Around MN: unionized childcare, high speed rail and BWCA bears

Carlton County childcare providers fight efforts to unionize

Leaders say they aren’t anti-union, but don’t see many benefits in a union for independent business owners (Pine Journal).

Dru Sjodin case: ‘Nothing but sadness’

Five years ago this week, a federal jury in Fargo convicted and later sentenced to death the man who kidnapped, raped and murdered UND student Dru Sjodin. Sjodin’s killer remains on death row (The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead).

Auditor: Stillwater misspent $80,000 to promote 4-lane bridge

The donation to the Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing did not have a contract to keep public informed on spending, an inquiry found (Star Tribune).

More than 100 fight Pagami Creek Fire in BWCA

Crews are working to remove new fuel for a fire discovered over two weeks ago and has burned 130 acres.

Police, prosecutors struggle to stay on top of synthetic drugs

Minnesota police and prosecutors have a new way to fight the newest drug craze, but say they still need to catch up (Bemidji Pioneer).

By the numbers

Estimated cost of the Duluth-Minneapolis high-speed rail line: $750 million

State and local governments may have to pay up to 20 percent of the cost, plus costs for new or improved stations, reports the Duluth News Tribune. The route was approved by the Federal Rail Administration, it will require upgrades to the Northern Lights Express before passengers can zip at 110 mph between the Twin Ports and Twin Cities. Initial construction could begin in 2012.

The Bachmann Files

Bachmann faces complications in Iowa

It’s difficult to find an Iowa Republican who thinks Michele Bachmann has an easy road ahead (CNN).

Commentary

In response: Excelsior’s talking points, excuses evade questions

The response from Excelsior Energy’s co-CEOs to the News Tribune’s investigative reports of Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 and to the newspaper’s editorial on Aug. 23 did not answer questions. The response, published Aug. 24, merely rehashed old selling points that brought Excelsior (Duluth News Tribune).

Commentary: Bear disturbs last night in BWCA

It’s good to have a reminder now and then about what you are up against in the wild country (Lake County News).

Blog Box

Thursday addresses before Joint Session of Congress a rarity

Putting aside, for the moment, any political motivations behind both Barack Obama’s request to address a Joint Session of Congress on the evening of next Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate as well as House Speaker John Boehner’s refusal to grant it, history is on the side of the president in one respect: Thursdays have historically been unusual days to assemble a joint session for the president.

In fact, it’s happened only four times out of nearly 40 such addresses since Ronald Reagan took office (Smart Politics).

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