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Solar garden offers sprout complaints across Minnesota

With the explosion of interest in solar gardens come complaints about solar gardens. MPR’s John Enger says, “The Minnesota attorney general’s office is receiving an increasing number of complaints from people around the state about offers to subscribe to solar gardens. Some complaints are about the high volume of offers, and others are from solar garden subscribers who worry they have been ripped off. …  a lot of people are confused about whether the offers they are receiving in the mail or via social media make sense for them — and according to Deputy Attorney General James Canaday, they’re right to be confused. ‘The solar garden business is very new,’ he said. ‘It’s the Wild West right now.’”

“Out-of-stock” is bad karma for big retailers. Here’s how Target is trying to fix it. Via Phil Wahba at Fortune. “Target thinks it has found the solution: shrinking the variety of sizes, flavors and even brands on store shelves to reduce the complexity of its operations. The discount retailer, the third largest U.S. store chain, is deploying workers to pour through the many categories of products its sells to see how many different formats and pack sizes of products like bottled water or soap it really needs to stock in its stores.” So like “less is more?”

In the Pioneer Press, Rachel Stassen-Berger has a bit more on Minnesota’s, um, unusual caucus results. “[Donald] Trump, a ‘tell it like it is’ unconventional candidate, has gotten — and taken — credit for bringing new Republicans to the fold. ‘We have expanded the Republican Party,’ Trump said Tuesday night. ‘We are going to be a much bigger party and you can see that happening.’ But Minnesota’s record turnout did not come from new people joining the fold to vote for Trump. Indeed, even if you subtract every Trump vote from the caucus night turnout, the GOP would have had nearly 90,000 people turn out. That, too, would have beaten the previous records.”

It’s almost a “dog ate my homework” explanation. In the PiPress Marcus Fuller reports, “Suspended Gophers basketball player Kevin Dorsey could not have posted a sexually explicit video to his social media accounts Friday because his phone was stolen two days earlier, his family told the Pioneer Press in a statement Wednesday evening. Bloomington Deputy Police Chief Mike Hartley confirmed the department is investigating the reported theft of Dorsey’s cellphone at the Mall of America on Feb. 24, two days before a video purportedly showing Dorsey having sex was briefly posted to the player’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. … Dorsey’s father, Kevin Sr., would neither confirm nor deny that it was his son in the video, nor acknowledge that a video existed.”

Harbinger alert. Mike Berardino of the PiPress took in the first Twins game of spring training and writes, “Byung Ho Park’s first Grapefruit League game is behind him. That’s about the best thing one can say after the Korean slugger’s three-strikeout debut for the Twins on Wednesday afternoon against the Boston Red Sox. … Park, 29, went down swinging his first two times up, swinging through four pitches, including a high fastball from Red Sox left-hander Henry Owens to leave the bases loaded in the first inning. Facing righty Noe Ramirez in the third, Park struck out on three pitches. He went down looking at a curve in the fifth … .” If he gets in 150 games my bet is he strikes out 220 times.

You knew this was coming. Also in the PiPress: Josh Verges on a lawsuit thrown at the St. Paul school district. “In a lawsuit filed in Ramsey County District Court, teacher John Ekblad alleges the district failed to protect him despite knowing the school and the student who attacked him were ‘dangerous.’ Ekblad also named Superintendent Valeria Silva and assistant superintendent Teresa Battle in the suit. Bloomington lawyer Phil Villaume said in December that he had hoped to reach a settlement in lieu of a court case.” 

U of M prof, William Doherty has a piece in USA Today explaining The Donald’s problem with Minnesota voters. “The relative unpopularity of Trump here is no fluke. Minnesotans lived through four years of another celebrity politician, Jesse Ventura, the flamboyant former professional wrestler who was our governor from 1999 to 2003. We know better now. … Minnesota ended up surviving Ventura’s one term in office, although we didn’t make much headway. Fortunately, he was more sober as governor than he had been as a celebrity. In classic Minnesota terms, he didn’t embarrass us too much. But of course, he was not in charge of U.S. foreign policy and commander in chief of the armed forces.  At the end of the day, governors have limited power to do lasting harm. Not so, I fear, with presidents.”

