In the New York Times, Peter May writes, “When she had last played a full season for the University of Minnesota, in 2012-13, [Amanda] Kessel was universally recognized as the best player in women’s college hockey, winning the sport’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy and leading her team to a 41-0-0 season and a national title. Then came a scheduled break for the Sochi Olympics and an unscheduled break to deal with lingering post-concussion syndrome. She went almost two years without playing before she was given medical clearance to return. She returned for the final six weeks of the 2015-16 season and then put her superstar stamp on the N.C.A.A. tournament, scoring what proved to be the winning goal on Sunday in Minnesota’s 3-1 victory over previously undefeated Boston College in the championship game of the Frozen Four. … The Gophers won the N.C.A.A. title for the second straight year, the fourth time in five years and the sixth time overall.” Just wondering here: Can she kick field goals?
For the Pioneer Press, Chad Graff writes, “‘We’re just in the midst of a stretch here where it’s kind of mind-blowing,’ coach Brad Frost said. ‘It’s just surreal. You never get used to it. Every time is a little different and super exciting. When this eventually ends, we’ll be able to look back on it and say this was one heck of a run. To get to five national championship games in a row is nuts. And to win four of them? That’s where the surreal comes in.’ The program’s sixth NCAA title makes the Gophers the winningest team in women’s college hockey history, and that doesn’t include the 2000 title they won before the NCAA sanctioned women’s hockey.”
Also in sports: The guess is the Timberwolves will see a pretty good crowd tonight, with Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in town. But, there’s legal trouble. Says Andy Greder in the PiPress: “Come Wednesday, the Wolves must respond to the class-action lawsuit filed against them in Hennepin County District Court. The Wolves are being sued by season-ticket holders for the ‘unlawful limitations’ they’ve been accused of imposing with their use of the Flash Seats digital ticketing marketplace, which started this season. The suit, filed by law firm Zimmerman Reed, claims a breach of contract because the change to Flash Seats occurred after season-ticket renewals. The suit also claims ‘economic harm’ for fans and a violation of Minnesota Antitrust Law because of the price floor established on resale.”
Valspar sold. Says the AP, “Sherwin-Williams, which has long claimed to ‘cover the Earth’ with its paints, is buying rival Valspar for about $9 billion in a move that it says will expand its reach in Asia and Europe. … Sherwin-Williams will remain headquartered in Cleveland, but said the combined companies will maintain a ‘significant presence’ in Minneapolis, where Valspar Corp. is based. Sherwin-Williams manufacturers and sells paints and coatings under its own name and brand names such as Minwax, Dutch Boy and Thompson’s Water Seal. It operates more than 4,100 of its own stores … .”
The Strib takes a concerned tone in talking about that recent audit of the IRRRB. “The report may have put its finger on the chief problem plaguing the board: Its structure. A board made up of legislators exclusively from the region, who depend on votes from that region and who are the primary decisionmakers on funds distributed across that region provides a great deal of power and too little scrutiny.”
Here’s one person who thinks Minnesota’s small towns are doing just fine. For the Forum News Service Vicki Gerdes reports, “People who have grown up in and around small rural communities are used to hearing ‘small towns are dying,’ ‘we’re losing all our young people,’ ‘rural brain drain’ and the like. But it’s simply not true, particularly not in recent years, says a University of Minnesota-Morris researcher. ‘This is the most stable we (small rural communities) have been in a long while,’ said Kelly Asche, program coordinator for the Center for Small Towns at the Morris campus. ‘Most of our rural areas are actually gaining population.’ In fact, the U.S.’s rural population has actually increased 11 percent since 1970.
You know how spring goes around here. At WCCO-TV Mike Augustyniak says, “After two days with 50-degree highs on Monday and Tuesday, a slug of moisture will move into the state on Wednesday. Currently, there are two competing ideas on where the storm will track, Augustyniak said. The first is that the storm will hit southern Minnesota on Wednesday and clip the Twin Cities metro area. A rain-and-snow mix looks to fall during the day before turning to just snow overnight. ‘There are suggestions there could be a half foot of snow,’ Augustyniak said. Other models suggest the storm will stay along the Interstate 90 corridor, keeping most of the rain and snow along the Iowa border.” The winter tires stay on until the Twins home opener.
Good luck with this. John Lamb of the Forum News folks says, “Filmmakers are calling for ‘action’ from North Dakota and Minnesota legislators to create more funding options for movies made in the states. During a Fargo Film Festival afternoon panel discussion Friday, March 18, called ‘Filmmaking in North Dakota & Minnesota: Roadblocks and Solutions,’ filmmakers talked about what’s needed to make it easier to create works in the area. Troy Parkinson of Minnesota Film and TV said many states are trying to attract Hollywood productions to their area. The main attraction for each state are incentives.”
So what has to happen for a minister to ban a 92 year-old from her church? Robin Huebner, also from the Forum News Service, tells us: “It all started about four years ago. Silas Ulrich, 92, sought help from [Rev. Marilyn Spurrell] in 2012, when she was in a leadership role in the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. He had a long-brewing dispute with Methodist churches in Ortonville and neighboring Big Stone City, S.D., and as district superintendent, the churches were in Spurrell’s jurisdiction. Ulrich’s complaint was over several religious sculptures he’d purchased and donated to the church in memory of his late wife. He said church leaders wouldn’t hang them over the altar, as he requested. Spurrell said she fielded ‘hundreds of calls’ from Ulrich over a period of a year or more as she tried to mediate the issue, sometimes receiving a dozen calls in one night.”
From Saturday: Dave Shaffer of the Strib reports, “The high cost of upgrading 40-year-old nuclear reactors is confronting Xcel Energy again. Investments in the Prairie Island nuclear power plant in Red Wing, Minn., are projected to cost more than expected — $487 million by 2020, with more spending needed in the next decade. It’s not a replay of cost overruns at Xcel’s other reactor in Monticello, Minn. That 2013 surprise, which state regulators blamed on imprudent management, led Xcel to write off $125 million last year. This time, Xcel executives are giving advance warning of rising costs to upgrade its two Prairie Island reactors.” Stewart Brand (of “The Whole Earth Catalog”) has an interesting point of view.
After all that work on I-694 in St. Paul’s northern suburbs, why is there no westbound exit for Snelling Ave.? Tim Harlow of the Strib writes, “… it was taken out during construction, said MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard. ‘It was not well used and there were too many traffic conflicts there,’ he said. ‘That is one reason we reconfigured the Snelling Avenue and Hwy. 10 interchange, and the entrance from Lexington Avenue to westbound 694. If there was another exit there, it would be too close together and lead to too many operational problems.’”