Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Family of woman killed in highway shooting sues police

Plus: Taste of Minnesota to be held … somewhere; former St. Paul cop gets 30 days for identity theft; Scott Walker wants to put “boots on the ground” in Syria; and more.

There’s a lawsuit in that freeway shooting in Eden Prairie from a year ago. Says Kelly Smith of the Strib, “The family of a woman shot and killed by police officers on Hwy. 212 in Eden Prairie last year filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the Chaska officer who shot her, accusing him of improperly using deadly force. The shooting, which took place one year ago this Saturday, killed Dawn Pfister, 34, of Elkhorn, Wis., and Matthew Serbus, 36, of Brooklyn Center, after they led police on a chase from Chaska to Eden Prairie, then refused officers’ commands. Pfister’s family says that the mother of two children posed no threat to police and that she had been reported as a hostage.”

Tell you the truth, the where-this-thing-is-going-or-not is kind of losing me. In the PiPress, Ross Raihala says, “A Taste of Minnesota will return this summer, 40 miles west of its longtime home on Harriet Island in downtown St. Paul. The live music, food and fireworks festival will take place July 2 through 5 at the Carver County Fairgrounds in Waconia. Event organizer Linda Maddox moved Taste to Waconia last summer, just days before its debut, due to flooding on Harriet Island. After weighing her options, she chose to return to Waconia.”

Nothing personal here, right? At MPR, Tom Scheck writes, “In the wake or revelations that a Minneapolis nonprofit misspent state and federal grant monies, a Republican in the Minnesota House wants to change oversight of the state’s energy assistance grants. State Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, wants to transfer oversight of the funds from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Administration. Albright said he is concerned that Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman continues to oversee the funds.”

The former St. Paul cop who made some, um, unwise personal decisions gets 30 days. Elizabeth Mohr of the PiPress says, “After admonishing her for her romance with a felon, a Ramsey County judge Monday sentenced former St. Paul police officer Ruby Diaz to jail time and probation for identity theft. Diaz, who had been a St. Paul officer for more than a decade, was found guilty by a jury in December of the felony for using her best friend’s name to set up accounts with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and Western Union to wire money to her boyfriend — a known gang member — in prison.

Article continues after advertisement

The Minnesota Chamber is doing its own job creation work for veterans. Stribber Mark Brunswick says, “While there are many organizations and programs designed to address the issue of veteran unemployment, the Minnesota Chamber believes its brand and its connection to its 2,300 members make it suited to identify unfilled jobs and employment needs.The chamber will be sponsoring a Hiring Our Heroes job fair on Feb. 12 at the Xcel Energy Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.”

The GleanSome well-deserved public appreciation for a couple of pros. Abby Simons of the Strib says, “The Minnesota Senate on Monday honored a pair of veteran Capitol reporters whose dedication and years of service made them part of the institution they covered. Star Tribune reporter Jim Ragsdale, also a longtime St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter and editorialist, died in November, one year after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 64. Bill Salisbury, who covered politics and government for four decades, most of them at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, retired in December, although he’ll continue to work part-time. Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, who served in the Legislature since 1976, honored both men with special resolutions on the Senate floor.”

The jury is having a tough time with that Toyota case. Randy Furst of the Strib says, “Jurors in the Toyota liability trial in Minneapolis said Monday that they could not reach a unanimous verdict, but were told by federal Judge Ann Montgomery to keep deliberating. … Attorneys for [Kuoa Fong] Lee and the families have not specified the amount of damages they are seeking. But they asked the jury in closing arguments to consider the millions of dollars they said Toyota has spent defending itself in the case.”

Facing a $2 billion deficit, our friend, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is again cutting where we’re adding. Steven Walters at the site says, “Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to cut state aid for the UW System by $150 million in each of the next two years, and then give the board that sets System policy the power to completely run it by 2017, will prompt the biggest Capitol fight over public universities in 44 years. … For the next two years, Walker’s changes would give the UW System a ‘bloc grant’ of about $783 million, which could touch off a tire-slashing internal fight for that cash between university chancellors. Some UW officials predict layoffs on all campuses next year, if the governor’s two-year fiscal straightjacket is approved.”

Nevertheless, or maybe because of that kind of management Rush Limbaugh said yesterday, “This is why Scott Walker is running away with every Republican poll right now.  The consultant class doesn’t get it. The Republican establishment doesn’t understand it. They’re scratching their heads, what’s Walker done?  They do not get it.  They don’t understand.  For two years I have been ballyhooing Scott Walker, not personally, but here’s a guy not only has he drawn the blueprints for beating the left — what are blueprints?  They are designs for building something.  Well, he’s built the house. He wrote the blueprints and he built the building. He built the machine that defeats the left.  He has shown how to do it, and he did it. He is a walking gold mine.”

Although, at Forbes, Rick Ungar watched the Sunday talk shows and says, “Check out this exchange between interviewer Martha Raddatz and Governor Walker:

RADDATZ: Let’s talk about some specific, and you talk about leadership and you talk about big, bold, fresh ideas. What is your big, bold, fresh idea in Syria?

WALKER: Well, I think — I go back to the red line.

RADDATZ: Let’s not go back. Let’s go forward. What is your big, bold idea in Syria?

Article continues after advertisement

WALKER: I think aggressively, we need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorist in and around the world, because it’s not a matter of when they attempt an attack on American soil, or not if I should say, it’s when, and we need leadership that says clearly, not only amongst the United States but amongst our allies, that we’re willing to take appropriate action. I think it should be surgical. … 

RADDATZ: But what does that mean? I don’t know what aggressive strategy means. If we’re bombing and we’ve done 2,000 air strikes, what does an aggressive strategy mean in foreign policy?

WALKER: I think anywhere and everywhere, we have to be — go beyond just aggressive air strikes. We have to look at other surgical methods. And ultimately, we have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that’s what it takes, because I think, you know —

RADDATZ: Boots on the ground in Syria? U.S. boots on the ground in Syria?

WALKER: I don’t think that is an immediate plan, but I think anywhere in the world.” … “Anywhere in the world … .”