Minnesota high school dance team championship marred by scandal

When was the last time the words “High school dance” and “scandal” were used together? (OK, there was my senior prom … .) At Deadspin, Greg Howard tells the nation: “Officials disqualified five Minnesota high school dance teams after their symbolic protest at the state finals over a rival team’s alleged plagiarized championship routine in what was basically the exact plot from the classic and very great high school cheerleading movie, ‘Bring It On.’ … Faribault won first place after a unanimous decision from judges at last night’s state finals, after which the remaining five teams stood together in solidarity against the result. State officials retaliated by disqualifying every other team and refusing to announce any further awards. It made for a striking scene.” Video at the link

At the PiPress, David Montgomery wades deeper into what officials do and don’t know about the roads they’re asking for billions of dollars to repair. “The road system is massive and complex, controlled by hundreds of governmental bodies across the state and paid for by billions of dollars flowing from fund to fund. Experts say most people understandably haven’t paid a lot of attention to the transportation system’s intricacies. … Even experts don’t know a lot of key details about the system, such as the quality of the state’s minor roads. Many local governments don’t track this in any comprehensive way, and MnDOT only knows for sure how good its own roads are.”

Speaking of roads, Janet Moore of the Strib says, “An ambitious effort to modernize Minnesota’s driver’s license and vehicle registration system has taken years and cost nearly $37 million, but the state has little to show for it so far. The new Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) was supposed to have been in place by 2013 at a cost of $48 million. But late last year, state officials quietly fired Hewlett-Packard Co., the multibillion tech giant initially hired to design and build the new Web-based system. Before the partnership was terminated, the Department of Public Safety paid HP $16 million of the original $41 million contract.”

Brady Slater of the Grand Forks Herald has a piece on Eighth District Rep. Rick Nolan. “During an interview at the game, he talked equally about personal trials — with his youngest daughter’s recent diagnosis of terminal cancer — and public angst, in which he described working in a world according to the Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio. … Nolan announced in January that the youngest of his four grown children, Katherine, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Lately, Nolan has made a point of coming home and stopping first to spend a night at Katherine’s home in Roseville. She is a 39-year-old mother of four children and Nolan has worked the phones hard to expand her treatment options in the face of a grim prognosis. Katherine is a match for molecular therapy, Nolan said, that can extend her life an additional 10 to 12 months.”

Really. Don’t even feed it to your dog. The Forum News Service reports, “The Minnesota Agriculture Department has alerted consumers to a voluntary recall of Nutrisca dog food, made by Tuffy’s Pet Foods in Perham. The company is recalling certain lots of four-pound bags of Nutrisca chicken and chickpea recipe dry dog food, which could be contaminated with salmonella. There’s also risk to humans from handling contaminated pet food. No illnesses in people or animals have been reported.”

This in from North Dakota. Via WDAY/WDAZ-TV: “State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler has been arrested for domestic violence. Bismarck Police say were called to the 1100 block of Southport Loop around 2:30 am about a domestic assault report. A 48-year-old victim told officers Baesler had assaulted him during an altercation. Police say he had visible injury as well as dried blood on his face. Baesler had left the scene before officers arrived. She was later located and arrested.”

The Glean

The nerve! Trying to rip-off Paul “As Minnesotan as You Can Get” Bunyan! Zach Kayser of the Bemidji Pioneer says, “Out of the East, a new rival has arisen to make a claim against the supremacy of Paul and Babe in Bemidji. The would-be usurper has stood near the banks of the Penobscot River in Bangor, Maine, for 56 years: a 31-foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan. Although the Bangor statue is bigger than Bemidji’s 18-foot Paul, ours is more than 20 years older, built in 1937. The Bangorites have antique documents they claim prove Paul’s lineage: a ‘birth certificate’ hangs in the city clerk’s office that was issued in 1959, the year their statue was built. It asserts Bunyan came forth into the world on Feb. 12, 1834, in Bangor.”

Juuuuuust a bit more than is generally required for personal use. Says WCCO-TV, “Officials in Wright County say a search warrant executed last week in Southside Township found meth, cocaine and 56 pounds of marijuana. The county sheriff’s office said the search was done Wednesday in a residence on the 6000 block of Quinn Avenue Northwest. While performing the search, deputies found the drugs, as well as a homemade alcohol distillery setup in the basement. Deputies arrested 63-year-old Allen Clarence Hochstein and 60-year-old Mark Donald Repke.” Pothead kids!

Now that was a good run. The Strib’s Graydon Royce writes, “Don Stolz had been producing theater in the Twin Cities for more than two decades at the Old Log Theater when Tyrone Guthrie launched his namesake playhouse in 1963. ‘In fact, Guthrie said the reason he came was because Don Stolz and the Old Log had prepared the ground for him, that people here understood theater,’ said Charlie Boone, a longtime WCCO Radio personality who knew Stolz for more than 50 years and acted on the Old Log stage. Stolz, who is widely recognized as the godfather of the Twin Cities theater community and whose association with the Old Log dates to 1941, died Saturday night from complications of congestive heart failure at Sholom Home West in St. Louis Park. He was 97.

Duluth wants $4 million for Cirrus. Dan Kraker of MPR writes, “The city of Duluth is seeking $4 million from the state to help Cirrus Aircraft expand. The company has over 500 orders for its $2 million Vision Jet. But to meet the growing demand, Cirrus says it needs a new $10 million building next to the Duluth airport. The city of Duluth has pledged to cover $6 million of the cost. Mayor Don Ness wants the state to kick in the rest this legislative session.”

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/16/2015 - 07:51 am.


