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Evacuation order lifted following Superior refinery fire

REUTERS/Robert King/Duluth News Tribune
Dark smoke rises from Husky Energy oil refinery following an explosion in Superior on Thursday.

On that refinery explosion up north, Amy Forliti and Jeff Baenen of the AP are saying, “An evacuation order was lifted early Friday for a northwest Wisconsin city where a refinery plant explosion injured at least 11 people and sent billowing plumes of black smoke into the air. The Superior Police Department tweeted that the order issued Thursday following the blast was lifted at 6 a.m. Friday. Mayor Jim Paine said all indications are that the refinery site is safe and stable, and that the air quality is normal.”

Today in precious Second Amendment rights. Youssef Rddad of the AP says, “The Minnesota Senate on Thursday swept aside an effort to force votes on two measures aimed at toughening state gun laws, just a day after a state House member staged a 24-hour sit-in over that chamber’s inaction on measures aimed at gun violence. Sen. Ron Latz, a St. Louis Park Democrat, offered the bills as amendments during a broader debate on the state’s budget. But majority Republicans — and a few rural Democrats — voted that the bills weren’t relevant to the budget issue, effectively killing them. One bill would expand background checks by making all gun buyers apply for permits for handguns and semi-automatic rifles. Another would allow courts to temporarily remove a person’s gun access if they’re a danger to themselves or others.”

For The Ringer, Haley O’Shaughnessy doesn’t have a lot of kind words for the quickly-departed-from-the-play-offs Timberwolves. “[Andrew] Wiggins’s presence on the court feels like getting to the bottom of a page in a book and realizing that you’ve glazed over it all. The 23-year-old had 87 games to show he’d keep his preseason promise to Taylor that he was committed to improving. Even after a couple of solid playoff performances, Wiggins fell short overall. The hope entering the season was that Butler’s on-court warmongering and locker-room intensity would rub off on Wiggins. But that mentorship didn’t catch on, and Wiggins regressed, just in time for his five-year, $146.5 million max contract extension to kick in next season.”

Have we been talking about wild rice for a couple hundred years? Elizabeth Dunbar at MPR says, “State officials say they’ll go back to work on applying the science of sulfate and wild rice to water pollution permits. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been working for several years on updating the state’s long-standing but rarely enforced sulfate standard for wild rice. Officials came up with a lake-by-lake equation that would determine sulfate limits, which they argued was more precise than the 10 milligrams per liter standard that had been in place since 1978. An administrative law judge rejected that plan earlier this year, and meanwhile state lawmakers could pass a bill that would nullify the old standard. On Thursday, MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine said the agency is withdrawing the plan.”

Today in protecting and serving. Says Brandt Williams for MPR, “A jury of eight women and four men say Minneapolis police officer Thomas Tichich, 49, is guilty of third degree criminal sexual conduct. Tichich also was convicted of attempted sexual assault. Tichich, who was escorted by deputies from the courtroom, will be held in custody while he awaits sentencing. He faces a possible sentence of 48 months. … Prosecutors have said Tichich’s profession is not germane to the charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and attempted third-degree criminal conduct. But his position as a police officer did apparently shape the actions of the people around him.”

Also in law enforcement news. In the Star Tribune, Chao Xiong writes: “A review of hundreds of sexual assault cases in Ramsey County revealed that few make it to court, investigators and prosecutors received little to no training on the matter and important data are often omitted from police reports. The two-year review conducted by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office will be released Friday with plans to revamp workplace practices and staffing. While authorities applauded the effort, the report uncovered uncomfortable truths that have hampered the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults.”

And then there’s this: Stribber Stephen Montemayor reports, “In a rare reversal, a federal judge has ordered a new trial for a north Minneapolis man convicted on gun charges, finding that jurors likely focused more on his race than the evidence in rendering a guilty verdict. Five years after Michael Allen Smith’s conviction, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson agreed to re-examine Smith’s case after the jury foreman from his trial disclosed that another juror had said of Smith, who is black: ‘you know he’s just a banger from the hood, so he’s got to be guilty.’”

