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Star Tribune reporter says ex-athletic director Teague harassed her too

Plus: largest hospital groups see big jumps in income; random attacks on bicyclists; state Rep. David Dill has died; and more.

Norwood Teague
Norwood Teague

WowAmelia Rayno, who covers U of M men’s basketball for the Star Tribune, offers a must-read about her own experiences with former Gopher athletic director Norwood Teague. While having a drink together one night in 2013, Teague tried to grab and put his arm around her, Rayno writes: “I told him that he was drastically off base, that my only intention in being there was as a reporter – to which he replied: ‘You’re all strictly business? Nothing else?’ I walked out. He followed me. I hailed a cab. He followed me in, grabbing at my arm and scooting closer and closer in the dark back cabin until I was pressed against the door. I told him to stop. I told him it was not OK. He laughed. When I reached my apartment, I vomited. Later that night he texted: ‘Night strictly bitness.’ The incident wasn’t the first with Teague.”

Are you surprised? Christopher Snowbeck of the Strib reports, “Income surged in 2014 at Minnesota’s biggest hospital operators. As a group, 10 of the largest hospital systems in Minnesota saw operating income jump by 38 percent in fiscal 2014 compared with the previous year, according to a Star Tribune analysis. Combined earnings hit the highest mark in four years. Two hospital systems spearheaded the increase, sparking income growth by putting the brakes on hiring. More broadly, hospitals cited a complicated mix of factors ranging from a bad flu season and increased income through mergers, to better reimbursement from health insurance companies.” The $100 aspirins might have helped, too.

Bad drivers and potholes were bad enough. Now this. WCCO-TV’s Susan Elizabeth Littlefield reports, “Random attacks against bicyclists in Minneapolis are prompting warnings Sunday from police. … Two people were hit on Friday in separate incidents, including 20-year-old Mackenzie Jensen of south Minneapolis. He was biking on a quiet south Minneapolis block of 41st Street when officers say he was attacked out of the blue. A woman who was hit was in the same area. The female victim was grazed with the chunk of cinder block but the other victim, avid bicyclist Mackenzie Jensen, is in rough shape.”

But a cat may get more in public donations. The AP says, “More than $5,000 has been donated to help a cat that was shot in the face last month near Minot. Lorna Spencer tells The Minot Daily News the veterinary bill for the cat, Precious, and her kittens has been paid. The cat was brought in to the Pinkerton Animal Hospital last month after Spencer found her abandoned near her home along with her three kittens. At the hospital, doctors found the mother cat was missing part of her tongue, her left jaw was shattered and that she had a bullet lodged in the fatty tissue of her chest.”

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Also in bicycling, Marino Eccher of the PiPress reports, “Ray Widstrand, the victim in a brutal 2013 beating in St. Paul, was the driver in a New Brighton crash Sunday that seriously injured a 14-year-old girl on a bicycle, the Minnesota State Patrol said. Widstrand, 28, was making a left turn from southbound Silver Lake Road onto Interstate 694 just before noon. He struck the cyclist, Aeris Ewing of St. Anthony, as she rode into the crosswalk, according to the patrol’s report.”

This is probably less hassle then just imploding the things. Says Curtis Gilbert at MPR, “The Minneapolis Fire Department may soon be able to bill urban explorers for rescuing them from abandoned buildings. Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson is proposing the fee. She said it’s not fair to make taxpayers cover all the costs. ‘It’s not like you had a heart attack,’ Johnson said. ‘It’s that you’ve chosen to participate in an illegal activity, putting yourself at risk, and then putting at risk the people that have to rescue you.’ “

Also from over the weekend, very good piece by Ricardo Lopez of the Strib on a major benefactor of state legislators. “Brad Rixmann, chief executive of Burnsville-based Payday America, is a giant on the payday lending scene, operating the largest such business in the state. He also is a major player in Minnesota politics, having doled out nearly $550,000 in state campaign donations over the last decade. As Rixmann’s contributions have grown, so has his business, aided by state law that allows him to charge triple-digit interest rates on loans that can go up to $1,000. His customers pay an average of 277 percent interest, sometimes borrowing repeatedly against their next paycheck.” Dang, but I love the smell of democracy in the morning.

Maybe this time they’ll sort it out. The AP’s Brian Bakst says, “Come Monday, the challenge will be front and center as a cavalcade of lawmakers, program administrators and lawyers meet to discuss potential fixes to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. The court conference is closed to the public. A coalition of media organizations, including The Associated Press, petitioned for access, but the judge denied the request. The unusual assembly, sought by the federal judge who ruled the program unconstitutional in June, probably won’t be the final word.” Or not.

Legislator David Dill has died. Tom Coombe of the Ely Echo says, “Dill, who represented the Ely area in the Minnesota House of Representatives for the last 12-and-a-half years, died late Saturday from a rare form of cancer. Dill, 60, had been receiving treatment the last several weeks in Rochester but his condition recently worsened. Word of his passing spread quickly late Saturday with both local and statewide leaders paying tribute to the Crane Lake DFLer.”

Stan Hubbard, son of Stanley and boss of the Reelz cable channel, gets some press in Variety, where Cynthia Littleton writes: “Hubbard brought a folksy Minnesota touch — and his 10-year-old son, also named Stanley — to the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills on Sunday. He was there to introduce the panel session for Reelz’s upcoming reality series ‘Master P’s Family Empire.’ But he knew reporters were going to ask him about Reelz’s decision to rescue to the Miss USA pageant last month after Univision and NBC. So he hit the topic head on. … Hubbard later spent another 10 minutes in the scrum talking to a small group of reporters about all things Miss USA and Reelz. As he left the Beverly Hilton ballroom, he paused to ask the reporter who’d interrupted his onstage remarks if he’d adequately responded to her question. He was utterly sincere. Hubbard may have Minnesota-nice in his DNA, but he’s no rube.”

Older Minnesotans prefer to live right where they are. Says Bill Salisbury in the PiPress, “The vast majority of older Minnesotans strongly desire to stay at home as they age. Nearly nine in 10 Minnesotans older than 65 own their homes, and 80 percent of them have no plans to move, according to a Minnesota Board on Aging survey. But in order to stay in their homes, many will need a wide range of services — from lawn mowing and housekeeping to transportation, home modifications and memory care. … To make that possible, a vast array of government agencies, nonprofits, civic organizations, faith groups and private businesses are driving an ‘aging in place’ movement.”

Walker Watch. As you may have heard, some of the GOP presidential candidates are having a tough with females-related issues. Mary Spicuzza of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, “Gov. Scott Walker says choosing between the life of a pregnant woman and her fetus is a ‘false choice,’ adding that he believes better options are always available. Walker’s statements in a television interview after Thursday’s Republican presidential debate underscore how he has become increasingly vocal about his views against abortion now that he’s running for president. Abortion rights activists say that in some cases, the only option to protect a woman’s life is to end her pregnancy. ‘It’s a false choice. There is always a better option out there,’ Walker told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday night.” So ladies, don’t go worrying your pretty little heads, Scott and Sean will handle this for you.