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House and Senate give OK to Enbridge pipeline; Dayton threatens veto

Plus: chunk of RiverCentre parking ramp damages car; Minnesota jobless rate steady; Kwik Trip claims top Minnesota gas-station bathroom honors; and more.

A rough depiction of the Line 3 replacement route in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

They’re a pro-pipeline kinda crowd. Mike Hughlett of the Strib says, “Both houses of the Minnesota Legislature approved bills this week that allow Enbridge to build a controversial new oil pipeline across northern Minnesota without regulators’ approval. By a 35-32 vote, the Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would terminate a three-year regulatory process that is nearly complete. Enbridge could then go ahead and build a new Line 3 pipeline. The House passed a similar bill Monday on a 74-51 vote. Gov. Mark Dayton has threatened to veto the legislation.”

When maintenance issues stop being speculative and start getting concrete. In the PiPress, Frederick Melo reports, “The city of St. Paul is temporarily shutting down the 1,600-stall RiverCentre Ramp on Kellogg Boulevard after a large chunk of ceiling concrete fell on a parked car. The closure comes as efforts to replace the 48-year-old structure stalled this week at the state Capitol. The concrete chunk, measuring 3 feet by 2 feet, damaged the car Wednesday evening, according to officials with the St. Paul Department of Safety and Inspections. The area was closed immediately.” Duct tape and Gorilla Glue ought to do it until next year.

All in all, pretty good. Says Bill Catlin for MPR, “Minnesota economic officials report the state’s jobless rate held steady at 3.2 percent in April, well below the national rate of 3.9 percent. Minnesota employers eliminated 3,200 payroll jobs last month, and additional information whittled the March job gain down from 2,900 to 400. … According to a report from the Conference Board earlier this month, Minnesota has only 73 unemployed people for every 100 job openings.”

And the automatic espresso machines actually make a good cup a joe. Says Hannah Jones in City Pages, “You’re driving back to the Twin Cities from grandma’s when the call of nature arises somewhere from your midsection. You have one question on your mind: ‘Where can I find a bathroom that at least’s been cleaned since the Bush administration?’ GasBuddy, a gas station review app, now has the answer. Analyst Frank Beard (no relation to the drummer for ZZ Top) looked into the depths of the app’s millions of restroom reviews written since 2016. Customers rate the overall restroom experience on a five-star scale. From this data emerged Minnesota’s champ: Kwik Trip.”

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Eventually we’ll get to Henry Sibley. Says Josh Verges in the PiPress, “Plans to scrub a slave-owning U.S. president’s name from two St. Paul school buildings have rankled alumni of the former Monroe High School. The old high school is one of two campuses of the K-8 Linwood-Monroe Arts Plus, with buildings in the Summit Hill and West Seventh neighborhoods. Its namesake, James Monroe, was the fifth U.S. president, one of 12 to own slaves during his lifetime and one of eight to do so while in office.”

As I say every year, what was wrong with “Dave” and “Kathy”? Bob Shaw of the PiPress tells us, “The hottest baby names for girls and boys in Minnesota are … pretty much the same. The Social Security Administration on Thursday listed the most common names given state-by-state to babies in 2017. Minnesota’s most popular names were only two letters apart — Olivia and Oliver. Earlier, the SSA reported the most popular names nationwide, which show how much Minnesota deviates from national norms. Minnesota’s top girls’ names were Olivia, Evelyn, Emma, Charlotte and Nora. For boys, they were Oliver, William, Henry, Liam and Theodore. But Oliver is not even on the top-five list for boys’ names nationally. In the U.S., the top appellations were Liam, Noah, William, James and Logan for boys. The most common girls’ names were Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella and Sophia.”

They need one of those trucks from the commercials. Stribber John Reinan was watching them try to pull the bog: “They tried pushing it. They tried pulling it. They tried cutting it in half. And the monster bog of the Brainerd lakes just laughed. In the ongoing struggle of man vs. nature, nature won by a knockout Wednesday. A daylong effort at North Long Lake failed to dislodge the giant floating mat of muck, bulrushes and tamarack trees that grounded on shore last fall at Legionville, a training camp for Minnesota school patrol guards. ‘It kicked our butts, let’s just be honest here,’ said Kevin Martini, an official with the Brainerd office of the state Department of Natural Resources.”

The lefty site ThinkProgress has zeroed in on Karin Housley. Says Danielle McLean, “Karin Housley, a Minnesota State Senator who is seeking to be the Republican nominee in Minnesota’s upcoming U.S. Senate special election, is a prominent realtor who does brisk trade selling million dollar homes in the suburbs outside Minneapolis. And since 2014, she has worked nearly as hard at creating numerous bills affecting her real estate business. As a member of the Minnesota State Senate, Housley authored bills that literally crafted the definition of her very profession and established ‘designated agency’ during real estate transactions. She authored an act that established a first-time home buyer savings account, which was touted by the state’s real estate political action committee as a major legislative success. And she wrote bills benefiting the real estate appraisers that set the prices of the homes she sells, including new protections against civil action lawsuits and shielding minor disciplinary action against them from the public record.” Scurrilous insinuations!