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House Speaker Kurt Daudt’s driving record under scrutiny

Plus: Minneapolis police say they were not ordered to ‘stand down’ during Trump protest; work on St. Croix bridge resumes after delay; Pioneer Press creates State Fair medallion hunt; and more.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

The Speaker and cars seem to be an interesting mix. J. Patrick Coolican of the Strib says, “While on his way to St. Paul for a meeting with the governor last January, House Speaker Kurt Daudt rear-ended a van on a two-lane county road in Isanti County … The crash marked the latest in a long line of driving-related maladies for Daudt, the highest-ranking Republican in the state. In recent years, Daudt has been cited with four moving violations and two license suspensions for failure to pay fines in Minnesota. … all since joining the Legislature in 2010.” Pal, one word: “Uber.”

In campaign(ish) news, Brian Bakst at MPR writes: “Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is long gone from Minnesota after a brief fundraising stop, but his supporters are still fuming over confrontations involving protesters and party donors as Friday’s event let out. State Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey, who wasn’t at the Minneapolis Convention Center, denounced the treatment of fundraiser attendees who said they were spit on, jostled and otherwise verbally accosted as they arrived or departed. Downey wrote to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges on Monday demanding an accounting of city planning for the expected protests and why police didn’t do more to step in.” But you know, everything’s rigged.

Our own Benghazi? Libor Jany of the Strib says, “Minneapolis police officials on Monday denied charges that their officers were ordered to ‘stand down’ during protests last week outside a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that produced a few tense moments, but no arrests. Police didn’t report any serious injuries or property damage at the private function at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday night … .” There’s something in Hillary’s e-mails about this. I just know it.

And over a the Strib editorial board they’re saying this: “This page has been blunt in calling out the behavior of some Trump supporters at rallies … as well as the behavior of the candidate himself, who has been only too happy at some rallies to instigate thuggish behavior, even urging supporters to throw out protesters. None of that excuses what happened Friday night.”

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You gotta have the right tools. Mary Divine of the PiPress reports, “Work on Pier 4 of the new St. Croix River bridge, stalled last week because of an equipment problem, resumed over the weekend, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation said Monday. Work resumed Saturday after crews brought in a smaller jack to tighten the pier’s support cables, said Kristin Calliguri, a spokeswoman for MnDOT. The jack that contractor Lunda/Ames originally planned to use did not fit in the space available, Calliguri said.”  

Stribber Pam Louwagie is in Watkins, which is dealing with the killing of 5-year-old Alayna Ertl. “It’s unfathomable to people in this stoplight-free town of fewer than 1,000 residents that the girl could end up the victim of a homicide. Unfathomable that the accused perpetrator is a man her family considered a friend, a man whom many in town came to recognize as he spent Friday nights this summer playing softball on Alayna’s dad’s team and tipping back a few drinks in the local bars.”

A Treasure Hunt? What is this a hot January? Says Richard Chin for the PiPress, “A treasure hunt without snow shovels? It’s true. This year the St. Paul Pioneer Press is sponsoring a summertime hunt at the Minnesota State Fair. You don’t have to find a hidden medallion. You just need to solve a clue and submit a picture. Each day of the Fair, a clue will be released at 10 a.m. at and then on Pioneer Press social channels challenging hunters to locate a landmark or have some fun performing a task on the fairgrounds. …” Ok. We start with, “Eat six pounds of cheese curds. Ride giant sling shot. Take selfie.”

Talking “density” in Arden Hills. Says David Peterson of the Strib, “Minneapolis-based development firm Alatus LLC envisions 250 fewer single-family homes than called for in the city’s master plan — and as many as 795 more apartments and condos. ‘You realize you’ve bypassed Minneapolis and St. Paul at this point for overall density,’ Mayor David Grant told senior members of the development team on Monday night. Alatus chief Bob Lux responded that the quest is for vitality — ‘a place where the streets aren’t empty, but have people on them,’ he said.” Do even the suburbs want more suburbia?

Well, I’m sure he saw this coming, then. Christopher Magan of the PiPress reports, “The new director of a troubled Woodbury charter school took a payout to leave his last administrative job and moonlights as a psychic. Bert Strassburg has been named interim director of Woodbury Leadership Academy by the school board. Strassburg is also part of 2 Guys In The Know, a psychic, medium and spiritual healing service located in Garrison, Minn.”

They’re throwing in the sooty towel. Don Davis of the Forum News Service says, “Minnesota will not appeal a federal court ruling that called unconstitutional a Minnesota law restricting importing electricity from coal-fired electric generating plants. North Dakota filed the suit against the Minnesota Next Generation Energy Act, passed in 2007, and won in a federal district court. A federal appeals court panel in June agreed with the district court, leaving the U.S. Supreme Court the only opportunity for Minnesota to win.”

Kinda related. The AP story says, “The FBI has been called to investigate a laser beam allegedly being aimed at the cockpit of an airplane that was doing surveillance of an ongoing oil pipeline protest in southern North Dakota. Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey says the alleged incident happened over the weekend. She did not immediately know which agency was flying the state plane. She said no one was hurt and there was no damage. No arrests were immediately made.”

Sally Jo Sorensen is still following the Islamophobia tour. At her blog, Bluestem Prairie she writes, “According to his calendar on The Straight Way Ministry, anti-Islam extremist pastor Usama Dakdok will return to Greater Minnesota’s Islamophobic speaking circuit in September and October. Dakdok compares Allah to Satan and calls Muslims ‘demons.‘ … The Egyptian-born Christian will speak to a closed meeting in Brimson, a tiny town in St. Louis County on September 20, according to the schedule. … On Friday, September 30, Dakdok will have a return appearance at the Granite City Baptist Church in St. Cloud; the topic of his talk is ‘Revealing the Truth about the Jihad and Terrorism of Islam.‘” Is there any place other than Hugo’s Bar in Brimson?