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Today in #pointergate: mayor blogs … and KSTP digs in

Plus: hunting’s increasing popularity among the elderly; Best Buy may roll out same-day delivery; stay away from Hwy. 100; and more.


And #pointergate rolls on. Mayor Hodges has blogged about KSTP-TV’s dare we say “race-baiting” story. “[It] may be that the head of the police union doesn’t want me standing next to young African American men. One frightening implication of the KSTP story and police union President Delmonico’s support of that story is their implicit assumption that I should use stereotypes to assess with whom I should or should not meet or stand or talk. As The Onion once satirically wrote, ‘Stereotypes are a real time saver.’ It is not a good basis for decision-making, however. It blunts the humanity of the person making the judgment and creates unnecessary separation between two people in a world where more, rather than less, human connection is needed for us to move forward as a community. This is yet one more option that doesn’t make sense.”

Meanwhile, KSTP has gassed up the back hoe and is digging the hole even deeper. In a five-minute story last night (duration-wise the local news equivalent of “Lawrence of Arabia”) the station said, “EYEWITNESS NEWS is responding to the demand for answers and uncovering new details on the man who has now put himself in the media spotlight. … While Gordon was volunteering with NOC late last month, according to an arrest report, he was arrested on Aug. 2 for aggravated robbery. He was on probation at the time, having been previously convicted of felony drug possession, selling drugs, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Then, there are pictures, which we were aware of before our original story aired, posted on an Instagram account under the name Montana Therealchief. Police say that is Gordon’s street name. Various images, all taken within the past few months, show him posing with what appears to be a gun, telling police to ‘come find’ him, and one says, ‘f*** the police’.”

In the Strib, Libor Jany turns attention again to the cops’ union leader, John Delmonico. “Shortly after making sergeant, he defiantly appeared in uniform in a TV ad for then gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch, in which he impugned the record of Hatch’s primary opponent, former Minneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza. Delmonico soon found himself the target of an internal investigation, since officers were strictly prohibited from making political endorsements while in uniform. It was only after [Walt] Dziedzic, himself a former cop, stepped in that Delmonico’s job was saved. Lately, Delmonico has clashed with the new chief, Janeé Harteau.”

At City Pages, Ben Johnson writes, “Instead of bowing to increasing pressure to issue a public apology for its Pointergate story, KSTP dug in its heels last night with new allegations about Navell Gordon … . The station dug up dirt on Gordon and trotted out another law enforcement expert to fortify its original allegation that Gordon was making a gang sign by pointing. KSTP at least acknowledges the original Pointergate story seems thin. ‘We admit and we reported that the poses struck by Hodges and Gordon appear to be playful, simple pointing and it’s hard to understand why such a seemingly simple photo could be potentially dangerous, but police say the mere existence of it could put the public and possibly police in danger,’ [KSTP] said last night. That quote is perhaps most telling. KSTP continues to parrot the official line fed to it by law enforcement officials, without acknowledging the racist undertones of its original story.”

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Two years later, the juice is flowing again. John Myers, for the Forum News Service, says, “The deafening hum of a single, 15,000-horsepower generator filled the powerhouse downstream from the Thomson Dam on Thursday for the first time in 28 months. … The powerhouse was knocked offline, flooded and badly damaged in the June 19-20, 2012, flood that devastated the Duluth region. Perhaps no other area was harder-hit than Thomson, about 10 miles west of Duluth, and the lower St. Louis River, where the 10-inch deluge of rain upstream pushed river flows to never-before-seen levels that were 10 times above normal.”

Geezers with guns. Stribber Dennis Anderson files a story on coots who don’t give up hunting. “License-sales data collected by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) aren’t definitive on the subject. But indications are that older Minnesota hunters, say, those north of 70, are enjoying the sport in numbers unseen before. In fact, license sales during the past 10 years show that the number of hunters age 80 and older have nearly doubled in Minnesota, while those older than 70 have increased by about 75 percent.” You can’t do a story like that without a Bud Grant reference.

Geeks bearing gear. Kavita Kumar of the Strib says, “Is Best Buy thinking about leveraging the Geek Squad – and its fleet of vans and Volkswagen beetles – to roll out a same-day delivery service? Moody’s Investors Service thinks it could be. In a report out this week, its analysts said they think Best Buy could roll out a proprietary same-day delivery service ‘in a major fashion’ in the next 12 to 18 months by utilizing the Geek Squad.” For when you absolutely, positively need an iTunes gift card in an hour.

We’re No. 4! (But Iowa is No. 3.) From KIMT-TV, Katie Huincker says, “A new study is looking at what states are doing to improve the overall wellbeing of kids. The ‘Kids Count’ report ranks Iowa as the third best in the nation with Minnesota coming in fourth. This study focuses on several areas when it comes to the wellbeing of children nationwide. That includes income, education, health care, and crime. … The study also found that, while progress has been made among children of all races, inequities still persist. On nearly every measure, African American, American Indian, and Latino children scored lower than the national average.”

Another blow to the entrepreneurial spirit. Martin Moylan of MPR says, “A Texas federal grand jury indicted Maple Grove-based Vascular Solutions, Inc. and its CEO Howard Root Thursday for allegedly selling medical devices with the intent they would be used for unapproved purposes. The devices are from the Vari-Lase line of lasers, needles and other accessories used to treat varicose veins. Federal prosecutors say the company and Root conspired to sell the equipment to treat twisting ‘perforator’ veins ‘that connect the superficial and deep vein systems’, according to the indictment.”

FYI, skip Highway 100 this weekend (and next). Says Tim Harlow in the Strib, “In preparation for next summer’s rebuild of Hwy. 100 through St. Louis Park, MnDOT will demolish the Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge this weekend. The result is that both directions of Hwy. 100 between I-394 and Crosstown Hwy. 62 will be shut down this weekend. Here is the plan: Ramps along Hwy. 100 will start closing at 9 p.m. and the highway itself will be shut down at 10 p.m.  All ramps and the highway will be back open by 5 a.m. Monday.”