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Vatican quashed investigation into possible misconduct by Archbishop Nienstedt

Archbishop John NienstedtArchbishop John Nienstedt

On our Archdiocese and the Vatican, Laurie Goodstein and Richard Perez-Pena of The New York Times write: “The Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States quashed an independent investigation in 2014 into sexual and possible criminal misconduct by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis and ordered church officials to destroy a letter they wrote to him protesting the decision, according to a memo made public on Wednesday. The detailed memo was written by an outraged priest, the Rev. Dan Griffith, who was working in the top ranks of the archdiocese and was the liaison to the lawyers conducting the inquiry. He wrote that the ambassador’s order to call off the investigation and destroy evidence amounted to ‘a good old fashioned cover-up to preserve power and avoid scandal.’”

In the Strib, Jean Hopfensperger says, “One of those leads involved a ‘social relationship’ between Nienstedt and the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer, a St. Paul priest convicted in 2013 of sexually abusing the sons of a church employee. … ‘As you know, the case of Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer has garnered much media attention, including red flags missed by the Archdiocese and the subsequent abuse of two minor boys,’ wrote Griffith. ‘What is not known by the press, the public or many in archdiocesan leadership is that the evidence suggests Archbishop Nienstedt had an ongoing social relationship with Fr. Wehmeyer … .’”

We have a new leader. Says Maura Lerner in the Strib, “Erma Vizenor, former chairwoman of the White Earth Tribal Council, has been named president of Leech Lake Tribal College in Cass Lake. For the past two years, Vizenor has been a member of the board of trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. But she notified Gov. Mark Dayton this week that she was resigning from her six-year term to take on her new role.”

Only 49. Nancy Ngo of the PiPress says, “Matt Lokowich, co-owner of the Bulldog restaurants in St. Paul’s Lowertown and in downtown Minneapolis and its Uptown neighborhood, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend at age 49. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, Lokowich died ‘peacefully in his sleep’ Saturday.”

So what is PiPresser John Shipley’s assessment of your billion dollar football palace? “There it was, claiming its spot on the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis, ignorantly conspicuous, like a colossal toad sunning itself in the mud. Virtually complete and three days from a Friday ribbon-cutting ceremony, U.S. Bank Stadium is, as they say, what it is. It will not grow beautiful with age. But a long walk through its innards on Tuesday revealed ingenuity, creativity and a lot of money spent to make the Metrodome’s successor the finest, if not largest, in the NFL.”

Meanwhile, out in the garden paradise of the Upper Midwest, Tom Cherveny of the Forum News Service says, “George Frink knew the value of Montevideo’s location at the confluence of the Chippewa and Minnesota Rivers when he looked over the scene from a hill in 1867 and named the community he founded. Frink was a johnny-come-lately. For the past several weeks, a team of archaeologists has been excavating an area about the size of a one-car garage, and in the process uncovering the story of the first peoples to know the value of the location where the rivers meet.”

As Randy Moss used to say, “Straight cash, homie.” Stribber Paul Walsh says, “Twins star Joe Mauer has paid cash for a $6.2 million home on Lake Minnetonka, according to property records. The house on 3.1 acres has 115 feet of shoreline on the south side of Wayzata Bay in Woodland. The sale of the 6,700-square-foot home went through in mid-June … .” It’s nice of Paul to still refer to Joe as a “star.”

What is that whining noise? MPR’s Matt Sepic says, “Leaders of the Minneapolis and St. Paul police unions say Twin Cities teachers unions showed ‘blatant disrespect for law enforcement’ by protesting the killing of Philando Castile in downtown Minneapolis during Tuesday rush hour. Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll and his St. Paul counterpart Dave Titus said in a statement Wednesday that quick judgement breeds distrust of police and has led to violence against law enforcement, alluding to deaths of officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas.”

Janet Moore of the Strib writes, “A potential change in the way taxicabs operate at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport drew a passionate, and occasionally testy, response from drivers who say the overhaul could thwart their ability to earn a living. At least 200 cabbies attended a public hearing Wednesday night at the Embassy Suites hotel in Bloomington to protest the measure, which is intended to level the playing field with ride-sharing services such as UberX and Lyft.” When all you want is a ride home at 1 in the morning and one guy wants $50 and the other wants $22, who do you ride with?

Fight every ticket. Also from Mr. Walsh: “Charges have been dropped against two drivers among the 12 accused of topping 100 miles per hour in a pack of exotic cars on a wild weekend ride in the west metro this spring, making them the first to avoid conviction. The prosecution is saying that the inability to prove who was actually behind the wheel is what forced court hearings to be canceled this week for Gholam Hossein Vatanioskooi, 56, of Victoria, and Alfredo Santiago, 37, of Andover.”

