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Slowdown on Bakken affecting Minnesota businesses

Plus: more on Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson; a tribute to Michele Bachmann; good news for T-mobile customers; and more.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Even booms don’t always boom: From Matt Sepic at MPR, a piece on how some state businesses are feeling the effect of the oil price drop slowdown out on the Bakken. “To get oil out of the ground through the long North Dakota winter, you need a lot of heat to keep valves, fracking fluid and workers from freezing. And you need to generate it in a way that won’t accidentally ignite the nearby natural gas, blowing everything to smithereens. When Thawzall, an Alexandria, Minnesota-based, manufacturer built an answer — a portable heat trailer that uses no flames or sparkplugs designed to work in North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields — demand took off as Bakken crude production skyrocketed along with oil prices. Lately, though, the future’s looking a little leaner.”

Bernadeia Johnson is out as superintendent of Minneapolis Public School. MinnPost’s Beth Hawkins takes a look at her tenurewhile Alejandra Matos of the Strib says, “Johnson’s resignation comes midway through an already challenging school year. The district is facing one of the nation’s largest achievement gaps, dramatically disproportionate suspension rates for students of color and a growing number of parents pulling their students from city schools. Johnson’s departure comes less than a month after the school board gave her low marks for boosting student achievement and as she has faced mounting criticism from school advocates.”

The MPR story says, “Johnson also has acknowledged that the racial imbalance of students who are being sent home for behavioral problems is so staggering that district leaders needed to rethink the standard for removing children from school. The vast majority of students receiving suspensions are African-Americans, who are nearly seven times as likely as white students to be pulled from school. And the rates for American Indians are not much better. Nearly 14 percent of African American students in the district were suspended in 2012, compared to just 2 percent of white students, according to district data.”

It is a line that catches your attention. In Roll Call the headline reads, “A Tribute to Michele Bachmann.” From there Christina Bellantoni writes, “But I’m going to devote this column to defending the first congressional tea partyer. She happens to be a very nice person. I’m not just talking about the old Minnesota nice cliché. And I’m not talking about Washington polite. She has a kindness in her that can surprise even her sharpest critic. At the same time, she has an unapologetic aggression for her principles that happen to be further from the mainstream than your typical member of Congress.”

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In a round up of bona fide characters departing the halls of Congress, Russell Berman writes, “Inside Congress, her voice was louder than her influence; Republican leaders paid her little attention, and the Tea Party Caucus she co-founded never became a force. Yet to her most ardent fans, Bachmann’s congressional legacy may be that while her critics could say many things about her, they could never accuse her of ‘going Washington’ or being co-opted by the establishment. Michele Bachmann’s tenure in Congress wasn’t long, but she remained an outsider to the end.” Although, these days “going Washington” implies cashing out on a career in D.C.

Also, did you catch (the departing) Stephen Colbert’s hat tip to Our Favorite Congresswoman? There’s no reason you can’t suggest bombing Iran at a White House holiday party.

Nothing’s free. Kyle Potter of the AP says, “Minnesota patients seeking medical marijuana come July 1 can expect monthly bills of $100 to $500 for their treatment, according to estimates from the state’s manufacturers. With no hope of insurance covering even a fraction of those bills, the potentially high costs will leave some patients and their children with the painful choice of cutting expenses elsewhere or forgoing a chance at relief.”

A little too well done, I’m afraid. The Forum News Service report says, “About 7,500 three-week-old turkeys were lost in a turkey farm fire near Worthington early Tuesday morning. … The Worthington, Bigelow and Brewster fire departments also assisted at the scene. Smith estimated that there were between 40 to 50 firefighters battling the blaze.”

Please try to contain your enthusiasm. In only eight short weeks a new season begins for another local sub. .500 team. In the Fort Meyers News Press David Dorsey says, “In eight weeks, Minnesota Twins pitchers and catchers will report to the refurbished Hammond Stadium and the rebranded CenturyLink Sports Complex. In six weeks, 99 percent of that construction and reconstruction work is slated to be complete, Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter said tonight in an exclusive interview with The project costs $42.5 million and is being funded by tourist taxes over a 30-year lease extension with the Twins. The improvements bring the Twins up to par with the Boston Red Sox, who will be entering their third spring training at JetBlue Park.”

Good news for T-Mobile customers. In the PiPress, Julio Ojeda-Zapata says, “T-Mobile is activating Long Term Evolution service in the Twin Cities on a different wireless band to complement existing LTE service while, the carrier claims, offering wider, more reliable coverage. The new service on 700-megahertz spectrum recently purchased from Verizon will allow T-Mobile’s wireless-data signal to better penetrate buildings while expanding T-Mobile’s service footprint farther from the urban core and into the hinterlands, the carrier claims. … [The company also] announced a new ‘Data Stash’ service that will let subscribers roll over data they haven’t used. The new service, which is free, comes with a one-time bonus 10 gigabytes of data at no charge.”