The anti-union effort reaches the Minnesota Legislature, Vikings stadium improv, the missing Doonesbury, health care reality check in Esko, and is there anything North Dakota doesn't have going for it these days?
At $3.69 a gallon yesterday, I finally filled up the official car of NewsCut after two weeks, thus ending an experiment in patience and safe driving.
I wanted to find out how much more mileage I could coax out of the beast. To be fair, I'm not one of those people who guns it when the light turns green so that he can get to the next red light faster. But I was more mindful of all the lessons I was taught as a kid driver when the Arab oil embargo was underway: Drive like there's an egg between your foot and the gas pedal.
I coasted when I could. Tried to adjust my speed between lights to avoid stopping altogether. I accelerated slowly and I drove no faster than 55 mph, all of which probably bothered the SUV drivers who were racing past me at 70 mph or so. I was sure I'd have the last laugh.
Of late, the car -- a 2004 Chevy Cavalier -- has been getting about 27 miles per gallon. The previous fillup in February yielded 27.92 mpg. I figured if I could get two more miles per gallon, I would effectively roll the price of gasoline back to an astonishing level.
How'd it turn out? Because I drove farther once the "fill" light came on (I figured a "lighter" car would stretch the mileage), I bought 12.58 gallons and got 29.49 miles per gallon, an increase of 1.57 mpg, or about 19 "free" miles over previous driving habits. That saved me $2.36 or 18 cents a gallon, making the effective price of the gasoline $3.51, which is also the price of gasoline at several stations in the Twin Cities today.
In other words: big deal. There was some benefit to driving differently, but the only real way to save money is not driving the car. Coincidentally, the American Public Transportation Association reported today that as gasoline prices increased, light rail ridership in the country was up about 5 percent in 2011.
You don't really want to do this:
Wired.com's Superbug blog today highlights the findings of several Akron-area doctors who have been treating people with mysterious and serious ailments.
They found one common thread among all of the patients:
Patient 1: ... the patient's pet dog died several days previously, that the patient had provided palliative care to the terminally ill dog by dropper-feeding honey to the dog, and that the patient had co-consumed honey with the dog by licking the same dropper used to comfort-feed the dog.
Patient 2: ... the patient's pet cat had died 6 weeks previously and that the patient had continuously held, caressed, hugged, and kissed her cat during its last 7 days of life.
Patient 3: ... 2 weeks prior to her illness, the patient had provided palliative care to her dying cat by holding, hugging, and kissing the head of the cat and allowing the cat to lick her hands and arms.
Apparently, the research papers says, these infections are the result of a trend away from putting a dog or cat to sleep at the end of their days, and hugging and kissing them instead:
With the emergence of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care as an organization supporting palliative pet care as an alternative to pet euthanasia and with the recent report that >50% of dog owners consider pets as family members and more often than not sleep in bed with them , it appears that we may be on the cusp of a potential increase in the number of recognized non-bite-associated P. multocida infections, including those associated with palliative pet care. Only diligence and very detail-oriented, pet-related histories will likely uncover further patients with invasive P. multocida infection related to the pet owner's provision of palliative pet care to dying animals.
Pasteurella multocida lives quietly in the mouths of most cats, and two-thirds of dogs. About one-third of Pasteurella infections examined in one review went on to cause septic shock, which can be life-threatening. Pasteurella is a common infection in cat bites, but these appear to be the first infections linked to caring for a dying pet, Superbug reports.(2 Comments)
An unshoveled sidewalk is not enough evidence to send a man to prison for two years for failing to register as a predatory offender.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals today overturned the conviction of Joey Nelson of Pine County, who was convicted in a one-day trial after authorities said he was no longer living at his apartment in the county and had moved elsewhere. Registered offenders are required to notify officials five days before moving to another area.
The case shows how easy it can be to send an offender back to prison on the thinnest of evidence.
The authorities became suspicious after Nelson was stopped by police in Texas on February 9, 2010. An investigator for the Pine County Sheriff's Office visited Nelson's home the same day and found an unshoveled sidewalk after a snowfall. On the investigator's testimony, Nelson was sent to prison.
