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Big money in the 7th Congressional District race

Plus: electrofishing explained; auditor candidate fears pension liabilities will lead to ‘a lot of Detroits’ in Minnesota; Saints owners say new CHS Field will open on time; and more.

The Strib’s Allison Sherry checks out national attention on the race between Rep. Collin Peterson and state Sen. Torrey Westrom in the Seventh District. “The Seventh Congressional District contest between Peterson and state Sen. Torrey Westrom has become one of the state’s most closely watched races — and one of the most expensive. With national Republicans eager to seize an opportunity to unseat Peterson, more than $8 million in outside money has poured into this race. … Westrom’s playbook sounds a little more like 2010 than 2014. He rails against raising the debt ceiling unless there is a balanced-budget amendment attached, and getting leaders such as Pelosi, who hasn’t run the House of Representatives in four years, out of the decisionmaking process.” Find MinnPost’s coverage of the race here

Yet another commentary on the Washington [Bleeps]. In the Strib, Roseville writer Doug Kenney says, “It would be easy to conclude that protest against corporate misappropriation of American Indian culture is futile. But it’s not. It has worked before. And a few of the most memorable success stories played out here in Minnesota. In 1964, Minneapolis-based Pillsbury introduced a new line of powdered soft-drink mixes to compete with Kool-Aid. Pillsbury called its new, sugar-free product Funny Face. (Its artificial sweetener, sodium cyclamate, was later linked to cancer and banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but that’s a different story.) Each Funny Face flavor was named for a silly character: Goofy Grape, Loud-Mouth Lime, Freckle-Face Strawberry, Rootin’-Tootin’ Raspberry and two others that soon created major public-relations headaches at Pillsbury: Chinese Cherry and Injun Orange.” Scary fact: I’m old enough to remember that.

With Second District Rep. John Kline freshly re-endorsed by the Strib, we have an AP story noting, “For-profit colleges that don’t produce graduates capable of paying off their student loans could soon face the wrath of the federal government.    Schools with career-oriented programs that fail to comply with the new rule being announced Thursday by the Obama administration stand to lose access to federal student-aid programs. To meet these ‘gainful employment’ standards, a program will have to show that the estimated annual loan payment of a typical graduate does not exceed 20 percent of his or her discretionary income or 8 percent of total earnings.” Intrusive big gummint repressing the entrepreneurial spirit!

The Glean There’s always something like this in the final days of the election. In the PiPress, Patrick Rehkamp says, “Minnesota’s Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson has paid more than $259,000 to his son with campaign funds since 2007. On the other side of the aisle, Eighth District Republican candidate Stewart Mills has paid his family’s company more than $6,800 for office space. Overall, Minnesota’s congressional delegation and their opponents in the November election have paid more than $373,000 in campaign money to family members since 2007. The practice is legal.”

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Electrofishing? Ann Wessel of the AP says, “Electrofishing temporarily stuns fish with an electrical current. Hanging from each of two booms that extend from the front of the boat is a spider array of six stainless steel cables about 4 feet long. In the dark, they look a bit like pale jellyfish. The boat completes the electrical circuit. The array stuns fish within a 6-foot radius.” You kinda have to read it.

Oh yeah, there’s an auditor’s race, too. Christopher Magan of the PiPress says, “[Republican Randy] Gilbert said he believes some cities have seen their credit ratings deteriorate because of growing pension liabilities. If they are not addressed, he fears Minnesota cities could experience crises similar to what has happened in Detroit. ‘If we don’t do something about it, we are going to have Detroits right here in Minnesota,’ he said.” A lot of similarities, I’m sure.

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With the World Series over, circle May 21 on your calendar. Frederick Melo of the PiPress says, “The new home of the St. Paul Saints will debut on May 21, a Thursday, when the baseball team takes on the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at the new CHS Field in downtown St. Paul. The city’s $63 million, 7,000-seat regional ballpark is still under construction at Fifth and Broadway streets, but team officials say the field will be ready for a four-game series against the RedHawks concluding on May 24.”

Kind of a grim view of Wisconsin girls in a story by Kelly Meyerhofer of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Stress, suicide attempts and social media use. All three are on the rise among Wisconsin girls, according to a new report released Tuesday that — while careful not to be alarmist — nevertheless identifies several nagging concerns that don’t seem to be improving. … ‘The Status of Girls in Wisconsin 2014’ was produced by the Research Center for Women and Girls at Alverno College, in partnership with Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast. A host of other community organizations, such as the Women’s Fund, also collaborated on the report. This is the third edition of the study, so trends are becoming apparent.”