Big money for cleaner water. Don Davis at the Forum News Service says, “Minnesota communities and farmers would receive a $220 million boost in their efforts to clean up the state’s water under a proposal Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled today. Much of the money would help cities, mostly in rural Minnesota, to improve water and sewage treatment facilities. Dayton sets aside $30 million to meet a new law requiring vegetative buffers between cropland and streams and lakes. … A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency proposal indicates communities statewide needs to spend $11 billion in the next two decades to fix water quality problems.”
Talk about long overdue. Ricardo Lopez of the Strib reports, “Minnesota has launched a state-backed program for state residents interested in refinancing their student-loan debt. The state ranks fifth nationally in the amount of college-loan debt carried by residents, who have on average nearly $32,000 in outstanding loans.”
Think of it as a “fun” tax. Says Rachel Chazin at KMSP-TV, “Powerball sales from the record 20-draw run that began on Nov. 7 generated $20,722,081 for Lottery beneficiaries, the Minnesota State Lottery announced Thursday.” So do I still get to buy a boat?
The Strib’s Mary Lynn Smith adds: “Don’t crumple up that Powerball lottery ticket just yet. The big winners of the record-breaking, billion-dollar jackpot may be in Florida, Tennessee and California. But somewhere out there in Minnesota are 379,573 players who can claim some prize money in Wednesday’s record-breaking Powerball jackpot, including 12 tickets that are each worth $50,000 because the holders matched four numbers and the Powerball.” So you’re saying there’s still a chance?
Not often you get “warm” and Lake Superior in the same sentence. MPR says, “A new study released in December showed that lakes are not only warming, but they’re warming faster than the oceans, according to MPR News meteorologist Paul Huttner. NASA and the National Science Foundation collaborated on the study, which focused on 235 lakes on six continents over 25 years. The study concluded that lakes are warming at an average rate of 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit every decade. Four of the five Great Lakes were included in the study, and Lake Superior was found to be one of the fastest-warming lakes on the planet. Superior is warming at a rate of 2 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, Huttner said, which is three times the global average.”
A scam for every fear. WCCO-TV’s Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield says, “Minnesota parents are getting a frightening email in their inboxes. It says there is sex offender activity in their area, and offers resources to protect them against sexual predators. The emails aren’t true, but they are bringing a whole different kind of danger into people’s homes.”
There’s also this, from the AP. “Rochester police have arrested a man suspected of scamming churchgoers out of hundreds of dollars with a story about his dead family. Investigators say the man visited Pax Christie Church and St. John the Evangelist Church Monday where he talked about how his family was killed by explosives in Beirut. Police say that between the two churches he received more than $1,000. Police were called when the man was spotted at Trinity Lutheran Church Wednesday night.”
Now this old guy deserves some kind of Total Minnesotan medal. The KMSP-TV story says, “A 101-year-old St. Paul man hasn’t let old age, or Minnesota winters, keep him from helping out his neighbors. A neighbor filmed him outside shoveling his neighbor’s sidewalk after a snowfall one morning, and the inspirational video is going viral. The video was posted on Jan. 8 by Facebook user Keven O’Bannon. In the video, O’Bannon approaches his 101-year-old neighbor, Mr. Mann, who is shoveling the sidewalk of a neighbor who is out of town.”
No break for The Last Place on Earth guy. MPR’s Dan Kraker tells us, “A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the conviction of a former Duluth head shop owner for selling millions of dollars worth of synthetic drugs. A three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal synthetic drug law used to convict Jim Carlson, the owner of the store Last Place on Earth, is constitutional.”
Well, he’s saving us trial costs. Peter Cox of MPR says, “A former University of Minnesota engineering student who brought a bag of explosive devices into the Coffman Memorial Union last summer has made a guilty plea in the case. Jason Johnson, 35, pleaded guilty in Hennepin County Court to one count of terroristic threats. He’ll be sentenced next week. On Aug. 9, police were called about a suspicious bag that smelled of gasoline that was sitting near a fireplace, a criminal complaint said. A bomb squad searched the bag and found bundled smoke flares, towels soaked in gasoline, gloves and a lighter.” If I heard the GOP candidates right last night, that guy might be an “existential threat.”
Smartphones, or the lack thereof, are apparently to blame for Best Buy’s bad 4Q. Drew Fitzgerald of the Wall Street Journal says, “Shoppers picked up fewer mobile devices and shunned the cases and headphones that come with them, executives said. For all its spending on brighter stores and a sharper website, Best Buy remains at the mercy of big-name manufacturers. Apple hasn’t reported its holiday results, but Chinese parts suppliers have recently warned of slower iPhone production. Samsung executives this month said they were adjusting their strategy to adapt to pressure on smartphone sales.” I don’t know about you, but I get a little tired of having to buy a new one every two years.
This is good. Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine has some thoughts about Nikki Haley’s comments on anger in politics. “There are four approaches a politician can take to the Obama years: (1) one can be angry about them and show it, (2) one can be angry and not show it, (3) one can be not angry but show anger, or (4) one can be not angry and not show anger. The third approach is a good definition of demagoguery; it is deplorable. I doubt that the fourth approach is available to non-saint conservatives. Given Obama’s ruinous, doctrinaire leftist tenure, nearly every conservative surely feels some anger.”