Up to 18 unaccredited crime labs to be reviewed

The use of unaccredited crime labs is going to keep a lot of lawyers busy. David Hanners’ PiPress story says: “Minnesota public defenders have decided to review cases involving evidence handled by unaccredited police crime labs across the state after problems were revealed at the St. Paul facility. There might be as many as 18 such labs, and their standards might not be any better than what a court hearing showed was going in the lab in St. Paul, State Public Defender John Stuart said Wednesday, July, 25.”

Also headed for the courts … . Maricella Miranda at the PiPress reports: “A nearly yearlong drug investigation in Dakota County has ended in the arrest of three suspects and the seizure of almost $300,000 in illegal narcotics, authorities said. The Dakota County Drug Task Force began the investigation — known as ‘Operation Huckleberry’ — in response to the metro area’s growing heroin problem, Cmdr. Daniel Bianconi of the task force said this week. The investigation soon expanded to include the illegal sale and distribution of cocaine, Ecstasy and firearms. On Tuesday, July 24, more than 75 officers executed 14 search warrants metro-wide, seizing a pound of cocaine, three-fourths of a pound of heroin, 172 pounds of marijuana, about 400 Ecstasy tablets, six guns, counterfeit money, production equipment and about $10,000 in stolen property, Bianconi reported. The total street value of the drugs seized is $300,000.”

May I suggest, ma’am, a different perfume? The AP says: “A medical receptionist at a St. Louis Park cancer center says she was unfairly fired for smelling like cigarette smoke. Stephanie Cannon, of Fridley, said she’s been a smoker for 18 years and burns through nearly a pack of Camels each day. Cannon was a receptionist at Park Nicollet Health Services in the Frauenshuh Cancer Center. She said she followed the hospital’s policy of no smoking at any time on the premises. Six weeks after she started, Cannon says her supervisor told her not to come to work smelling like smoke. She says she stopped smoking on breaks and in her car, and bought new clothes. But last week Cannon was fired.”

Tyler Mason at FoxSports North reports: “What started off as a hobby has transformed a Minnesota-based company into one of the more well-known bat makers in all of baseball. The company is MaxBat, and it was formed in the early 2000s when Jim Anderson started making bats in his basement after his son, Max, was born in 2001. Anderson lost his job as a sales rep later that year and had what he calls a ‘crazy idea’ to start making baseball bats. Anderson partnered with Paul Johnson and his father, Dick Johnson, who had a background in woodturning. Soon, MaxBat was born. Today, a decade later, some of baseball’s star players as well as its up-and-coming prospects are swinging MaxBat. The company is based in tiny Brooten, Minn., a town of less than 1,000 people, located about two hours northwest of the Twin Cities. MaxBat has just 10 employees, but they churn out around 30,000 bats a year.” Next: Lessons for the Twins in how to use them.

An AP story says: “A top state official says Minnesota has begun implementing a 2009 law with a goal of extending MinnesotaCare health care coverage to 16,000 uninsured children. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson announced Thursday that parents whose incomes are below a certain level will no longer have to pay premiums for their children on MinnesotaCare. The state is also eliminating a four-month waiting period for poor children and allowing parents to enroll children in the program even if they don’t sign up for employer-sponsored coverage.”

The Glean At some point, kind of like the Senate with Michael Brodkorb, someone is going to have to calculate the full taxpayer cost of dealing with this … over and over again. Mark Stodghill of the Duluth News Tribune reports: “Handcuffed patrons of the Last Place on Earth were questioned by police in front of the downtown Duluth counterculture shop Wednesday. They were back-dropped by a sign framed with an orange neon light advertising a drug test ‘urine cleaner.’ In a shop window was an enlarged News Tribune editorial cartoon by Steve Lindstrom illustrating a customer telling a clerk, ‘I’d like some of that stuff that’s been in the news three times a day and that people don’t want me to try.’ … A week before a new law adds 20 chemicals to a list of prohibited substances in synthetic marijuana, Duluth police, the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Food and Drug Administration took part in a raid.”

