Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Ebola rumor shot down by U of M

Plus: Sex trafficking arrests double; Michelle Obama coming to town; Willmar at center of political battle; and more.

There’s a whiff of hysteria in the air. Stribber Jeremy Olson says, “Ebola anxiety spread rapidly on social media Wednesday when inaccurate articles and tweets claimed that University of Minnesota infectious disease experts had determined the deadly virus has become airborne — a claim quickly shot down by the U. A Twitter user with the name @UnivMinnNews, which uses the U logo but is not an official university account, spread the claim — citing an article in the alternative news site Inquisitr.”

Related: The AP says, “The Minnesota Nurses Association is calling on hospitals to provide the highest level of protective equipment available for any staff treating Ebola patients. A resolution to equip hospitals with full-body hazardous material suits was received unanimously at the association’s annual meeting. The vote followed an informal survey that found only two out of 150 nurses felt like they’re adequately trained to treat Ebola patients.”

There’s been a doubling of arrests in sex trafficking. Megan Stewart’s story for KSTP-TV says, “State law enforcement officials are arresting more ‘Johns’ than ever before, according to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The study presented to the state legislature shows human trafficking convictions doubled from 31 in 2012 to 63 in 2013.”

Brandt Williams of MPR says, “The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office filed 68 counts of tax fraud against the owner of the Social House restaurant in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood, which closed earlier this year. According to the complaint, 46-year-old Michael Ralph Whitelaw allegedly failed to report more than $1 million worth of income over a three-year period. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says Minnesota Department of Revenue agents discovered the discrepancy. Freeman said it’s not uncommon for restaurant owners to come up short on their tax bills.” Please don’t tell me he bought a giant boat and married a trophy wife.

Article continues after advertisement

The GleanMPR’s Catharine Richert checks out two legislative districts side by side in the Willmar area that the GOP thinks it can flip. “Groups are pouring in money to fight it out for Districts 17A and 17B. Democrat Mary Sawatzky won a narrow victory for 17B in 2012 even as voters chose Mitt Romney over Barack Obama for president. The district’s long been on the GOP’s radar since it’s flipped between parties in recent years. … Republicans this year say they have an ideal candidate for the House in Dave Baker, a local businessman and someone the party has been trying to convince for years to run.”

Want some campaign cash numbers? Richert’s colleague Brett Neely reports, “The reporting period in this case began on July 24 due to primary elections and ran through Sept. 30.

2nd District

  • Rep. John Kline (R): Raised: $470,000; Cash on hand: $1.76 million

  • Mike Obermueller (DFL): Raised: $217,000; Cash on hand: $278,000

8th District

  • Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL): Raised: $641,000 (full quarter); Cash on hand: Not available

  • Stewart Mills (R): Raised: $563,000 (includes a personal loan and is the full quarter figure); Cash on hand: $254,000.”

Article continues after advertisement

Next up: Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says Michelle Obama is coming to town. “First lady Michelle Obama will rally Minnesotans with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken on Oct. 21, the DFL Party announced on Wednesday. The party described the event as a grassroots get-out-the-vote event but released few other details. … One surrogate not yet on the list: President Obama. The Democratic president, whose poll numbers are down in Minnesota, is road tripping to other states but Minnesota is not on his list.”

Health care equity: How do we get there?

Addressing the biggest barriers to meaningful reduction in health-care disparities
Oct. 21 breakfast event at Northrop sponsored by UCare

Eventbrite - Health Care Equity: How do we get there?

Veteran-but-not-yet-geezer rock band Pearl Jam will be in town Sunday night. This means serious rock-o-philes must discuss, more or less seriously, whether Pearl Jam should give it up already and go away or whether they are still credible. City Pages is hosting the debate. In the “get outta here” camp Richard Morgan writes, “There is a future (and a lucrative one at that) for Pearl Jam should they elect to stay their present course. I can’t deny they’re giving the people the bread and circuses they want. And fans are filling the arenas, voices primed for endless sing-alongs, and setting upon merchandise tables chock full of pricey goodies like so many locusts. Why kill the prized bull? All they need now is a Ben & Jerry’s flavor.”

Arguing that Pearl Jam still matters is Erik Thompson: “Diminishing returns in the studio would be the death knell of most bands, but Pearl Jam’s legendary live show continues to draw in a dedicated audience who perhaps haven’t bought one of their records since the ’90s. This isn’t a group that gets dusted off every few years in order to deliver the same set of songs to the same set of fans. The setlists tell a very different story. Pearl Jam’s live shows are a communal experience, with the songs meaning just as much to the fans as they do to the band. [Lead singer Eddie] Vedder admits that their fans have turned a song like ‘Alive’, which began as a desolate curse from an abandoned son, into a unifying anthem of survival that remains one of the uplifting high-points of any PJ show.”