News Day: T-Paw: No new senator /From snow to fire /When is a Republican not a Republican? /Michelle again, more

No new Senator T-Paw told MSNBC that the Senate race will take “a few more months” until “we get a proper result.” Minnesota Independent reports that Pawlenty said he won’t sign an election certificate until the appellate process is over. The PiPress reports that only 387 ballots remain to be counted Tuesday. Judges originally ordered 400 ballots counted, but it turns out that 13 of those listed have already been counted.

From snow to fire A day after the Twin Cities awakened to snow, a different kind of white stuff sifted over the metro on Monday. The ash came from nearl 2,000 acres of burning grass — seven fires in Anoka County, over the course of just 12 hours. Fire officials are investigating, since they saw “no natural way” for the fires to start, reported the PiPress. A Strib story this morning says that the 40-year-old man arrested overnight in connection with the fires is an area resident and is believed to be a volunteer firefighter.

MN Job Watch St. Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians approved a 12 percent pay cut for themselves, according to the PiPress. That means an SPCO musician will earn base pay of $65,107 — down from a contracted $73,732 — for the season that begins in July.

Ritz Camera is closing 19 of 24 Ritz and Proex stores in MN, leaving only stores at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, St. Paul and Woodbury. The company is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

NPR’s Planet Money has a graph showing “the other unemployment.” That would be the U-6 figure that includes not only people who are unemployed and actively seeking work, but also “discouraged workers” and those who are working part-time because they can’t find full-time employment. The more inclusive figures shows a current unemployment rate of 15.6 percent. (Of course, if you are a regular reader, you already read all about it right here.)

Dolan denies police planted gun Back from vacation, Mpls police chief Tim Dolan said that Mpls police did not plant a gun near Fong Lee, who was killed by police in 2006. The PiPress, which has followed the story closely, says:

[The] statement does not answer why, in the days after the shooting, Dolan told people that Fong Lee’s fingerprints had been found on the gun — even though a police fingerprint examiner had determined the day after the shooting that the gun and the seven live founds it lacked any hints of fingerprints.

The gun, a Russian-made Baikal .380-caliber semi-automatic, had been reported stolen in a February 2004 burglary, and police reports show it was recovered a few days after it was stolen. Police kept it as evidence, and the gun’s owner says it was never returned to him.

Stimulus, building plans pass MPR reports that the MN House passed a $200 million bonding plan for public construction projects by a 93-40 vote Monday.

Both houses have passed and sent on to the governor bills with $107 million for state water infrastructure projects and legislation qualifying the state for $130 million in unemployment funds passed 128-5.

Bombs in Baghdad A series of bombings in Baghadad on Monday left 37 people dead and more than 100 wounded, reports AP.

When is a Republican not a Republican? Maybe when she is running for mayor in St. Paul, reports the PiPress City Scoop blog. After winning Republican endorsement for her mayoral campaign, Eva Ng insists that she is not a Republican, but just an independent who has campaigned for Republicans and supports Tim Pawlenty.

More Michelle Michelle Bachman clearly wants lots of publicity, which seems to be one good reason to ignore her. But her craziness keeps getting national notice, so that’s hard to do. The Minnesota Independent reports that her district has the highest rate of foreclosures in MN, and that she “voted against all but one measure aimed at foreclosure relief.” No, Michelle is much more concerned about more pressing national issues … like the completely phony threat of forced Americorps service and political re-education camps?

I believe when it’s all said and done, this service that — I believe that there’s a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go and work in some of these politically correct forums. It’s very concerning. It appears that there’s a philosophical agenda behind all of this, and especially if young people are mandated to go into this. As a parent, I would have a very, very difficult time seeing my children do this. Again, a huge power-grab, at a cost of billions of dollars.

Endangered St. Croix According to American Rivers, a national waterways organization, development is destroying the Lower St. Croix River. MPR reports that phosphorus run-off from subdivisions and housing developments impairs the river, and that the MN DNR has failed to protect the river from property owners who want to build bigger structures on the bluffs.

Getting on board Federal stimulus money for high-speed trains could connect the Twin Cities to Chicago, and Gov. Pawlenty now wants to extend the Northstar commuter line to St. Cloud, to study the possibility of a Northern Lights Express to Duluth and to talk about stops in Rochester and/or Winona from the proposed MN to Chicago line. The Strib notes that “some say” Pawlenty was responsible for derailing the Northstar line to St. Cloud years ago, but he now wants to “consider every option.”

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