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Push grows at Capitol to restore felons’ voting rights

Plus: the return of frozen pants; Minnesotans on marijuana legalization; activists arrested at Enbridge facility; and more.

Says Stephen Montemayor in the Strib, “Renee Brown-Goodell is not shy about introducing herself as a felon, a label she has carried without shame after spending more than four years in federal prison for a 2012 fraud conviction. But it still stings that she was forced to sit out the past two elections: Her right to vote remains out of reach until she completes her post-prison supervised release. … Minnesota is one of 22 states where felons cannot vote until they complete post-incarceration supervision, such as probation or parole. Brown-Goodell’s is the latest in a growing chorus of voices leading a renewed charge to change that, a move that could affect 50,000 to 60,000 Minnesotans like her.”

For The Huffington Post Carla Baranauckas reports, “Although the polar vortex put much of the country into a record-breaking deep freeze, it wasn’t all bad news. The plummeting temperatures allowed a Minnesota man and his neighbors to revive the mystifying and somewhat eerie phenomenon known as frozen pants.

At MPR, a collection of public opinions on legalizing pot:

“Eliminating an underground economy. Huge tax revenues. Freedom of choice. I do not see a downside to this. Releasing people with prison sentences.” — Brian Lonely, St. Paul

“First and foremost, it would decriminalize and expunge records. It is a travesty of justice that people have been jailed for decades for use of marijuana! It is not near as destructive as alcohol in our society. In fact, there are many significant benefits to this plant that go way beyond getting ‘high.’ There would also be very positive financial benefits realized by the state with legalization.” — Tom Gray, Crosby

“Pros: more tax revenue so I don’t have to pay so much to go to college. Also, like, it’s a plant. It’s stupid it’s illegal in the first place. Cons: corporations copywriting cannabis.” — Stephan Jacobson, St. Cloud.

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Says Dan Kraker at MPR, “Itasca County sheriff’s deputies apparently took four activists into custody Monday afternoon after they used bolt cutters to break into an Enbridge pipeline facility. The activists, who call  themselves the ‘Four Necessity Valve Turners,’ are part of the Catholic Worker Movement from Texas, Wisconsin and Minnesota. They posted Facebook Live video of the incident, in which they try for several minutes to close an emergency shut-off valve on an Enbridge pipeline using a variety of tools and other objects, such as a rosary. The video ends as they are loaded into sheriff’s vehicles.”

Says Bob Shaw in the PiPress, “Woodbury doesn’t like change at city hall, but it does like Anne Burt. … The city’s voters elected a new mayor in November — something that only happens an average of every 10 years. When Burt took control of city government this year, she became the city’s sixth mayor in its 52-year history. … Q: Woodbury is on track to have 80,000 people by 2030, which would make it one of the largest cities in the state. Is Woodbury growing too quickly? … A: Woodbury is growing as anticipated. We’ve planned for it. Our residential growth has allowed us to attract major commercial developments such as CityPlace and Bielenberg Gardens. Our commitment to planned growth has led the community to be regularly recognized as a great place to live.  The benefits of growth far outweigh the challenges. Keep in mind our growth has slowed considerably. Since 2011 about 450 new units have been permitted annually, on average, compared to more than 1,000 new residential units per year in the 1990s and 2000s.”

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In the Strib Lynn Underwood writes, “Empty-nesters Bill and Barbara Cadogan had raised their family in Eden Prairie, and were looking for a little more excitement. ‘The answer was downtown Minneapolis,’ said Bill. In 2008, they moved to a glass tower in the heart of the city. The couple bought a home in the Carlyle, the tallest residential tower in the state. The 39-story Art Deco-style building is just a block from the Mississippi riverfront. The Cadogans’ 32nd-floor corner unit delivers 270-degree panoramic views of downtown skyscrapers, U.S. Bank Stadium and the rushing river. … The 2,364-square-foot unit has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, and they converted one bedroom to an office with walnut built-in bookcases.” It’s on the market for $1.875 million.

Also in the Strib, this from Christopher Snowbeck, “An advocacy group for patients with Type 1 diabetes is calling out a new UnitedHealthcare policy that expands an existing agreement with Medtronic and makes the manufacturer’s medical devices the ‘preferred’ insulin pumps for children with the autoimmune condition.”