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U of M’s Kill lauded for career — and for decision to retire

Plus: financial pros say PolyMet ‘not economically feasible’; lawmakers learn how Bakken affects Minnesota; state Supreme Court won’t intervene in gun case; and more. 

Jerry Kill
University of Minnesota

Jerry Kill’s resignation was news across the country. USA Today collected reactions, including: “‘What a tremendous example he is, not only for the 125 guys that get to work with him on a day-to-day basis, but for all of us who have the privilege to stand alongside him and certainly those who have supported him throughout the state of Minnesota. What he’s demonstrated today is just the utmost courage and respect for the university. He is a man of unbelievable character, strength, he supports everyone around him, and he has set a tremendous example about what it means to be passionate, going after your dreams, to be fully committed to anything and everything you do. The impact he made on those young men, not just here at Minnesota but throughout his career, is incredible. He’s made them better men. We’ve seen that first hand at Minnesota.’ — Minnesota interim athletic director Beth Goetz.”

Ben Axelrod at Bleacher Report says:  “ … the Golden Gophers’ Big Ten West Division championship aspirations have all but disappeared. Bowl eligibility may even be a stretch at this point, as interim head coach Tracy Claeys inherits a team that may only be favored in one of its five remaining games. But while what’s left of the 2015 campaign paints a bleak picture for what’s ahead for Minnesota, the future possesses plenty of promise in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Because while Kill’s departure may have been abrupt, the Golden Gophers now find themselves with one of the more attractive head coaching vacancies in all of college football thanks in large part to their now-former head coach.”

At ESPN, Dan Murphy writes, “[Interim coach Tracy] Claeys’ first game as the interim coach in 2013 was against a ranked Michigan team, and he’ll start with the Wolverines visiting Minneapolis on Saturday night. ‘Coach [Jim Harbaugh has] done a great job there,’ Claeys said while filling in for Kill on a teleconference earlier this week. ‘It’ll be a good challenge for us, and we’re looking forward to a great atmosphere and having fun on Halloween.’ Fun is a word that only a football coach could use to describe the first three games Claeys must navigate. After facing No. 15 Michigan this week, the Gophers have back-to-back road games against undefeated teams: first at No. 1 Ohio State and then at No. 10 Iowa.”

Says Pat Reusse in the Strib, in the context of Kill and his team’s clunker games, “It appears that Kill can’t deal with setbacks. His public seizures at TCF Bank Stadium were in games the Gophers were in danger of losing to lowly teams (New Mexico State and Western Illinois). It is a great thing for most coaches to reject the reality of setbacks, but obviously not good for a man who is willing to fudge on his epilepsy meds because he thinks it gives him a chance to get a better effort from his team. We have a good hint from 2014 that Kill can handle his epilepsy, as long as he does what he’s supposed to do. As a reporter who didn’t see eye-to-eye with some of Kill’s poor-mouthing this season, and said so, I still like ‘Country Jer’ as a guy … .”

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If you’re in the mood for predictions … in food, the Strib’s Rick Nelson writes about a new report from a restaurant consultant company, which predicts: “… A rise in high-speed food delivery services: They include Amazon Prime, BiteSquad, DoorDash, Postmates, Eat 24 and Caviar, and ‘none actually makes food … they’re middlemen connecting restaurants and customers.’ More ‘clean’ menus: ‘Big restaurants are all-of-a-sudden dumping some artificial (and other bad-for-you) ingredients.’ Still, ‘most restaurants pushing for ‘clean’ food haven’t tackled oceans of chemicals and colorings in soft drinks and numerous dessert items.’”

Tourism in Minnesota is in good shape. Zach Kayser in the Brainerd Dispatch, “The director of Minnesota’s tourism board emphasized unity and resilience Wednesday after a summer tourism season when the industry weathered tough blows. John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota, spoke to a crowd of resort owners and managers at the Minnesota Resort and Campground Association Fall Conference at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge. … Positive opinions also exist internally within tourism. An Explore Minnesota fall survey of resorts, campgrounds, hotels and other hospitality industry members asked them how business was during the 2015 summer season compared to 2014. Fifty percent said it was up and 27 percent said it was the same, Edman said.”

Three financial pros don’t like the smell of PolyMet’s numbers. In a Strib commentary, they say: “As finance professionals who have spent considerable time studying the PolyMet project, we come to the exact opposite conclusion from Lee Schafer (‘Low prices won’t dissuade PolyMet,’ Oct. 15). When we crunch the numbers, it’s clear PolyMet’s proposed mine doesn’t make financial sense. PolyMet and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are rushing to complete an environmental-impact statement on the proposed copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes. In their haste to finish, they are not telling Minnesotans a critical fact: current metal prices mean the project is not economically feasible.

Don Davis of the Forum News Service reports on Minnesota legislators getting a line on what Bakken oil does for Minnesota, and vice versa. “The need for sand to help produce North Dakota oil has fallen with the price of oil, but probably will rise again. The same is true with oil train traffic taking crude oil to refineries. Minnesota Legislative Energy Commission members learned those and other facts Wednesday as they drilled down to find out how Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota affect their state.”

Get your Flex on. Says Tom Meersman in the Strib: “More gas stations across Minnesota will offer different blends of ethanol in the near future, thanks to an $8 million federal grant awarded this week. The funds will support an estimated 165 retailers, and will help them increase the number of gas stations that offer intermediate ethanol blends such as E15 (gasoline blend stock with 15 percent ethanol) for vehicles 2001 and newer, and higher blends for flex-fuel vehicles, such as E30 and E85.”

Speaking of the Bakken, Occidental has seen enough. Says Reuters, “Occidental Petroleum Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. oil producer, swung to a significant net loss for the third quarter on Wednesday as it booked charges for dropping futures prices and halted projects while saying it was exiting North Dakota. The company, which also has operations in the Middle East and Colombia, showed a net loss of $2.61 billion, or $3.42 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a profit of $1.21 billion, or $1.55 per share, in the year-ago quarter.” Expect a bake sale.

Finally, it’s still a naked assault on our precious Second Amendment rights at Vikings games. “Minnesota’s highest court won’t step into a dispute over handgun policies for off-duty police officers at Minnesota Vikings football games. The AP says, “The state Supreme Court has issued an order saying it won’t review an appellate court ruling that went in the favor of the National Football League and the University of Minnesota. The entities sought to enforce a league gun ban in stadiums for all but working officers and security personnel.” Load your pitchfork!