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Legislature could halt any Minneapolis wage hike

Plus: new program will get foster kids needed therapy; Kill not asked about U scandal when hired by Rutgers; big ugly fish breaks Lake of the Woods record; and more.

Minnesota House of Representatives

MPR’s Tim Nelson reports, “Last year, Mayor Betsy Hodges said that she didn’t support a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for the city alone because she wanted a higher minimum wage across the Twin Cities. … But then came last month’s election. …‘My stance on a regional minimum wage hasn’t changed, but the conditions under which we can accomplish that have with the Nov. 8th election,’ Hodges said … . Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, who chairs the House jobs committee, said he thinks lawmakers will indeed take action on minimum wages, but not the regional hike Hodges was hoping for. ‘The concern at the Legislature is more that we live in one state, and we should have one policy for these important issues,’ he said.” Part of making America great again is making sure the little guy doesn’t take too much of our money!

Chris Serres of the Strib says, “Hundreds of Minnesota children who have suffered the trauma of being removed from their birth parents, and are now living in foster care, could soon receive state-funded intensive psychotherapy services to give them safer, more stable lives. … Until now, many of these children have gone years without receiving psychiatric treatment for their emotional problems, and end up in publicly funded group homes and treatment centers that cost the state Medicaid program millions of dollars, officials said.” 

Speaking of a check from the Gubmint. Stribber Tom Meersman writes, “U.S. Bank has announced plans to build a $250 million data center in Chaska that will eventually employ 18 workers. … Chaska’s City Council approved a tax abatement Monday night that is valued at nearly $548,000 over 20 years to support the project.”

A twist on the usual story. Massachusetts is looking at us for ways to shave back health care costs. Shira Schoenberg for masslive.com reports, “A 13-member delegation from Massachusetts, led by [Sen. Jim Welch, D-West Springfield, chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing] and Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, traveled to Minneapolis last week to learn about Minnesota’s efforts to rein in health care costs. The trip is part of an effort by a state Senate committee to study other states and develop recommendations for lowering Massachusetts’ health care costs.���

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Want some more long-distance opinion on the Gophers scandal? In The Washington Post, attorneys Justin Dillon and Matt Kaiser write, “The problem with the Minnesota boycott isn’t really that the boycott failed.  It’s that the Minnesota football players did not realize they’d picked the wrong case to stand up for. … What Minnesota’s Title IX office found happened to the young woman in Minnesota was horrific.  Assuming that report is accurate, the university’s penalties seem fair. What would not be fair, however, is for Minnesota or states like it to legislate on the basis of this case. Extreme cases make extreme laws.  The Minnesota case is no more representative of what happens in the average campus sexual assault case than Hannibal Lecter is representative of the typical gourmand.”

In The Chicago Tribune, David Haugh says, “As Northwestern and former Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter proved several years ago, the voice of the college student-athlete, too often muted, deserves to be heard. Even though Colter raised issues I didn’t necessarily agree with, he earned respect for representing himself and his university professionally in the name of something many considered noble. Minnesota’s is no such cause. Nobility left the building Friday shortly after KSTP-TV posted an 80-page report from the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA), raising public awareness of the disturbing details from the Sept. 2 incident.”

And then there’s this from New Jersey. At NJ.com, Keith Sargeant writes, “[Jerry] Kill was nearly a year removed from overseeing the Minnesota football program when the assault allegedly took place. Still, it begs the question: Did Rutgers coach Chris Ash address the situation at Minnesota before hiring Kill to serve as the Scarlet Knights’ offensive coordinator? ‘No,’ Ash said, ‘it did not come up because I know the type person that coach Kill is. I know the type of individual that he wants to recruit into a program that he’s a part of, and unfortunately on college campuses there are a lot of dark spots that people get into. If you look at his track record going back to when he was a head coach … would it be perfect? No, but was there discipline and accountability and education to try to avoid some of these scenarios? There probably were’.”

In the realm of stating the obvious, a Forum News Service editorial says, “Gov. Dayton has made a habit of exiting meetings when things don’t go his way, or when he’s criticized by political opponents. … Effective leadership requires a thicker skin. Dayton’s puerile pique, however, does not let House Speaker Kurt Daudt off the bad behavior hook. Daudt tends to lay blame for the soured relationship between himself and Dayton on the governor. But Daudt knows how to distract and unsettle Dayton. The speaker smiles for the cameras and says all the right things about getting along, but in the next breath jabs a rhetorical knife in the governor’s side. That conduct might be good politics in the House Republican caucus, but it’s lousy legislative strategy for the people of Minnesota.”

Meanwhile, the Strib has its own angle. “ … the Star Tribune Editorial Board began calling for a special session to enact insurance relief in early October, when 2017 rates became public. … That it is late December and no state aid has been agreed to despite a solid plan put forth by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in late October is unacceptable.” Let’s blame sides equally.

A record what? Says Brad Dokken of the Grand Forks Herald, “It’s all but official: Lake of the Woods is about to break its old record for the biggest burbot — also known as eelpout, among other names — ever officially weighed in Minnesota. The new record is 19.67 pounds — 19 pounds, 11 ounces — which when all the paperwork is complete, will break the old record of 19 pounds, 8 ounces set in February 2012 on Lake of the Woods.” Ugly dang fish.

Before they close in 2018. Strib food critic Rick Nelson has a piece titled, “Work up an appetite for the Twin Cities’ most anticipated restaurants of 2017.” He writes, “BELLECOUR In March, Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable is opening Bellecour, a French brasserie with a bakery component in the former downtown Wayzata home of the Blue Point. ‘I want to serve really great escargot, roast chicken, a bibb lettuce salad, all the things that I love to eat,’ said Kaysen, who said that the restaurant is an homage to his mentor, Daniel Boulud, and Boulud’s mentor, Paul Bocuse.”

KEG & CASE MARKET St. Paul’s historic Schmidt Brewery will continue to come back to life, thanks to Keg & Case Market, a $9 million project set to open next summer that will feature a restaurant by Revival/Corner Table co-owners Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone and branches of Hola Arepa and Five Watt Coffee, along with 40 small food-hall-style vendors.”

And then ye shall taketh from the Lord. A story in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram says, “A former church treasurer and her husband have been charged in St. Croix County Court with stealing nearly $190,000 in church funds over about 10 years. … Kara LaVenture is also accused of using the church’s information to open a credit card account without church approval, and of using that card for charges to several hotels, gas stations and clothing retailers, including Victoria’s Secret.” Hey, it could’ve been a boat.