Good luck, Chief. Says Libor Jany for the Star Tribune, “Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau issued a stern public warning Thursday that protesters who interfere with public safety will be arrested, as activists await a decision any day on whether two officers will be charged in the shooting of Jamar Clark. Harteau issued the message months after demonstrations that roiled the city’s North Side for weeks after Clark’s death last November.”
To hell with spending restraint. In the Pioneer Press, Bill Salisbury writes, “Over the past two years, lawmakers have introduced more than 850 bonding bills, and the number keeps growing. They want the state to borrow money to finance projects from a Waite Park amphitheater to Hastings’ Riverfront Renaissance to a snow-making system for Ramsey County’s Battle Creek Regional Park to Blue Earth’s Jolly Green Giant Museum. Legislators typically make hundreds of such proposals in even-numbered or so-called ‘bonding years,’ but this year might produce a record number.” I’d like a new driveway. Just sayin’.
You gotta hand it to the fire departments responding to this one. The Grand Forks Herald story by Breann Lenzmeier on the train-truck collision yesterday says, “A Becker County town of about 200 people has been evacuated after a Canadian Pacific train struck a tanker truck carrying propane that was attempting to cross the tracks. The tanker truck caught fire after the collision. … several fire crews from the area were battling the blaze, which is reportedly close to a propane storage tank near the town’s grain elevator.”
Entirely related to that train-truck collision. Says Don Davis for the Forum News Service, “Separating streets from railroads that carry oil trains could save lives in Minnesota communities, a House committee heard Thursday. Moorhead, Red Wing and Coon Rapids leaders argued for millions of dollars their communities would use to build bridges so busy railroad crossings would not be at the same level as roads.”
Somewhat related, Dave Shaffer of the Strib says, “In a defeat for pipeline builder Enbridge Energy, Minnesota utility regulators on Thursday declined to speed up the procedure for reviewing two proposed crude oil pipelines across the state. … The pipelines are opposed by environmental groups and Indian tribes who fear that a crude oil leak could harm pristine northern waters, including wild rice lakes and the Mississippi River headwaters.”
I think the Twins said the same thing about Tsuyoshi Nishioka. For the PiPress, Marcus Fuller reports, “University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler said Wednesday that Richard Pitino has ‘great potential’ even as his Gophers basketball team comes off an embarrassing 8-23 season. Kaler took the time to address Pitino and the men’s basketball program during his update on the athletic director search process, which was kickstarted by hiring New Jersey-based Turnkey Search firm and naming a 16-member search committee. ‘Our men’s basketball team has had a pretty terrible year,’ Kaler said. ‘But I think they will be able to recover. I think Richard Pitino has great potential, and he shows a high degree of self-awareness about who he is and where he is and what needs to happen next. He’s got a great recruiting class coming.’” How much more do you think Kaler would enjoy his job if he didn’t have to play spin doctor for the athletic department every day?
Speaking of nearly daily problems, Christopher Snowbeck in the Strib writes, “A new audit finds MNsure generally complied with rules for spending federal grant money, although it noted three areas where compliance was lacking. Two of the findings in the report from Legislative Auditor James Nobles are repeat problems that were first identified in an audit released in October 2014. The new audit finds fewer problems than the previous report, but noted one case where MNsure incorrectly used $98,000 in federal grant money for software maintenance fees.”
This is good. At Finance and Commerce, Brian Johnson says, “Minnesota construction employers had another busy month of hiring in February, as they created 3,200 jobs on top of the 1,900 added during the previous month, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Across all sectors, Minnesota added 9,000 jobs in February, with the biggest gains coming from education and health services (up 4,900), trade, transportation and utilities (up 3,600) and construction. Those gains were partially offset by losses in other sectors. The biggest monthly declines came in business and professional services (down 1,600), leisure and hospitality (down 1,000) and government (down 1,000). Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held firm at 3.7 percent, compared with the national rate of 4.9 percent.”
MPR’s Bob Collins tips to a Session Daily article by Mike Cook. Says Collins, “Eighty-five percent of taxpayers in Minnesota now file their taxes electronically and there’s usually a cost to do so, although some of the major tax preparation software provides free filing for low-income residents and/or members of the military. A state representative’s bill to study the idea of letting all people file taxes electronically without charge, however, is still alive today after a House committee held the bill over for possible inclusion in the larger so-called omnibus bill.” Do we at least get to deduct the $19?
Says KARE’s Jeff Edmondson, “The symbol of freedom and America is the bald eagle. The majestic raptor is now making its annual migration back to the north. ‘Eagles that will be on their way right now, this is the migration back north. Northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, some of the eagles that we see here during the winter are spending the summer near Hudson Bay Canada. Spend the summer up there raising their families and then coming back here late September and October,’ said Scott Mehus, Education Coordinator at the National Eagle Center. … Across Minnesota it is estimated that there are more than 2,300 pairs of nesting eagles, according to the National Eagle Center.”