Moving time in Stillwater. Says Mary Divine in the PiPress, “Rebecca Kolls, who brought celebrity cachet to downtown Stillwater in 2015 when she purchased the Stillwater Farm Store business, has lost her lease and is looking for new space. Kolls — the one-time host of TV’s ‘Rebecca’s Garden,’ a former lifestyles and gardening contributor for ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ and the editor-in-chief and publisher of the quarterly magazine ‘Seasons by Rebecca’ — must be out of the building on South Main Street by the end of June. Building owner Dennis Kilbane said Thursday that he could not comment about why Kolls is leaving. A ‘For Lease’ sign has been placed above the store’s front door. The former WCCO-TV meteorologist said she is looking at a space across the street near Tremblay’s Sweet Shop to possibly open the shop under a different name.”


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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/27/2018 - 07:14 am.

    Darn Regulations!

    I’m pretty sure that refinery fire would not have happened if there weren’t so darn many gubmint regulations. Job killing regulations at that.

  2. Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/27/2018 - 11:49 am.

    Blown up and swept aside

    Last January . . .

    “A legislative committee approved a Republican bill that would relax Wisconsin’s air pollution regulations, clearing the way for a vote in the full state Senate . . .

    “The proposal would require the state Department of Natural Resources to repeal any state air pollution rules that go beyond federal regulations within three years. The state currently regulates as many as 358 pollutants that the federal government doesn’t, according to legislative attorneys.”

    Meanwhile, over at the explosion, where the air was filled with all that black smoke that MAY have had a few of those 358 pollutants in it that Wisconsin Republicans don’t think there’s any need to pay any attention to . . .

    “Regulator authorities have been notified, and local air quality is being monitored, Husky said, adding that there is no danger to the public or local residents at this time.

    “Without disclosing further details regarding the incident, the company said it will provide further information as it becomes available.”

    [Sure . . . No danger to anyone or any thing and we’ll be hearing more about that from Husky soon.]

    “Husky completed its acquisition of the Superior refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP in November 2017 for $527 million, which included $85 million of working capital, subject to final adjustments, the operator said in its 2017 annual report to investors (OGJ Online, Nov. 9, 2017).

    “A project to increase heavy oil processing at the Superior refinery was scheduled to be completed during first-half 2018, according to the report.”

    Isn’t that the way it goes? . . You buy a new place, start working on it and, just when you’ve got the place just about the way you want it, the new microwave blows up and sets the place on fire!

    And then, while the refinery was burning, Minnesota Republicans were busy paying no mind to the will of the majority of The People they claim to represent:

    “85% of Americans – including large majorities of Democrats (88%) and Republicans (79%) – favor expanded background checks.

    “Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) favor laws to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns.

    “70% back the creation of a federal database to track all gun sales.

    “57% supports a ban on assault-style weapons.”

    Yes yes yes . . . As usual, Republicans (everywhere) are courageously leading the way into the thick black smoke where, they know, life will be fantastic because we’ll all be getting rich on tax cuts while remaining free to be locked, loaded and ready to defend ourselves against those who would choke and drown us in clean air and clean water.

    Remember: Don’t vote for ANY Republican in November because — !!!BULLETIN!!! — no matter what they say, they don’t represent ANY of us, which, of course, includes you (unless you’re already wealthy or/and own a mine or an oil refinery or some other such).

    Remember: The conservative Republican ideology really IS a dangerous thing . . . For those who haven’t quite noticed that yet, it leads to things like big chemical ground bombs going off next door and a lot more people than necessary getting hooked on opioids and shot every day and plenty of other things along those lines that, according to Republicans, ALL need LESS regulating, not more.

    Scott Pruitt or Walker (or T Pawlenty) in 2024?

    Just TRY to imagine the result of that!

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