Good morning, and happy Thursday, the first day of what used to be and still is known as MEA Weekend for some. Here’s the Digest.
1. The federal government said Wednesday that it would accept Minnesota’s current driver’s licenses at airports and other checkpoints through October 2018, according to state and federal officials. The long-awaited extension on the federal Real ID law, gives the state — and its anxious citizens — some breathing room. The 2005 Real ID law will start to be enforced early next year but Minnesota will not start issuing Real ID compliant state licenses until October 2018. What that means in practical terms is that Minnesotans will not need a second form of identification, like a passport, to go through airport security. (Pioneer Press)
2. Minnesota filed its bid for Amazon’s second headquarters on Wednesday, hoping to get a great deal on a mammoth development plum by offering a package of financial incentives likely far smaller than other states. State officials and regional economic development agencies spent more than a month assembling a proposal after the Seattle-based tech giant set off a nationwide race for its business last month with a call for bids. Minnesota’s team has given almost no specifics on how they would woo a project that could mean billions in investment and up to 50,000 jobs. Emails obtained by The Associated Press show state officials’ concern with honoring Amazon’s request for confidentiality, partisan sniping between the Democratic governor’s office and the Republican-led Legislature about how to do it and unease about upsetting some of Minnesota’s largest businesses with a bid. (AP via MPR News)
3. Luke Breen isn’t waiting to see if the name of Lake Calhoun changes to its original Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska. He rechristened his cycle shop about 18 months ago. It was Calhoun Cycle. Now it’s Perennial Cycle. “We wanted to disassociate ourselves from the John C. Calhoun legacy,” said Breen. “We feel like the lake should be given back to the original name.” Supporters of the move say it’s wrong to honor the nation’s seventh vice president, because John C. Calhoun supported slavery and drafted the Indian Removal Act. The proposal is in the hands of the Hennepin County Board, which could make a decision later this year. Breen was concerned that the switch would cost him business as he shed a name that customers had known for years. But he says the move paid off for him. Old customers stuck with him. And he won new ones. But Breen says he’s not aware of any other area business that has rebranded itself. Many businesses and organizations have long had Calhoun in their names, some for decades. (MPR News)
4. Leaders of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Council and Building Owners and Managers Association sent a fundraising e-mail last week with the subject line “A call to action in Minneapolis,” warning donors, “don’t be filled with regret on November 8,” and asking for money for a political action committee called Minneapolis Works to pay for mailings and efforts to get out the vote. Rather than the high-profile mayoral race, the focus is on the City Council elections. “I’ve lived here and been active since 1979, so I’ve seen a few of these come and go. This by far is the most consequential,” said Steve Cramer, president of the Downtown Council. “What’s at stake here is not whether we’re a progressive city or not — we are — it’s whether we’re going to go down the rabbit hole on policies that we think would be very destructive to the community.” (Star Tribune)
5. With the population of wolves on the rise and more of them attacking livestock and pets, a federal program to trap and kill wolves in northern Minnesota has run out of money. While Great Lakes-region wolves are currently protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, they are listed as officially “threatened” in Minnesota — a step below endangered that allows U.S. Department of Agriculture trappers to kill wolves where livestock and pets have been killed. But that Grand Rapids-based program, which has for decades killed about 180 wolves in Minnesota annually, blew through its budget this year and stopped operations last Friday. On Wednesday, Minnesota lawmakers urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to find money elsewhere in his agency budget to continue the wolf-control effort in Minnesota. (Duluth News Tribune)