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U of M spent more than $100,000 for search that landed Teague

Plus: How payday loan legislation got killed in the Minnesota Legislature; northern lights captured on video; Walter Palmer protects his own land from poachers; and more.

Norwood Teague
Norwood Teague

Your money … really well spent. Kevin Duchschere of the Strib reports, “The University of Minnesota paid an Atlanta-based search firm more than $100,000 to find Norwood Teague, the athletic director hired in 2012 who resigned this month amid sexual harassment allegations. Information released by the U shows that administration officials contracted with Parker Executive Search in February 2012 to find potential candidates to replace retiring athletic director Joel Maturi. The sole finalist in the search was Teague … .” I think we’re entitled to some compensation here.

Never mind that “rest in peace” part. In the PiPress, Mara Gottfried says, “A fight broke out after the funeral Thursday for a 16-year-old shot by a man he reportedly was trying to rob at gunpoint in St. Paul, police said. People gathered at Cherokee Park after Lavauntai Broadbent’s service started fighting among themselves, and one mourner was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.”

There’s gold in them there ditches. The AP says, “The Menominee Indian Tribe is holding an advisory referendum on whether to legalize marijuana usage on the 350-square-mile reservation in northeastern Wisconsin. The Shawano Leader reports the proposal comes on the heels of the tribe’s unsuccessful effort to open a casino in Kenosha. Tribal members over age 18 will cast ballots Wednesday and Thursday. They will decide whether marijuana should be legalized for medical use and whether it should be legalized for recreational use by anyone age 21 or older.” OK, choose your poison. It’s well after midnight on a narrow Wisconsin highway. Do you prefer the guy coming at you is drunk, or stoned?

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Ricardo Lopez continues to build on the Strib’s reporting on payday loans. He writes, “Legislators previously proposed limiting to four the number of payday loans consumers can take out, but the effort failed after Payday America, the largest such lender in Minnesota, spent more than $300,000 to kill the bill. Payday lenders also opposed efforts to cap interest rates, arguing that rate and loan caps would wipe them out entirely. The state Commerce Department shows the average annual interest rate on these types of loans exceeded 260 percent last year. The average customer takes out nearly 10 such loans a year.”

Did you look up? Stribber Mark Vancleave posts video of the weekend’s northern lights.

The sort-of upside to the Norwood Teague scandal. WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy writes, “The University of Minnesota’s Aurora Center counsels victims who come to them for help. The director of the Aurora Center, Katie Eichele, was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning. She said since news of the Teague scandal broke the center has gotten more calls. ‘We do have folks coming in, learning more about our services,’ she said. ‘Whenever there is more publicity around incidents, we do get more inquiries.’ Eichele says the fact that the women making complaints against Teague have come forward publicly will make it easier for victims to come forward in other cases.”

Frankly, I’m surprised there aren’t more. In the PiPress, Patrick Rehkamp writes, “Beverly Ferguson was receiving Minnesota pension checks until September 2006. The problem: Ferguson died in February 2004. Minnesota’s three statewide pension funds spend thousands of dollars on vendors to check local and national databases of death records against the names of pensioners and use their own staff to check local obituaries. And still, in the past budget year alone, nearly 90 dead people received pension payments totaling more than $183,000, according to the pension systems.”

I’d love to read a psychological profile of this guy. Says Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib, “Long before he was accused of poaching an African lion named Cecil, Walter Palmer was stalking suspected poachers on his private hunting land in northwestern Minnesota. The Twin Cities dentist guarded his acreage and property lines so fiercely he alienated and even frightened local hunters, some Clay County residents and officials said. Run-ins with Palmer became the stuff of local hunting lore, said Clay County Commissioner Jenny Mongeau, whose district includes Palmer’s land.”

For their sake I hope Joe Soucheray’s house isn’t among the affected. Says Frederick Melo in the PiPress, “First, the good news. The owners of a St. Paul home with an assessed market value of $145,000 will likely see its value rise to $151,000 next year. That’s an indication the housing market is returning to pre-recession levels even in neighborhoods that have been slower to catch up, such as Frogtown and the North End. But there is a dose of pain to go with that gain. Under St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s budget proposal for 2016, the city’s share of property taxes and fees would go up $37, according to the city’s budget office. Changes to the city’s water rates, including a new base fee, would add another $12.”

Walker Watch. At Salon, Simon Maloy writes, “Wisconsin governor and vanilla pudding made flesh Scott Walker is going through a bit of a slump in his campaign for the White House. After a debate performance that had all the pop and energy of a funeral, Walker’s poll numbers took a dive, both nationally and in Iowa. Then he alienated fiscal conservatives and Tea Party types by signing off on a new taxpayer-funded stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks. Walker needs something new and exciting to drag him out of this rut, so this week he’s going to try to recapture the affections of his party by taking direct aim at the one thing conservatives and Republicans hate most: Obamacare. … he’s talking about eliminating mandates and eliminating regulations while boosting coverage and ‘lower[ing] the burden on taxpayers.’ Basically, he’s promising all good things and nothing bad. He endorses coverage for preexisting conditions but rejects Obamacare’s approach of simply requiring insurers to cover them.” At least he’s putting an effort into his magic unicorn thinking.