- Associated Press - Monday, June 16, 2014
Storms rake SW Minnesota with hail, high winds

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - More waves of heavy rain and severe storms rumbled into Minnesota on Monday on top of damaging storms that drenched the state over the weekend, prompting Gov. Mark Dayton to cancel a planned visit to view flood damage in the southwest corner of the state.

Weekend storms dumped as much as 4 inches of rain at Luverne in the southwest corner of Minnesota and over 5 inches in some areas near International Falls on the state’s northern border, and they packed wind gusts as high as 68 mph at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Severe thunderstorms popped up again in southwestern Minnesota on Monday afternoon, and the National Weather Service said areas to the north were at risk as well, including the Twin Cities area. Additional waves of showers and thunderstorms were forecast through Friday.

Pipestone County reported 3.5 inches of rain Monday, the weather service said. A wind gust measuring 79 mph was reported in Jackson, while hail estimated at an inch in diameter fell near Jackson and tree branches were knocked down.

Dayton had planned to visit Luverne and Edgerton on Monday afternoon before he canceled his trip. Instead, he spoke with local officials via telephone conference call, and planned to use a previously scheduled trip to the region to meet with local officials Friday about storm damage and recovery efforts. He also announced plans to travel north to International Falls on Tuesday morning to meet with local officials and assess flood damage in Koochiching County.


Sandbagging under way on Lake Kabetogama

KABETOGEMA, Minn. (AP) - Authorities say a major sandbagging operation is under way on Lake Kabetogama (kab-uh-TOH’-gah-muh) in far northern Minnesota.

The director of homeland security and emergency management for the St. Louis County sheriff’s office, Steve Steblay (steb-LYE’), says the lake level rose sharply over the weekend. He says crews are sandbagging homes, resorts and roads to protect them. He says a large percentage of the resort and private docks and shoreline structures such as boathouses on Kabetogama are gone or have been destroyed.

Steblay says the water is creeping up on several resorts in the area and will reach lodges and cabins if they’re not sandbagged soon.

Lake Kabetogama is one of four major lakes that make up Voyageurs National Park. It flows into Namakan (NAM’-uh-kahn) Lake then Rainy Lake.


Medtronic merger stirs Minnesota political debate

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A merger that will move Medtronic’s corporate headquarters overseas while expanding the company’s job presence in Minnesota has political candidates arguing over the reasoning and implications.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton says he’s been told Medtronic’s tax liability in the state won’t change when it buys an Irish rival and locates the combined headquarters in Dublin. The company’s operational base will remain in Minnesota, with plans to add 1,000 high-end jobs in the state. The governor says the result is a “good deal” for the state.

Republicans running against him say it’s an image blow when a Fortune 500 company relocates. GOP candidates Marty Seifert and Scott Honour say tax and regulatory policies are to blame.

Honour called Dayton “dangerously out of touch” for not expressing alarm at the deal.


Commission OKs next phase of state Capitol redo

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The next serious phase of Minnesota’s state Capitol renovation got the go-ahead Monday, and more state leaders began to vacate their offices for temporary quarters as the massive spruce-up drives forward.

The Capitol Preservation Commission, led by Gov. Mark Dayton, approved the latest work package in the multi-year renovation project. When that part is complete, about 60 percent of the project will be done.

As work stretches into more public spaces, the Capitol is becoming more construction zone than functioning government building. Dayton himself was preparing to move this week with his staff to a temporary office suite in the state Veterans Affairs building down the hill.

“Reality has set in,” Dayton said, adding later that any disruptions will be worth it in the end. “We’re trying to merge the past with the next 100 years.”

Among other changes, the Rotunda will be unavailable indefinitely. It has been a site for boisterous rallies during legislative sessions.

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