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St. Paul officer who posted ‘run them over’ message resigns

Plus: BNSF to cut Minnesota spending; new website tracks infrastructure data; U of M scientists discover possible improvement for HIV treatment; and more.

Creative Commons/Tony Webster

He’s out. The Pioneer Press’s Mara H. Gottfried writes: “A St. Paul police sergeant resigned Wednesday after he apologized last month for posting on Facebook ‘Run them over’ in advance of a Black Lives Matter St. Paul march. An internal affairs investigation into Sgt. Jeffrey Rothecker was completed, but his resignation stopped the process, said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman. He said there is no public information because a final disposition had not been reached. Rothecker had been on paid administrative leave since the complaint was filed.”

Supposedly there are 200 more teachers good to go on the portfolio credentialing system. Says Christopher Magan at the Pioneer Press, “Created in 2004, licensing by portfolio allows teachers to prove their qualifications by providing examples of education and work experience. The state Department of Education and the state Board of Teaching face a lawsuit and a legislative order to reopen the system that was abandoned in 2012. If all the interested candidates submit applications, the Education Department would have more than 400 portfolios to review … .”

It hasn’t opened, but it’s already a trendsetter. Says Ben Goessling for ESPN, “The roof of the new $1.1 billion facility in downtown Minneapolis, which is designed to let in natural light, keep away snowdrifts and sunburn and make one of the NFL’s coldest outposts feel like it’s open to the outdoors — without being exposed to the elements. … The stadium’s roof has already been featured in Popular Mechanics. It also is on the forefront of a new trend; the Atlanta Falcons’ new stadium will have ETFE on the roof, and HKS, the architect that designed U.S. Bank Stadium, also included an ETFE canopy in plans for the Los Angeles Rams’ new stadium.” I’m positively swelling with pride.

Come on, Gov, where’s the upbeat messaging? Rachel Stassen-Berger of the PiPress reports, “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a stalwart of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, said Wednesday that he is unsure if she will do well when Minnesota Democrats caucus on March 1.  ‘It it were a primary, I’d say Secretary Clinton would win a decisive victory,’ Dayton said. ‘But caucuses are a whole different creature. … So, I can’t predict.’”

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Warren Buffett is cutting back in Minnesota. Says Paul Walsh in the Strib, “BNSF Railway said Wednesday it will reduce its capital spending in Minnesota this year by 60 percent, part of a reduction nationwide that reflects softening demand for freight service. The company, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said it expects to spend $130 million this year on maintenance and rail upgrades in the state. BNSF intends to carry out more than 360 miles of track surfacing and undercutting work, replace roughly 70 miles of rail and about 375,000 ties, as well as upgrade signals. A spokeswoman for the railroad said the lower amount stems in part from fewer projects in the state after heavy spending and work in recent years. She also said demand ‘has softened’ among BNSF’s energy, steel and agriculture customers.”

Milo not feeling so much love. Says Maura Lerner for the Strib, “Stephanie Taylor admits that she’d never even heard of the guy a week ago. But on Wednesday night, she’s planning to lead a protest at the University of Minnesota against a conservative pundit named Milo Yiannopoulos for spreading what she calls ‘hate speech.’ If all goes as expected, this will be the second campus protest in a week for Yiannopoulos, who was shouted down Feb. 9 at Rutgers University by activists smeared in fake blood. … In the past few months, he’s emerged as a YouTube star and culture warrior of the right, with withering criticisms of feminism and the stifling of free speech on American campuses. He readily admits that his message is provocative, deriding modern feminism as ‘a bitter, nasty, ugly, man-hating empty horror show.’

Kinda cool. Kinda depressing, too. The WCCO-TV story says, “The state collects a lot of data about bridges, roadways, water and even airports. But there has never been one place to see all this information — until now. The new Infrastructure Stress Transparency Tool is a one-stop website to get information about the age and safety of just about anything built and maintained by the state for public use.” Nothing here that $10 billion won’t cure.

Progress. Jeremy Olson in the Strib reports, “The ability of HIV to infect human cells and reprogram them into virus-making factories has frustrated efforts to combat the sexually transmitted infection for decades. But University of Minnesota scientists have discovered clues about this process of ‘viral replication’ that could improve treatment. Using X-rays to analyze an Avian virus that resembles HIV, the researchers tracked how the virus creates enzymes called integrase that attack healthy cells and infect them with their own genetic material.”

There goes their Final Four chances. WCCO-TV’s story says, “Senior guard Carlos Morris was dismissed from the University of Minnesota basketball team on Wednesday for conduct detrimental to the team, coach Richard Pitino said in a statement. According to the statement, Morris will remain on scholarship and have access to academic support services for the rest of the school year.” But, just so I’m clear, the team’s overall play is not detrimental … to the team?

34 years. The Forum News Service story says, “Dwayne Alan Case might have saved the life of his girlfriend Elizabeth Gregg had he gotten immediate medical help for her after firing a broadhead tipped arrow into her abdomen at a remote campsite in Renville County last June. … The prosecutor told the court that Gregg had made a fatal mistake on the day of her death by agreeing to accompany Case to the remote campsite near the Minnesota River. There was apparently no cellular telephone service and no one to hear any pleas for help, leaving her fate entirely in Case’s hands. There was a court order prohibiting contact between the two at the time, but authorities believe they had continued to see each other.”

The Strib is opposed to Medicaid estate recovery. “A report by the Duluth News Tribune recently spotlighted a troubling twist when it comes to Medicaid estate recovery. State officials are pursuing posthumous collection of traditional medical costs for newly eligible Medical Assistance enrollees between the ages of 55 and 65. This shortsighted practice is legal, but it should end as soon as possible.” Classy of them to credit the News Tribune.

This is new stuff, not leftovers. Anna Burleson in the Grand Forks Herald says, “There were two racks laden with Fighting Sioux clothing and trinkets Tuesday inside a gift shop at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, but that doesn’t mean UND will be using its old nickname again. The merchandise is part of the Dacotah Legacy Collection, which features merchandise bearing the school’s old Fighting Sioux logos that have been retired and replaced with the Fighting Hawks nickname, which was announced in November. UND must use the Fighting Sioux logo to retain the trademark that gives it the exclusive legal right to use it.”

Good luck with this. The West Central Tribune in Willmar has an editorial saying, “With a projected $1.2 billion surplus expected in 2016 and an even higher surplus forecast possible in early March, it does not appear logical to argue for additional cuts in the LGA program. In fact, we believe it imperative that all rural legislators — Democrat and Republican — stand strong in support of the LGA program. … A primary reason for such an increase is that all current LGA levels remain below 2002 levels, when LGA was reduced as a budget-balancing move by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Such an increase would bring LGA funding to about $565 million annually, a similar level to 15 years ago.” Hey, he had to look like a tax-cutter.

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It’s like a lake haboob. The Forum News Service notes a photo of “sea smoke” off Duluth harbor making National Geographic. “… taken last month by Duluth photographer Tim Mlodozyniec, [the shot] is among the ‘Daily Dozen’ favorite photos picked by editors of National Geographic on Wednesday. The dramatic image, taken from Skyline Parkway, shows the sea smoke on the morning of Jan. 19, towering over the bridge and Park Point. The brightly-lit Hockey Day Minnesota ice rink at Bayfront Festival Park also is visible.”