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Radio chips on St. Paul trash cans inspire fear, paranoia

Plus: legislators push legal protections for lemonade stands; MyPillow founder finances anti-abortion film; cold snap may have hurt emerald ash borers; and more.

MinnPost file photo by Corey Anderson

Best to wrap the whole thing in tinfoil, just to be sure. The Star Tribune’s James Walsh reports: “Peter Butler knew the St. Paul recycling cart he received two years ago had a radio chip in it that could help track his disposal activity. So, when he spied something shiny on his new city garbage cart last fall, he had a pretty good idea what it was. … He took a needle-nose pliers and yanked it out. … A radio frequency identification (RFID) chip is built into each of the 80,000 new garbage carts the city acquired last year. But, a city spokeswoman said, neither St. Paul nor its garbage haulers are using them to track anything. … Butler, a Highland Park resident and outspoken garbage plan nemesis, doesn’t trust the city, so he made a video of himself removing the chip and posted it on Facebook.”

When life hands you lemons… KSTP reports: “Two state senators want to protect the right of Minnesota kids to operate lemonade or hot dog stands without fear of the police. … Republicans Roger Chamberlain and Linda Runbeck have authored a bill to allow kids 14 and under to operate temporary stands without permits. It passed a Senate committee last week and awaits floor action.”

Say, what’s that MyPillow guy been up to lately? The Hill’s John Bowden writes:An anti-abortion feature film partially financed by Michael Lindell, the CEO and founder of MyPillow and an ally of President Trump, will reportedly be nationally distributed by a Christian movie studio. … The movie, ‘Unplanned,’ follows a young woman who resigns from her place of work (a Planned Parenthood clinic) and renounces the practice of abortion, according to The Washington Times, which reports that the movie has been picked up for national distribution by Pure Flix studios.”

That cold snap may have saved our ashes. The Forum News Service’s Patrick Springer reports (via the Pioneer Press) and Forum News Service report: “Here’s a warm thought for ash tree admirers as the region finds itself coping with an arctic deep freeze: Temperatures that plunge far below zero can be fatal for emerald ash borers — mortal enemies of the popular trees. … Researchers in Minnesota have established that when temperatures drop to around 20 below zero, about half of emerald ash borers, which burrow into ash trees during their larval stage, are killed. The mortality rate can reach 90 percent when the temperature reaches 30 below.”

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In other news…

So much for free ice-spression:Minnesota snow sculptors’ Trump piece disqualifies them for nationals” [Star Tribune]

Somehow this is better than the Trump-voter safari genre:Life at -58F: I went inside the frozen heart of America’s polar vortex” [The Guardian]

Ilhan Omar on the Daily Show:Interview – Ilhan Omar – Getting Down to Business with the Congressional Freshmen Class – Extended Interview” [Comedy Central]

Interesting history:Buddy Holly’s link to Duluth a piece of rock ’n’ roll history” [Fargo Forum]

Can identify:‘My Body Is Broken Beyond Repair’: Lindsey Vonn To Retire After World Championships” [WCCO]

End of an era:Southdale courthouse to close permanently after Friday” [KARE]

Just what Minneapolis needed:Co-working salon to fill Columbia space in Uptown” [Southwest Journal]

Check it out:Black History Month Playlist: St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter and the music that inspires him” [The Current]