At KSTP-TV Josh Rosenthal reports, “ … experts say the broader synthetic drug problem in Minnesota shows no signs of slowing down. ‘This isn’t going away anytime soon,’ Minnesota Poison Control System Toxicology Fellow Dr. Travis Olives said.  Poison Control staffers take more than 48,000 calls every year—many because of synthetic drugs. They say use of the drugs is definitely not going down, but exact numbers are hard to come by. That’s largely because the drugs people think they’re taking often times aren’t what they’re actually taking, making them difficult to record. ‘We don’t know the concentration,’ Olives said. ‘We don’t know the drug to begin with. We know what the name is on the package, but you’re only as good as your dealer.'”

A story in the Duluth News Tribune says, “The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in an ongoing legal dispute between Blandin Paper Co. and several Northland counties over the valuation of more than 187,000 acres of forestland. The state’s highest court on Wednesday placed the case — involving property taxes on more than 4,600 individual land parcels in St. Louis, Itasca, Aitkin and Koochiching counties — on its docket for April.”

I’m sure she’ll stay busy. In the Star Tribune Rochelle Olson says, “The Minnesota Vikings announced the hiring Wednesday of a longtime Cargill executive as the team’s new vice president of legal and human resources. In a news release, the Vikings called Karin Nelsen a leader in the legal community and a ‘champion for diversity and inclusion.’ The job carries direct responsibility for the daily operations of the team’s legal and human resources departments. Nelsen worked at Cargill for 18 years, most recently as law vice president and North America general counsel.”

Olson also reports, “In another sign that opening day is near for U.S. Bank Stadium, the hiring process is kicking into gear. Some 2,500 part-time hospitality workers will be hired to work at the new $1.1 billion stadium scheduled to open in August for a Luke Bryan concert and the 2016 NFL preseason. SMG, the company marketing and managing the 66,200-seat facility, has scheduled a three-day hiring fair beginning April 26 on the first level of the Minneapolis Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Interested applicants, however, shouldn’t wait because the application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on April 15.” Six months of employment might get them a Personal Seat License.

On it’s editorial page the Strib cries for a primary. “Minnesota used a presidential primary for most of the first half of the 20th century, but it fell out of favor with leaders of both parties in the 1950s and was abandoned in favor of caucuses. From the start, caucuses have been dogged by complaints that they are confusing, insider-dominated affairs that are insufficiently democratic. Requiring citizens to appear at a neighborhood gathering spot between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. on a Tuesday in order to cast a ballot leaves too many people unable to attend. By comparison, polling places at a primary election would open at 7 a.m., not 7 p.m., and absentee voting would be available. But the caucus system defects that were on royal display Tuesday were the consequence not of too few participants, but too many.” Hey, 10 minutes start to finish. But that’s Edina. Just sayin’.

Steppin’ up in The Park. Says John Reinan, “St. Louis Park wants you to know that while the city may be building a new ice rink, it’s not just about hockey. The City Council this week approved an $8.5 million plan for a covered, multi-use sports and community facility adjacent to the city’s Rec Center. The facility is expected to open in early 2017. The fabric-roofed building will include a refrigerated outdoor rink. But officials were quick to point out that it will support a host of uses and will be devoted to skating and hockey for only four months of the year. (The Rec Center has two indoor rinks.)”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 03/03/2016 - 03:56 pm.

    Perhaps there aren’t too many Democrats in Edina, so Brian Lambert had an easy 10-minute fly-by with his caucus Tuesday night and thus doesn’t think we need to think of returning to a primary system. (Maybe he went to a small-ish GOP caucus in Edina?)

    But in Minneapolis there were caucus sites where the actual caucus couldn’t begin business (electing precinct officers and so on) until AFTER 8 PM! (For example: Precinct 2-3 in Minneapolis) Too many people trying to get in to sign in and vote a presidential preference and quickly go home again. That’s no different from voting in a primary, except that it took more than an hour and a half or more even to get in. They didn’t want to caucus, actually.

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