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No official closure on killing of policeman Tom Decker

Officially, there’s still no closure on the Nov. 29 shooting of policeman Tom Decker. Conrad Wilson of MPR writes, “Police investigators haven’t said publicly whether they’re any closer to closing the case, even though a man who killed himself after police sought to question him possessed the shotgun police say was used to kill Decker. … Former investigators say that in some cases, police close a case without anyone knowing exactly what happened. ‘It’s not unusual for a case to be resolved within a high degree of certainty, but not necessarily, absolutely resolved to a 100 percent certainty,’ said Nick O’Hara, former superintendent of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. ‘And I think that’s the Decker case.’ ”

Names have been named … . Brian Bakst and Patrick Condon of the AP report, “For the first time, a fired Minnesota Senate operative has made detailed accusations central to his federal wrongful-termination lawsuit: a list of other lawmakers and staff members who allegedly carried on affairs over the years without losing their jobs. The list opens the possibility that those people — some long gone from the Legislature — could ultimately be asked to testify about allegations of secret affairs that date back to the 1980s. Whether it helps Michael Brodkorb prove his case is an open question, experts say, because many of the alleged affairs are old and happened under different circumstances. … The list of affairs was included in a mistaken filing last week by Brodkorb’s attorneys in a case that is under protective seal. It was put up briefly on a publicly accessible electronic federal courts website and then taken down, but not before the Associated Press downloaded the filing. … Brodkorb names 10 legislators — all but one now out of office — whom he claims had an “intimate sexual relationship” with legislative staff members who remained employed afterward. It names six of the employees.” But the AP names no names … .   

“Frankenstein” the rabbit has gone viral … . Robb Murray of the Mankato Free Press reports, “Gunnar Boettcher was working with his dad out in the garage when he first spotted Frankenstein. That’s what he wound up calling it. ‘Frankenstein.’ And it’s hard to argue with the guy’s choice of names. One look at a rabbit with what looks like a series of horns growing out of all parts of his head – like something you’d see in a low-budget horror flick … . Boettcher decided he and his brother, Zander, needed to capture the moment. Zander ran and grabbed a video camera. And when the camera rolled, Gunnar decided to have a little fun with it. ‘We started filming just for us, just to be funny,’ he said. ‘Then we decided to put it on Facebook and it got a lot of views.’ It’s fair to say that, in addition to getting attention for the fact that it featured a 12-horned rabbit, just as many people were entertained by Boettcher himself. Instead of the voice of the Midwestern football player that he is, you hear an Australian accent that might remind you of a certain Animal Planet crocodile hunter, guiding you through what seems like a spotting of a rare, possibly dangerous specimen in the wild. ‘I used to watch Steve Irwin when I was little,’ Boettcher said.” Crikey, mate!

Speaking of viral. This popped up a couple days ago and I’m guessing Target was praying it got no traction on the Internets. Not so lucky … . At Slate today, Josh Voorhees writes, “Target is doing some damage control in the wake of the revelation that someone within the company thought it necessary to create and use a training document that reminded warehouse managers that not all Hispanic employees wear sombreros and eat tacos. ‘It is never Target’s intent to offend our team members or guests and we apologize,’ spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the Huffington Post, which was among the outlets to previously highlight a lawsuit from three ex-employees who say they were fired after complaining to HR about what sounds like a highly questionable work environment. The trio — Robert Gonzalez, Bulmaro Fabian and Pedro Garcia-Ayala — says they were often subjected to racial slurs from their warehouse superiors, who were almost universally white. … someone took the time to actually put pen to paper to come up with these offensive descriptions of Hispanic employees …

a. Food: not everyone eats tacos and burritos;

b. Music: not everyone dances to salsa;

c. Dress: not everyone wears a sombrero;

d. Mexicans (lower education level, some may be undocumented);

e. Cubans (Political refugees, legal status, higher education level); and

f. They may say ‘OK, OK’ and pretend to understand, when they do not, just to save face.”

