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Faribault rallies around dance team after controversy

Plus: lawmakers propose changes to Minnesota’s campaign finance laws; Coleman defends St. Paul police; the Twin Cities’ best beers; and more.

Let’s admit it. The Great Dance Line Scandal, i.e. Danceline-gate, High-Kicking-Gate or whatever, is great fodder. Especially for revisiting the horrors of high school. In the Washington Post, Sarah Larimer writes, “Hello! Were you a member of your high school dance team? Yes? Well, congrats on being extremely cool as a teen, then. Quite the feat. I’m glad one of us had fun back then. Personally, after I left high school, I made a solemn vow to literally never think about that time again, but I feel like there is no escaping that now because … We’ve got a high school dance team scandal in Minnesota, and it is basically everything you could have possibly imagined.”

Meanwhile, Stribbers Rochelle Olson and Jennifer Brooks made the run to Faribault to report, “The Faribault Emeralds dance team and the community rallied Tuesday to buoy a state championship team trying to shake off the hurt of a bizarre medal ceremony and social media maelstrom. The school held a pep rally to honor a team engulfed in controversy and school officials celebrated the dance team’s victory during a high school basketball game later in the evening. … Afterward, Faribault junior varsity dance coach Molly MacKay rebuked the losers. She called the [other schools’] coaches ‘disgraces’ who should lose their jobs. ‘The coaches fully orchestrated this,’ she said. ‘It was full-out plotted the entire time.’”

From plotted-out to ratted out. Says Paul Walsh of the Strib, “A shipment of marijuana valued at roughly $750,000 and filling the back of a full-sized pickup truck was seized by Plymouth police along a busy interstate, and two brothers in the vehicle were arrested, authorities said Tuesday. The 200 pounds of pot came from South Dakota, where law enforcement on Monday had alerted police in Plymouth that the load was on the way, said police Capt. Jeff Swiatkiewicz. Drug investigators and police set up surveillance of the marijuana’s parking-lot transfer and soon after arrested the brothers, ages 27 and 23 … .” Purely medicinal, you understand.

Uh, reeeeally? At WCCO-TV Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield gets maybe a little too excited at the thought of the Ryder Cup coming to Hazeltine. She gushes, “Before Minnesota plays host to the Super Bowl in 2018, the state will host an even more popular event. The next Ryder Cup will be played in Minnesota in September 2016. It has more than twice as many television viewers as the Super Bowl, and the Golf Channel just announced Davis Love III will return as the U.S. captain when the tournament comes to Chaska, Minnesota.” Ok. International audience and a multi-day tournament … . But still.

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Oh sure. Cuba … in February. An AP story says, “Sen. Amy Klobuchar says the Cuba market is ripe for increased exports from Minnesota farms and businesses. The Democratic senator was part of a Senate delegation visiting the island nation this week to talk about expanding trade relationships. She is co-sponsoring legislation to relax restrictions against doing business with Cuba, as well as to lift a travel ban. Klobuchar says she was struck by the number of small-business owners and entrepreneurs eager to do business.” Do the mob-owned casinos get their beachfront property back?

The Glean

Doing the people’s business. J. Patrick Coolican of the Strib writes, “Sen. James Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, offered up an amendment to a campaign finance bill today that would allow legislators to raise money on the first day of a legislative session before it begins and on the last day of the session post sine die.  The bill, authored by Sen. Jim Carlson, makes numerous changes to campaign finance and ethics law. It would define a ‘regular session,’ during which legislators could not raise money from lobbyists, to include the entire first day and the entire last day of each annual session.” Maybe they could just pass out the checks on the floor to keep things moving?

More time to fit the crime. Riham Feshir at MPR says, “A Maple Grove City Council member’s sentence for financial exploitation of her deceased father was too lenient, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. LeAnn Bobleter Sargent pleaded guilty last year to one count of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Hennepin County District Court Judge Luis Bartolomei sentenced her to 120 days in the county workhouse when she should’ve received a 36-month prison felony sentence, according to the ruling. Sargent had requested the lesser sentence in part to keep her job on the city council, court documents say.”

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman defended his city’s cops in the wake of a run of lethal encounters. Says Curtis Gilbert at MPR, “In an interview on MPR News today, Coleman spoke publicly about that shooting for the first time. The mayor said it appears to have been justified. ‘At this point I’ve seen no evidence to suggest those aren’t exactly the facts — this is an officer-involved shooting that was absolutely a part of procedure and protocol.’ Coleman said the other 10 shootings were justified as well. He argues the data are misleading, because the numbers are so small; they don’t mean St. Paul’s officers are trigger-happy. ‘I mean that’s like saying, ‘Well, you had one murder last year, and two murders this year, so your crime rate has doubled,’ he said. ‘That’s not statistically significant. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ask the tough questions. But I’d ask people to look at the facts and circumstances, because in almost every instance there was a direct threat of violence, if in fact that hadn’t already been an act of violence.’” And in each case lethal force was the only option?

Well, it’s been at least a week since the last list of “10 Best Beers.” But here’s another. Loren Green at City Pages writes, “There are a lot of solid beers in Minnesota, local favorites and brews that have won national awards for their innovation and quality. Here are 10 of the best, listed in alphabetical order instead of by rank. Sometimes it’s just so hard to choose, and comparing stouts to IPAs to saisons and porters is just too hard to do. … 8. Indeed (Minneapolis)  Day Tripper American Pale Ale. Indeed marked a turning point in local beer. Summit set the tone, Surly brought the hype, and Indeed introduced something that tastes truly local — the heavily hopped and adventurous beers, all with a certain neighborhood charm that leaves the taproom along with beer. Daytripper tastes of Northeast. Whether purchased at a bar in Roseville or from a St. Cloud liquor store, the beer is artistic but accessible, new but familiar, and it makes you want more and more.” Really? Tastes of Northeast?