U of M officials got in on free Vikings suite tickets

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
U.S. Bank Stadium

The Star Tribune Rochelle Olson continues her siege on the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority with news that, “University of Minnesota officials and, in three cases their spouses, say they attended Minnesota Vikings and/or soccer games in luxury suites controlled by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) at U.S. Bank Stadium and will now personally write checks for their tickets.” You didn’t really expect shame or embarrassment, did you?

There will, of course, be another chapter in the Dakota Access fight. In The Hill, Timothy Cama writes, “When Trump and his administration take office, approving Dakota Access probably won’t be as simple as signing a piece of paper. The Army Corps of Engineers ordered an environmental impact statement for the project Sunday. Experts say that because of that, Trump’s administration will have to either complete the years-long process or find a way to remove the requirement for testing the environmental impact. Doing the latter, however, would be a rare move that could subject the pipeline to a lawsuit. ‘I think it ties the hands of the next administration,’ said Sarah Krakoff, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School.”

Here’s some facts about the pipeline from Jordan Wirfs-Brock and Leigh Paterson at Inside Energy. “So, what is the risk of a leak? We can’t predict the future, but we can do some back-of-the-napkin estimates based on historical data. … The proposed Dakota Access pipeline route would cover around 1,172 miles, and would eventually transport 570,000 barrels a day, according to a fact sheet from Energy Transfer Partners. Based on our analysis, a pipeline of that size would average between 4 and 23 spills per year. That spill range equates to an average of 640 to 3,800 barrels of crude per year. Roughly one percent of crude oil spills are at water crossings. So that means a spill at a water crossing might occur roughly once every 5 to 25 years on a pipeline the size of Dakota Access.”

Meanwhile, in the  Daily Caller, we have this from Michael Bastasch: “New York University law school professor Richard Epstein said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to not grant the pipeline an easement to cross under a man-made lake a “serious moral hazard.” Epstein said the Corps is basically arguing it can revoke a previously approved easement in the face of public pressure. That has huge legal implications for how federal agencies handle future projects. ‘People are going to seriously ramp up opposition to stop projects,’ Epstein, who is a legal adviser to the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure NOW (MAIN) Coalition, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. The MAIN Coalition is a group of businesses and unions that would benefit from the pipeline’s approval.” Wait, The Daily Caller has a foundation?

I wanted to do the same thing with Nickelback. For the Strib, Aimee Blanchette writes, “Fans are honoring the memory of Prince this holiday season in a variety of ways: adorning their Christmas tree with a Prince tree-topper, attending a dance party or tour at Paisley Park, or playing his 1984 song, ‘Another Lonely Christmas,’ on repeat. But none of those things are quite as ambitious as covering your home in more than 10,000 purple lights that blink in unison to ‘Purple Rain.’ That’s exactly what Mike Staudt and his family did to their home in Chaska.”

Today in health insurance. Says Christopher Snowbeck for the Strib, “For weeks, Blue Cross and Fairview have been notifying patients that a contract dispute means people with Blue Cross coverage might not have access to Fairview at the lower in-network rates starting in January. Such contract disputes often get resolved at the 11th hour — which would mean late December in this case — but open enrollment for Medicare beneficiaries ends Wednesday.” And remember, it’s the best system in the world … except for pretty much every other one.

New Zealand? What is he, a hobbit? Says Emma Nelson in the Strib, “A potential heir to Prince’s massive estate has emerged from New Zealand, and could displace the late musician’s siblings if genetic tests confirm that Prince was the man’s father.”

Keith Ellison offers (more) explanation. In a Strib commentary, the Congressman says, “When I first heard criticism about Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Million Man March, I felt the march’s message of empowering young African-Americans was being attacked. But I clearly didn’t go deep enough. … I neglected to scrutinize the words of those such as Khalid Muhammad and Farrakhan who mixed a message of African-American empowerment with scapegoating of other communities. … I disavowed them long ago, condemned their views and apologized. After the march, I remembered something my father said to me. He said, ‘Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.’ He was right. I should have listened more and talked less.”

The main characters are hardly angels, but Andy Mannix’ Strib series on inmates in solitary confinement is gripping stuff. In Part 3, he writes, “[Keegan Rolenc’s] son, Jamaal, and his son’s mother, Shay, had come to visit here in Faribault, where Rolenc is serving four years for shooting up a car and house. Rolenc and Shay argued. … The prison charges him with assault, aggravated assault, attempted homicide and disorderly conduct. They offer him 360 days in the hole, with 120 days added to the four years he started serving in 2012. If he tries to fight it, they could push for an even longer stay in solitary. He signs the contract but wonders if he made a mistake. … He goes back to his cell and thinks about the time. 360 days. 12 months. 52 weeks. He questions whether he will stay sane.”

Not related. In the Minnesota Daily, David Clarey writes, “Questions about past felony convictions or pending criminal charges will be removed from the University of Minnesota’s admission application next year. While the fall 2017 application won’t include the felony question, applicants will still be required to disclose whether they have a history of academic dishonesty or sexual offenses. … A question asking prospective students to report if they’ve been found legally responsible for a sexual offense or if they have sexual offense charges pending against them, will remain on the application … .”

Okay, let’s face it. It’s over. At MPR, Cody Nelson says, “Minnesota should take its true winter form on Tuesday when snowstorms are expected to hit northern areas and temperatures across the state will likely dip below freezing. In fact, Monday night could be the last time Twin Cities temps stay above 32 degrees for the rest of the month. The National Weather Service says its models show a 20 percent or less chance for above-freezing temps through Dec. 20.” When’s that Gopher game in San Diego?

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 12/06/2016 - 07:14 am.

    Few Free Tickets

    Can’t work up any outrage over a few University officials from the athletic department attending sporting events. There are NCAA events coming and, I imagine, plans to host more. Also, if I’m not mistaken, the baseball team will regularly play there. So, some of this is defensible although having a date night is dubious.

    What did the Tribune expect after beating the drum for this boondoggle and profiting greatly from it? Just a win-win for them. They get to expose shenanigans at the “People’s Stadium”; they get to feature the Republicans beating this into the ground in preparation for the governor’s race; and they got to pocket a whole to of money after lobbying for it in private and in their sports section. It’ll fill space and generate clicks until the birds start migrating and the first thrush is found dead on the sidewalk.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/06/2016 - 08:46 am.

    MSFA

    Just wondering…

    Doesn’t the U have its own gigantic football stadium – large enough to house VIkings crowds while the new Vikings emporium was being built? Was construction of the U’s stadium paid for by private donations, or are my tax dollars supporting that edifice as well as the one across the river?

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