This Shattuck-St.Mary’s story gets seamier by the hour. Tim Nelson of MPR says: “On Tuesday, Faribault Police Chief Don Gudmundson confirmed police were investigating a second staffer at the school in connection with the sex probe, a 34-year-old teacher who killed himself with a shotgun in 2008. Gudmundson said Leonard “Len” Jones, a dorm director, teacher and la crosse coach, had been suspected of having an affair with a teenage foreign national and student at the school, starting when she was 15 and lasting until she was 18. The police chief said Jones committed suicide after being confronted by school officials about the relationship. Gudmundson said that police only discovered the alleged affair during the investigation of Jones’ death. … Gudmundson said he’s unaware that Shattuck St. Mary’s ever raised the issue of Jones’ alleged misconduct with police before the teacher committed suicide. ‘Using history as our guide, I don’t believe that the school would have reported that to us,’ Gudmundson said. ‘Except that in this case, they had a dead body.’ ” Talk about a potboiler.
The latest word on those Minnesota meningitis patients is that they’re doing “quite well.” Christopher Snowbeck’s PiPress story says: “Meanwhile, health officials have directed a few hundred patients in Minnesota who received the injected medication at the heart of the outbreak to see their doctors for evaluation of symptoms, said Buddy Ferguson, the health department spokesman. The recommendations, however, don’t mean that health officials expect the tally of cases in Minnesota to grow into the triple digits. ‘The people in this group who received the injection are being treated for pain in most cases,’ Ferguson said.”
Jim Hammerand of the Business Journal reports: “The Small Business Administration said on Tuesday it approved $626 million of Minnesota loan guarantees in the year ended September 30. The 1,729 loans are less than the 1,948 loans, worth $713 million, approved in the previous year. But the Minnesota District Office was still ranked fifth in the nation for the number of 504-type loans approved. It OK’d 359 such loans (worth $219 million total) that were used to finance property acquisition and improvement.” Most, it says, were as refinancing.
Fear the mighty Timberjay! The Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the little Tower newspaper that wants information, dammit. Brandon Stahl of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “The Minnesota Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in favor of the Tower Timberjay on Tuesday in the small newspaper’s continuing quest to obtain records from Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls for work the company did in helping to build new facilities for the St. Louis County school district. The dispute goes back to late 2010, when the newspaper requested to view the contracts between Johnson Controls and Architectural Resources Inc., which did the architectural work for some of the nearly $80 million in school buildings for the district. The state’s Data Practice Act says that when a private employer contracts with a government entity, all data ‘created, collected, received, stored, used or disseminated’ is under the subject of the state’s open records laws, and thus public. Johnson Controls has argued that the records contain ‘confidential and proprietary information.’ ” Or, as we like to say in the news business, “probably something to hide.”
In MPR’s Laura Yuen story on the al-Shabab trial in Minneapolis, she writes: “Defense attorneys turned up the heat Tuesday on a key government witness testifying against a Minneapolis man accused of helping send young Twin Cities men to Somalia to fight for the terrorist group al-Shabab. One of the first Minnesota recruits, Salah Osman Ahmed, told the jury that defendant Mahamud Said Omar, 46, met up in Somalia with several Twin Cities fighters in 2008 at an exclusive al-Shabab safe house. Omar stayed there for about four or five days and provided about $1,000 to the group to pay for two AK-47 rifles to be used by the Minnesota men, Ahmed said. But defense attorney Jon Hopeman noted that Ahmed has not always been true to his word.”
(Human-driven) climate change deniers, who may possibly be the same as birthers and BLS “jobbers,” will not be pleased with Paul Huttner’s MPR blog. He writes: “I was fortunate to spend Saturday with a group of Twin Cities Broadcast Meteorologists at the Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media workshop … I’ll highlight what I see as the most salient points for Updraft.
… 90%+ probability that 20th Century warming is attributable to humans.
Natural climate variability alone cannot explain observed changes.
… If this magnitude of warming occurs it will cause dramatic shifts in Minnesota landscapes. If the climate of the Twin Cities essentially shifts to International Falls it will have dramatic impacts on northern forests and lakes. BWCA lakes as warm as Lake Minnetonka in summer? Twin Cities like living in Omaha or Kansas City? It’s entirely possible.”
City Center has been sold. Janet Moore of the Strib reports: “One of downtown Minneapolis’ signature buildings — 33 South Sixth/City Center — is slated to be sold for approximately $207 million, the Star Tribune has learned. Located at Nicollet Mall and S. 6th Street, the 50-story office-retail-hotel complex is expected to be sold to Shorenstein Properties, a San Francisco-based real estate firm, according to a source familiar with the deal. Although Shorenstein owns and manages 21.5 million square feet of office properties valued at $6.7 billion nationwide, this is the company’s first foray into the Twin Cities market.”
The words “Wells Fargo” and “fraud” are again in the news together. Peter Lattman of the New York Times says: “Federal prosecutors sued Wells Fargo & Co. on Tuesday, accusing it of lying about the quality of the mortgages it handled under a federal housing program. It was the latest in a series of lawsuits related to banks’ lending practices during the housing boom. In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New York, the prosecutors accused Wells Fargo, the country’s largest originator of home loans, of defrauding the government for more than a decade. The bank recklessly issued mortgages and then made false certifications about their condition to the Federal Housing Authority, a government agency that insured them, the complaint said. … The complaint depicts a mortgage factory inside Wells Fargo that was focused on increasing the bank’s loan volumes — and profits — while ignoring the quality of the loans. ‘Management’s actions included hiring temporary staff to churn out and approve an ever-increasing quantity of FHA loans, failing to provide its inexperienced staff with proper training, paying improper bonuses to its underwriters to incentivize them to approve as many FHA loans as possible, and applying pressure on loan officers and underwriters to originate and approve more and more FHA loans as quickly as possible,’ the lawsuit said.” No doubt Barney Frank was responsible for this, too.
Doug Tice, the Strib’s commentary editor, looks at the looming “fiscal cliff” misery D.C. has inflicted on us and itself and says: “The smart way to resolve the debt crisis would require a fair bit more [than the “fiscal cliff”]. It would require that Americans broadly stop telling themselves that only somebody else is responsible for the country’s budget mess, that only somebody else needs to pay higher taxes, and that only programs somebody else values need to be cut. It would require that politicians start telling Americans the truth, and that voters reward them for it. Honestly, can we do all that? Or is the nation likely to exhaust its strength compromising to adopt the indulge-today part of our “new” strategy — that is, backing away from the fiscal cliff — and somehow never get around to the abstain-tomorrow part?” Don’t be coy, Doug. What precisely is your remedy?