Roll Call, the congressional-focused operation, keeps track of members’ net wealth. Minnesota is not even above average, except for Al Franken. At City Pages, Ben Johnson writes, “The minimum net worth of Minnesota’s congressional representatives last year ranges from Sen. Al Franken’s fat $2.9 million stockpile to Reps. John Kline, Betty McCollum, and Keith Ellison, who all reportedly have a negative net worth. … Roll Call found that the cumulative wealth of Congress jumped more than $150 million since the last annual report, clocking in at a cool $2.1 billion. And just like the general public wealth is concentrated at the top; the five richest politicians hold nearly 40 percent of the combined minimum net worth of Congress.” Stand up and take a bow, Darrell Issa. Also, Our Favorite Congresswoman had a good year, with her net worth improving 55 percent to roughly $900,000.
The latest on Nye’s, from Jim Buchta at the Strib. “One thing is clear: Unless a buyer plans to continue running it as a restaurant, it’s very likely the buildings will be bought by a developer and replaced with a modern high-rise. Though the buildings are situated in the heart of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, which includes the historic milling districts on the east and west banks of the river, the buildings themselves don’t have the kind of historic status that would automatically prevent them from being scraped. … P. Victor Grambsch, President of the Nicollet Island-East Bank Neighborhood Association, said the group would not oppose demolition of the buildings and is in full support of a high-rise tower.”
MPR’s “Daily Circuit” blog is compiling a list of “Best books of 2014.” A few mentioned:
• “Prison Noir” edited by Joyce Carol Oates
• “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour” by Joshua Ferris
• “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” by Richard Flanagan
• “Greenmantle” by John Buchan
• “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932” by Francine Prose
• “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” by Karen Abbott
• “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters
• “The Commandant of Lubizec” by Patrick Hicks.”
Judging by the comments, women read three times as many books as men. I nominate “The Children Act,” by Ian McEwan.
Until that (long-promised) El Nino kicks in, you might as well rev up the “snow machine.” According to the AP, “Minnesota has launched a revamped website on snow conditions to coincide with the opening of the state’s 22,000 miles of snowmobile trails. The state Department of Natural Resources announced Monday the trails are officially open, although many don’t have enough snow for riding. The Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association president says there are more than 216,000 snowmobiles registered in the state.” And don’t forget the snowmobiler’s maxim: “He who dies with the most CCs wins.”
But wait! This just in. MPR’s Paul Huttner says, “Take a good look at the snow cover outside your window today. You may be looking at bare ground by late next week. All major models point to a dramatic pattern change by the middle of next week as Pacific breezes take hold and much milder air invades Minnesota from the west. A San Francisco-style warm front should push temps well into the 40s as soon as next Wednesday, and the early models are cranking out temps as warm as 50 degrees with rain showers by late next week in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota.” And just when I had a good complainin’ jones going.
The Strib’s Paul Walsh reports, “A Twin Cities comedian and actor fell while walking among ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and died, friends said Tuesday. Gus Lynch, of White Bear Lake, died Monday while vacationing with his wife and their two children in Akumal, home to a comedy festival he founded. Lynch, born Jason Michael Gustine, was 42. Lynch fell about 30 feet a few days earlier and suffered significant injuries, said fellow Twin Cities performer and close friend Bryan Bevell.”
We’re #6! Joe Lindberg at the PiPress writes, “An analysis of national giving figures shows Minnesota among its most generous, especially when it comes to volunteering and donating time. Minnesota ranked as the sixth-most charitable state, according to the analysis from Wallet Hub, a consumer finance website. Volunteer rates and time and money donation rates, along with several other factors, were weighed for the ranking.” #1? As always … Utah.
The Expo 2023/”World’s Fair” dream of out-going Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and local business chieftains gets a plug from the Strib. In an editorial the paper says, “Even to the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s ardent Minnesota promoters, the idea of hosting Expo 2023 — a smaller, three-month version of the World’s Fairs staged every five years — seemed far-fetched at first. But with imaginations fired by the expo’s working theme, ‘Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Wellness and Well-Being for All,’ the prospect is gaining plausibility and enthusiasm. … A Minnesota Expo also would likely boost investment in infrastructure that would serve this state long after 2023. A glimmer in planners’ eyes is a privately financed high-speed rail link between Rochester and the Twin Cities.”
Got some free time on your hands? The AP reminds you that, “It’s the final week for candidates to put their names into consideration for the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. The Legislature will elect five regents to the state’s 12-member governing board next year. Applicants have until Friday to get into the hunt.”
Or, how about an IT gig? At MPR, Tim Pugmire says, “Carolyn Parnell announced today that she’s stepping down as head of MN.IT Services on Jan. 5. In that job, Parnell serves as the state’s Chief Information Officer. The agency provides information technology services to other state government departments. In a memo to employees, Parnell said she thought this was a good time to leave.”