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Dayton vows to serve full term

Plus: warmer temperatures ahead; handgun permits reach record high; another take on the Steven Avery case; and more.

Gov. Mark Dayton
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

So much for rumors, apparently. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the PiPress reports, “Gov. Mark Dayton insists that anyone who believes or even suggests he may quit the job before 2019 lacks a basic understanding of his character. ‘This is the finale of my career, and if they think I’m going to walk away or they think they’re going to drive me out, they just fundamentally don’t know who I am,’ the Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor told the Pioneer Press. ‘The notion that … I would just sort of turn tail and slink out the door to finish my political career is just insulting.’ For years, Dayton has been dogged by speculation that he will not continue in politics.” It’s not like he’s got a celebrity pundit gig at FoxNews waiting for him.

The free market solution. More insurance to insure your insurance. Says Christopher Snowbeck in the Strib: “As deductibles get bigger, insurers are pushing extra coverage that can help people with certain serious health problems cover out-of-pocket costs. These ‘critical illness’ policies have been around for years, but Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare and St. Paul-based Securian Financial Group are among the insurers making recent moves in the growing market.” I’ll pay anything, just keep me away from that Socialism stuff.

The cold is a short-term thing. Says WCCO-TV, “Tuesday will start off with negative temperatures, before warming up into the single digits. From there, the warm-up will continue, and by next weekend, Minnesota will be feeling balmy. Saturday’s highs are expected to be in the mid-30s. That means that in the span of a week, some Minnesotans could see a temperature change of nearly 60 degrees.”

But even with highs below zero there’s this: The AP says, “Organizers of the annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza are postponing the contest for two weeks because of inconsistent ice conditions. Contest officials and the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office said Friday the charitable ice-fishing contest on Gull Lake is being delayed until Feb. 6 for safety reasons. The event had been scheduled for Jan. 23. Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Goddard says warm weather has resulted in inconsistent ice thickness throughout Brainerd area lakes.”

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In one of his final pieces for the AP before moving over to MPR, Brian Bakst says: “The scenarios are grim: A pandemic influenza swamps the availability of hospital ventilators. A chemical spill exhausts antidote supplies and decontamination abilities. A terror attack overwhelms ambulances and trauma centers. A big earthquake, wildfire or hurricane throws emergency rooms into crisis. At the prodding of the federal government, state health departments nationwide are hurrying to complete ‘Crisis Standards of Care’ plans to guide medical professionals in such catastrophes and determine what should trigger them.”

Archie Ingersoll of the Forum News Service says: “During the past decade, the number of people with a permit to carry a concealed handgun has increased more than fivefold in North Dakota and Minnesota, with both states reaching record highs in 2015. As of Dec. 31, there were 40,872 active handgun permits in North Dakota, and that figure was 207,045 in Minnesota, according to each state’s crime bureau.” Goin’ to be a lot of “bullets going the other way” as Trump was saying the other night.

The Saudis’ strategy appears to be working. Says Dave Shaffer in the Strib, “Oil industry experts have been making dire predictions of $20 per barrel oil. In North Dakota, they’re now reality, prompting warnings of more bankruptcies and less drilling in 2016. Although the U.S. domestic crude oil benchmark is higher — $29.64 per barrel — Bakken producers must sell at a discount because of the region’s limited oil pipelines and the higher cost of alternate shipping methods. On Friday, North Dakota light sweet crude dropped to $20 per barrel at the wellhead, the lowest price since 2002 … .”

Art at MSP. MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar says, “A new public art display at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is aimed at challenging people to think about where their energy comes from. Local artist Arlene Birt installed motion sensors over certain tables in the airport’s food court that correspond to a lighting display on the wall. When people sit at certain tables, parts of the display light up, such as washing machines and other appliances. She says it also shows people how the appliance is powered.” Did she think of rigging one in the Larry Craig Memorial Stall?

Remind me, is Mickey Rourke still popular? In the Strib, Kevyn Burger writes, “[Emily] Charais is part of the growing no-shampoo (or ‘no-poo’) movement, made up of women and men who’ve given up the daily lather-rinse-repeat ritual. Their reasons vary, from concern about chemical ingredients and a desire to reduce the use of plastic containers to wanting to save money on hair care. While some who make a clean break with shampoo just rinse their hair, most mix up alternatives from kitchen staples. A widely used method replaces shampoo and conditioner with a squirt bottle filled with baking soda mixed with water to remove the dirt, oil and smell. That’s followed by dabbing diluted apple cider vinegar on the ends of the hair.” My preferred ingredients are bacon fat, garlic and tannis root.

A counter view on Wisconsin prisoner Steven Avery, central figure of the “Making of a Murderer” mania. Local PR guy Chris Duffy writes: “January 2006. It was my first week on the job as a reporter for WBAY-TV (ABC) in Green Bay, Wis. My news director gave me an assignment that made my stomach churn. I was told to go to Steven Avery’s property and ask his family members for their reaction to a new development: that the burned remains found on the Averys’ property belonged to Teresa Halbach. … Some people might confuse the term ‘documentary’ with ‘journalism.’ ‘Making a Murderer’ is a documentary. The filmmakers did not — and were not required to — follow journalistic standards.”