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Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in literature

Plus: Dayton says Obamacare ‘no longer affordable’ for many; Wells Fargo CEO Stumpf steps down; St. Paul City Council approves extended hours for city’s liquor stores; and more. 

Bob Dylan
REUTERS/Rob Galbraith

The Swedish Academy gives the Nobel to Dylan, “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Says the Guardian: “Sara Danils, permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, describes Dylan as ‘A great sampler … and for 54 years he has been at it, reinventing himself.’ Start with Blonde on Blonde, she said… ‘An extraordinary example of his brilliant way of rhyming. putting together refrains, and his brilliant way of thinking.’”

Red meat. Rachana Pradhan at Politico reports, “Minnesota’s Democratic governor on Wednesday said Obamacare is ‘no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people’ — the latest sign of Democrats’ growing concern about the law’s rising insurance costs. Gov. Mark Dayton’s criticism comes as his state faces massive rate hikes and shrinking competition in its Obamacare insurance marketplace next year. … Dayton told reporters the law has ‘many good features to it’ but needs help from Congress to make coverage more affordable, according to a transcript provided by his office.” The solution is easy: Replace it with something “great.” 

Related: Jeremy Olson of the Strib says, “Medical spending in Minnesota climbed 5.6 percent in 2015, to $474 per person, according to the third annual Total Cost of Care report by a nonprofit watchdog group, but costs varied dramatically from one clinic to another.” 

Closing in. MPR’s Lorna Benson writes, “A beverage processing plant in Hopkins has been identified as the likely source of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in that community. Samples from a single cooling tower at Citrus Systems, Inc., contained Legionella bacteria … . The company’s products aren’t affected. The bacteria exactly matched the strain taken from patients who contracted the respiratory infection, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.” 

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This will take a lot of whipped cream after it’s turned into pie. Says Paul Walsh in the Strib, “Minnesota is out of its gourd like never before this harvest season. A pumpkin weighed in at 1,918½ pounds at the Stillwater Harvest Festival over the weekend, setting an all-time Minnesota record, according to, the authoritative website for ‘the giant pumpkin growing community.’ The previous Minnesota state record of 1,893 pounds was set two years ago.” 

It ain’t pretty. But it is historic. Frederick Melo of the PiPress says, “In Dayton’s Bluff, a long-vacant apartment building will soon have a new owner. The city of St. Paul bought the four-unit apartment building at 208-210 Bates Ave. in 2007 with the goal of finding a responsible developer to rehab it. Known as the Schacht building, it opened as a commercial storefront with residences around 1885 but has been boarded up since 2002.” 

Mike Mullen at City Pages continues to follow the matter of Mayslacks’ Churlish Barkeep. “Bar owner Dean Jacklitch told City Pages he couldn’t comment, legally, on the woman’s current employment status, and reiterated Mayslack’s is dealing with the situation ‘internally.’ Jacklitch said all of his employees already go through training to prepare them for treating customers from all walks of life with sensitivity, but he’s adding to those requirements in the wake of Friday’s blow-up.” Lesson #1: Don’t insult paying customers. 

Speaking of the hospitality industry, apparently selling BBQ isn’t as easy as it once was. Says John Ewoldt for the Strib, “Time at the top of Famous Dave’s of America Inc. can be measured in months, not years. The barbecue restaurant chain late Wednesday said that Mike Lister, a former operations executive who now owns several franchises, will become chief executive, succeeding Adam Wright, who took the job 10 months ago. … Lister becomes the company’s fourth leader in four years and sixth since 2008.” 

Religious voters are having a tough campaign season. Stribber Jean Hopfensperger writes, “The Rev. Bryan Moak senses worry in the pews. Worshipers in his evangelical church are anxious about the presidential elections, which offer what many consider two seriously ‘flawed’ candidates — with those flaws becoming more glaring every week. … The cracks in the white evangelical voting bloc were widening before the latest bombshell that Trump had bragged ‘you can do anything’ to women if you’re a celebrity. … Last week, for example, about 100 evangelical leaders posted a petition on, urging the faithful not to vote for Trump. That number has surged to more than 20,000.” Pray for guidance. 

To spend more time with his family, no doubt. Says Emily Glazer for The Wall Street Journal, “Wells Fargo & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf, under fire for the bank’s sales-tactics scandal and his own handling of its fallout, is stepping down from both roles, effective immediately, the bank said Wednesday. … Mr. Stumpf won’t receive a severance package, the bank said. … Mr. Stumpf said he wouldn’t sell any of the shares he already owns before the end of the board’s independent investigation, this person said, adding that those shares could also be clawed back depending on the results of that investigation.”  

At Business Insider, Bob Bryant says, “There were plenty of factors that led to this moment, but in the end Stumpf has no one to blame but himself. … In response to the scandal, Stumpf responded inadequately … . The perfect example of this came when Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota repeatedly asked Stumpf about tactics used by retail-banking managers to force employees to make their sales goals. These tactics had been reported by the news media. Instead of providing a definitive answer, Stumpf dodged the question, saying, ‘That’s the first I’ve ever heard of that.’ It’s fine for Stumpf to not admit guilt, but responding ‘I don’t know’ over and over again made it seem like he had ignored the news surrounding his own bank leading up to the hearing.”

This guy at least has pled guilty. Says Tim Nelson for MPR, “A veterinarian in Baldwin, Wis., has pleaded guilty to helping run an international sex trafficking ring at a hotel in Woodbury. Brian Kersten, 61, pleaded guilty to a charge of sex trafficking and labor trafficking in Washington County District Court this afternoon, as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. He’s expected to be sentenced to more than four years in prison in March. It’s yet another instance in which an international sex trafficking ring has come to light in the Twin Cities.” 

What St. Paul needs. Peter Cox, also of MPR, reports, “St. Paul’s liquor stores will soon be able to sell their wares until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The city council unanimously approved an ordinance amendment to expand off-sale liquor hours. Right now, liquor stores have to close at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Council member Chris Tolbert brought the amendment forward.”