Minnesota police officers’ group launches PR campaign

You know it’s bad when you need a PR blitz to remind folks you’re not as bad as everything they’ve read. Tom Scheck at MPR reports, “The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association says a new public relations campaign that includes paid advertising will highlight the work officers do in their communities. … [MPPOA Executive Director Dennis] Flaherty also released an internal statewide poll that finds Minnesotans are comfortable with the jobs of their local police officers. The poll, which was conducted by Harper Polling on June 15 and 16, found that 85 percent of those polled say they trust ‘local law enforcement officers to use good judgment in their use of deadly force.’ The poll of 450 Minnesotans also found that 79 percent said recent events around the country regarding violence involving police officers either did not alter their perception of law enforcement at all or very little.” Five percent of the respondents were black.

Speaking of bad PR for cops. It’ll take a while to live this guy down. At a site called Photography is Not a Crime, Cassandra Fairbanks follows up on the Ramsey County cop beating his K9 german shepherd. “Deputy Brett Berry, 48, an 18-year-veteran of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office has been arrested for animal cruelty and assaulting a public safety dog, after being thrown out of a casino, and then caught on security camera viciously attacking his K9 partner. The incident took place on June 15 around 3 a.m., at the K-9 trials at Black Bear Casino in Carlton, which provides training and certification for K9 officers. It is unclear why Berry was asked to leave, other than ‘staff complaints,’ but judging by his behavior in the parking lot, it seems as though they made the correct decision. … It is estimated that a dog is killed by law enforcement every 98 minutes in the United States, and not even their own partners appear to be safe.”

Here’s MPR’s Matt Sepic’s report on the Pride Parade. “What may have been a record crowd turned out over the weekend for a Twin Cities Pride Fest that got underway the day after the U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. … Also celebrating the ruling at Twin Cities Pride was Barb Schroeder of Ogilvie, Minn. A decade ago, Schroeder helped start the east central Minnesota chapter of PFLAG — Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays — when her son came out in middle school. In 2012, the unsuccessful attempt to establish a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage got nearly two-thirds support in Kanabec County, where Ogilvie is located. Schroeder said things are getting better for gay people in rural Minnesota, though gradually.” Can we move on now to meaningful financial regulation and gun control?

Until then, City Pages has photos from the Calhoun Beach Club Pride Pool Party.

In the Strib, Christopher Snowbeck looks into reasons why the state may not shut down MNsure, after all. “Nevada, Oregon and New Mexico already have switched to healthcare.gov, and a fourth, Hawaii, is in the process of doing so, said Sabrina ­Corlette, director of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University. The court’s ruling upholding subsidies took away one key argument for maintaining a state-based exchange, she said, but that doesn’t mean all states should jump to the ­federal ­system.”

Garrison Keillor is talking transition again. For the Berkshire (Massachusetts) Eagle, Clarence Fanto says, “In an email interview Thursday night as he flew from St. Paul to New York City, Keillor, 72, confirmed that during the 2015-16 season, he’ll turn over hosting duties to musician Chris Thile for two weeks and will co-host with Thile for several additional Saturday night shows. Thile, 34, a noted mandolin player and singer for the progressive acoustic trio Nickel Creek (he is currently touring with the band Punch Brothers), made his first ‘Prairie’ appearance when he was 15. Last February, for the first time, he guest-hosted for two weeks, a trial run that greatly pleased Keillor. ‘Chris is my man,’ Keillor said … .”

Not sure this is what was needed. Says Christopher Magan for the PiPress: “The tests Minnesota students are required to take will remain on educators’ minds over the summer break. The education funding and policy bill passed June 12 by state lawmakers in a special legislative session complicated the state’s testing system. The legislation includes: a mandatory analysis of how computer glitches affected online achievement tests, a reduction in required tests and cap on testing time, a cut to the state’s testing budget and a new mandatory writing test for students.”

But this is. Also in the PiPress, Josh Verges writes, “Minnesota is taking aim at social and institutional forces that put the least experienced and least qualified teachers in the state’s neediest schools. Majority-white schools in Minnesota have half as many nontenured teachers as schools with large numbers of black, Asian, Hispanic or American Indian students, according to the Department of Education. Low-income, low-performing and especially charter schools also have high percentages of early-career teachers and those who are not fully licensed.”

Anything on mergansers? Brad Dokken of the Forum News Service says, “Minnesota’s breeding mallard population counts are down from last year while other species saw increases, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported this week in its annual spring waterfowl surveys. This year’s mallard breeding population was estimated at 206,000, which is 20 percent below last year’s estimate of 257,000 breeding mallards, 17 percent below the recent 10-year average and 10 percent above the long-term average measured since 1968.”

Stribber Jon Bream caught a Rolling Stones show and a U2 show back to back and tries to decide which is the better band. “After the respective concerts, U2’s crowd was definitely more abuzz than the Stones fans, who had dropped as much as $400 for 19 songs while the U2 faithful had paid up to $275 for 24 tunes. Years ago when I asked Richards if the Stones were the world’s greatest band, he said, ‘On any given night, any band can be the greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world. There’s got to be 50 out there — at least — tonight. Everyone’s up for the title.’ Last week, the Stones were the greatest on Tuesday, but U2 was even greater on Wednesday.” So there.

You may consider enrolling your deer stand. Says Jim Buchta in the Strib, writing about a new “service” for those of you with lavish second homes you rarely visit, “Unlike Airbnb, Bed & Fed and BroadsAbroad, which are priced and aimed at the masses, 3rd Home caters to a decidedly more affluent clientele. Members must have an extra house worth more than $500,000 and be screened to join. When they travel, they pay a stipend that ranges from $395 to $995 per week to stay in another member’s home. Lodging options include a catamaran in the Caribbean, a Moroccan villa with its own olive grove and a thatched-roof Polynesian-style estate on a Malibu beach. With the appetite for getaway homes becoming ­insatiable, especially among baby boomers, the 3rd Home concept fulfills a unique niche in a rapidly expanding vacation home market.” 

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