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Make-a-Wish Minnesota cuts ties to charity being investigated by state

Plus: Twin Cities stink caused by turkeys; archdiocese removes acquitted priest from ministry; mother provides no information on missing Lakeville teens; and more. 

For the AP, Amy Forliti reports, “Make-A-Wish Minnesota has cut ties with a vehicle-donation charity that’s being investigated by the state’s attorney general, the chairman of the organization’s state board said Tuesday. In an emailed response to a question from The Associated Press, Make-A-Wish Minnesota board chairman Mike Kust said: ‘I am confirming that we have ended our relationship with the Car Donation Foundation. We have no additional details at this time.’ Car Donation Foundation was accused last week of putting a fraction of money toward its advertised mission while steering millions to for-profit companies owned by the group’s founders.”

In the Minnesota Daily, Keelia Moeller has an opinion piece saying, “As I see it, we would be justified to shut down the entire Wheels for Wishes program and give all of its revenue to Make-A-Wish Minnesota.  This, of course, is out of the state’s authoritative boundaries. So instead, I would like to push toward absolute transparency when it comes to vehicle donation advertising. It would also be beneficial to create stricter guidelines for when organizations are or are not allowed to label themselves as ‘nonprofit.’  Car donation organizations have the power to make a huge difference, but until our state’s Legislature oversees them more carefully, we should never take the advertised integrity of these companies at face value.”

First reaction? You have got to be kidding me. In the Strib, Beena Raghavendran says, “Anoka-Hennepin School District officials have agreed on a last-ditch effort to try to get back $160,000 from families owing $100 or more in school meal debts — a collections company. The state’s largest district aims to set up collections by January for families that haven’t responded to other means of contact. One family owes about $4,600 and another has a tab of about $2,000 — all in breakfasts and lunches that have gone unpaid.”

Poop scoop.  WCCO-TV’s story on that aroma yesterday says, “People across the Twin Cities noticed a strange smell in the air on Monday. From Elk River to St. Paul to Lakeville to Minnetonka, social media was buzzing about a strange odor in the air. By the afternoon hours, it was gone in most places. … A couple farmers we spoke with said what people are smelling is most likely manure, or more specifically, turkey manure that’s being applied to fields. It was a warm day, 19 degrees above average, with a breeze, so that likely helped carry that smell from place to place.”

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The ducks are coming! Says Stribber Doug Smith, “An influx of migrant ducks in parts of Minnesota has boosted duck hunter success, and forecasted cooler weather could bring more waterfowl. ‘Quite a few divers have started showing up,’ said Curt Vacek, Department of Natural Resources area wildlife manager in the Appleton area. ‘We’ve had pretty good duck hunting in Big Stone County. The opener was good, and we’ve had a pulse of new birds — green-winged teal and some divers and mallards.’”

Though acquitted, he won’t be ministering. An AP story says: “The Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul has temporarily removed a priest from ministry after he was acquitted on sexual misconduct charges in December. Interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda made the announcement Tuesday about the Rev. Mark Huberty. A Ramsey County jury acquitted Huberty of criminal sexual conduct involving an adult female parishioner he was counseling. Since Huberty’s acquittal, his case was reviewed by a new ministerial review board. The board found sufficient evidence to suggest Huberty may have committed a serious offense under canon law and recommended proceedings to resolve the allegations.”

This one feels like it has been going on longer than “unrest in the Middle East.” The Forum News Service says, “North Dakota and Minnesota continue to duke out a dispute over coal-generated electricity in a Wednesday federal appeals court hearing. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, meeting in St. Paul, will hear Minnesota’s appeal after a Minnesota-based federal judge declared unconstitutional a Minnesota law that bans North Dakota-produced electricity unless it meets Minnesota emissions standards. The judge said the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that states cannot hinder interstate commerce.”

Weird in just about every way. Brandon Stahl of the Strib continues to follow the story of two missing Lakeville girls. “Three days after the arrest of the mother of two missing Lakeville girls, police say she has provided no information on where they are. … The investigation has uncovered numerous photographs taken since the girls’ disappearance that show Grazzini-Rucki and a boyfriend posing in different locations around the world, but none that show Samantha or Gianna, [Lakeville Police Lt. Jason Polinski] said. ‘She doesn’t at all seem to be concerned about where her kids are,’ Polinski said. ‘It’s just not normal.’”

Maybe they could do something “iconic” with this one, as the trendistas can‘t stop saying. Nick Ferraro of the PiPress says, “Plans for a new $140 million Interstate 35W bridge over the Minnesota River will be discussed at open houses presented next week by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Topic such as the project’s impact on traffic will be covered, and public comment will be accepted on such design components as pedestrian-bicycle connections and aesthetics.”

Hey, we’re among the Top 50. Jay Boller at City Pages relays the news that, “… there’s the matter of Bully. Helmed by Rosemount native Alicia Bognanno, the Nashville grunge-punk enterprise served as our state’s lone representative on Spin’s recent 50 Best Rock Band Right Now list, if we can even lay that claim. The methodology used to compile the list — solo rockers like Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile were excluded; nominal acts like Waxahatchee and Tame Impala were similarly nixed — is sort of wack, but Bully’s inclusion is enough to warm our conflicted flyover hearts.”