But the Court of Appeals said prosecutors didn't provide any evidence of a new address for Nelson. "Rather, the state simply asked the jury to infer that Nelson had a new primary address based on evidence that Nelson did not appear to be present at his registered primary address on February 9, 2010," the court said.
Far from reasonable doubt, it said, there were other circumstances that could explain Nelson being in Texas on a given day, and an unshoveled sidewalk in Pine County:
A second reasonable inference is that Nelson simply was visiting Texas on a short-term basis and was intending to return to Pine City to continue living at his registered primary address. That a person is present in Texas does not necessarily imply that the person has moved his or her primary residence to Texas. Many persons who are not residents of Texas surely are present within that state on any given day.
A third reasonable inference is that Nelson had a secondary address in Texas where he regularly or occasionally stayed overnight when he was not at his primary address in Pine City. But there is no requirement for persons required to register under section 243.166 to register secondary addresses located outside of Minnesota. See Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 4a(a)(2), (b); see also id., subd. 1a(i) (defining secondary address).
A fourth reasonable inference is that Nelson had departed from his registered primary address without any intention to return but with an intention to either become homeless or to search for a new primary address. Such a person is required by section 243.166 to register, but that requirement springs from a subdivision other than subdivision 3(b), which is the statutory basis of the offense charged in this case. See Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 3a. The state did not attempt to prove that Nelson had violated the requirements of subdivision 3a.
Unanswered in the decision, of course, is how a properly-instructed jury of reasonable people couldn't see the several possibilities constituting "reasonable doubt."1 Comments)
People who get into trouble by having Minneapolis preacher Bradlee Dean at their functions usually have something in common: They've never Googled Bradlee Dean.
Almost a year ago, Republicans in the Minnesota House apologized after Dean, who runs a ministry called "You Can Run But You Can't Hide," gave an invocation just prior to debate over a same-sex marriage constitution amendment.
Last week, his band -- Junkyard Prophet -- performed at Dunkerton High School, near Cedar Rapids in Iowa. The band was supposed to deliver an anti-drug, anti-bullying message. But, according to Courier.com, it ended up being vintage Dean:
But after dividing the junior and senior high student body into boys and girls --- and leading faculty members away in a third direction --- the group launched a different agenda, according to witnesses.
"They were really trying to push their religion down our throats," said Laura Steffen, 18, a senior.
The presentations included images of aborted fetuses and AIDS patients suffering the effects of the disease, according to students. Those who tried to leave, including teachers, were shouted down, mocked and intimidated, according to witnesses.
Steve Phelan, an English teacher, said the leader in his group chastised the faculty for being disrespectful.
"Then he probably spent five or 10 minutes shouting at us about what we should believe," Phelan said.
"They told my daughter, the girls, that they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren't virgins," parent Jennifer Littlefield told the La Crosse Tribune.
The band is threatening to return to town for another appearance because its members claim their Thursday performance has not been properly reported.
A few people in Minnesota hockey circles were upset that Jack Jablonski was not allowed on the ice to share in the immediate aftermath of Benilde-St. Margaret's victory in the state Class AA hockey championship. Jablonski was paralyzed in December after he was checked from behind.
It may not surprise many people that behind the decision was an insurance company.
Minnesota State High School League president Dave Stead posted this explanation on the organization's Facebook page this afternoon:
A number of people have asked questions about why Jack Jablonski was not on the ice for the award ceremony on Saturday night. Jack was not listed as a member of the official roster, but the League staff worked directly with the school and the coaching staff to ensure that Jack could be an important part of his school team before and following each game.
Championship medals are awarded to each member of the team, team managers and coaches. A school can also request additional medals for players, and we accommodate all teams in all sports to ensure that their needs are appropriately addressed in a timely manner.
In order to make sure the $2 million Lifetime Catastrophic Insurance policy the League purchases for each athlete was not at risk, the League's insurance carrier was contacted. I was informed that if an accident of any type would have occurred, the insurance claim may well have been jeopardized.
The MSHSL joins everyone in Minnesota and beyond in wishing Jack all the best in the future.