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Judge orders archdiocese to release names of 33 priests

Minnesota facing shortage of ag teachers; water system funding dries up; state to open Brazil, South Korea trade offices; festivals hit hard times; local authors on Obamas’ reading lists; and more.

Well, if they wanted a judge’s order, they got it. At the Strib, Jean Hopfensperger reports: “The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis must release the names of 33 priests accused of sexually abusing minors by Dec. 17, a Ramsey County District Court judge ruled Monday morning. Judge John Van de North ordered that the archdiocese provide not just the names of the priests but their year of birth, year of ordination, the list of parishes where they served, their current ministerial status and residence and whether they are still living. The same information must be provided by the Diocese of Winona, Van de North ordered. … The archdiocese had agreed to provide the information for 29 of the 33 priests on the list. But the judge ruled that the information should be made public for all of them. Last month, in response to new allegations of clergy sex abuse against several priests, Archbishop John Nienstedt promised to release some names of accused priests, with court approval.”

At MPR, Madeleine Baran writes: “Archdiocese attorney Tom Weiser said the archdiocese was prepared to release 29 of the 33 names from the Twin Cities. He said a recent review found that allegations against three of the 33 priests on the sealed list could not be substantiated and that there’s no record of one of the 33 priests ever serving in the archdiocese. The archdiocese opposes the release of those four names, and the judge left open the possibility that those names could be withheld if the archdiocese provides a convincing explanation. … Weiser also provided more information about the sealed list. Nine of the original 33 priests are dead, he said, and 26 are priests of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”

A shortage of … ag teachers … in Minnesota. The Strib’s Kim McGuire says: “[T]here’s been a 29 percent decline in the number of licenses held by agriculture teachers — the second-biggest drop by ­subject area, just behind family and consumer sciences. Nationally, hundreds of ag teaching positions are expected to go unfilled in coming years because of a shortage. Yet, agriculture plays a vital role in Minnesota, home to such industry giants as Cargill, General Mills and Hormel. The agriculture and food industry sector is the state’s second-largest employer, providing high-paying jobs that transcend ­traditional roles on the farm. That’s why schools — particularly rural schools — covet agriculture teachers.” Maybe if they ran ag teaching on a dual track with yoga instructing …?

Your Congress … in inaction, again. Mark Steil of MPR checks in on a water project in southwestern Minnesota: “The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System was supposed to supply millions of gallons of badly needed water to southwest Minnesota. Instead, it’s Minnesota’s pipeline to nowhere. More than 100 miles of pipe have been laid in South Dakota and Iowa. But not a drop of water has crossed into Minnesota. … The pipeline extends a little into Minnesota, but only by about 400 feet, said Arndt, as he stood near steel pipes sticking out of a slab of concrete, the junction where water is supposed to be directed from northwest Iowa into Minnesota. It ends in this useless location because there’s no money to lay more. Construction stopped after Congress failed to deliver promised funding.” Maybe if they voted against Obamacare a few dozen more times …

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An AP story says:Brazil and South Korea are the latest countries where Minnesota officials are preparing to open trade offices, according to advertisements posted Monday that seek contractors to set up the outposts. The state Department of Employment and Economic Development is seeking bids from contractors with established business ties in both places. The two locations would fill out the roster of three new trade offices authorized by the Legislature. Lawmakers gave the Minnesota Trade Office a $1.5 million boost in the recently enacted state budget. While on a European trip last summer, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that the state would put a trade office in the Dusseldorf-Cologne area of Germany. Minnesota has an existing trade office in Shanghai, China.”

The GleanTough times for town festivals … Bob Shaw of the PiPress writes: “Many of Minnesota’s hundreds of annual festivals are facing an economic climate that is not festive. They are getting hit by failing sponsorships, higher costs and unrealistic expectations of audiences. Some — but not all — are having trouble attracting volunteers. While some fast-adapting festivals are thriving, many are fighting for survival. St. Paul’s Taste of Minnesota has been dead for three years, Stillwater’s Lumberjack Days for two and St. Paul’s Festa Italiana for one. … [Randy Dewitz, owner of Fanfare Attractions] pegs the slump to the start of the recession in 2008 — when festivals were forced to adapt to new realities. One was the fact that Minnesotans hate to pay admission.” Plus … have you seen the new Play Station 4?

President Obama’s book-buying bit for small business day included several titles by Minnesota authors. Laurie Hertzel of the Strib says: “Lots of worthy books in that stack, some of which were recommended by staff — everything from the classic ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ to the much-admired ‘The Lowland,’ by Jhumpa Lahiri.  Also in the pile: ‘Flora & Ulysses’, by Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo, which was on the long-list for the National Book Award, and ‘Heart of a Samurai,’ by Duluth writer Margi Preus, a Newbery Honor Book a couple of years back. And, of course, ‘Wild,’ by McGregor native and UM grad Cheryl Strayed, which might make him officially the last person in the country to read that best-selling memoir.”

TCF is back in the better graces of the bank regulator. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib says:“A federal bank regulator has given TCF Financial Corp. the all-clear signal on the bank’s compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act. The Wayzata-based lender said Monday that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has lifted the consent order the bank has been operating under since 2010. … The Wayzata-based lender paid a $10 million fine earlier this year for lapses in monitoring suspicious bank transactions, including potential terrorist financing. The OCC said TCF had botched the mandatory reports banks are required to make noting questionable dealings, such as wire transfers where the source and purpose of the funds are unknown.”

It has begun … . MPR’s Tim Nelson reports: “They’re burnin’ diesel over at the Metrodome this morning. Just after 8 a.m., a shovel started peeling back the blacktop in the northeast corner of the parking lot, ahead of tomorrow’s formal groundbreaking ceremony. American Engineering Testing was on hand to start collecting soil samples, as well. The digging marks the start of months of excavation as Mortenson Construction gets ready to pour the foundation for the new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The official groundbreaking isn’t until tomorrow morning, but with just over 940 days left before the new stadium is scheduled to open, there aren’t many days to spare.” Start the countdown for the Super Bowl.