 Can’t make it up, Volume 331.

Just the thought of … online lending … . Tom Webb of the PiPress writes, “Minnesota officials are suing Internet lender CashCall Inc., which offers personal loans at astronomical rates as high as 342 percent a year. The lender claims the loans are OK because they’re governed by tribal law, not state law. State officials say the loans are illegal, and filed suit Thursday in Hennepin County to block California-based CashCall from doing business in Minnesota. They’re also seeking restitution for victims. … On CashCall’s website, a consumer loan of $2,600 carries an Annual Percentage Rate of 184 percent, plus a $75 ‘loan fee.’ Repaying that loan would require 47 payments of $388 — more than $18,000. Minnesota officials say the actual terms are often even worse, including loan fees of $500 on small loans, which could destroy an unwary borrower.” “Unwary” is a euphemism.

Also from Patrick Condon (above) … . “The Minnesota man whose Twister game launched decades of awkward social interactions at parties has died. He was 82. Charles ‘Chuck’ Foley died July 1 at a care facility in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. His son, Mark Foley, said today that his father had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Foley and a collaborator, Neil Rabens, were hired in the mid-1960s by a St. Paul manufacturing firm that wanted to expand into games and toys. They came up with a game to be played on a mat on the floor, using a spinner to direct players to place their hands and feet on different colored circles. ‘Dad wanted to make a game that could light up a party,’ Mark Foley said.”

My people at their finest … . Kevira Voegele of Edina Patch reports, “After his credit card was declined, an Edina man jumped over the railing of the Wild Bill’s patio and while being held on the ground yelled, “I’m rich, you’re poor,” according to a Woodbury police report. … Officers learned a man wanted to buy liquor by the bottle. Staff told him that wasn’t possible, and so he purchased several shots and drinks. He left his credit card, left the bar and his card was declined. A Wild Bill’s manager found him at Sunsets and asked him to come back and settle his tab. The man went back to Wild Bill’s and yelled and swore at staff. He then tried to leave when his card was declined again. He jumped over a deck to run away, but staff tracked him down and held him to the ground. He was yelling: ‘I’m rich, you’re poor. … I can do what I want.’ ” No mention of a leased BMW and a trophy wife.

And here’s one from Stillwater Patch, with a decidedly more downscale tone … . Shawn Hogendorf reports, “A 55-year-old Wisconsin man was taken to Detox Tuesday night after yelling obscenities at the band and a crowd full of young kids during Summer Tuesdays. Brian Ogren, of Green Bay, Wis., was cited for disorderly conduct and transported to Detox. According to police, he had a blood alcohol level of .21. Police made contact with Ogren and told him people who were enjoying the family-friendly event were complaining about his use of obscenities … . Ogren told police he had just hitchhiked his way to Stillwater from Alabama, and was “just rocking out” and talking to himself.”  Freeeeeeebird, man … [bleepin]-a!

Finally, speaking of rockin’ out, here’s Stribber Jon Bream on last night’s Dylan/Wilco/Morning Jacket show at Midway. “It turned out to be five hours of wordy songs, expressive solos and hipster cool — whether you had tattoos and a craft-brew T-shirt or gray hair and sandals. That’s not to say that Dylan lived up to everyone’s expectations. He never does. Few of the concertgoers — the average age was probably early 40s — recognized the opening notes of even his most-famous songs. For instance, no one cheered until he got to the refrain of ‘Tangled Up in Blue,’ one of his bigger radio hits. … The bard from Hibbing did throw a curveball. Saying he’s been onstage with everyone from Mick Jagger to Madonna, he said none was more important than Bobby Vee, the Fargo rocker who gave Dylan his first paying job as a teen. So Dylan offered Vee’s 1959 regional hit, ‘Suzie Baby’. It was easily his most heartfelt vocal of the night — and as much of a surprise as a rarity.” Jeez, Jon, don’t bury the lead … Bob spoke!?

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