Democrats are pouring time and money into northern Minnesota this campaign season. Catharine Richert of MPR reports: “Democrats and their allies are making a big push to turn out voters in the area, which state DFL Party Chair Ken Martin considers key to this election year. Rep. Rick Nolan is in a tough race with Republican Stewart Mills, and Democrats need to protect key legislative seats to keep control of the Minnesota House. On top of that, Martin has to make sure Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Al Franken do well on the Iron Range so they win statewide.” That ad with Stewart Mills, the boat, the lobster tails and him doing the John Edwards thing with his hair is pretty funny.
Meanwhile, “Coach Mark.” Rachel Stassen-Berger and Patrick Condon of the Strib says, “Gov. Mark Dayton is out with his first television ad of the campaign, a hockey-themed piece entitled ‘Darn Good Coach’ that talks up the Democratic incumbent’s first-term accomplishments. … [Jeff] Johnson’s campaign has not yet aired broadcast television commercials, which are expensive. Johnson’s fundraising has lagged behind Dayton so far, but the Republican said on Friday that he would have ads on the air by the end of September.”
Hey! An e-pulltab mention. Doug Belden of the PiPress writes, “Electronic pulltabs may have flamed out as a revenue source, but the industry of which they’re a part — charitable gaming — is expected to generate more than a quarter of the money the state needs to pay for the new Vikings stadium. Data from Minnesota Management and Budget provided to the Pioneer Press show the state is projecting roughly $7 million a year in taxes on charitable games to help pay off the stadium bonds. That would be $241 million over 30 years, 27 percent of the total $881 million debt service.” At least we didn’t ask the NFL to sully itself with that kind of debt.
We’re No. 5! Another week, another study of driving courtesy. Josh Francis of the Forum News Service says, “Drivers in North Dakota and Minnesota are among the most courteous in the nation, a new national survey found. According to a survey by Insure.com, 2,000 motorists from throughout the United States and the District of Columbia determined North Dakota drivers were the least rude and Minnesota motorists ranked fifth in the survey of 2,000 drivers conducted by Insure.com, a consumer insurance website. Idaho is home to the rudest drivers.”
There’s still appeal for wolf huntin’. Sam Cook of the Forum News Service says, “More than 15,000 people have applied for licenses to hunt or trap wolves in Minnesota this fall, said Dan Stark, large carnivore specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Grand Rapids.That total is up from about 13,000 last year, but down from about 26,000 in 2012, the first year of Minnesota’s formal wolf season.”
The approach of harvest season has the shortage of railcars getting another working over. A note up at MPR’s Daily Circuit page says, “The rail traffic is delaying shipping for farmers and led to a meeting with the federal Surface Transportation Board this month: ‘During the board’s public hearing in Fargo, representatives of farm groups and government officials told members of the board that although the rail service is improving, late trains still cause significant problems getting grain to market. Rail delays have already cost farmers in Minnesota more than $100 million because they could not get grain to market in a timely manner, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson said.’”
Anthony Lonetree of the Strib says the Blue Line LRT, which suffered a derailment, will be back in action today. “On Saturday, service was disrupted when a metal plate broke loose from the rail line and lodged under the wheel of a northbound train car, forcing the train off the track and into a pole that holds the overhead power line.”
In sort of a chainsaw variation on the Castle Doctrine: John Myers of the Forum News Service reports, “An Iron Range candidate for the Minnesota House faces a civil trial in Itasca County this week after sawing his neighbor’s garage in half. Roger Weber, a Nashwauk Republican running for the District 6A seat, allegedly used a power saw to bisect the building, according to a lawsuit filed by Mark Besemann of Iron. Weber then removed half of the garage That he insists was built, decades ago, on property that he now owns. Besemann is suing Weber for $20,000 in damage to the garage and $20,000 in punitive damages. Besemann also is seeking a small portion of Weber’s land adjacent to the garage to act as a buffer to any additional actions Weber might take.”
Also from the Forum folks — they own the Duluth News Tribune — The Great Lakes biggest freighter is back on course after running aground over the weekend. Says Peter Passi, “The freighter Paul R. Tregurtha quickly resumed work early Sunday morning, after it was cleared for action by U.S. Coast Guard inspectors looking for any sign that the longest vessel on the Great Lakes may have sustained damage when it ran aground Saturday afternoon near Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park. … As for what caused the freighter to veer off course Saturday, [Tom Wynne, a spokesman for the Ohio-based Interlake Steamship Co.] said: ‘We have nothing concrete at this time, but the captain said the ship didn’t respond as he expected when they started their turn toward the bridge’.” Hmmm. Someone’s going to have something in their file.
I know you’re as fascinated as I am by manure-eating bugs. Frank Jossi at Midwest Energy News reports, “With the help of some aggressive bugs that thrive on a diet of waste and manure, the $45 million Hometown Bioenergy plant in Le Sueur, Minnesota has reached 60 percent capacity since opening in December of 2013. … The anaerobic digester, capable of producing 8 megawatts of electricity, is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the country. It sits on a 35 acre site and draws customers from a 60 mile radius, including sweet corn canning operators and other vegetable processors, who bring their waste and pay tipping fees to have Hometown take care of it, she said.” Anaerobic digester: sort of like a teenage boy.