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I-694 to be closed until at least Friday

FridayThe Pioneer Press’ Mary Divine writes: “A water-main break that caused a leak of more than 1.5 million gallons of water and shut down Interstate 694 in both directions in Oakdale could take until Friday to repair, officials said Monday. It is expected that it will take a day or two beyond that to repair the road, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials said.”

A special special election. The AP says: “Special elections to fill two legislative seats held by Minnesota lawmakers accused of sexual harassment will likely be held on Feb. 12. Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday he planned to schedule the election for the second Monday in February. … It’s an odd day for Minnesota voters who are accustomed to voting on Tuesdays. But an existing local school board election and scheduled caucuses left the governor with few options.”

Either the Russians or a 400-pound guy in his basement. Stribber Paul Walsh reports: “The Facebook account for the state of Minnesota's primary tourism agency was hacked at the start of the business day Monday …. The run of phony stories populated the Explore Minnesota tourism page starting about 8 a.m., and the news of the weird flowed until late afternoon, said agency spokeswoman Alyssa Hayes.” Nothing about Hillary and a pizza joint?

We’re 35th! In The Washington Post, Moriah Balingit writes, “The nation’s graduation rate rose again to a record high, with more than 84 percent of students graduating on time in 2016, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education. That is the highest graduation rate recorded since 2011, when the Education Department began requiring schools to report rates in a standardized way. … Minnesota ranked 35th among the 50 states and D.C. with 82.2 percent of students graduating on time, up slightly from 81.9 percent in 2015. Iowa topped the list with a 91.3 percent graduation rate, and D.C. came in last at 69.2 percent.”

The resistance has its resistors.  In the Strib, Chris Riemenschneider says: “Performing in a classier place than usual with a fleet of musicians behind him working on union time, Rufus Wainwright didn't shoot his mouth off nearly as much as he usually does during his elegant and dramatic two-set performance Saturday night with the Minnesota Orchestra at Orchestra Hall. In the one instance when he did go on a brief political tangent, though, the 44-year-old piano-pop tunesmith was met with protest by one of the orchestra's veteran members, principal trumpeter Manny Laureano, who stormed off stage.” Wainwright’s probably one of those guys blowing every dime on booze and women and movies.

Also in protests, Aimee Blanchette of the Strib has a story saying, “… it was comedian Chelsea Handler's Minnesota-created shirt that did the talking when she appeared on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ last week. Wearing a black T-shirt with the words ‘It’s my body. It’s my choice,’ positioned across her chest, Handler single-handedly boosted sales for the line of statement-making apparel by Minneapolis clothing company, My Sister, which donates a portion of its proceeds to help fight sex trafficking around the world.” 

Uh, this is kinda asking for it. Says Bob Collins at MPR, “Modist Brewing Company in Minneapolis got a cease-and-desist order in the sweetest way from a titan of the brewing industry. Modist released a Mosaic Double IPA called Dilly Dilly on Friday.  … Anheuser Busch was apparently amused that the Minneapolis competition used the phrase, but, business being business and all, sent an emissary of the crown to the Minneapolis brewery on Friday threatening a ‘tour in the pit of misery,’ according to a Facebook video the upstarts posted. A representative of the company, dressed in costume, read the cease-and-desist order, which was written in old English on parchment.”

About that long-running Red River flood diversion issue. The AP is saying, “Fargo and the neighboring city of Moorhead, Minnesota, still endure annual anxiety that starts as early as the first big snowstorm, when residents begin to worry about the rising water that is sure to follow. Now a possible solution is finally at hand, but it depends on the delicate proposition of shifting the cities' problem somewhere else. The place chosen is less populated, though precious to those who own land there. ‘Common sense should prevail as far as protecting the mass majority of people,’ said Tony Grindberg, a city commissioner in Fargo …." Is that guy seriously suggesting common sense has a place in modern politics?

It's the thought that counts. The Pioneer Press writes: “A dog in western Wisconsin brought home partial remains of a human skull Sunday, according to the Barron County sheriff’s office. … Following a search of woods near the home, the skeletal remains of a body were found, the sheriff’s office said. The Wisconsin State Patrol, Barron County Medical Examiner, Wisconsin State Crime Lab and Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Minnesota are all working to identify the remains.”

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