Arrests made in Duluth area gay beating

This one will get national attention, if the story holds up. Peter Passi and Brandon Stahl of the Duluth News Tribune report: “Two men were arrested after an alleged assault at an abandoned gravel pit in New Independence Township shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday, May 26, according to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office. The two men — ages 18 and 19 — were being held at the St. Louis County Jail. … Max Pelofske, 21, of Duluth, said he came to a party at the pit to offer his congratulations to a friend’s sister, who will graduate from Proctor High School in several days. … The friend, Kelly Johnson, also 21, said she and Pelofske had been at the unsanctioned gathering of about 50 people, mostly current and former Proctor students, for about five minutes when a boy or young man approached her and Pelofske. ‘He told me to look him in the eyes, and I was really confused because I’d never seen the guy before,’ Pelofske told the News Tribune. ‘He asked me: ‘Are you gay?’ And I said, ‘Yes. Is that OK?’  After that, Pelofske said he was struck in the head by a flying beer can, and a crowd of young men surrounded him, threw him to the ground and began punching and kicking him. ‘I tried to get up, but I kept getting knocked back down,’ said Pelofske, who described his alleged assailants as ‘all laughing and smiling.’ ‘They were trying to throw me into the fire’, he said. Johnson said at least nine young men were involved in the attack.”

The Strib, which if I recall correctly, was remarkably unstinting in its enthusiasm for the new taxpayer-subsidized Vikings stadium, has reporter Eric Roper painting a rather pathetic picture of anti-stadium activism. Says Roper: “As they considered the Vikings stadium deal last week, Minneapolis City Council members could look out at an audience of workers wearing reflective construction jackets and fans clad in purple and horns. What was missing: a crowd of citizens angry about the city spending hundreds of millions on a stadium without holding a referendum. … Council Member Gary Schiff, who co-authored the charter amendment in 1997, noted that the drive to get it on the ballot was coordinated by a small group. The organization behind it, Progressive Minnesota, has since merged into TakeAction Minnesota, which Schiff believes did not organize around the charter because representatives of labor unions sit on its board of directors. … Many key players in the 1997 push have left the Twin Cities. Bob Greenberg, who wrote the original language, lives off-the-grid in the northern Minnesota wilderness.”

Speaking of the Strib and self-interest … the paper runs an editorial ripping the Postal Service for a proposed deal: “We’re all for the U.S. Postal Service being more entrepreneurial in an effort to stem its red ink. But the USPS can’t simply mail it in by using patently unfair business practices. That’s essentially what the quasi-public corporation is doing with an ill-advised proposal to give a huge economic advantage to a key competitor to the newspaper industry. The USPS has reached a tentative agreement with Valassis Direct Mail that would give a postage discount ranging from 22 to 36 percent for ‘new’ advertising beyond what the firm currently mails. The new advertisers would include national retailers of ‘durable and semi-durable goods,’ which by definition could include major retailers that are currently the largest customers of the newspaper industry.” By all the uncritical stadium cheerleading, I would have thought the NFL was the paper’s biggest customer.

Talk about the neighbor from hell. Anthony Lonetree of the Strib files a startling story of life on Homewood Place in White Bear Lake: “To many, the neighbor, Lori E. Christensen, 49, is a bully making hell out of life along the tree-lined cul-de-sac of Homewood Place. But even bullies can control their behavior, Police Chief Lynne Bankes said. The charges are piling up against Christensen, an executive assistant at the Metropolitan Council, and she’s scheduled to be back in court Tuesday. ‘In my 35 years as a police officer, I have never met or heard of anybody who is so persistent in their negative behavior toward their neighbors — or anyone,’ said Bankes, who’s consulted with ministers and psychologists to try to understand the woman whose behavior has triggered at least 80 calls to police over three years. … The aggravated stalking charges cite six subsequent incidents during which Christensen is alleged to have erected a banner stating, ‘I saw mommy kissing a Breathalyzer,’ and also made masturbatory gestures toward Greg Hoffman. She also twisted the lyrics to the sea shanty ‘Drunken Sailor’ by singing aloud, ‘What do you do with a drunken mother?’ “

Speaking of taxpayer subsidies … The “Friday afternoon dump” of the $46,000 in legal fees in the Michael Brodkorb case didn’t go unnoticed by some readers. In the comments to Rachel Stassen Berger’s Strib story, there were these:
While it makes me mad, the State has no choice but to clean up the Republicans dirty laundry but I think this lawyer’s bill is nothing more than a “shakedown.” If it has cost the State $46,000 and nothing has been to court, then how the heck is Brodkrap managing to pay his attorney? This lawyer found herself a “sugardaddy” in the form of State gov’t.
Was this article written before the real amount was known? I ask this because $46k for 3 months of outsourced legal services seems pretty darn reasonable to me. It seems like the decision was made to cast this fee as outrageous and no effort was taken to find out if the fee really was that pricey. Newsflash: Lawyers are highly educated service providers and they are expensive. These two lovebirds definitely did a bad thing but this seems like more of a case of fiscal responsibility than something to gin up outrage about.
Brodkorb’s ‘attorneys have said he needs clearance from the EEOC before he can levy charges in a courtroom.’ This is not true. Although you CAN seek an opinion or Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC or Minnesota Department of Human Rights, you are not required to get EEOC clearance to file suit. You can file suit directly without going through either agency. Somebody’s attorneys need to go back to law school. Why didn’t the Strib ask some lawyers who know their stuff to comment on this BS excuse for why he hasn’t filed suit?”

