MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Gov. Dayton tabs Smith to be running mate
ST. PAUL -- Governor Dayton has chosen long-time chief of staff Tina Smith as his lieutenant governor running mate in his bid for a second term.
Smith asked a cheering crowd at a campaign rally this morning at state AFL-CIO in Saint Paul, "Are we gonna raise the minimum wage or are we gonna let the middle class fall further behind? Will we invest in education, or are we gonna say that being middle-of-the-pack is good enough for Minnesota kids?" Former State House Speaker Kurt Zellers, one of the Republicans vying to run against Dayton, says Smith's selection shows the governor and his administration "have been far too focused on policies that benefit Minneapolis and Saint Paul at the expense of Minnesotans across the state."
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has convened a hearing today on combating cybercrime, in the wake of recent data breaches that have hit Minnesota-based Target and other major retailers. Target CFO John Mulligan told lawmakers that converting credit cards to a "chip and pin" system rather than a magnetic swipe card would prevent many of these crimes. Mulligan says the retailer in 2003 introduced a new Target Visa card with a chip in it, but without broad adoption there aren't significant benefits for consumers. The cards use a computer microchip and have to be authenticated with a pin number rather than a simple signature. Experts say France has cut card fraud by more than 80 percent since it started using the system in 1992.
Propane prices of five to six dollars per gallon are still being reported in some areas of Minnesota, impacting families that heat their homes with it and farmers who rely on it as well. Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson says several factors went into the supply dwindling this winter: a wet fall with wet corn, and a pipeline that was basically shut down for propane in favor of North Dakota oil, eliminating about 60 percent of capacity to supply propane to the Midwest. Peterson adds most of the supply on hand between the harvest and heating seasons was exported. The nation's propane supply is relatively stable, but the problem is the distribution system hasn't been able to get the fuel where it's badly needed.
A rural Montevideo man is dead after a grain-bin accident Monday afternoon in Yellow Medicine County. The sheriff's office received a call of a missing person and it was believed the man was possibly in a grain bin that was being emptied. It took more than six hours before rescue crews found 77-year-old Richard Rosetter inside. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Numerous friends and neighbors assisted with equipment and removal of the grain.
Today is "World Cancer Day." The American Cancer Society of Minnesota's Matt Schafer says cancer is the number-one cause of death in the state. He says the best tool against the disease is prevention and early detection. Lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths. More Minnesotans die of lung cancer than the next three leading cancers combined: colon, breast and prostate.
Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is now officially a "distinguished visiting practitioner" at the University of Minnesota. Rybak taught the first class of his "Mayor 101" course last night at the U of M's Humphrey School. Students will learn four themes including creating safe places to call home, investing in people, investing in the common good, and growing the city Rybak says he's trying to give the 100 students the kind of class he wishes he would have taken before his 12 years in the mayor's office.