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January traffic fatalities lowest in 31 years

Plus: More millennials calling Twin Cities home; DNR to do review of deforestation in NW Minnesota; fewer people falling behind on mortgages; and more.


Clearly, something is working. The KSTP-TV story, by Dave Aeikens, on January‘s record-tying traffic fatality count says, “Fewer Minnesotans died in traffic crashes in Minnesota in January than any previous January since 1984, the Minnesota Department of Public safety said. Nine people were killed in traffic crashes last month, according to preliminary information. Previously, the fewest people killed in the month of January since 1984 was 15, DPS officials said.”

But don’t let your hope for humanity get too high. From KARE-TV, Dana Theide reports, “Authorities in north central Minnesota are looking for a man who they say sexually assaulted a good Samaritan who stopped on the highway to help him. Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake says between 10:05 p.m. and 11:05 p.m. a female motorist was traveling northbound on Interstate 35 near Esko when she stopped to assist a motorist pulled over on the shoulder of the freeway. In the course of assisting that man he both physically and sexually assaulted her.”

WCCO-TV’s Ali Lucia wraps her look at millennials with a glance at their job prospects, going forward, as they say in corporate-speak. “More millennials are calling the Twin Cities home. Minneapolis, St. Paul and select surrounding suburbs have seen population increases by this generation of more than 10 percent since 2007. … GREATER MSP, a non-partisan group, is aiming to attract young talent to the metro. Everyday Frosch is meeting with young talent, CEOs, and working on getting Minnesota’s message out there. ‘Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of the three top places in the country where young talent have both economic opportunity and mobility, and affordability,’ [Peter Frosch, vice president of strategic partnership at GREATER MSP] said. In fact, Minneapolis-St. Paul is just behind Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City. The report by Derek Thompson, data from Raj Chetty and Jed Kolko, weighed in on two major factors: housing costs and the ability for those under 35 to move up in their careers.”

Not Howlin’ Wolf … “Howling Wolf.” The AP tells us, “Opponents of wolf hunting gather at the Minnesota Capitol Thursday to celebrate a court decision that put the region’s wolves back on the endangered list. It’s being organized by Howling for Wolves, which opposes sport hunting and trapping of wolves. … Some Minnesota state senators plan to introduce bills against wolf hunting and trapping Thursday. One would impose a five-year moratorium on wolf hunting if the animals come off the endangered list again.”

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That Strib piece seems to have gotten someone’s attention. Tony Kennedy at the paper writes today, “The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said today that it will take a closer look at rapid deforestation in a part of northwestern Minnesota where pine forests are being cut, a move that will at least delay further conversion of land to potato fields and other agriculture. The growing land conversion could pose problems for water supplies, fish and wildlife for years, as detailed in a Star Tribune story last Sunday. The DNR said it will stop granting well permits needed for potato irrigation until it produces a review known as an environmental assessment work sheet (EAW.) That document could take up to a year to complete.”

So what? We won. Stribber Paul Walsh writes, “One of the most recognizable voices in national sports broadcasting said he is convinced that the Minnesota Twins pumped in artificial crowd noise in the Metrodome during their march to the 1987 World Series championship. In an interview Wednesday on NBC Radio’s ‘Pro Football Live’ with Mike Florio, Al Michaels said ‘it was ridiculously loud’ in the now-defunct Dome as he covered the Series for ABC-TV. ‘I’ll never forget, Scott Ostler was writing for the L.A. Times, and he described the crowd as 54,223 Scandinavian James Browns,’ Michaels continued. ‘It was the perfect line.’ ” Michaels may never have experienced Scandinavians in a moment of ecstasy before.

So much for that role-model thing. Josh Verges at the PiPress tells us, “Critics of a southern Minnesota college president have published evidence that she plagiarized the dissertation for her doctoral degree. Annette Parker has led South Central College in Faribault and North Mankato since July 2013. She received a doctorate in educational leadership from Western Kentucky University in December 2012. A blog post published Wednesday night highlights several sections of text that appear to have been copied, almost word for word, from other papers with what critics say is insufficient attribution.”

You knew the Cheeseheads weren’t going to let that “idiotic” comment slide. The River Falls Journal reports, “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton was quoted in the press bashing a TV ad campaign for Wisconsin tourism by calling it ‘one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever seen.’ Thanks for helping with the ad promotion, governor, replied Wisconsin legislator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), and, by the way, how about getting serious on income tax reciprocity? … ‘We look forward to continuing airing these ads on Minnesota airwaves and only ask that he direct the Minnesota Department of Revenue to accept Wisconsin’s most recent income tax reciprocity offer in exchange.’ ”

After brawling over the money, of course. The AP says, “A proposal before Minnesota lawmakers would make it a requirement that parents with minor children take a marriage dissolution course before their divorce case could proceed. The bill being introduced Thursday in the Senate includes some good-cause waivers, such as not being able to afford the four-hour class. Similar proposals have been tried before, but Democratic Sen. John Marty says past problems have been worked out. The bill has a bipartisan list of sponsors.”

Finally, further evidence the economy is completely off the rails. Jim Buchta of the Strib reports, “There’s another sign of stability in the housing market: Fewer people are falling behind on their mortgage payments. CoreLogic said the foreclosure rate in the Twin Cities metro during November 2014 was 0.51 percent, a decrease of 0.27 percentage points compared to November of 2013 when the rate was 0.78 percent. That’s compared with a nationwide foreclosure rate of 1.48 percent during the same period. There’s also evidence the foreclosure rate will continue to declinine. Just 2.21 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 2.75 percent for the same period last year, a decrease of 0.54 percentage points. Not everyone who falls behind on their payment falls into foreclosure, but the measure is a good indication of whether foreclosure rates will rise or fall.”