MnDot fined for flood-related worker death, Minn. climber reaches McKinley, letters to Santa

MnDOT district penalized for safety violations in Struck’s death

“The Mankato MnDOT district has been penalized $30,000 for serious safety violations involving the death of a worker clearing floodwaters last spring,” reports the Mankato Free Press.

Grand Marais climber reaches McKinley for second solo attempt

“After waiting out some weather, Lonnie Dupre flew 60 miles from Talkeetna, Alaska, to an elevation of 7,200 feet at a base camp on North America’s highest mountain,” reports the Duluth News Tribune.

Officials celebrate significant F-M diversion milestone

“A long road still lies ahead before the preferred diversion option comes to fruition, but officials paused Thursday to commemorate what they unanimously called a major milestone along the way,” reports the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Bishop offers victims apology

“The St. Cloud diocese learned about sexual misconduct allegations against former deacon Michael Weber in the 1990s, and diocese reports indicate that two vicar generals have met with his victims, according to a statement from Bishop John Kinney,” reports the St Cloud Times.

New plan to fill foreclosed homes in Hennepin County

KARE11: “While the numbers are down, Hennepin County still has nearly 4,000 foreclosures. Real estate experts say distressed properties have accounted for about 30 percent of home sales statewide in recent years. County officials say the more foreclosed homes off the market and occupied, the better.”

State receives $14M more in heating assistance funds

Pioneer Press: “Minnesota received an additional $14.1 million in federal heating assistance Thursday, just in time to continue processing requests from cash-strapped households who need help keeping the lights and heat on this winter.”

Minn. GOP

Editorial: Full story untold, Minn. Senate is reeling

West Central Tribune: “Legislative Republicans have been the driving force behind the proposed constitutional amendment to restrict marriage to between one man and one woman. The Koch affair will not help the marriage amendment effort.”

Michael Brodkorb: Admired, feared and, above all, Republican

Pioneer Press: “Michael Brodkorb cut his teeth with entry-level tasks like donning a chicken suit at a Democratic campaign event, but he buttered his bread with insightful strategies and incisive attacks that made him a crucial asset to Minnesota Republicans for more than a decade.”

Should the media report Brodkorb rumors in Koch scandal?

MinnPost‘s David Brauer: “City Pages editor Kevin Hoffman makes the competing case for headlining the question: ‘We decided to ‘go there’ because the public was already going there (as you know from watching Twitter). I don’t think reporters have the luxury of playing dumb in this day and age.'”

Also on MN Today

The Worthington Daily Globe featured Letters to Santa 2011 from students at Prairie Elementary and St. Mary’s including this one:

Dear Santa,

How are you? How is Mrs. Claus? I have been a good boy. Please bring me a talking parrot.

Thank you Santa,

Love, Charles

Comet Lovejoy observed from Earth orbit

NASA: International Space Station Commander Dan Burbank captured spectacular imagery of Comet Lovejoy as seen from about 240 miles above the Earth’s horizon on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Today Burbank described seeing the comet two nights ago as “the most amazing thing I have ever seen in space,” in an interview with WDIV-TV in Detroit.

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