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Minnesota slips a spot in Politico’s comprehensive 50-state ranking

Plus: the effects of mining layoffs on the town of Silver Bay; U prof Larry Jacobs calls Obama’s the “most consequential” second term since WWII; Beargrease sled race moves north, again; and more. 

Oh, horror: Minnesota slips in the ranking of rankings! After tying for first last yearPolitico has dropped the North Star State down a notch: “Congratulations to ‘first in the nation’ New Hampshire, and condolences to Louisiana. On the occasion of the State of the Union address, Politico Magazine once again subjected the 50 states of the union (plus the District of Columbia) to our annual head-to-head competition to find out which state, in traditional SOTU parlance, is most ‘strong.’ The results are in, and the Granite State is No. 1 for the third straight year, leaving Minnesota, with which it tied last year, in second place. … As some consolation to Scott Walker, who bowed out of the primary race early, his state of Wisconsin improved six spots, from No. 17 last year to No. 11 this year.”

MPR’s Dan Kraker has an in-depth look at what the latest mining layoffs are doing to Silver Bay, a town with broad ties to the industry: “Even in a region where a lot of towns depend on a mining operation that’s vulnerable to changing economic conditions, Silver Bay stands out. … Joe Nicklay, principal of Silver Bay’s William Kelley Schools, says just about every student and employee of Northshore Mining, which operates a taconite plant that stretches a mile and a half between Highway 61 and Lake Superior, knows someone who’s been laid off at the plant. … ‘We try to keep things as normal as possible here at school, we don’t even bring it up,’ he said. ‘Kids have to live with that. Parents are sheltering their sons and daughters from those situations right now as best they can.’ ”

Humphrey School prof and Minnesota-political-reporter favorite Larry Jacobs has a column in the Huffington Post reflecting on the Obama presidency. He begins: “Candidate Barack Obama caused a stir when he singled out Ronald Reagan in 2008 as a transformational president who ‘changed the trajectory of America’ in ways that neither Richard Nixon nor Bill Clinton managed. Of course, Obama was not embracing conservative policies, but he was marveling at Reagan’s impact. It is Obama, though, that now stands as the most consequential second-term president since the Second World War.

The snow just keeps moving north. Here’s the Duluth News Tribune’s Peter Passi on the challenges facing a venerable Minnesota tradition: “The running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will begin north of Two Harbors for the second consecutive year on Sunday, Jan. 31. … But Jason Rice, who serves on the Beargrease board of directors, said the race, which has traditionally started at the property that is now East High School in Duluth, has no plans to pick up stakes for good. … ‘I don’t think we’re at the point where we’re willing to permanently declare (Two Harbors) as our starting line. We’ve had such a long relationship here in Duluth, and really the race is supposed to be from Duluth to the border and back,’ he said.”

In other news…

Get stoked St. Paul: Here’s your Winter Carnival preview. [Pioneer Press]

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This seems like quite a demotion: “Ex-archbishop Nienstedt goes to Michigan parish” [Star Tribune]

The Glean

The Mayo Clinic is spending almost $100M on facilities upgrades, including buying a small plane. [Rochester Post Bulletin]

Huffington Post’s new podcast about political losers will feature, in an early episode, Minnesota’s own Michele Bachmann. [Poynter]

Hopefully he does the one about drinking beer, and also the one with the pickup truck: “Country star Luke Bryan is first to headline new Vikings stadium” [Pioneer Press]

Yikes: “Man robbed in North Minneapolis alleges suspects were only 11-years-old” [KMSP]

New York Times gives Jim Rutenberg the media columnist job, following the late, great David Carr. [Poynter]

Rep. Keith Ellison is a man of his word: