More problematic PR for the Anoka-Hennepin school district. Following MinnPost and MPR stories, The Huffington Post is saying: “Anoka, Minnesota may bill itself as the “Halloween Capital of the World,” but lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) trick-or-treaters might be better off taking their October revelry elsewhere. … The vice president of Justin’s Gift, a group created to support gay youth after several suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, said kids who planned to participate [in the Anoka Halloween parade] were ‘pretty upset’ by the news, and that he was ‘confused and mystified’ as to the denial of the request. ‘We’re trying to show these kids that they’re part of the community and unfortunately it backfired and sent a completely different message,’ Jefferson Fietek is quoted as saying, noting that about 30 students had planned to march in the parade dressed as their favorite fairytale characters. … The decision follows months of controversy surrounding the treatment of LGBT youth in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, which also happens to be the home district of GOP congresswoman Michele Bachmann. In February, Rolling Stone published a controversial article, ‘One Town’s War On Gay Teens,’ which implied that local evangelicals in the area had contributed to ‘an extreme anti-gay climate.’ “
MPR’s Madeleine Baran continues her coverage of the story, saying today: “Organizers of the annual Anoka Halloween Parade denied the request of a gay youth group to walk in the parade in late September, claiming that the maximum number of “walking units” had been reached, but city records show organizers did not submit a request for a parade license until today. Justin’s Gift, a nonprofit group created to support gay youth after several suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, received a letter dated Sept. 25 denying their request to walk in the Oct. 27 parade. The application, submitted to the city of Anoka by Elizabeth McFarland, estimates the parade will include approximately 31,000 people, 250 parade units, 200 vehicles, 50 dogs and 12 horses. McFarland did not return a call seeking comment. … Anoka Police Chief Philip Johanson said he is not aware of any official limit on the number of parade participants, although he said the parade route needs to be approved in advance to allow enough time for public safety officials to redirect traffic.”
There’s a Minnesota connection to the Nobel Prize winner for chemistry. Paul Walsh and Alejandro Matos of the Strib write: “Brian Kobilka grew up in Little Falls, where his fascination with the world of science took root while his family ran a bakery in town. Kobilka, a Little Falls High School and University of Minnesota-Duluth graduate, won the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday along with fellow American Robert Lefkowitz for their studies of protein receptors. Kobilka graduated summa cum laude from UMD in 1977 with bachelor of science degrees in biology and chemistry. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Lefkowitz and Kobilka had made groundbreaking discoveries, mainly in the 1980s, on an important family of receptors, known as G-protein-coupled receptors. Such studies are key for developing better drugs.”
Good column by Jon Tevlin of the Strib on a local priest’s courage in the marriage amendment “debate”: “On the day the Catholic hierarchy once again told the Rev. Mike Tegeder that they weren’t interested in his opinion, the gadfly priest was the last one to leave the Church of Gichitwaa Kateri, a Catholic church off Lake Street. It had been an emotional day, and Tegeder’s temperament ranged from table-pounding anger to tears. Earlier in the day, the Minnesota Catholic Conference held a seminar to spell out how Canada’s less restrictive laws on gay marriage had corrupted that country. The church has been the major proponent of a proposed state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man, one woman. Tegeder has been an unapologetic opponent of the church’s stance.” There’s a healthy argument to be had over who is doing more for the long-term credibility and influence of the Church — the “hierarchy” or individual priests like Fr. Tegeder?
You know, it gets tougher to make cheap, easy jokes about our hard-partying neighbors when things like this make the news. Ed Treleven of The Wisconsin State Journal reports: “A Minnesota man was charged Tuesday with felony criminal damage and entry into a locked building for allegedly breaking into the state Capitol through a fifth-floor window early Sunday. Andrew C. Bishop, 21, of Roseville, Minn., had apparently scaled the outside of the Capitol and smashed a window to get into the building, then grabbed a fire extinguisher and threw it through another window, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court. When police found him, he appeared to be passed out on a dome outside one of the windows, but woke up and began kicking at the glass, the complaint states. Asked how he got where he was, Bishop replied, ‘I don’t know.’ He apologized several times and said he felt like an angel and wanted to fly.”
A nice, collegial gesture by the Vikings … The PiPress says: “In support of the Lynx, the Minnesota Vikings have purchased 500 upper-level tickets for Sunday’s series opener to give away to fans. The first 250 fans who call in to 612-673-8400 today, Oct. 10, will have the opportunity to receive a pair of tickets, limit two per customer, courtesy of the Vikings. Game 1 of the WNBA Finals is Sunday, Oct. 14, at Target Center at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.”
My northern Wisconsin buddies, who have a new story every week about wolves attacking humans, are going eat this one up. Dave Orrick of the PiPress says: “A ruffed grouse hunter in northern Minnesota shot and killed a wolf he said was charging at him and his dog, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The DNR’s weekly law enforcement summary includes the following report: ‘(Conservation officer) Sam Hunter (of Park Rapids) took a call from a grouse hunter who had shot a timber wolf that was chasing his hunting dog. The dog ran back to the hunter with the wolf on its heels. The hunter shot the wolf at about 8 yards with bird shot as it was coming directly at him/his dog. Proper measures were taken by the hunter to notify the DNR and enforcement action was not necessary. It was a frightening experience during a grouse hunting trip that will not soon be forgotten.’ “
All three debates between Democrat Jim Graves vs. the GOP’s Michele Bachmann will be in the last week of the campaign. Megan Boldt of the PiPress says: “The first 6th Congressional District debate is Oct. 30 in St. Cloud, hosted by the city and the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce. The second is on Nov. 2 on MPR’s Daily Circuit with Kerri Miller. And the third is a joint appearance on KSTP’s Sunday political show ‘At Issue’ with Tom Hauser. But Graves isn’t happy with the number and timing of the debates. Campaign manager Adam Graves said they’d like seven debates and don’t want to wait until a week before the Nov. 6 election to get started. ‘She had 15 debates when she was running for president,’ Adam Graves said. ‘Don’t you think the people who pay her salary are worth the same time attention?’ “ What kind of a trick question is that?
And if you’re looking for a new theory on the horrible Accent Signage murders, GOP congressional candidate Allen Quist has one for you, or at least for his base. Via Aaron Rupar at City Pages: “Yet during a debate last night, Republican congressional candidate Allen Quist laid the blame for the Accent tragedy and the other recent mass shootings in the country not on guns, mental illness, or a culture steeped in violence, but on the Obamacare-enabled ‘deterioration of the family’:
“The problem is not the gun laws and the problem is not the guns. The problem is the deterioration of the family in the United States of America. I grew up at a time when families were intact and shootings, like, have become commonplace in our day, were unheard of. You look at the correlations between the deterioration of the family and the onslaught of all kinds of social problems including crime, and the correlation is very, very strong. And we need to start having policies that encourage family strength. Not tear them apart. And this is why, the marriage penalty in Obamacare absolutely, absolutely terrifies me. Because BF Skinner said correctly whatever you punish, you get less of. And for us to have policies that further damage the family is unconscionable.”
I mean, it just stands to reason that accessible health care will tear a family apart. Or “rend it asunder,” as Mr. Quist might say.