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Cold snap sets records across Minnesota

Plus: DFL looks at opening candidate access to Minnesota’s presidential primary; federal criminal trial for St. Paul Police officer starts Tuesday; Mortenson Construction leader M.A. Mortenson dies; and more.

MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig

This from the AP: “In the Twin Cities, Monday’s 18-degree high tied the lowest high on record for this date, said Tyler Hasenstein, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. To put that in perspective, the average high temperature in January is between 20 and 24 degrees. ‘This is even colder than your average high in January,’ Hasenstein said. ‘For us at least, this is only a temporary dip’. … ‘This is an air mass that’s more typical for the middle of January than mid-November,’ said National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Birk. ‘It is pretty much about the coldest we can be this time of year (and) it could break records all over the region.’”

The Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor tells us, “Minnesota DFL lawmakers are studying legislation to open access to presidential primary ballots after the Minnesota Republican Party excluded rivals to President Donald Trump from the state’s March GOP primary. … On Monday, state Reps. Jamie Long and Raymond Dehn — both Democrats from Minneapolis — said they will introduce legislation in February that would allow candidates to be listed in presidential primaries if they file an affidavit and pay a fee ….”

For MPR, Brandt Williams writes: “What’s not in dispute is that on June 24, 2016, St. Paul police officer Brett Palkowitsch repeatedly kicked Frank Baker in the midsection while Baker was being bitten by a police dog. The question at the heart of the federal criminal trial, which begins in St. Paul Tuesday, focuses on whether or not the kicks Palkowitsch delivered were excessive or justified.”

For Gizmodo, Yessenia Funes writes, “Something foul blew into Kansas City, Missouri on Wednesday night. The air smelled dank as hell (and not in a good way), which some residents described as nasty feet or literal [bleep], according to local KSHB news. Meteorologists in the region are blaming the smell on the agriculture industry in Minnesota. In other words, people were probably sniffing [bleep]. A cold front swung south into Kansas City Wednesday, shifting the winds so that they were coming from the north, National Weather Service meteorologist Sarah Atkins told Earther. … The cold front was shallow—meaning it was closer to the ground—so the smell kept closer to where people live instead of mixing with the rest of the atmosphere, which would’ve helped dissipate the odor. The winds traveling quicker than normal certainly didn’t help either, Atkins said.”

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For the Pioneer Press, Dana Ferguson reports, “Low-income Minnesotans could be eligible for federal financial support to get their homes weatherized and ready for winter. And the state’s commerce commissioner is hoping that more people will apply and take advantage of the funds. Commissioner Steve Kelley said he is aiming to raise awareness about the Weatherization Awareness Program, which is run by the state, as well as the Low Income Energy Assistance Program. Both provide federal assistance to repair and improve furnaces, heating and energy systems and home insulation to improve energy efficiency.”

Says Barry Amundson of the Forum News Service, “Tim Nolte farms with his wife and children near Sebeka in the northern woods of Wadena County, and he’s seeking permits for irrigation, but even the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources admits he ‘unfortunately’ was singled out for an environmental study. As he faces what is called an Environmental Assessment Worksheet after a petition calling for an investigation of an irrigation well operation on his land was given final approval, he decided to hold a field day on his cattle and crop farm that is a mixture of trees, land cleared for pastures and fields and older cropland with the Redeye River running through it.”

Says Nicole Norfleet in the Star Tribune, “With a hard hat and an eye for detail, Mauritz A. ‘Mort’ Mortenson Jr. could spend hours at a construction site talking with superintendents, foremen and other workers about the challenges of a building project. Mortenson, who helped grow his family’s Minnesota construction business into one of the largest general contractors in the country, died Saturday after a months-long battle with cancer. He was 82. … Mortenson employs more than 7,500 workers at offices around the country and is ranked by industry publication Engineering News-Record as the 16th-largest contractor in the United States with revenue last year of $4.6 billion.”

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