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Tina Smith sworn in as senator

Plus: Rochester housing market hot; Bourn elected Minneapolis park board president; use of nonprofit allows MN officials to avoid public disclosure on Amazon bid; and more.

Vice President Mike Pence ceremonially swears in Senator-designate Tina Smith following the official taking of the oath of office in the Old Senate Chamber on Wednesday.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

It’s official. The Forum News Service’s Don Davis reports (via the Pioneer Press):Tina Smith raised her right hand and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution this morning, replacing Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken after a series of allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct. … The former Minnesota lieutenant governor took her oath at 11:04 a.m. Central time to be followed by a reenactment in the historic former Senate chamber. Smith becomes the 22nd female senator, a record number of women serving at the same time in the 100-member body.”

Rochester real-estate boom. The Star Tribune’s Jim Buchta reports: “The Rochester housing market is on fire. … Home prices in the Rochester area increased by 9.7 percent in November compared with November 2016, according to CoreLogic’s November Home Price Index, released Tuesday. From October to November, prices actually decreased 0.3 percent. … That is compared with a 4.6 percent gain in the St. Cloud area, a 6.1 percent gain in the Twin Cities metro and a 7.6 percent gain in Duluth.”

Not issuing any Bourn ultimatums … yet. The Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix reports: “In front of a standing-room-only crowd, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board elected veteran Commissioner Brad Bourn as its president Tuesday night. … Two months after re-election to the Sixth District, which includes Lake Harriet and other parks in southwest Minneapolis, Bourn won the leadership position 6-3, calling the victory the ‘honor of my life.’ … ‘We are in a great moment in history in the Minneapolis Park Board,’ he said, praising the diversity of the board, which has six new members. He promised to start work strengthening the parks system by building greater partnerships with public schools, creating equal access to parks for the city’s diverse population and advocating for park workers’ rights.”

Just one of many ways to skirt Minnesota’s public records laws. Public Record Media’s latest report says: “Four months after Amazon announced plans to build a second corporate headquarters – setting off a nationwide competition – Minnesota has concealed its Amazon bid through the use of a nonprofit whose board includes representatives of many of the state’s top companies. … The state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has outsourced the job of submitting Minnesota’s proposal to Greater MSP, a business promotion non-profit, that in turn has submitted the bid to Amazon on the state’s behalf. … Since DEED has stated that it does not hold the full bid – and because Greater MSP claims to have a non-disclosure agreement with Amazon – neither entity has provided the document in response to requests made by St. Paul non-profit Public Record Media (PRM).”

In other news…

Seems like they’ll be OK: Giant boost in spending pulls down profit at Cargill” [Star Tribune]

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Look what you made her do:Taylor Swift Adds 2nd Night in Minneapolis to Upcoming ‘Reputation’ Tour” [KSTP]

Curtain call:Minneapolis Theatre Garage reflects on the end of an era” [City Pages] 

Aww:On 747’s trip to the boneyard, two Minnesotans marry” [MPR]