In the Star Tribune, Erin Golden reports, “Minnesota Senate Republicans proposed borrowing $825 million for public works on Wednesday, setting up an end-of-session rush to see whether Senate and House Republicans can get on the same page with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, who wants to spend much more.”
In the Duluth News Tribune Don Davis says, “Lawmakers in both houses say there likely are not enough Republican votes to pass a bonding bill much bigger than $825 million, which would be repaid by general tax revenue. When all funds are figured in, both legislative bills are close to $1 billion. … If the legislation were to pass, it would mean lawmakers approved the biggest-ever bonding spending during a two-year session: $1.8 billion for projects funded by general tax revenue and $2.2 billion when all funds are included.”
For the PiPress, Bill Salisbury says, “The Senate put $32 million in its bonding bill to build new vets’ homes in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston. The inclusion reveals a divergence of opinion among Republican lawmakers. Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, is pushing to fund the three veterans’ homes with money from a Vikings stadium reserve fund. The $40-million fund, which is used to pay off the debt from building U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, is rapidly growing, thanks largely to growing e-pulltab sales, and Anderson and many House Republicans want to grab some of that money.” There’s never enough e-pulltab news.
Also in the News Tribune, Barry Amundson reports, “The Minnesota Department of Health has received reports of callers posing as being from the department and asking for personal and business information, including credit card numbers. The department said it appeared to have been subjected to this ‘spoofing’ attack, a practice used to falsify the telephone number or name on caller IDs to disguise the identity of the real caller. These calls have been designed to appear to come from MDH’s main phone number of 651-201-5700. These calls are not being made by MDH, and MDH urges recipients of suspicious calls to not give out any personal or financial information.”
Shades of Walter White. Says Stephen Montemayor in the Strib, “Macrina Perez hardly cuts an imposing presence. But federal prosecutors are alleging that the 25-year-old mother of two, with roots in both Minnesota and Mexico, has in her young life managed to lead one of the biggest meth trafficking cells Minnesota has ever seen. … She was charged nearly two years ago in a sealed indictment that relied on cooperation from several informants whose identities are still protected by the government. ‘She wasn’t the courier,’ Steinkamp said in court this month. ‘She’s the CEO of this organization. She’s running it.’”
More controversy among the cake-eaters. A KMSP-TV story by Christina Palladino says, “Parents in Edina rallied in support of a school board member facing discipline over a social media post criticizing a high school teacher’s English class discussions, sparking a community-wide argument over the place of politics in education. The crowd gathered outside a closed-door meeting of the Edina School Board Tuesday, which was held to discuss the possible repercussions for Vice Chair Sarah Patzloff after she spoke out against a post on a tenth-grade English teacher’s blog outlining her strategies for teaching students about racial and social justice issues. … Angry parents said outside the meeting Tuesday that Patzloff was being singled out for espousing conservative viewpoints and is being punished for speaking her mind.”
Not good. Another News Tribune story, this by John Myers, says, “We’ve known for years that tiny bits of plastic, called microplastics, have become ubiquitous in the oceans and across the Great Lakes. We’ve also known that so many of these tiny plastic particles are floating around that they are ending up inside fish. Another recent study found plastic particles in many popular brands of supposedly filtered and purified bottled water drawn from multiple sources, including wells and springs. Now a Minnesota researcher says she’s tested municipal tap water taken from all of the Great Lakes and, not surprisingly, found plastic particles in almost all of them. The microplastics are even showing up in the plethora of beers now being brewed with Great Lakes water.”
Nobody knew snow care could be so complicated. At City Pages, Mike Mullen writes, “In 2016, [Matt] Erickson burst onto the local political scene like a urine-filled water balloon, first appearing as a surrogate/spokesman on behalf of Donald Trump’s campaign. After his deeply uncomfortable appearance on TPT’s Almanac, City Pages wrote about Erickson’s horrendously offensive Facebook posts, several of which appeared to be his own hand-crafted memes. In Erickson’s world, circa early 2016, Marco Rubio was gay; Ted Cruz was (literally) being cuckolded by Donald Trump; Barack Obama was a monkey; and Trump should shoot him in the head. … On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice filed criminal charges against Erickson, 30, alleging his ‘snow removal’ business ripped off more than 100 people across eight states, including Minnesota and Wisconsin.”