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Bachmann delivers farewell address; thanks staff, supporters — and Moses

Plus: Pictures of Bachmann ‘cuddling’ with Joe Biden; TIES facing scrutiny over mismanagement; transportation commissioner says MN needs ‘sustainable’ funding source to pay for roads; and more.

Rep. Michele Bachmann
REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Was there a dry eye in the place? Our Favorite Congresswoman gave her farewell address. The WCCO-TV story says, “Thanking her staff and Minnesota supporters, Bachmann said she was the nemesis of Democrats — but she never compromised her beliefs. ‘It has been the privilege and the honor of a lifetime for me to serve as a member of the United States Congress, serving as the first woman ever elected from the state of Minnesota in the capacity of being a Republican,’ Bachmann said.” And there was quite a lot of staff over the years.

For the Strib, Allison Sherry reports,In her final floor speech, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann started talking about a statue on the top of the U.S. Capitol, moved onto Moses and the Ten Commandments, and then capped it with gratitude for her staff, her donors and the guy who literally drives the trains in the basement of the Capitol. … She said the reason why there is government is to secure for everyone ‘the rights God gave us.’ She talked about Moses, who the Bible says decreed the Ten Commandments.”

BTW, via The Washington Post, there are pictures of Bachmann at the White House Holiday party cuddling with … Joe Biden — and posing with Nancy Pelosi.

Only slightly more understandable. The Reuters story says, “A 21-year-old college student died of severe head trauma after being struck by the cab of a dumbwaiter at a bar and grill in western Wisconsin, an autopsy released on Tuesday found. … The autopsy report and investigation determined [Brook] Baures suffered severe trauma when the top of the dumbwaiter cab struck her head as it passed the sill of the second-floor opening, according to Fountain City Police Chief Jason Mork. Mork said it was an accident, adding it was not known why her head was in the device.”

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TIES will be feeling the heat. In the PiPress, Christopher Magan says, “At least one Minnesota state agency will examine how a Falcon Heights school technology collaborative spends taxpayer money after a forensic audit found widespread mismanagement. Legislative Auditor James Nobles said this week that his office would take a closer look at the use of state grants and other funding by the Technology and Informational Educational Services, or TIES. TIES receives grants from the state Education Department, and the inquiry will be part of a larger review of how state agencies oversee grants to nonprofits.”

And in The Culture Wars: Jeff Baenen of the AP says, ” A humanist group is objecting to a public school in southwestern Minnesota sending students this fall to hear an abstinence talk that it says had religious aspects. The American Humanist Association sent a letter Tuesday to Luverne Public Schools, saying students were sent during school hours on Sept. 30 to hear a presentation by Jason Evert of the Chastity Project.  The group contends students and parents were not informed about the event’s religious aspects beforehand because flyers about the event were nondescript. … Randy Perkins, 49, of Luverne, the parent who pulled his 14-year-old son from the event, dismissed claims that Evert’s message was not religious. ‘They scrub this. It’s very deliberate,’ Perkins said of the message. ‘It’s kind of disguising.'”

The latest phone scam: Getting you to pay off warrants over the phone. Sarah Horner of the PiPress says, “If someone calls asking you to pay a fine over the phone to settle an outstanding warrant for your arrest, hang up.  That is the message the Ramsey County sheriff’s office is circulating after receiving reports of a recent phone scam in the area.  A number of residents have received phone calls recently from someone claiming to be from the sheriff’s office who asks the individual to ‘settle warrants by putting money on a prepaid card,’ according to the sheriff’s office.”

What? He expects us to pay for better roads? Tom Weber and Catharine Richert at MPR say, “Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle told The Daily Circuit on Tuesday that the state needs $6.5 billion in the next 10 years to maintain Minnesota roadways. Rather than rely on one-time funding, Zelle said the state should establish a reliable revenue stream, such as a user fee, to pay for future road projects. ‘Having a sustainable funding source that can be counted on and then also dedicated to ensure that this is truly focused on transportation and not available to other sources… gives taxpayers confidence,’ he said. Zelle stopped short of saying he’d support a wholesale gas tax floated earlier this year by Gov. Mark Dayton.” 

Also looking for more cash. Don Davis for the Forum News Service says, “Advocates for Minnesota’s elderly and disabled are back at the state Capitol asking for money on top of new funding they just received. Legislators earlier this year granted a 5 percent increase to many programs for the elderly and disabled. Now, community-based programs for those groups want another 5 percent boost. … The 5 Percent Campaign, a coalition of groups supporting the increase, says 90,000 Minnesotans are under care of people who would get more money under the bill.”

Not quite Lewis & Clark’s view from the Missouri Breaks, but nice. In the Strib, Dylan Peers McCoy says, “When Todd Gerlach planted his first prairie, he was trying to cut back on yard work. Compared to conventional lawns, mature prairies require very little maintenance, so Gerlach converted about a quarter acre in his backyard. It turned out, that was just the beginning. … On a brisk afternoon not long ago, Gerlach drove a few miles from his home in Prior Lake to his 50-acre plot in Lakeville. After restoring his backyard grassland, Gerlach became so enamored by prairies that he began a much more ambitious project — converting this large tract of farmland to native grassland.”