Like the subject of his story, Frederick Melo’s PiPress piece on the St. Paul pastor who supports gay marriage is getting around The Internets. Says Melo: “Web show host John Ong lives in Kansas City, Mo., but his audio program recently took a detour into St. Paul’s East Side. ‘Hello, everyone, all my Ong-line Podcast listeners. Typically you tune into Ong-line Podcast to listen to me talk about myself,’ he told fans on a recent Sunday afternoon. ‘But I’m not going to do that this week, because there’s a bigger issue and a bigger story to tell you.’ Ong never has stepped foot in the Grace Community United Church of Christ in St. Paul, but the openly gay graphic designer felt moved to devote his weekly podcast to a 30-minute phone interview with the Rev. Oliver White. The 69-year-old East Side pastor remains in danger of losing his church after taking a stand in favor of gay rights. Ong isn’t the only one inspired to help. Joseph Ward directs ‘Believe Out Loud,’ an online forum based in New York and Washington, D.C., where faith leaders can express their support for gay rights and marriage equality. He has never before used it as a fundraising tool for a church or faith group, but his website has raised $7,100 for Grace Community as of Wednesday afternoon.”

Actual drilling and concrete work will start soon on the St. Croix bridge. Jessica Mador of MPR reports: “Starting in June, crews will begin load testing at the site of the new $676 million span. They’ll drill shafts under the river and fill them with rebar and concrete. Then, they’ll conduct tests to see how much pressure those shafts can withstand. The data they collect will help planners design the new bridge and its piers and foundation. The tests are expected to take several months.”

The 8-year-old boy who survived that terrible cold April sailboat accident has gone home from the hospital. The AP story says: “Isaiah Risland of Leonard was boating with his father and brothers near Bemidji last month when their boat capsized. All three boys were wearing life jackets, but spent about an hour in the frigid waters of Clearwater Lake before emergency responders could reach them. Six-year-old Zechariah and 2-year-old Jacob died of hypothermia. Isaiah suffered life-threatening injuries.”

The New York Times editorializes … somewhat differently than the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Looking at the June 5 recall election in Wisconsin, it says: “As Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin faces a well deserved recall vote next month after stripping public unions of their bargaining rights, voters are discovering the generosity of Diane Hendricks. Ms. Hendricks, the billionaire chairwoman of the nation’s largest roofing and siding wholesaler, wrote a check for $500,000 last month to help defend Governor Walker, a Republican, against his Democratic challenger, Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee. … Ms. Hendricks is only one of the governor’s big-moneyed and antiunion friends. He has raised more than $25 million since taking office. The first year of his official calendar shows significant access for companies that helped him with large political donations, according to the nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Governor Walker’s office says this access only confirms how sincere the governor was in promising to seek out ‘job creators’ and proclaiming Wisconsin ‘open for business’ from his first day in office.”                 

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/29/2012 - 07:22 am.

    Typical of “Job Creators” and their Political Sycophants

    While Gov. Walker was busy allowing his richest-of-the-rich friends to guide him as he designed new and ever-more-creative ways for those “job creators” with whom he is so friendly (i.e. who are holding the leash he so willingly wears – a reality about which he is in complete denial),…

    to further pad their already-overstuffed pockets at the expense of the less wealthy citizens and taxpayers of Wisconsin, his state turned in the worst job creation numbers of any state in the country.

    If you think making nice with the “job creators” brings prosperity for the general public you clearly haven’t been paying attention to what’s happened to the well being of the middle class, nationwide, since Ronnie Raygun decided to take down the unions.

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 05/29/2012 - 08:04 am.

    Is $46,000 a lot?

    Hard to tell until we know her hourly rate, the number of hours for which she’s charged and what she’s done – all things we may never know. (Recall the battle to obtain similar information in the tobacco litigation.) I at first questioned the need for her attendance at Senate committee hearings, but I don’t know whether she’s advising her client at those hearings or simply running the clock. So, pass the popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show. We are, after all, the ones paying for it.

  3. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 05/29/2012 - 10:11 am.

    Well, at least the Minnesota GOP

    created one job………paying (according to the attorney’s billing), about $15,000/month.

  4. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 05/29/2012 - 02:00 pm.

    Neighbor from Hell

    Works for the Metro Council. How nice. She committed a felony, isn’t that grounds for dismissal?

  5. Submitted by Michael Jacobs on 05/29/2012 - 02:12 pm.

    St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office

    Needs to hold accountable the owner of record the property where these under-age youths gathered to consume alcohol with maintaining a common nuisance. The officials of Proctor High School need to expel the under-age students under the zero-tolerance policy. And yes, this story needs to be brought to the national stage of attention.

  6. Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/29/2012 - 03:34 pm.

    So let me get this straight . . . .

    If it’s an “Occupy” politically active crowd, then the people who are there are to be criticized for being PRESENT and protesting rather than pursuing their 8-hour-a-day gainful employment.

    But if it’s a STADIUM politically active crowd, then the people who are NOT there are to be criticized for being ABSENT (which might be due to their need to be pursuing their 8-hour-a-day gainful employment).

    I guess it’s all in the context . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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