Quick, subpoena him and find out what he hasn’t been telling us about Benghazi! WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler says our Governor is in the same boat as Hillary. “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has never used a state government email account provided to all state employees. He uses only one address — a personal account on AOL.com. In fact, it’s the same AOL account he set up 15 years ago. … The Dayton administration says his AOL messages to state employees are encrypted when they are received into the state system. And the governor says he’s added two additional spyware programs for added security.”
How many different types of allergies are there? Liz Collin at WCCO-TV reports, “A Minnesota family wants restaurants to make changes after an allergic reaction took the life of their son. Scott Johnson, 16, had a severe milk allergy since birth. He died last summer after eating restaurant pancakes that his family thought were dairy-free. … The complaint says Cindy Johnson asked the server if the restaurant’s gluten-free pancakes were also dairy-free. The server said, after checking with the cook, they were. Cindy then told the server the grill would have to be cleaned before Johnson’s pancakes were made.”
I won one … once. In the Strib, Sharyn Jackson writes, “The meat raffle: a quintessential Minnesotan bar tradition that plays out every night of the week in one working-class neighborhood’s watering hole or another. Though its origins are unknown, its existence is as homegrown as tater tot hot dish. Buy a ticket for a dollar — the proceeds go to charity — and get a chance to win a shrink-wrapped packet of raw, pink flesh from a table at the back of the bar. … Along with pull-tabs and bingo, meat raffles are a popular, almost expected form of recreation in bars, as well as fraternal and veterans’ clubs like the Eagles and American Legion. They are part of Minnesota’s $1.2 billion charitable gambling industry, one of the largest in the nation.” Plus … it’s meat!
Ouch! Garrison Keillor gave an interview to a Charleston, South Carolina paper. Elizabeth Pandolfi asked him, “Do you think the good old days really were better than the present?
GK: There was a clearer sense of country, of a common culture. We had more in common. There is not so much of a mainstream now. Journalism is all over the map. Washington matters less and less. The world of publishing is splintering. So is popular culture. There are no TV shows that even one-third of the nation watches, no singers whose voices can be recognized by even one-tenth of the nation. This was not always true. I worry about the future of democracy as journalism diminishes. How will citizens exercise their right to vote if nobody is trying to ferret out the truth about the workings of government? I live in St. Paul, a city with a dying newspaper. What happens when it fades?”
Andrew Jackson on the $20, Lake Calhoun, and this. According to the AP, “A Minnesota Capitol mall statue honoring explorer Christopher Columbus is the target of new legislation that seeks to recast his role. A bill introduced Wednesday by more than a dozen lawmakers would order an architecture board to change the engraving on the 86-year-old statue’s pedestal. It would read ‘Christopher Columbus Landed In America’ instead of the current ‘Christopher Columbus Discoverer of America.’” Because, I mean, we’ve got your Kensington runestone right here.
The Strib editorializes (on its new, spiffy editorial page) on our reputation for sticking it to those who can least afford it … the rich. “Average effective tax rates — that is, the percentage of personal income taxed on average by state and local governments — projected for 2017 are down compared with 2012 at every income level, with one exception. … The exception is the top 10 percent — those whose household incomes in 2012 exceeded $140,692. Their effective rates are due to climb modestly, from 10.5 percent to 10.7 percent. The bulk of that change happens among the top 1 percent of earners, whose incomes exceeded $493,603 in 2012. Their tax bite is projected to grow from 9.8 percent in 2012 to 10.5 percent in 2017.” Who said “class warfare” first?
City Pages’ Cory Zurowski is, uh, skeptical, about “The Commons,” Minneapolis soon-to-be-built “public park.” “The price tag for the two-block parcel is double the assessed value. City taxpayers are flipping the bill for yet undetermined construction costs. Estimates range from $6 to $20 million. Residents will also likely get stuck with annual operating costs topping out at $3 million, but they can’t use it a third of the time. Adding insult to injury is the fact taxpayers get no say in how it’s run or how it’s used for at least 30 years despite shouldering all the liabilities. By anyone’s definition, the Commons is a raw deal for those who actually pay the bills.”
Will they have an area in the mosh pit for walkers and wheel-chairs? Chris Riemenschneider of the Strib says, “Rolling Stones fans’ tongues are wagging over rising rumors that the bad septuagenarians of British rock ‘n’ roll are getting ready to announce a U.S. summer tour. There’s no official word yet, but local sources have pointed to the itinerary including a Minneapolis date at TCF Bank Stadium sometime in June. Adding more enticement to the tour rumors: There’s widespread speculation that the band plans to play its landmark 1971 album ‘Sticky Fingers’ in its entirety at shows this summer.” So the question becomes, how many of the Stones’ original fans can still kick in the stall all night?
Bye, bye Little Stores. Wendy Johnson in the Duluth News Tribune writes, “A longtime, family-owned Northland gas station and fuel oil business is in the process of being sold to new owners. Mike McKinney, director of operations for Cloquet-based Best Oil and Little Stores, confirmed this week that the business is positioning itself for a two-part sale in the month ahead. The retail end of the business, the Little Store chain of gas and convenience stores with 20 locations across the region, will be sold to TravelCenters of America LLC, also operating as TA and Petro stations. The sale is tentatively set to close on Monday.”
Likewise, the Jolly Green Giant. At Reuters, Olivia Oran and Anjali Athavaley report, “General Mills Inc is looking to sell its Green Giant frozen and canned vegetable business, people familiar with the matter said, as the maker of Bisquick and Betty Crocker cake mixes struggles with weak sales of products like cereal. The Minneapolis-based company is working with investment bank Rothschild on the potential sale, which is expected to take place later this summer, the sources said. They requested anonymity because the matter is private.”
On the morale of those left at Target, Peter Cox of MPR says, “Kathy Northhamer, of the Robert Half recruitment firm, said no matter how respectful the process or generous the severance, layoffs will affect those who get to keep their jobs. That means employees need to feel secure as soon as possible, said Mark Sheffert, chairman and CEO of Manchester Companies, a firm that advises companies on layoffs. ‘To the extent that they can communicate that … there aren’t going to be any subsequent layoffs in the near future, that really helps them in terms of making employees feel less angst and making them more productive,’ Sheffert said. But Target has kept mum on whether the slashing of 3,100 jobs is the end or beginning of its restructuring plan.” “Mum” means misery.
$2 million, probably well spent. MPR’s Curtis Gilbert says, “The city of St. Paul will pay Comcast more than $2 million to upgrade the data network connecting more than 100 public buildings to high-speed fiber optic cable. … [Tarek Tomes, the city’s chief information officer] said the hefty price tag is well below the rates Comcast charges in the private market. The upgraded network will deliver speeds up to 1,600 times faster at some locations, he said.” You know how fast you can download the latest water-skiing squirrel video with speeds like that?