Mayor Rybak and reporter tussle over re-election claim

Mayor R.T. Rybak and KSTP-TV reporter Jay Kolls are/were having a dust-up over whether or not Rybak said he wasn’t certain about running for re-election. At KSTP, Kolls writes: “Mayor R.T. Rybak sharply criticized a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS story about his political future. In our initial report, Mayor Rybak told us ‘he honestly didn’t know’ when we asked him if he intended to run for re-election in 2013. We also mentioned that political sources had told us he had been in Washington and talk about his working for President Obama’s administration had taken place. The Mayor took to Facebook and said our story was ‘wrong’ and it was laughable that a reporter would ‘almost literally make up a story.’ He later called us and told us our sources were wrong and he has not discussed a job in Washington. … Earlier Monday, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office told us his comments about ‘making up the story’ were in the heat of the moment and they recognized our efforts to include more context to his statements in our subsequent story. A spokesperson for the Mayor told us they would post our latest story and remove the remarks about ‘making up the story.’  And, his office also told us it is accurate to say the Mayor is ‘undecided’ about running for a fourth term.” So what was that all about, exactly?

At The Scientific American, we have Jennifer Frazer providing some perspective on being a source of the “brain-eating amoeba” story: “Minnesota Public Radio had asked to interview me about a microorganism suspected in the death of a young boy in the state this year — only the second time in the state’s history and the second in two years. I’d written about the microbe — Naegleria fowleri — here twice before (including a discussion of why calling them ‘amoebas’ is a bit of a misnomer). Intrigued (and more than a bit scared — it would be my first live radio interview), I granted the request. Although they focused much more on the scare and less on the science than I would like, it was an interesting and overall good experience. … It’s a disease most often striking in warm stagnant water in the south, and the interviewer asked me about that. He also asked me about how scared people should be. I tried to emphasize that people need to put the risk of this disease in perspective — it’s a super rare infection. Many thousands more swimmers die from drowning than from brain-eating ‘amoebas’ in any given year — and your life, I would guess, is more in danger on the car ride to the lake than from N. fowleri once in the lake.

Also, from ABC News, this from Shushannah Walshe, aka T-Paw’s “stalker”: “[T]o a reporter sitting on his front lawn during what must have been a difficult time — getting passed over to be Mitt Romney’s running mate and not being able to tell anyone about it — he was a nice guy and a gentleman. I spent 11 days on a veepstakes watch with the former Minnesota governor. From the front seat of my rental car, I watched him walk his dog, encountered a dance team practicing on his front lawn and was even offered an ice cold beer from the man known as T-Paw. A private citizen might look at the treatment as stalking or at the very least creepy. Most people would complain about the grass being trampled or the lack of privacy. But Pawlenty stayed friendly even when, in hindsight, it was clear he knew he didn’t get the job.”

As all the weather geeks have been chattering, the newest Weather Service gizmo is up and running. At the NWS site, they say: “This exciting upgrade will incorporate a new technology called dual-polarization, or dual-pol. This new technology will result in 14 new radar products that will enable us to continue providing our suite of high quality products and services to the public. This new technology and data will primarily help forecasters identify the type of precipitation that is falling as well as improve rainfall estimates. … Current NWS Doppler radars transmit and receive pulses of radio waves in a horizontal orientation. As a result, the radar only measures the horizontal dimensions of targets (e.g. cloud and precipitation droplets). Dual-polarimetric radar transmits and receives pulses in both a horizontal and vertical orientation. Therefore, the radar measures both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of targets. Since the radar receives energy from horizontal and vertical pulses, we can obtain better estimates of the size, shape, and variety of targets.” There’ll be a 10 -point test on this …

The GleanAnother day, another modest pay-out from a huge bank for fraudulent activity … Marcy Gordon of the AP reports: “Wells Fargo’s brokerage firm has agreed to pay $6.58 million to settle federal civil charges that it failed to adequately inform investors about the risks tied to mortgage securities it sold. The Securities and Exchange Commission says Minneapolis-based Wells Fargo Brokerage Services improperly sold the high-risk investments to cities and towns, non-profit institutions and other investors in 2007, when the housing bust was under way. The firm, now called Wells Fargo Securities and based in Charlotte, N.C., is paying a $6.5 million civil fine and $81,571 in restitution plus interest.” Wells Fargo booked a profit of $16 billion in 2011.

Heads-up highway impassability alert. Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “In the east metro, about 4 miles of Interstate 35E in both directions will be closed from I-94 in St. Paul north to Hwy. 36 for 24 hours starting at 4 a.m. Saturday. That’s when workers will move the new Maryland Avenue overpass to its permanent location. The overpass is under construction on the west side of I-35E and will be moved into position in two sections. The span will open to traffic in mid-September. On the west side of the metro, more than 5 miles of northbound Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park and Edina will be closed nearly all weekend between Hwy. 62 and I-394 starting at 5 a.m. Saturday. That’s when road crews will inspect all overpasses and make repairs to bridges, signs and drainage systems. The highway should reopen by 5 a.m. Monday.”

No one is expecting much in the way of turnout for today’s unusual August primary. Martiga Lohn at the AP says: “Polling places were fairly quiet as Minnesota voters got off to a slow start in a rare August primary Tuesday, but two competitive races among congressional challengers were generating interest in the northeastern and southern parts of the state. … Around midday, Duluth City Clerk Jeff Cox said voter traffic was less than two years ago, where there was a hotly contested gubernatorial primary. ‘Probably one step above light is the turnout at the moment,’ Cox said. In the south, Republican voters were choosing between state Sen. Mike Parry and former state Rep. Allen Quist in a fight that has gotten personal. The winner will run against Democratic Rep. Tim Walz in a district that usually is competitive. But polling places across Blue Earth County were ‘awfully peaceful,’ joked Elections Director Patty O’Connor.” Don’t voters down there know that either Parry or Quist will get the deficit under control?

That was a lot of law enforcement on the scene of a dead cat Monday. But for some, the outrage will linger until justice is done. At the Strib, Walsh (again) writes: “The treatment of the cat, which was found before dawn Monday by a Longfellow Park employee, is being treated by federal authorities as a possible threat against President Obama because an Obama/Biden campaign lawn sign was left standing near the stump and the animal was pierced in the neck with the stick of a handheld American flag. ‘This despicable act of animal cruelty will not go unpunished,’ said Tim Shields, general counsel for the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies, which is putting up the $1,000 reward. Shields added that an arrest could lead to felony charges.”

Any headline with the word “naked” gets special attention. At the PiPress, Emily Gurnon reports: “As his girlfriend was being loaded into an ambulance, the man accused of throwing her off a second-floor apartment balcony told medics, ‘Take her away — I don’t ever want to see her again.’ That allegation came in a criminal complaint filed Monday, Aug. 13, charging Anthony Maynard Nelson, 57, of St. Paul, with first- and third-degree assault. Nelson insisted that his girlfriend fell off the balcony and that he did nothing wrong. … Two neighbors who witnessed the balcony struggle said the couple were naked. The neighbors said the fight caused the balcony railing to break. It had been partially broken from a previous fight, one neighbor told police.” Who needs cable with a show like that going on next door?

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