A Social Security tax break. Bill Salisbury of the PiPress says, “Some 367,000 Minnesota seniors have a stake in a tax-cut debate going on at the Capitol this week. The Republican-controlled House wants to phase out income taxes on all Social Security income. The Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor majority opposes that tax break as a threat to the state’s future fiscal stability. The outcome of that dispute rests in the hands of five senators and five House members who serve on a conference committee that is trying to split the difference between the $2.2 billion in tax cuts the House approved and the $268 million in tax relief offered by the Senate.”
Damned feedlots. In a Strib commentary, Sonja Eayrs writes, “During the past year, my family has learned firsthand the failings of county officials and feedlot operators to address the environmental impact of factory farms. Easy permitting of these projects is par for the course in Dodge County. The Dodge County Planning Commission, aka ‘the feedlot commission’ — consisting of seven members, six of whom are registered feedlot operators — quickly approved the controversial factory farm near my parents’ farm a second time in December 2014, following vacation of the first conditional-use permit by a district judge. It was time to take action — legal action.”
The Strib is officially opposed to “microbeads.” The paper’s editorial board says, “It’s time for Minnesota to take a big step in fighting a tiny new form of water pollution: plastic ‘microbeads.’ These almost-too-small-to-see particles are added to skin scrubs, toothpaste and other personal-care products as an exfoliant or abrasive, with each individual package containing thousands or even hundreds of thousands of microbeads. The trouble is that microbeads don’t disintegrate when they’re washed off. Nor are most municipal water treatment plants designed to remove them. As a result, microbeads are washing into waterways across the nation, with scientists increasingly sounding the alarm about potential impacts.” So not only a colder, but also a less beautiful Omaha?
Miriam Jordan of the Wall Street Journal comes out to see ISIS’ appeal on the campus of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. “At this modern campus, which puts many in this city’s large Somali-American population on the path to the middle class, students and faculty are searching for answers. Of particular concern is the apparent disconnect between the men’s past and present, and why joining Islamic State, widely known as ISIS, holds such appeal.”
Generally speaking, you want to avoid buying anything from anyone under indictment. So Nick Woltman at the PiPress says, “The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is warning the state’s prescription drug retailers and wholesalers that drugs they bought through Minnesota Independent Cooperative may be mislabeled or adulterated. MIC, an Eagan-based wholesaler, was indicted last week in federal court in Ohio on charges of mail fraud and conspiring to sell prescription drugs from illegal, unlicensed sources to other wholesalers and pharmacies. The Board of Pharmacy sent an email Monday to Minnesota pharmacists and drug wholesalers alerting them to the allegations against MIC, said Cody Wiberg, the board’s executive director.”
After Jeb Bush said he’d do exactly what his brother did in Iraq, this may be the smarter career move. Patrick Condon at the Strib reports, “Matthew Pagano, the political director for the Minnesota Republican Party, is leaving his post at the end of the month and moving to Iowa to work for a political action committee supporting Rand Paul’s presidential bid. … Pagano said his work for the PAC, which he was not ready to identify publicly, would initially focus on helping Paul to do well in the straw poll.” Lord knows it did wonders for Our Favorite Congresswoman.
Fast outta the blocks. At MPR, Paul Huttner says, “It’s been a fast start to spring in Minnesota. I can’t remember a nicer spring, a year with more mild sunny days. Apparently I’m not imagining things. Most Minnesota crops are off the the fastest start in 30 years. … Crop planting and emergence is way ahead of the five-year averages, and miles ahead of last year’s monsoonal spring planting season.”
Goin’ electronic. At KARE-TV Rena Sarigianopoulos says, “Minnesota drivers will soon be able to ditch their insurance cards. Not the insurance, just the card. Both the Minnesota House and Senate have unanimously passed bills that would allow drivers to show electronic proof of insurance.”
Really? Nancy Madsen of the Mankato Free Press writes, “Medical students could replace the elementary and junior high students now teeming through an old school building in Gaylord, a south-central Minnesota town of 2,300. The Gaylord City Council has approved working with Danza Group of Middletown, N.Y., which redeveloped the former Horton Hospital there into a medical school for Touro College. That project took three years — students began classes in August. … The preliminary plan is to convert the school’s 125,000 square feet classrooms and other learning centers and add student dorms that would eventually provide housing for more than 300 students.” Everything and everyone is fully vetted, yes?
You thought I was joking. Mere days after every paper on the continent leveled thousands of acres of forest blathering on about who was going to be picked by who and why, a 2016 NFL mock draft has concluded that the Vikings will dump Adrian Peterson and select … Ezekiel Elliot. Brandon Katz at HNGN.com says, “WalterFootball.com projects Minnesota to select Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot with the No. 19 overall pick next year. Now projections this far out almost never end up being accurate, but the Vikings are a very solid team and can expect a leap from second-year QB Teddy Bridgewater. If they do end up in the back half of round one then a running back become more reasonable. Two were selected in the first-round this year, after all.” I mean, there’s fantasy football and then there’s delusional football.
I smell a parking rate increase. Tim Nelson of MPR says, “The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is poised to set a new minimum wage, $1 above the state wage floor, effective in August. That’s the recommendation going before the Metropolitan Airports Commission, published in advance of a regular meeting at the airport scheduled for Monday. The new regulation would be implemented through new contract conditions between the MAC and vendors that are licensed to provide services to travelers and airlines at MSP. It will mean at least a $10 minimum hourly wage this year for thousands of airport workers, which Gov. Mark Dayton said he supported back in March.”
What’s the opposite of “Live long and prosper”? Stribbers Pamela Miller and Mary Lynn Smith report, “Two men have been arrested in connection with the death of 90-year-old Earl Olander, who was found bound and beaten in his ransacked San Francisco Township farmhouse on April 11, the Carver County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday. Sheriff Jim Olson said in a news release that a tip from a citizen led to the arrests of the two, who are being held in the Carver County jail. They are likely to be charged Wednesday, he said. Olson plans a 4 p.m. news conference Wednesday to talk about the case.”