Not that you’d know by sticking your foot in it. Jennifer Brooks of the Strib says: “Dozens of researchers pooled decades’ worth of data from hundreds of lakes and concluded that the world’s lakes are warming even more rapidly than the oceans or the atmosphere. The warmer waters threaten fish populations, ecosystems and fresh water supplies around the globe. Closer to home, University of Minnesota Duluth Professor Jay Austin says … that Superior, like the other Great Lakes, is growing ever warmer. ‘Lake Superior is one of the more rapidly warming lakes’ among the 235 lakes in the study, Austin said.”
But still two and a half hours? MPR’s Dan Kraker says, “Advocates of a proposed high-speed rail line between Duluth and Minneapolis say the cost to build the project has been cut nearly in half. Previous estimates to build the Northern Lights Express passenger rail service approached $1 billion. Now, the Minnesota Department of Transportation says it will cost between $500 million and $600 million. The savings would come by dropping the train’s top speed from 110 mph to 90 mph and by cutting the number of daily trains from eight to four … . MnDOT projects the line connecting Target Field in Minneapolis with the downtown Duluth depot would draw about 700,000 riders a year beginning in 2020. Total travel time would be two and a half hours, comparable with a car. Projected fares are expected to cost between $25 and $30.”
Money … talking. The AP says, “A federal budget proposal brought good news Wednesday for Minnesota’s medical device companies by freezing for two years a tax on products like pacemakers and ventilators that they have long opposed. The package of tax cuts and spending cued up for final votes in Congress this week would suspend the 2.3 percent excise tax on those devices, ultrasound machines and more that took effect in 2013 as part of the funding mechanism for President Barack Obama’s health care law. … U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement that she’d keep working with [GOP Rep. Eric] Paulsen and others to make the suspension permanent.” So then does Medtronic come back from Ireland?
More on those raids on chiropractic offices. Dan Browning in the Star Tribune says, “An insurance company’s lawsuit accusing a Twin Cities chiropractor of billing fraud may offer a hint of the allegations that prompted searches Tuesday by federal investigators on several area chiropractic offices. Exactly what prompted the searches remains a mystery, as the affidavits filed to obtain them remain under seal. But Healthcare Chiropractic Clinic — the defendant in the State Farm lawsuit — has offices in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park that were among as many as nine raided by agents with the FBI and the Minnesota Department of Commerce Insurance Fraud unit.”
Frederick Melo of the Pioneer Press says, “The St. Paul City Council voted 6-1 on Wednesday to support a resolution condemning Donald Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims and reaffirming that the city is open and welcoming to immigrants and refugees of all backgrounds. Council member Dai Thao, who sponsored the resolution, amended the language before the vote to omit wording that stated Trump was not welcome within the city.”
Speaking of our Capitol City, Dan Bauman in the Pioneer Press reports, “Fourteen students in the St. Paul School District have been charged this year with assault of a school official, according to data from the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. In total, the County Attorney has charged 26 students this year who attended school in Ramsey County with the same offense. … Since 2000, 578 cases have been brought against minors in Minnesota using the school-specific assault charge. Of that total, 171 cases, 29.6 percent, were filed in Ramsey County. Across the river, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has brought 109 cases, or 18.9 percent of the total, under the same charge.”
Also in St. Paul: You steal a cop’s ride and you get probation. Elizabeth Mohr reports in the Pioneer Press, “A man who stole a St. Paul police officer’s patrol bike in August has been sentenced to probation. Devin Lamont Fitzgerald, 19, of St. Paul pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft, and a second was dismissed at sentencing last week. … When stopped by another officer near West Seventh Street and St. Clair Avenue, Fitzgerald said he’d borrowed the $1,500 bike to ride to work, the charges said.”
If not the butler, it’s always the “love interest.” Stribber Paul Walsh says, “An arrest has been made in Costa Rica in the stabbing death of a Minnesota native and University of St. Thomas graduate who arranged medical missions in the region, according to news reports from that Central American nation that pointed to a romantic connection between the victim and the suspect. Sondra Lynn Elizondo, 45, was visiting the Costa Rican capital of San Jose for business when police found her body on Dec. 9 in a hotel room, university officials said last week. … The man, whose identity has yet to be released, had with him items belonging to Elizondo, the report continued.”
Elizabeth Dunbar for MPR writes, “More solar energy is coming to the University Avenue light rail corridor in St. Paul. Next year, Innovative Power Systems will install solar panels on four commercial building rooftops in the area, thanks to a $1.9 million grant from Xcel Energy. The trains use a lot of electricity. But once the new panels are installed, solar power will make up 17 percent of the light rail’s annual electricity use.”
Says Matt Sepic for MPR, “The Minnesota Twins are installing additional netting at Target Field to protect fans from foul balls and flying bats. The nets will be seven feet tall and run along the first- and third-base dugouts. Matt Hoy, the Twins’ senior vice president of operations, said Target Field’s lower level seats are closer to the plate than in any other Major League stadium, and fan safety is a priority.” Maybe, just maybe, if they watched the game instead of their cellphone screens there wouldn’t be a problem.