And they looked so cute together. Tim Pugmire’s MPR story on yesterday’s joint appearance by the DFL and GOP chairman says, “State DFL chair Ken Martin and Republican chair Keith Downey appeared together at a news conference Wednesday in St. Paul to encourage people to show up at precinct caucuses Tuesday, which will include presidential preference voting. Both party leaders are already preparing for big turnouts. … Participants at the DFL caucuses will receive a presidential preference ballot that also includes the names of Martin O’Malley, who’s no longer in the race, and longshot candidate Rocky De La Fuente. The GOP caucus ballot will list the candidates who were in the race at the beginning of this week: Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Ben Carson and John Kasich.” Roll, Rocky, roll!
“In-store pickups” just sounds so, so, 1980s. But Loretta Chao of the Wall Street Journal, writing about Target’s Christmas sales season says, “The retailer, which has struggled in recent years with empty shelves, said Wednesday its in-stock performance improved 20 percent in the fourth quarter over the same period the year before. With more inventory in stock, 30 percent of online orders were fulfilled from the stores, the company said, and a record number of online customers picked their orders up in person over the holidays. … Target’s online sales grew 34 percent in the fourth quarter, topping rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. thanks in part to free-shipping offers during the holidays and sitewide discounts. Foot traffic in stores rose for the fifth straight quarter, but the company’s gross margin declined.”
This is so very Wisconsin. Mike Longaecker of the Forum News Service says, “A western Wisconsin man allegedly shot bowling balls from a cannon during a Fourth of July party, piercing a barn roof and possibly killed a horse. One ball apparently was fired through the roof of a neighboring barn in the town of Richmond leading to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, according to a criminal complaint filed this month against self-described firearms enthusiast Ricky A. Thorne, 65.” I am of course sorry he “possibly” killed a horse.
Jerry Kill is truly gone. Joe Christianson in the Strib writes, “Kill had been trying to decide what to do next since he retired as Gophers football coach for health reasons four months ago. On Wednesday, Kill said his next full-time job won’t be at the University of Minnesota. Kill’s contract described a potential $200,000-per-year position he could take at the school if he were unable to coach for medical reasons. Kill and interim athletic director Beth Goetz had several conversations about possible jobs, but they could not agree on the new role. Kill told the Star Tribune that he spoke to university President Eric Kaler on Monday and the two agreed that Kill would not have a permanent position at the university.”
Them sprouts are bad for ya. In the PiPress Andy Rathbun says, “The Minnesota Department of Health is warning consumers that alfalfa sprouts produced by a River Falls, Wis., company could have E. coli. Routine monitoring by the department found seven people who had contact with alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & the Green Sprouts were infected with the same E. coli bacteria in January and February, the department said. Those infected had contact with the sprouts in a variety of locations, including grocery or cooperative stores, restaurants, salad bars and commercial food service.”
Reuters follows that story about the offensive license plate, saying, “On his application for the plate, the owner listed alternative choices as ‘PETALOL’ and ‘8SLUGTHG’, saying all three were the names of musical bands in which he is a member. … Across the US each year, thousands of license plate requests are denied by motor vehicle agencies that find they violate state rules. The myriad that have passed the acceptability test include ‘DAMNIML8’ and ‘WTF’, while those that failed include ‘ILVTOFU,’ ‘GAY’ and ‘TOILET.’” That last one must have been attached to one sweet ride.
Need a purse dog? WCCO-TV’s story says, “Forty Chihuahuas have made their way to Minnesota in hopes of finding their forever home. The Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley flew them here because of an overpopulation problem in California. Most are healthy for adoption, but some are euthanized because of the overcrowding.”
Progress is progress. Jim Buchta in the Strib says, “Rising home prices and a stable economy are keeping mortgage defaults at bay in Minnesota. The foreclosure rate statewide last year fell 13 percent to the lowest level since 2005, according to the Minnesota Homeownership Center. And 2015 was the second year in a row where no county had more than 1 percent of its residential parcels go through a foreclosure sale.”
36 years is enough. In the PiPress, Bill Salisbury reports, “Minnesota’s senior state senator, LeRoy Stumpf, announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election this fall. Stumpf, 70, a DFLer from Plummer who chairs the Senate Capital Investment Committee, has served in the Legislature since 1980. He was first elected to the House in 1980 and has served 10 terms in the Senate since 1982.”