A large-sounding number but a small percentage. In the Strib, Mila Koumpilova writes, “Two new estimates place the number of undocumented immigrants in Minnesota at more than 90,000. One analysis, by the Pew Research Center, counted 95,000 in Minnesota and suggested that the number might have edged up since 2009 even as it dipped nationally in the aftermath of the recession. The other, by the Migration Policy Institute, put the number at 91,000. … These residents make up 1.8 percent of Minnesota’s population and 2.5 percent of its workforce.”
Still rippling on the Adrian Peterson front. Don Banks at Sports Illustrated writes, “An already bad situation just got substantially worse for everyone involved. The league office and commissioner Roger Goodell clearly wanted to look and act tough in light of the too-soft Ray Rice punishment, but that’s the problem with going too lightly in the first instance — it often prompts a subsequent overreaction. The NFL, it seems, has a calibration problem this season. Rice wasn’t initially punished enough, so Peterson loses essentially an entire season in response. And if you think those two league-issued punishments are in no way related, you haven’t been paying attention.”
This is what they pay him for. In a Strib commentary, Shaye Mandle, president and CEO of LifeScience Alley, a medical technology trade group says, “Over the weekend, the Star Tribune published commentaries by Lee Schafer (‘Killing tax on devices won’t bring back jobs,’ Nov. 16) and Ron Way (‘Repealing device tax? Unnecessary,’ Nov. 17) on why repealing the medical device excise tax is unneeded and won’t bring job growth to Minnesota. Respectfully, both authors miss the primary impacts of the device tax and, most important, its particularly harmful effect on Minnesota’s future. … For a small business that isn’t yet profitable, this excise tax is a growth killer. And in Minnesota, these are the companies we want and need to grow.” So we could let it stand for the giants and apply it selectively to these mom and pop operations?
Another good piece from KARE-TV’s new investigative unit. Steve Eckert and A.J. Lagoe write, “KARE 11 Investigators analyzed every sentence for every felony gun crime during the past three years. We found that judges do not hand down mandatory minimum sentences in the majority of gun crime cases. Under Minnesota law there is a mandatory minimum amount of time criminals who use a gun should be sentenced to serve in prison. But our KARE 11 investigation found the amount of time they are sentenced to prison, if they get prison time at all, varies greatly from court to court and judge to judge.”
The deer are still getting off easy. Strib outdoors guy Doug Smith reports, “With Minnesota’s deer season winding down, the whitetail harvest is 22 percent below this time last year — likely because of the early winter-like weather, fewer antlerless permits and a smaller deer herd. Hunters have harvested 115,000 deer so far, compared to 147,500 at this time in 2013. Department of Natural Resources officials earlier had predicted a total harvest of about 120,000, a level not seen since the 1980s.”
Another crime wave around the U of M. According to the AP, “Police said Monday they are investigating after reports of three separate robberies and assaults near campus over the weekend. They say a man hit a female student in the face early Friday and took her wallet after following her on her walk home. They say three people assaulted a man early Saturday and took his jacket, wallet and keys. He might have suffered a broken nose. Police say four people attacked the third victim Saturday night.”
The program is such a mess even “dozens” of recommendations may not set it straight. Amy Forliti of the AP says, “Experts reviewing Minnesota’s civil commitment program for sex offenders issued dozens of recommendations in a report issued Tuesday, including individual evaluations of each resident to ensure compliance with the criteria for confinement. The panel, appointed by a federal court, also said the state’s civil commitment statute should be changed to ensure it’s used only for the most dangerous sex offenders who are at the highest risk to reoffend. The 108-page report also recommended that officials expedite the process to transfer the program’s only female resident to another environment.”
Another mega bridge. Dan Kraker of MPR reports, “State transportation officials on Tuesday unveiled a $220 million plan to build Minnesota’s tallest bridge and grand gateway into the Iron Range town of Virginia. The bridge would run 1,100 feet across and 200 feet above the water filled Rouchleau Pit, an abandoned iron ore operation just outside Virginia. The Minnesota Department of Transportation saw it as the best option to reroute a section of Highway 53 between Virginia and Eveleth to make way for an expanding iron ore mine. Local leaders, however, were excited about the bridge’s potential as a regional draw.” So no western Wisconsin developers lobbying for this one?
$21,000? Another AP story. This one on damages Byron Smith has to pay for killing those two teenage intruders in Little Falls. “A Minnesota man convicted of killing two unarmed teenagers who broke into his home in 2012 has been ordered to pay more than $21,000 in restitution to the victims’ families. Byron Smith, 66, was convicted in April of first-degree premeditated murder in the deaths of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer. Smith was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He is appealing. Morrison County District Judge Douglas Anderson ruled Tuesday that Smith must pay more than $9,570 to Brady’s family and more than $11,840 to Kifer’s family.”
Hey! The Forum is back, again. Rick Nelson in the Strib says, “Downtown Minneapolis’ priceless art deco treasure, depressingly dark for the past three years, is coming back to life, thanks to the partnership behind the ongoing restoration of another Twin Cities dining legacy, the Lexington in St. Paul. Restaurateurs Josh Thoma, Kevin Fitzgerald and Jack Riebel — with new partner Lorin Zinter — just signed a 20-year lease on the mint green-and-mirrors confection in the City Center complex, and they have big plans for it.”