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Bakk calls Walz’s Line 3 decision ‘absolutely ridiculous’

Plus: man shot and killed in St. Paul while waiting in a van; Minnesota turkeys too ‘urban’ for South Dakota; more snow on the way; and more.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk

For the Duluth News Tribune, Dana Ferguson reports, “Hundreds of business owners and Duluth area local officials filled a hotel ballroom Thursday, Feb. 21, to learn more about the goings-on at the state Legislature and possible wins for the Duluth area. And they got an earful from Gov. Tim Walz, who hoped to win over broader support for his budget blueprint, and from another Democratic-Farmer-Labor leader, who blasted the governor’s move to delay the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline project. … [Tom] Bakk on Thursday took the microphone after Walz left the breakfast and vented his frustrations about the Walz administration’s decision to again delay the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline project in northern Minnesota. And the Iron Ranger… said the move to ask the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider its certificate of need for the construction project was ‘absolutely ridiculous.’”

The Star Tribune’s Liz Sawyer reports: “St. Paul police were investigating a homicide in the city’s Summit-University neighborhood Thursday night, authorities said. A man was shot in the head while sitting inside a van in the 700 block of Carroll Avenue around 8:45 p.m., police spokesman Steve Linders said. … Officers responded to the shots fired call and located the victim in the driver’s seat. Paramedics performed CPR, but the man died at the scene.”

Also from Ferguson: “State lawmakers are considering axing the Office of Minnesota Information Technology Services following a problematic rollout of the state’s auto registration and licensing computer system. The move comes a week after the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor released a report that outlined extensive failures that ultimately doomed the launch of the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System, known as MNLARS, in 2017.”

This from the Forum News Service, “A plan to relocate nuisance wild turkeys from this northwestern Minnesota city to South Dakota has taken a twist. The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks has apparently backed out of the partnership recently struck with the city of Moorhead, according to councilwoman Sara Watson Curry. During its Monday, Feb. 11 council meeting, members approved relocating 75 turkeys to eastern South Dakota, which would have required a Minnesota DNR permit and wild turkey management plan. Watson Curry said in an email sent Feb. 20 that South Dakota was concerned that the birds are too urban, not ‘wild’ turkeys.’

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Says Christopher Snowbeck in the Star Tribune, “Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare is the first for-profit health insurer to receive an HMO license in Minnesota, a move made by possible two years ago when state lawmakers eliminated a 40-year-old law that reserved the HMO market for nonprofit groups. The Minnesota Department of Health issued the license Wednesday to UnitedHealthcare, which is both the state’s largest publicly traded company and the nation’s largest health insurer. The company has been making a push to sell more coverage in its home state, including certain Medicare health plans that are new for 2019.”

At MPR, Paul Huttner is saying, “Our next winter storm is winding up and heading for the Upper Midwest this weekend. This one is a two-act snow performance. Winter storm watches are up for southeast Minnesota. The first wave arrives with a couple snowy inches Friday night. The main event rolls in Saturday night through Sunday morning. … the model consensus on storm track is zeroing in on laying the heaviest snow zone out from northern Iowa through southeast Minnesota into Wisconsin. Right now I’d favor a 6″ to 12″ swath either side of a Clear Lake, IA-Albert Lea-Rochester-Osseo, WI line. The Twin Cities seems most likely to pick up 1″ to 2″ Friday night, and another 3″ to 6″ Saturday night into Sunday.”

Also at MPR, this from Kirsti Marohn, “Minnesota farmers on Thursday got a chance to tell two congressmen how increased pressure from low milk prices, tariffs and competition are affecting them. U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, a Democrat in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District, and Tom Emmer, a Republican in the 6th Congressional District, held a joint town hall at the American Legion in Melrose. Emmer noted that the Trump administration is in talks with China on how to resolve the trade war, which has hurt Minnesota farmers. He said he and Peterson likely wouldn’t have taken the same approach as Trump on trade with China, but he said he’s hopeful for a resolution that will benefit Minnesota farmers.”

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges says, “The University of St. Thomas has prevailed in a lawsuit challenging its suspension of a former student for an alleged sexual assault. U.S. District Judge John Tunheim on Thursday granted the school’s motion for summary judgment against the anonymous plaintiff. … Plaintiffs attorney Beau McGraw argued the school’s administrators had a bias against male sexual assault suspects and that the school denied his client access to the people and documents needed to defend himself. But college students facing discipline for sexual misconduct under the federal Title IX law don’t get the same protections as criminal suspects.”