The Strib’s Rochelle Olson latest on the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. “While heading the agency overseeing U.S. Bank Stadium, Michele Kelm-Helgen waived more than $55,300 in rent for club spaces without consulting the agency’s staff, executive director or fellow board members. Among the 14 groups that got free use of luxury spaces at the state-owned stadium were the Golden Dunkers, the booster club for the University of Minnesota’s men’s basketball team, and the PGA of America, the hosts of last year’s Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club.” Well, it’s kinda like she owns the place.
Down, but steady. Says the PiPress, “While Minnesota’s unemployment rate remained steady, the state’s employers cut 8,300 jobs in January, with the transportation and utilities industries among the hardest hit. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported Thursday morning that the state had 2,913,100 jobs in January, compared to 2,921,400 in December 2016. And while the numbers are down month-to-month, the state remains 35,136 jobs ahead of January 2016.”
13 hours. Says Barry Amundson of the Forum News Service, “On the fourth attempt, an Amtrak train carrying 111 passengers that was stuck almost 13 hours in a 25-foot-high northern North Dakota snowbank was on its way to other eastward stops on Wednesday night. Three attempts failed earlier in the day after heavy snow and two days of fierce winds plugged the tracks with a 200-foot-long snowbank. The St. Paul- and Chicago-bound Empire Builder train got stuck five miles west of Rugby in north-central North Dakota at about 7 a.m. and was finally dug out about 6:45 p.m. … .”
Says Josh Verges in the PiPress: “Hennepin County prosecutors on Thursday dismissed rape and stalking charges against a University of Minnesota law professor, saying they could not verify the accusations of his former girlfriend. Francesco Parisi, 54, was arrested in February and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and felony stalking. Both charges were dismissed. … The woman reported to Minneapolis police in January that Parisi knocked her unconscious and raped her in January 2015, leaving her with significant injuries.”
Super Bowl! Says Ben Goessling of ESPN, “After making it clear (publicly and privately) that fixing their offensive line was their top priority, the Minnesota Vikings went to work early in free agency, signing former Detroit Lions tackle Riley Reiff, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. … It should be noted that the Lions replaced Reiff with Decker at left tackle last year, and then signed an unrestricted free agent to replace him on the right side this year.”
It’s baaaaack. NPR’s Pam Fessler reports, “Vice President Mike Pence has yet to begin a promised investigation into allegations by President Trump that millions of people voted illegally in November. But that hasn’t stopped state lawmakers from taking action they say would limit voter fraud, even though the president’s claims have been widely discredited. Legislation to tighten voter ID and other requirements has already been introduced in about half the states this year. And in statehouse after statehouse, the debate has had a familiar ring. ‘We do not have a voter fraud problem in North Dakota,’ Democratic Rep. Mary Schneider argued last month during North Dakota House floor debate of a measure that would tighten that state’s voter ID requirements and increase penalties for voter fraud.” It’s almost like someone coordinates this stuff.
Hmmmm. Brian Bakst at MPR says, “A bill that would hit Minnesota lawmakers in their pocketbooks for failing to finish the state budget on time has advanced through a Senate committee and is now staged for a future floor vote. The bill that cleared the State Government Finance Committee on Thursday would bar legislators from collecting per diem payments during a special session if major tax and spending bills are incomplete. Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Chaska, argued lawmakers shouldn’t be rewarded financially for going into overtime.”
As the wagon wheels continue to turn. Matt Egan at CNN Money reports, “Wells Fargo also confirmed that three regional managers are gone as the bank tries to repair trust with customers and its employees due to outrage over mistreatment of workers and the creation of as many as 2 million fake accounts. In recent weeks, Wells Fargo has also stripped CEO Tim Sloan and seven of his top lieutenants of their 2016 bonuses, fired four other execs and replaced the notorious sales goals that fueled the fraudulent behavior. All of this comes as Wells Fargo braces for the findings of an independent board investigation into the fake account scandal. Results are expected to be released prior to what could be a contentious annual meeting with shareholders on April 25.”