Mills family to sell Fleet Farm stores

Should free up Stewart’s time to pursue his political career. In the Duluth News Tribune, Renee Richardson informs us, “… Mills Fleet Farm confirmed it is in the process of looking at a large pool of business suitors to find the right one to take the company to the next level of growth for the future. … Stewart Mills III said no final decisions have been made on what a transaction would be at this point, but it’s more than likely the Mills family would be leaving the business with this transition.”

Speaking of Congress, the race to replace outgoing House Speaker John Boehner just got crazy. NPR’s Jessica Taylor, Susan Davis and Ailsa Chang report: “In a shocking move Thursday afternoon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pulled out of the race for Speaker of the House, throwing the GOP leadership race into chaos and confusion. … According to Republican congressmen coming out of the caucus meeting — where lawmakers were expected to pick a successor to retiring House Speaker John Boehner — McCarthy told Republicans he didn’t have a path to victory. … Speaker Boehner then immediately moved to adjourn the meeting. Rooney said there was ‘total shock’ and some members were audibly crying.”

What’s going on in St. Paul’s high schools? Mara H. Gottfried writes in the Pioneer Press: “A large group of students clashed in a stairwell of St. Paul’s Humboldt High School last week as police officers and staff tried to break it up. It ended with police citing 13 students. … A week earlier, up to nine students fought outside Como Senior High School as dozens of their peers gathered to watch. Police say they needed to spray a chemical irritant to help end the chaotic scene. …‘Fights at schools that might have been between two individuals are growing into fights between several individuals or even melees involving up to 40 to 50 people,’ Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman, said of the overall picture this school year.”

What, learn from history? Nah. But anyway, Marshall Helmberger in the Timberjay makes a valiant effort regarding the current debate over mining in northern Minnesota: “While NorthMet would be the first copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, it wouldn’t be the first time that a significant amount of low-grade sulfide-bearing rock was exposed as part of a mining operation in the region. … For 30 years, beginning in 1964, LTV Steel operated the Dunka Mine, located just three miles southeast of Babbitt. While LTV mined taconite at the site, a layer of the Duluth Complex lay on top of the iron ore along one end of the mine. In exposing the iron ore, LTV removed an estimated 50 million tons of sulfide-bearing rock that it stockpiled at the mine site, where it remains to this day. …When state regulators and PolyMet officials say they can mitigate the risks of acid rock drainage at NorthMet, Dunka provides a good example of the challenges and the economic and political pressures that regulators could face when proposals outlined in the NorthMet Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or SDEIS meet realities on the ground.

In other news…

The headline of this video created by Alpha News is “Is Jason Lewis running for Congress?” but we defy you to watch it and not conclude that the question already has an answer. 

More on the debate about St. Paul’s plans to delete city emails:Rochester is among the few Minnesota cities with an automatic email deletion system. In fact, Rochester has one of the shorter retention periods in the state — 60 days.” [Rochester Post Bulletin]

Northwest Minnesota motorists: drive carefully. “Truck spills 2,000 gallons of used motor oil in northwest Minnesota” [Detroit Lakes Online]

Somewhat relatedly: “Lawsuit: Feds must press pipeline firms for oil spill disaster plans” [AP via MPR]

Pretty: “Northern Lights over Duluth” [MPR]

R.I.P. former Duluth Zoo director Basil Norton [Duluth News Tribune]

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Bill Willy on 10/08/2015 - 05:21 pm.

    Shock and awe

    “there was ‘total shock’ and some members were audibly crying.”

    That whole thing is rapidly closing in on the point where “the caucus” and their “activities” will be filling the national psyche with visions of chickens (coming home to roost) in little suits running around with their heads cut off, smacking into each other, tipping over, but getting back up and (somehow) squawking even louder at each other to “Get out of my way! I’ve GOT to kill the government. I’ve GOT to kill the government!”

    Regarding the Polyment/Glencore copper-nickel mining scam, Steve Timmer pointed out yet another interesting thing about the situation in a September 24th article entitled, “Who’s Your Sugar Daddy,” that asked the question, “What do you do when your Sugar Daddy is out of sugar?” (

    Anyone interested in the issue ought to read it (and think about what it might mean, should things get to the “Financial Assurances”/damage deposit point in the permitting process), but basically, Glencore (the REAL “mining company” behind the con job, and Polymet’s Sugar Daddy) is on the verge of tanking, big time. Tanking in a way commodities market analysts are saying reminds them of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, back at the beginning of the “Great Recession” during George Bush Jr’s last year in office.

    Or, as the people at put it a few days after Senor Timmer’s article appeared:

    “Glencore craters 29% as analysts fear debt will ‘evaporate’ stock’s value

    “The battered Glencore PLC stock fell further out of favor on Monday, as investors questioned the commodity giant’s ability to tackle its staggering debt pile and deal with commodity prices lingering at multi-year lows…

    “Glencore shares have now lost 76% in value year-to-date, as the miner and trader struggles with weak results, slumping metals prices and broader concerns about its balance sheet.

    “Investec analysts suggest Glencore’s equity value could evaporate against its large debt pile unless commodity prices improve or the company launches a substantial restructuring.”

    [This Investec observation is particularly interesting.]

    ” ‘Despite the drastic action that management has announced recently (even assuming all of the measures are successfully implemented), a spot-price scenario results in an almost complete collapse in forward earnings such that no meaningful estimate of shareholder value can be derived under our price-earnings methodology,’ they said a note on Monday.

    ” ‘In effect, debt becomes 100% of [equity value] and the company is solely working to repay debt obligations,” they added.”

    76% drop in value so far this year, global copper market in the toilet, and mountains of Big Time Global Banking Debt.

    Bummer. Almost a better reason for some to cry than whatever it was that (really) had “the caucus” so shook up.

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