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GOP alters anti-Dayton ad after complaints by abuse victim’s grandmother

Plus: MPR says Nienstedt gave a “false statement”; WI guv Scott Walker is having a bad week; the U starts promoting its latest apple variety; and more.

The Minnesota Republican Party ad featuring an image of Eric Dean.

’Tis the season for rank exploitation Patrick Condon of the Strib says, “The grandmother of 4-year-old Eric Dean, whose death by abuse in 2013 exposed gaps in Minnesota’s child protection services, said Thursday morning that the state Republican Party initially rebuffed but then acceded to her request to stop referring to the case  in a TV ad critical of Gov. Mark Dayton. … Yvonne Dean said she got two calls Thursday morning from Republican Party chairman Keith Downey about the ad, after she called the party seeking to get the ad taken down. Dean said Downey initially told her the party felt within legal rights to reference the case and include an image of Eric Dean. A short while later, she said Downey called back to say the image of Eric, and references to the case, would be removed from the ad.”

There’s a legal term for “false statement under oath,” isn’t there? MPR’s Madeleine Baran says, “Archbishop John Nienstedt gave a false statement under oath about his knowledge of a priest’s criminal conviction for sexually assaulting a child, letters obtained by MPR News show. Nienstedt testified on April 2 that he first learned of the criminal conviction of the Rev. Gilbert Gustafson, an archdiocesan priest, ‘during the last six months’. He also claimed little knowledge of Gustafson. ‘I believe that he is retired,’ Nienstedt testified. ‘He’s in our monitoring program, and he’s living on his own.’ That statement surprised Catholic parishioner LaLonne Murphy, who had written to Nienstedt more than six years ago to inform him of Gustafson’s criminal conviction and his ongoing work as a consultant for Twin Cities parishes.”

Better 30 to 60 years late than never. The AP is saying, “The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has disclosed the names of 17 additional priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors. The list includes four names that are new to the public. Allegations were found to be substantiated in all cases. The archdiocese says most of the accusations are from the mid-1950s to mid-1980s.”

MinnPost’s 7th Anniversary party

You’re invited to a festive party and silent auction on Thursday, Nov. 6, at Solera Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.


The Palace may actually be restored to life. Frederick Melo of the PiPress reports, “The St. Paul City Council gave the green light Wednesday to fund a downtown bicycle loop, a Grand Rounds bikeway and the remodeling of the long-vacant Palace Theatre, among a host of new projects. … The approved funds include $8 million to reopen the Palace as a downtown music venue. Through a combination of state, city and private funding, the century-old movie theater on West Seventh Place would be converted into a 3,000-person concert hall.” Cue a local columnist on what this means for his property taxes.

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As we know, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is campaigning on the many economic successes he’s wrought in his first term in office, data be damned. He’s having a tougher time with the $1.8 billion deficit being projected for 2015-17. Dan Umhoefer of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes in a PolitiFact column. “Three summers ago, Gov. Scott Walker boasted to a national cable TV audience that his 2011-’13 state budget ended the practice of pushing fiscal problems into the future. In a June 2011 appearance on CNBC, Walker said his first budget ‘wiped out’ a big shortfall and put in changes to avoid them in the future. Now, weeks before the Nov. 4, 2014 election, the governor is facing questions about his own shortfall projected for the 2015-’17 budget, caused in part by tax cuts he championed. And Walker is arguing the method behind a projected $1.8 billion shortfall is suspect.” The paper’s editorial page should be about ready to endorse Walker. For the third time.

Also in The Scott Walker Zone, Daniel Bice, columnist for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel often reports on denials of wrong-doing from the Governor’s past or present staff. This one is particularly good. “When Scott Walker’s county staff members needed to release a statement in 2010 saying they did not engage in campaign activity, who exactly did they ask to approve the language? Walker’s top campaign aides, naturally. ‘Is this ok to send to Bice?’ wrote Fran McLaughlin, then-Walker’s county spokeswoman, on May 13, 2010, to Walker and three high-level Walker campaign aides regarding a draft statement.” You gotta love the sheer nakedness of it all.

The GleanMPR’s Alex Friedrich reports that MnSCU is being told there are “flaws” in how it conducted its investigation of Minnesota State football coach Todd Hofner. “The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system should reassess how it conducts and documents investigations following its firing of Mankato football coach Todd Hoffner, state Legislative Auditor James Noble said in a report released Thursday. … The report concludes that the investigator conducted interviews that were not under oath and were not recorded. It also said she destroyed her interview notes after presenting her report to university leaders.”

Apple season to arrive earlier. Christopher Aadland of The Minnesota Daily says, “Apple lovers usually have to wait until fall to bite into the crispest and juiciest selections of the fruit. But now, a new apple created by University of Minnesota researchers promises to greet those people with a renowned taste similar to the school’s famous Honeycrisp a month earlier in the season. The team started working on the apple — temporarily named the MN55 — in the late 1990s, but it’s just now in its beginning stages of being marketed on a larger scale.” The “MN55” is kinda catchy, though.

Here’s an interesting piece on fracking, currently pumping up North Dakota’s economy and driving down gas prices. Kate Sheppard of The Huffington Post writes, “When it comes to environmental pollutants, sometimes what’s legal is what’s most worrying. That’s the conclusion of a new report on a major loophole in the regulations governing hydraulic fracturing. The report, released Wednesday by the Environmental Integrity Project, looks at what is known as the ‘Halliburton loophole’ — an exemption from existing rules that allows companies to inject some petroleum-based chemicals into the ground without obtaining a permit. … The provision became known as the Halliburton loophole because of then-Vice President and former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney’s reported involvement in crafting the law.” That Dick, he just keeps on giving.