m very blessed! Please keep Mike Kvasnicka and I in your prayers! #thankful #doingokay.’ ”

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34 years is a long time … Jessica Bies of the Mankato Free Press reports, “It was more than 34 years ago this May that the dirt removed from the nearly 6-foot grave had been piled there, covering the plain, nondescript box containing Riverside Cemetery’s enigmatic Jane Doe. A true woman of mystery, her identity has eluded investors for more than 30 years. That’s why Tuesday, hoping to establish the woman’s DNA profile, they exhumed her. Using new technology like mitochondrial DNA, nuclear DNA and isotopic analysis, as well as 3D imaging, they hope to find out who she is, where she comes from and how she ended up in Blue Earth.”

(Sort of) stadium news: Jennie Olson at KSTP-TV says, “Crews will break ground on a new sports center in Marshall, Minnesota, on Thursday. The Southwest Minnesota Regional Sports Center is expected to open in late 2015 or early 2016 and will include an indoor arena with two ice rinks. The center will host wrestling, basketball, volleyball, soccer, trade shows, expos, art fairs and other events. It also has an outdoor complex with four fields for softball and baseball.” Nothing on the cost of the personal seat licenses.

More bee news … Dan Olson at MPR says, “Bee colonies are dying off in alarming numbers in rural Minnesota and across the country, sparking worries about global food production and environmental health. It’s a different story, though, in the hives on the roof of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Nurtured by University of Minnesota researchers and MIA staff, the bees here are doing quite nicely, thanks. They’re healthy, breeding and making lots of honey. ‘Their neighborhood is definitely feeding their bees very, very well, which is wonderful to see,’ said Becky Masterman, who oversees the museum’s colony as part of the University of Minnesota Bee Squad.”

The liberal Alliance for a Better Minnesota is using the “T” word in describing GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson. MPR’s Catharine Richert says, “The ad, which focuses on Johnson’s spending record, argues that the Hennepin County commissioner is too conservative for the state — a primary theme in ABM’s campaign against him. ‘Tea Party Republican Jeff Johnson voted to cut education so he could give millions in tax breaks to corporations,’ the ad states. ‘Johnson’s Tea Party agenda would put Minnesota families at risk.’ ” It’s not like they’re calling him “reckless and stupid.” Or is it?

Speaking of … Sally Jo Sorensen, among others, notes the latest gaffe by GOP activist Andy Parrish. “Andy Parrish, a former campaign director and chief of staff for Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann — most recently featured in Bluestem’s May 31, 2014 post, Tweet clash: GOP operative Andy Parrish calls delegate obscene cream puff before slapping him — tweeted a ‘Mexifornia’ drivers license that gained the approved of white supremacists in a Stormfront forum as early as 2003.”