AstroBob the skywatcher writes: “If you haven’t seen the International Space Station (ISS) at dawn I understand your reluctance. Perhaps two additional enticements will coax you out before sunrise. Problems with a new rendezvous system on the Russian Progress M15-M supply ship prevented a successful docking with the ISS Tuesday. Bad news, right? Well yes and no. Mission controllers put Progress in a safe spot 1.8 miles below the station until the next docking attempt Sunday. That means a few more mornings of seeing the two travel together across the sky. Wait, there’s more. The Japanese Kounotori 3 or ‘white stork’ cargo-carrying vehicle is on its way to the station to deliver food, equipment and a module to deploy five nanosatellites (very small satellites) into orbit. Before it docks tomorrow morning July 27, you might also be able to see it.”

Do you own rental property? Good for you. Are you renting? Not so much. Jim Buchta at the Strib says: “The influx of hundreds of new apartments in the Twin Cities area has in no way put a lid on rent costs, and it also hasn’t pushed up vacancy rates, a report released this week showed. Throughout the region, the average vacancy rate was 2.7 percent during the second quarter, down slightly from the previous quarter, according to Marquette Advisors. Average rent during the quarter was $951, up from $935 the previous three months. The Twin Cities rental market remains tight despite a construction boom that has brought several hundred apartments online. And developers have proposed thousands of units in the coming years to satisfy what seems to be an unyielding appetite for rental housing.”

I’ve been lax in my vigilance of what Tony Sutton is saying on his blog. Most recently he gave the new Batman movie five stars. Earlier he laid into Mark Ritchie, saying: “There is not much doubt that either he is in direct coordination with the anti-amendment groups, or at the very least following their lead. While it is disappointing he has engaged in this activity, it is not surprising given how important both of these issues are to the left. I am a little surprised at the ham-handedness with which he has done this, which either shows the strength of his personal feelings, the pressure he is under from the left, or both. For someone who accused his predecessor Mary Kiffmeyer of being partisan he now is the most brazenly partisan Secretary of State in Minnesota history. Minnesotans have always assumed their elections were being administered in a fair way. As we have seen under the tenure of Mark Ritchie that is simply not the case and the amendment flap is but the latest example. … If the lawsuits challenging Ritchie are unsuccessful, the consequence of this will be a perversion of legislative intent that sets a horrible precedent and will [lead] to all sorts of mischief in the future.” And if anyone understands brazen partisanship, mischief and lawsuits … 

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 07/26/2012 - 02:25 pm.

    Sutton sez….

    “given how important both of these issues are to the left”….remind me again who put these amendments on the ballot to begin with? Is Sutton’s blog an audition for Fox News?

    • Submitted by Roy Johansen on 07/26/2012 - 03:53 pm.


      There is a law in Minnesota that states, the Secretary of State determines the title of amendments to the Minnesota Constitution. Why is this so hard for the right to comprehend this?

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/26/2012 - 03:39 pm.

    Perhaps Mr. Sutton Would Like to Provide Evidence?

    Of his claims that, under Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s elections are no longer “administered in a fair way?”

    Of course he can’t provide evidence because his statement is provably false (as our two recent recounts have clearly shown).

    Mr. Sutton, together with so many of his conservative cronies, reminds me of a particular friend of my sons back when they were adolescents whose constant cry whenever he lost to someone else at whatever video game they were playing was, “It’s not fair!!!!!”

    (The only basis for judging “fairness” to most adolescents of a certain age and an entire collection of adults with arrested emotional development being that, everything’s fair and good and proper if they win, no matter how much malfeasance and skulduggery can be discovered and proven to have happened and even been perpetrated by themselves,…

    and if they lose something “not fair” must have happened even where extensive research proves that they lost “fair and square.”)

    Perhaps in the future our “conservative” Republican friends might want to actually pay attention to the details of Minnesota law and discover what’s actually IN the Minnesota constitution before they attempt to amend it.

    Just because they didn’t bother to do their homework doesn’t mean it’s “not fair” that Secretary of State Ritchie has done what state law requires him to do.

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