    …makes excellent, innovative airplanes for those individuals and companies who can afford them, but let me get this straight: because of a surge in business, they want the City of Duluth (i.e., the taxpayers of Duluth) to build them a new $10 million production facility, with help from the State of Minnesota (i.e., the taxpayers of Minnesota).

    The most positive face that could be put on this is that it’s “crony capitalism.” A less positive face would be… well… it’s the “S” word, loathed by people who like to call themselves “conservative” across the land.

    Meanwhile, I wonder if the public – should this $10 million contribution to the company be approved – will be the owners of the new facility, and entitled to charge Cirrus the market rate rental for such a facility, or if the expectation from Cirrus is that the COMPANY should end up the owner of this publicly-financed building.

    Let’s hear from the “free-market capitalists” on this one…

    • Submitted by Robert Owen on 02/16/2015 - 09:52 am.

      Certainly the DFL-dominated Duluth city council and mayor’s office will see of the folly of Cirrus’ request and simply say no to giving away all that taxpayer money.

      Cirrus can ask. The city certainly can say no. That’s the quick way to put an end to the crony capitalism and whatever “s” word you don’t want to write.

      Governments like to talk of “investing” in different projects. Maybe Cirrus isn’t worth such an investment.

      By the way, not all that money would come from Duluth residents; the mayor is asking the rest of the stay to cough up some money too.

  2. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 02/16/2015 - 08:11 am.

    This isn’t…

    free market capitalism. It’s crony capitalism.

    But at least it is cheaper than a staduim.

    • Submitted by richard owens on 02/16/2015 - 09:36 am.

      If Pavel and I bought millions of dollars worth

      of mineral rights in the bitumen tar lands of Alberta, then demanded the United States provide a pipeline right-of-way using eminent domain and Chinese steel….

      If Pavel and I had spent millions of dollars to get oil-industry-friendly reps elected at the state and Federal levels of government…

      Then Pavel and I would expect our reps to force the pipeline through the fragile lands of Alberta, down through the entire heartland crossing rivers and aquifers, all so we could cash in on our mineral extraction wealth, despite the filth it brings, and despite the record spills and destruction of America’s lands and waterways.

      Pavel and I would not call these folks we got elected “cronies”, or even “anti-environmentalists.”


      We’d call them when they vote wrong.

      We’d call a new rep for that office.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 02/16/2015 - 09:10 am.

    If the Private Market Doesn’t See Cirrus as a Good Risk

    for this investment,…

    I’m not convinced that the State of Minnesota, nor the City of Duluth should be making up the difference.

    At the very least, we’d need an iron-clad agreement,…

    something BETTER than the one we had with Northwest Airlines,…

    to prevent Cirrus form doing a “Medtronic,”…

    “merging” with an offshore company to avoid paying taxes to support the state whose educational, societal, and physical infrastructures allowed them to be born and to thrive in the first place.

    Of course such an agreement is impossible since, although us regular folk and smaller, main street-type business owners are required to meet the terms of our contracts or be held responsible for fraud or criminal acts,…

    LARGER companies and wealthier individuals don’t have to bother with such things (i.e. Northwest Airlines and/or Wall Street banks and investment firms and their “advisers” when it comes to choosing between padding their own pockets or meeting their fiduciary responsibility to their investors).

    • Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 02/16/2015 - 11:33 am.

      Cirrus – owned by the communist government of China

      Since 2011.

      Before that, it was bought by a Bahrain bank (First Islamic Investment Bank) in 2001 – the same bank that bought Caribou in 2000.

    • Submitted by T Harty on 02/16/2015 - 11:39 am.

      China Aviation Industry General Aircraft

      Cirrus Aircraft is wholly owned by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft.

      China Aviation Industry General Aircraft is wholly owned by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

      We’re paying a lot of money to keep a company in Duluth that clearly doesn’t want to be there.

  4. Submitted by charles thompson on 02/16/2015 - 10:01 am.


    There is a large venture capital community in this country. Of course they would want their pound of flesh. On the other hand if Cirrus were to fail eventually following public financing big government would definitely take a flogging.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/16/2015 - 11:08 am.

    Wow, nice comments

    I can see my work here is done.

  6. Submitted by Brian Simon on 02/16/2015 - 02:42 pm.

    who owns the airport?

    If the airport is publicly owned, Cirrus may not have the option of building the facility. Both the summary above & the linked story at MPR are quiet on this. Pwraps Cirrus is merely notifying their preferred landlord of their requirements for a larger facility. It is not at all clear whether they expect this at no cost.

  7. Submitted by Ann Klefstad on 02/16/2015 - 03:48 pm.

    Request for money for new Cirrus building

    There have been many such requests on behalf of key industries in the past. This is a company that manufactures its planes in Minnesota and wants to keep on manufacturing its planes in Minnesota. The Chinese company invested in Cirrus because it was a good investment.

    Cirrus wants to build _next to_ the airport in the Airpark industrial park. That land is certainly available.

    Cirrus is an anchor for the growing air industry in Duluth, which has spurred training programs in local colleges as well as ancillary supply industries. This is an unambiguously good investment for a region that wants to keep a foothold in manufacturing.

  8. Submitted by Steve Vigoren on 02/17/2015 - 01:44 am.

    Crony Capitalism?

    As Ann stated, the state routinely makes these type investments to help companies expand their footprint. Rochester Mayo and, er, ahem,… the Minnesota Vikings, to name a couple recent ones. Cirrus has doubled its workforce from 300 to 600 in the last three years! They have a billion dollars worth of orders and they need more room to hire more people to fill those orders. Sounds to me like business as usual. If we don’t help them out, they may move on to somewhere that does, Now if today is the day we are going to stop making these kinds of investments, well, lets get on with it. Which party will step up and start that ball rolling.

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