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E-pulltab distributor throws in the towel

Scannell sexual misconduct case goes the jury; Feds offer permits to kill eagles; and the Twins nix honor for Knoblauch after domestic assault charge.

Courtesy of Allied Charities

It’s been too long since we’ve had e-pulltab news. And now Jean Hopfensperger of the Strib breaks the news, “Minnesota’s rocky experiment with electronic pulltab gambling, once tapped to fund the new Vikings stadium, is undergoing the biggest shake-up in its two-year history. Express Games MN, the first and largest company distributing the iPad games to Minnesota bars and venues, sent notice to its roughly 120 locations this week that it will cease operations at the end of the day on July 31.” “Rocky” qualifies as a euphemism.

In closing statements in the Tim Scannell sexual misconduct case, Tom Olsen of the Duluth News Tribune reports, “[Tom] Heffelfinger, the former U.S. Attorney for Minnesota assigned to prosecute Scannell, told jurors that either Scannell or the girl lied on the witness stand. He asked them to consider the credibility of each and consider who would benefit from lying. ‘(The girl) has no interest in the outcome of this case. What’s she got to gain?’ Heffelfinger asked. ‘On the other hand, what’s the defendant got to gain? He’s at risk of a conviction. … Who has more at stake here?

A permit … to kill eagles … unintentionally. Samantha Schmidt in the Strib says, “Conservationists and wind energy advocates from across the Midwest gathered in Bloomington on Thursday evening for a federal hearing on the best way to manage the often lethal mix of wild eagles and wind turbines. … Even before the doors opened, partisans clashed over the core issue: a new form of federal permit that allows wind farms to kill a limited number of eagles if the deaths are unintentional.”

Cue the usual suspects. The AP reports, “The federal government says 173 unaccompanied immigrant children have been placed in Minnesota since the start of the year. The Office of Refugee Resettlement on Thursday issued a state-by-state breakdown of unaccompanied child placement. The figures show more than 30,000 children have been released to sponsors this year through July 7.”

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At MPR, Sasha Aslanian writes: “Minnesota citizens and non-profits are providing housing, legal assistance and social services on an individual basis and state agencies are supportive of those efforts, said Matt Swenson, press secretary to Gov. Mark Dayton. … Resettling children with relatives and family friends is a more typical pattern for a northern state like Minnesota, said John Keller, executive director of the Immigrant Law Center in St. Paul. He said that is a better solution than adding detention facilities.”

Uh, yeah … we’ll be putting that on hold. The Reuters story on ex-Twin Chuck Knoblauch says, “Former major league baseball player Chuck Knoblauch was charged with assaulting his former wife this week, and as a result of the incident the Minnesota Twins canceled the team’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled next month. According to KHOU-TV in Houston, the 46-year-old Knoblauch was charged with assault of a family member, Cheri Knoblauch, whom he divorced in 2012.”

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This is not a misprint. They were ticketed for 100 mph … over the limit. Paul Walsh again: “Three motorcyclists were doing more than pushing their machines past 100 miles per hour. North Dakota law enforcers say the trio was going 100 miles per hour over the speed limit. The high-performance motorcycles were pulled over Wednesday night on Hwy. 57 about 3 miles west of Fort Totten on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in northeastern North Dakota, having topped out at 155 mph, according to the State Patrol.”

Sorry, Matt. Abby Simons of the Strib reports, “A state Office of Administrative Hearings panel rejected claims by Matt Entenza that Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto lied when she said she had not voted for legislation requiring voter identification. In an 11-page order issued Thursday, the three-judge panel rejected the official campaign complaint filed by Entenza, who is challenging Otto in a DFL primary Aug. 12.” Maybe he can get her for expired tabs, or insufficient tire tread depth.

Not so fast on those ethanol cuts. The AP reports,  “Sen. Al Franken says the Obama administration may scale back projected cuts to ethanol and other renewable fuels production. An Environmental Protection Agency proposal for renewable fuel standards would reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amounts of ethanol and other biofuels blended into gasoline in 2014 than the law requires. After discussing the proposal with a White House official on Thursday, Franken, D-Minn., said he believes the EPA will reduce the size of cuts.”

So is there an invasive species chewing on young cottonwood trees? Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR reports, “When people hear about Maria DeLaundreau’s summer cottonwood planting project, they think she’s crazy. Plant more of those messy trees? What about the seeds? ‘They’re clogging up their air conditioners all the time, someone swallowed one on the way to work. The seeds are definitely abundant’, she agreed. They’re also vital to the health of the floodplain forests. Cottonwoods provide habitat for eagles and shade for other tree species, and many of the young trees are not surviving.”