Wabasha County suit targets driver-license ‘look-up’ abuse

There appears to be no end of trouble for “authorities” abusing access to driver-license data. Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR reports: “Eighteen Wabasha County residents, including a state lawmaker, filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that law enforcement and government officials have illegally accessed their driver’s license data for political purposes. The plaintiffs include several current or former Wabasha County commissioners and other citizens who have attended county board meetings or written letters to the editor. Wabasha County and dozens of other state and local government agencies are named in the lawsuit. … According to the driver’s license data lawsuit, the individuals’ personal data such as addresses, photos, and physical descriptions were illegally accessed at least 600 times. The look-ups often occurred after the individuals announced their candidacy, attended a public hearing or wrote a letter to the editor in the local newspaper, [attorney Erick] Kaardal said.”

A bit more, this time from Tim Post at MPR, on the Totino-Grace teacher fired for being in a gay relationship: “[Kristen] Ostendorf, an English teacher, campus minister, lacrosse and swim coach for 18 years at the school, says the part about being gay didn’t surprise her colleagues. Instead, it was the part about being in a relationship. ‘Nobody says in a Catholic school, when you’re a woman, ‘I’m in a relationship with another woman.’ Everybody knows the consequences,’ she said. Over the next few days Ostendorf found out what those consequences would be: School officials told her she had a choice of resigning or being fired. She refused to resign. ‘I don’t feel like telling the truth should cost me my job,’ she said. Totino-Grace officials won’t say much about what happened. The school released a statement saying the matter is a private one between employer and employee.” Yeah, they’ve done a really good job of keeping that private.

Let’s see … so now the only thing missing is …? Graydon Royce of the Strib says: “Black is the new orange in the newly remodeled Orchestra Hall. Actually, the color of the seats and balconies is called “thundercloud gray,” but an auditorium that once greeted patrons with a sea of 1970s orange is more classically subdued. It was unveiled to media Thursday morning. The $50 million project primarily was intended to expand lobby spaces, add meeting rooms and open up the building visually to adjacent Peavey Plaza and the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The lobby is more than doubled in size, and features a gray-and-white color scheme, granite floors, glassy staircases to various levels and new windows looking out to the downtown skyline.”

Also from Royce … . “Congressman Keith Ellison has put his weight on the scales in the Minnesota Orchestra labor dispute. The Minneapolis representative has sent a letter to management and board asking them to accept a proposal to end the lockout and negotiate for four months. Musicians have accepted the notion, which was put forward by former Senator George Mitchell. Management has rejected the plan. Ellison’s letter said in part: ‘I am writing to respectfully urge you to end the 11-month lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra musicians and accept the interim agreement proposed by [Mitchell].’ “

A grand jury is listening to testimony in the police shooting of Terrance Franklin last spring. Brandt Williams of MPR says: “Data from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office show since 2000, no grand jury has indicted a Minneapolis police officer involved in the death of a civilian. That track record contradicts the usual outcome of grand jury investigations. Derik Fettig, a former assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles, said some indictments are too easy to obtain from grand juries. ‘There’s that old expression that a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to,’ said Fettig, a teaching fellow at Hamline University Law School. ‘That may go too far, but certainly, more often than not, grand jurors do return indictments than they would reject them.’ Fettig doesn’t have a theory as to why officer-involved investigations, at least in Hennepin County, buck the trend.”

Talk about giving the “sport” of hunting a bad name … The AP reports: “A Minnesota deer farm owner has turned to social media to advertise a chance to shoot a captive trophy buck for $9,400. Mike Summers of Summers Game Ranch near Vergas told WDAY-TV that Tarzan is 4 years old and won’t be used for breeding. So he’s offering hunters the change to bag the buck on his 25-acre farm in northwestern Minnesota. The buck has a rack few hunters would see in the wild, Summer said. ‘Last year, he had 30 scorable points. He scored 241 inches at 3 years old,’ Summers said.” Tell you what, I’ll sit here in the back of my pickup with a cool adult beverage and you herd him over this way …

At the sports site SB Nation, Sarah Connors (shades of  “The Terminator”?) rips into Minnesota hockey and the Wild: “[T]here was no pro hockey in the state of Minnesota for a while. Which is actually fine, and should have stayed that way. Minnesotans really seem too preoccupied with other stuff to give a bother about pro hockey. I mean, come on; they have five NCAA D-1 mens programs in three of the collegiate conferences, approximately eighty-bazillion awesome high school teams and the most ridiculous high school hockey tournament in all the land, which has its own incredible culture and amazeballs stories behind it. (Seriously, read this longform about Warroad and Roseau.) Not only that, but Minnesota is one of the places where you can watch really great womens hockey – Amanda “the best” Kessel and her Minnesota Gophers were an awesome story the last couple years. So with all those really neat local options why the hell would you shoehorn a team with no history into the Twin Cities?”

Brett Neely at MPR collects “5 Details” from the latest document dump on Our Favorite Congresswoman: “4. Almost everyone was trying to cash in … Some of the initial complaints about the Bachmann campaign came from former staffer Peter Waldron, who was upset about consultant Guy Short’s compensation package. In fact, high-priced consultants and others eager to make a quick buck appear to be a constant theme in the documents. Short wanted a retainer of $20,000 a month from the campaign. The campaign’s first management team balked at that number and agreed to pay him $15,000 a month and, according to former Bachmann chief of staff Andy Parrish, Short then received an additional $5,000 a month from MICHELEPAC even though the political action committee was essentially moribund for the duration of Bachmann’s presidential campaign.”

So when do we start paying … high school kids for playing football? Tim Leighton of the PiPress writes: “Cretin-Derham Hall has never had a homecoming like this. No high school in Minnesota has had a football game like this. The Raiders will host Suburban East Conference rival Stillwater at the University of St. Thomas on Friday night, and you won’t need to be there to watch it. ESPN2 will broadcast the game, making it Minnesota’s first nationally televised high school football game. CDH coach Mike Scanlan understands what that means, which is why he was all for it. ‘This is big-time stuff’, he said, ‘one of those once-in-a-lifetime kind of deals.’ The game is one of 13 high school football games that will be broadcast nationally this season by ESPN networks.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/12/2013 - 04:19 pm.

    Road Trip!!!

    Maybe Orchestra Hall can get the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra to play a gig or two in the remodeled digs.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/12/2013 - 04:28 pm.

    The name is correct

    National television.

    High school football.

    “This is big-time stuff,” says the coach, “one of those once-in-a-lifetime kind of deals.” Presumably, the goal of attending the high school, the highest aspiration, is to appear on national television playing a game that routinely causes brain injuries.

    Truly, they’ve correctly named the high school.


  3. Submitted by Richard O'Neil on 09/12/2013 - 05:15 pm.


    That’s a little harsh, Ray. The school is named for a bishop back in the late teens or 20’s. Show me a school that wouldn’t be excited about being nationally televised.

  4. Submitted by Ed Day on 09/12/2013 - 11:36 pm.

    Thanks Richard

    I had no idea why the school is called Cretin.

    And yeah, academics come first, but a nationally televised game is a pretty big deal.

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