The first Vikings had to have had an easier time getting here. Says Tim Harlow in the Strib, “The world’s largest Viking ship has raised enough money to continue its journey to Chicago, after more than a week of worry that it would have to turn around and head home to Norway. But the fate of the Draken Harald Hårfagre’s scheduled stops at tall ships festivals in Green Bay and Duluth was still uncertain.”

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/21/2016 - 08:03 am.

    U.S. Bank Stadium observation

    “It will not grow beautiful with age. ”

    {snort!} Now THAT’S the understatement of the century!

    • Submitted by Nicky Noel on 07/21/2016 - 09:13 am.


      Will it even age?? Judging by the rate we replace stadiums… It’s not like we’re building the Coliseum.

      When we replace it in 30 years, it will look slightly dated, but will still be a sign of architectural risk-taking and the willingness we have in Minneapolis to push boundaries! I hate that the public footed so much of the bill, but I think the design is quite beautiful.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/21/2016 - 10:20 am.


        I also liked another descriptive passage in the article, “like a colossal toad sunning itself in the mud”. Spot on!

        I don’t get to downtown Minneapolis much, but was there with a friend a few months back, and I was stunned by how oppressive that looming dark presence felt as we neared it. And we were actually a couple blocks away!

        No – “beautiful” is NOT a term I would apply to that billion dollar boondoggle!

      • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 07/21/2016 - 10:31 am.


        “.. architectural risk-taking and the willingness we have in Minneapolis to push boundaries…”

        Risk taking, pushing boundaries? Is that what its called? That stadium is the ugliest thing I’ve seen in any city that I’ve ever been in and I’ve been in most of the major cities in the world. From what vantage point is it beautiful? I’ve seen it from the southeast approaching on the Hiawatha bike trial, I’ve seen it from the north, from the south and from the west and none of what I see is beautiful. Taken in with the city skyline as a whole it can only be described as was aptly stated in the article: A toad sunning itself in the mud.

        • Submitted by Nicky Noel on 07/21/2016 - 12:38 pm.

          I feel you!

          At the very least, I appreciate that the design has a visceral reaction that almost parallels the response to the use of public funds! “Ugliest thing” indeed.

          To me, it harkens to the Minneapolis Central Library, the Walker Art Center, the Capella Tower, and other examples of Minneapolis pioneering design. I like brutalist architecture, and the stadium is like a 21st-century adaptation. My only complaint about the design is that it is excessively large. I think that a similar but smaller design would have fit better into our skyline, as well as better represented the modest yet progressive culture of Minnesota.

        • Submitted by Nicky Noel on 07/21/2016 - 12:43 pm.


          The black faces are over-the-top. From the renderings, I assumed it would be brushed steel, a brilliant homage to the Iron Range.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/21/2016 - 11:13 am.

    The stadium and the star

    Personally, I think of the stadium as a gigantic piece of public art. I don’t like the public having to pay a major portion of the cost of construction for a for a building intended for private gain – yet another of far too many instances of socializing the costs while privatizing the profits – and I should make clear that it’s not a piece of art that I especially admire (I think in terms of “cockroach” rather than “toad”), but it does, I think, represent some architectural risk-taking and pushing of boundaries, even if I’m not especially fond of the result.

    I agree that it seems unlikely to become more beautiful with age, and given that it’s covered with glass, I suspect durability will be a major issue over time, but like it or not, and I don’t, particularly, it’s certainly a distinctive building. My guess is that, for Mr. Wilf, the value of that distinctiveness far outweighs any negative aesthetic judgments the public might have.

    I also agree that it was a nice favor of Paul Walsh to refer to Joe Mauer as “a star.” Even more of a favor to refer to a 6,700-square-foot structure on Lake Minnetonka as a “home.” As is usually the case with such things, “palace” or “trophy” or “display of wealth” seem far more appropriate terms. It’s 3 times the size that Joe, Mrs. Mauer and their children need to live comfortably, but of course, showing off is more the mode of the 1%, especially when they’re professional athletes. Paying cash for the structure simply confirms that it’s a fine local example of conspicuous consumption. Thorstein Veblen would recognize it right away.

  3. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/21/2016 - 11:19 am.

    Once more I’ll remind Minn Post readers that Bob Kroll felt no need to wait for the investigation into the Jamar Clark shooting to be completed. Based on word from the officer’s attorney (who is ethically bound to represent his client and is therefore not unbiased), Kroll pronounced the involved officers clear of all charges.

    Why the epiphany, Mr. Kroll?

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