Sorry, time’s up. Says Rachel Stassen-Berger in the Pioneer Press, “Increasing the chances that Minnesotans could have problems boarding planes next year, the federal government refused to grant Minnesota an extension to improve its driver’s licenses. The decision from the Department of Homeland Security, received by Gov. Mark Dayton’s office on Tuesday, means that Minnesota will be the only state in the nation that has driver’s licenses that the federal government eschews and lacks permission to work on the issue in the future. ‘As a result, federal agencies may not accept Minnesota driver’s licenses and identification cards for official purposes,’ Homeland Security assistant secretaries Alan Bersin and Philip McNamara wrote Dayton.” So, in other words, “We’re No. 1!”
On a judge barring certain BLM protestors from the Mall of America, Mark Peters at the Wall St. Journal writes: “Judge Karen Janisch in a ruling on Tuesday issued the order against activists Michael McDowell, Miski Noor and Kandance Montgomery. But the judge denied the mall’s request for a broader order against Black Lives Matter Minneapolis that would require Facebook posts about the protest to be deleted and tweets sent out canceling the event. Susan Gaertner, a lawyer for Mall of America, said the ruling sends a message that the mall is private property and demonstrations aren’t permitted. ‘That is a powerful message that hopefully this year will get through,’ she said.”
But, says the Strib’s Dave Chanen, “A judge’s ruling Tuesday won’t prohibit a Black Lives Matter demonstration planned for Wednesay at Mall of America or fulfill the shopping complex’s goal to make the group remove social media messages about the protest. … Bloomington Deputy Police Chief Mike Hartley declined to comment Tuesday on how security would be handled during Wednesday’s demonstration.”
As for the St. Paul Central teacher attacked this month, Jon Collins at MPR writes, “The St. Paul Central High School teacher who was attacked and injured by a student earlier this month said the lawsuit he’s filed against the district is meant to send a message that violence should not be tolerated by school district officials. … Speaking to reporters in the lower level of a building that houses a Bloomington law office, [John] Ekblad said he has no memory of the attack on Dec. 3. He’s said the traumatic brain injury and other injuries he sustained during the attack have led to near-constant headaches.”
MPR has this story. “This fall, Minnesota saw its warmest September in recorded history, followed by a warmer-than-normal October and the fourth-warmest November. Add it all together, and 2015 is on pace to be the sixth warmest year in Minnesota history, [Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota climatologist and meteorologist] said. The warmth is a combination of El Nino and general warming trends. Warmer and wetter weather is in cards for Minnesota, as seen this past spring.”
Elsewhere at MPR Paul Huttner says, “Is there enough Christmas-week magic to save a white Christmas for the Twin Cities? I’m saying there’s still a chance. … At this point I’m leaning toward a slightly more aggressive snowfall Wednesday afternoon. With temperatures hovering above freezing at ground level, some may melt on contact. But I won’t be shocked to see widespread 1″-plus totals, with some 2″ to 3″ totals somewhere close to or in the metro by Wednesday evening. I’m not totally buying into the model notion below of 3″ to 4″ metro snowfall potential Wednesday night, but some sloppy 1″ to 3″ snowfall totals sure seem more possible than it did yesterday.” None of that sounds too definitive, does it?
A big new poultry lab. For the Forum News Service, Carolyn Lange reports, “Just nine months after the first case of bird flu was reported in Minnesota, resulting in the loss of 9 million turkeys and chickens, ground was broken Monday on an $8.5 million expansion and remodeling project at the Minnesota Poultry Testing Lab here. The fast-tracked project is expected to be completed by August and should help the state be better prepared for any future outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza.”
We have “Hockey Moms,” and now a contestant on “Shark Tank.” Another Forum News story says, “Randy Stenger founder of Hastings-based Extreme Sandbox, will face the show’s sharks Jan. 5 in pursuit of the ultimate business deal. Extreme Sandbox provides visitors with the opportunity to operate construction rigs, including a skid-steer loader, bulldozer and excavator on a 10-acre ‘sandbox,’ with supervision from instructors.”
Tom Olsen of the Duluth News Tribune tells us, “A Duluth motorist was under the influence of heroin and fell asleep at the wheel when he fatally struck a pedestrian on a West Duluth sidewalk, according to charges filed in State District Court. Authorities said David Andrew Smithson, 27, admitted that he had a drug problem and had been awake for a ‘couple of days’ before his van crashed into 37-year-old Brian Jacob Respler on Saturday afternoon.”
A rabbit? From the South Washington County Bulletin, this just in: “A Cottage Grove, Minn., man reported Dec. 12 that he found the head of a rabbit on his roof at a home in the 8400 block of Hinton Avenue. The man said he found the head while removing a branch from the roof.” Did anyone get the plates on that eagle?
Can it have a sports application of any kind? Says Sam Black at The Business Journal, “The University of Minnesota has acquired Murphy Warehouse Co.’s headquarters and distribution center, which sits on a 22-acre site next to the Minneapolis campus. The university already leases 23,000 square feet in the building for a bookstore, distribution center and a small refrigerated storage space used by the school’s Department of Geology core samples. … The school valued the deal at $20 million, which included $17.975 million in cash plus about a $2 million donation by Murphy Warehouse, according to the December agenda of the University of Minnesota Regents.”
There’s some juicy stuff here, I can just feel it. Stribber Jackie Crosby reports, “A former high-ranking employee of Starkey Hearing Foundation has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming she was fired for raising questions about the organization overstating the number of devices it gives away to charity and other business practices.”