Elections matter. For the AP, James MacPherson and Blake Nicholson say, “With the green light from the federal government, the company building the Dakota Access oil pipeline said Wednesday it plans to resume work immediately to finish the long-stalled project. Opponents of the $3.8 billion project meanwhile protested around the country in an action some dubbed their ‘last stand.’ The Army on Wednesday granted the developer of the four-state oil pipeline formal permission to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota, clearing the way for completion of the disputed project. ‘We plan to begin immediately,’ Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for developer Energy Transfer Partners, said in an email to The Associated Press Wednesday night.”
The Franken bandwagon continues to roll. For Business Insider, Maxwell Tani writes, “The political-analyst class isn’t entirely alone in its recent interest in the longtime political satirist. The day after the election in November, a ‘Draft Franken’ super PAC filed its first notice to the Federal Election Commission, though it hasn’t raised any money for the Minnesota senator. Intentionally or not, Franken’s high-profile grillings represent a notable shift from the senator’s previous reputation in Congress and on the campaign trail. Past political strategists decided that to win election and stay in the Senate, Franken needed to engage in ‘strategic boredom,’ distancing himself from his past wit expressed as a comedian and liberal entertainer.”
Naturally, there will be a Prince tribute at the Grammys. Says Ross Raihala in the PiPress, “It was inevitable that the Grammy Awards would honor the memory of Prince during Sunday night’s ceremony and Grammy officials confirmed it Wednesday, adding that a tribute to George Michael was also planned for the show. … last week, Billboard reported Bruno Mars was in talks to perform a Prince tribute backed by members of the Time. The 31-year-old Hawaii native and “Uptown Funk” hitmaker feels like an obvious choice for the role, and he was reportedly on the wish list for last year’s BET Awards Prince tribute as well as the live concert at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center staged by Prince’s family.”
Quite a run. Randy Furst of the Strib writes, “With President Donald Trump in a constitutional showdown over his ban on refugees from predominantly Muslim countries, it would hardly seem the time for the voice of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota to bow out. He realizes it, too. ‘This is the fight you want if you join the ACLU,’ Chuck Samuelson said, sitting at his desk in his small suite of offices in St. Paul last week. But after 20 years at the helm of the state’s best-known civil rights nonprofit, Samuelson will tell stakeholders Thursday he’s retiring as executive director, effective Feb. 28.”
This is a good one. Stephen Montemayor of the Strib reports, “When Paul Le Roux was last inside a St. Paul federal courtroom, he casually discussed being the architect behind seven murders, dealing weapons and drugs around the globe, and doing business in some of the world’s most dangerous places. An alleged ‘global criminal mastermind’ who has been held at an undisclosed location in New York since his 2012 arrest in Liberia, Le Roux will soon return to Minnesota to testify in the trial of two men who claim they worked for him under fear of death.” Where was the travel ban that kept him out of the country?
I’ve really got to clean out the basement. Stribber Miguel Otaroia tells us, “There are hundreds of sights and sounds at the Record Show, the largest and longest-lasting vinyl record fair in Minnesota. One thing you won’t find there: pretentious personalities. ‘Like most niche markets, you get a lot of really devoted — I don’t want to call them weirdos or anything, but you get characters,’ said Tom Novak, 56, who runs the show. The Record Show held its first fair of the year Saturday at the Minneapolis/Richfield American Legion. Since 1992, the bimonthly show has been a home for curious and devoted record buyers, and for vendors who want to share their music knowledge and make some cash while they’re at it.”
City Pages’ Mike Mullen takes on the task of ripping America’s largest privately held company. “There are about 1,700 Americans valued at $1 billion or more, according to Forbes. Fourteen of them are Cargill heirs. On the magazine’s list of the country’s biggest private companies, Cargill has held the No. 1 spot (ahead of Koch Industries) for 30 of the last 32 years. Keep those figures in mind as you consider the testimony CEO David MacLennan gave to the Minnesota Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee last week. MacLennan was invited to testify along with the CEOs of Ecolab and Land O’Lakes, two local Fortune 500 companies. MacLennan told senators he can ‘understand why big companies get vilified.’ Then, as if to show just how well he understood, he started complaining.”
Extreme precaution. Jennifer Mayerle at WCCO-TV says, “A Minneapolis private school is closed for the rest of the week after dozens of students and faculty got sick. The Minnesota Department of Heath suspects the norovirus is to blame. Sixty students at Minnehaha Academy were home sick Wednesday. Some faculty members left school early. Empty halls and classrooms will be the norm for the rest of the week.”