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Minnesota high school dance team championship marred by scandal

Plus: what we don’t know about Minnesota’s road system; Ag Department issues voluntary recall of Nutrisca dog food; the godfather of Twin Cities theater has died; and more.

When was the last time the words “High school dance” and “scandal” were used together? (OK, there was my senior prom … .) At Deadspin, Greg Howard tells the nation: “Officials disqualified five Minnesota high school dance teams after their symbolic protest at the state finals over a rival team’s alleged plagiarized championship routine in what was basically the exact plot from the classic and very great high school cheerleading movie, ‘Bring It On.’ … Faribault won first place after a unanimous decision from judges at last night’s state finals, after which the remaining five teams stood together in solidarity against the result. State officials retaliated by disqualifying every other team and refusing to announce any further awards. It made for a striking scene.” Video at the link

At the PiPress, David Montgomery wades deeper into what officials do and don’t know about the roads they’re asking for billions of dollars to repair. “The road system is massive and complex, controlled by hundreds of governmental bodies across the state and paid for by billions of dollars flowing from fund to fund. Experts say most people understandably haven’t paid a lot of attention to the transportation system’s intricacies. … Even experts don’t know a lot of key details about the system, such as the quality of the state’s minor roads. Many local governments don’t track this in any comprehensive way, and MnDOT only knows for sure how good its own roads are.”

Speaking of roads, Janet Moore of the Strib says, “An ambitious effort to modernize Minnesota’s driver’s license and vehicle registration system has taken years and cost nearly $37 million, but the state has little to show for it so far. The new Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) was supposed to have been in place by 2013 at a cost of $48 million. But late last year, state officials quietly fired Hewlett-Packard Co., the multibillion tech giant initially hired to design and build the new Web-based system. Before the partnership was terminated, the Department of Public Safety paid HP $16 million of the original $41 million contract.”

Brady Slater of the Grand Forks Herald has a piece on Eighth District Rep. Rick Nolan. “During an interview at the game, he talked equally about personal trials — with his youngest daughter’s recent diagnosis of terminal cancer — and public angst, in which he described working in a world according to the Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio. … Nolan announced in January that the youngest of his four grown children, Katherine, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Lately, Nolan has made a point of coming home and stopping first to spend a night at Katherine’s home in Roseville. She is a 39-year-old mother of four children and Nolan has worked the phones hard to expand her treatment options in the face of a grim prognosis. Katherine is a match for molecular therapy, Nolan said, that can extend her life an additional 10 to 12 months.”

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Really. Don’t even feed it to your dog. The Forum News Service reports, “The Minnesota Agriculture Department has alerted consumers to a voluntary recall of Nutrisca dog food, made by Tuffy’s Pet Foods in Perham. The company is recalling certain lots of four-pound bags of Nutrisca chicken and chickpea recipe dry dog food, which could be contaminated with salmonella. There’s also risk to humans from handling contaminated pet food. No illnesses in people or animals have been reported.”

This in from North Dakota. Via WDAY/WDAZ-TV: “State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler has been arrested for domestic violence. Bismarck Police say were called to the 1100 block of Southport Loop around 2:30 am about a domestic assault report. A 48-year-old victim told officers Baesler had assaulted him during an altercation. Police say he had visible injury as well as dried blood on his face. Baesler had left the scene before officers arrived. She was later located and arrested.”

The Glean

The nerve! Trying to rip-off Paul “As Minnesotan as You Can Get” Bunyan! Zach Kayser of the Bemidji Pioneer says, “Out of the East, a new rival has arisen to make a claim against the supremacy of Paul and Babe in Bemidji. The would-be usurper has stood near the banks of the Penobscot River in Bangor, Maine, for 56 years: a 31-foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan. Although the Bangor statue is bigger than Bemidji’s 18-foot Paul, ours is more than 20 years older, built in 1937. The Bangorites have antique documents they claim prove Paul’s lineage: a ‘birth certificate’ hangs in the city clerk’s office that was issued in 1959, the year their statue was built. It asserts Bunyan came forth into the world on Feb. 12, 1834, in Bangor.”

Juuuuuust a bit more than is generally required for personal use. Says WCCO-TV, “Officials in Wright County say a search warrant executed last week in Southside Township found meth, cocaine and 56 pounds of marijuana. The county sheriff’s office said the search was done Wednesday in a residence on the 6000 block of Quinn Avenue Northwest. While performing the search, deputies found the drugs, as well as a homemade alcohol distillery setup in the basement. Deputies arrested 63-year-old Allen Clarence Hochstein and 60-year-old Mark Donald Repke.” Pothead kids!

Now that was a good run. The Strib’s Graydon Royce writes, “Don Stolz had been producing theater in the Twin Cities for more than two decades at the Old Log Theater when Tyrone Guthrie launched his namesake playhouse in 1963. ‘In fact, Guthrie said the reason he came was because Don Stolz and the Old Log had prepared the ground for him, that people here understood theater,’ said Charlie Boone, a longtime WCCO Radio personality who knew Stolz for more than 50 years and acted on the Old Log stage. Stolz, who is widely recognized as the godfather of the Twin Cities theater community and whose association with the Old Log dates to 1941, died Saturday night from complications of congestive heart failure at Sholom Home West in St. Louis Park. He was 97.

Duluth wants $4 million for Cirrus. Dan Kraker of MPR writes, “The city of Duluth is seeking $4 million from the state to help Cirrus Aircraft expand. The company has over 500 orders for its $2 million Vision Jet. But to meet the growing demand, Cirrus says it needs a new $10 million building next to the Duluth airport. The city of Duluth has pledged to cover $6 million of the cost. Mayor Don Ness wants the state to kick in the rest this legislative session.”