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Nekima Levy-Pounds to run for mayor of Minneapolis

Plus: three men sentenced for conspiring to support ISIS; election-related hate speech found at Duluth schools; why Itasca County went Republican; saving Minnesota’s rare orchids; and more.

Nekima Levy-Pounds
MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig

This will be fun. MPR’s Cody Nelson reports, “Nekima Levy-Pounds, an attorney and prominent civil-rights activist, said Monday night that she will run for mayor of Minneapolis. The outgoing Minneapolis NAACP president says her campaign will focus on racial disparities, particularly on the unemployment and underemployment rates, as well as an ‘overhaul’ of the criminal justice system. ‘There are many people who share my discontent with the current administration and we are ready to see a paradigm shift in the city,’ she said. ‘I think that I can help deliver that paradigm shift.’ While Levy-Pounds said she will run as a Democrat in the 2017 election, she hasn’t decided whether to seek the DFL’s official endorsement.” Wait, are they saying there still is a Democratic party?

David Montgomery of the PiPress digs into the reasons for MNsure’s problems. “It’s perfectly normal in health care to have a small number of people account for a large majority of the cost. Just one person with cancer can cost far more in a year than hundreds of healthy people who just get routine checkups. In Minnesota, for example, the most expensive 20 percent of the population paid about 83 percent of total costs, a 2014 study by the Minnesota Department of Health found — a typical figure for the U.S. The most expensive 2 percent alone accounted for 24 percent of spending. But Minnesota’s individual market takes this into overdrive. Just 2.2 percent of the roughly 267,000 Minnesotans on the individual market in 2015 caused almost 50 percent of health costs, a Department of Commerce study found.” Right. So you kill it and send them back to the emergency room. Problem solved!

Bob covered Leonard. Ross Raihala of the PiPress says, “Dylan was probably the first and debuted his own version of it in a July 1988 concert in Montreal. ‘That song ‘Hallelujah’ has resonance for me,’ Dylan told the New Yorker last month. ‘It’s a beautifully constructed melody that steps up, evolves, and slips back, all in quick time. But this song has a connective chorus, which when it comes in has a power all of its own. The ‘secret chord’ and the point-blank I-know-you-better-than-you-know-yourself aspect of the song has plenty of resonance for me.’” Has Bob ever covered “Everybody Knows”?

As for all the sentencing for the Minnesota “terror cell” handed down yesterday, Timothy Mclaughlin at Reuters says, “Three Somali-American men from Minnesota were sentenced on Monday for conspiring to support the Islamic State militant group in Syria in 2014 and early 2015, the Department of Justice said. The three are part of a larger group of nine men who will be sentenced in Minnesota this week for their attempts to aid Islamic State, which holds territory in Iraq and Syria. The group has sympathizers and recruits around the world who have carried out shootings and bombings of civilians. … Zacharia Yusuf Adburahman, 21, received a 10-year sentence, the harshest handed down on Monday.”

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He’s in … and good luck. Says Adam Kelsey for ABC News, “Rep. Keith Ellison formally announced his candidacy for chair of the Democratic National Committee today, an expected move by the Minnesota congressman who, with the support of several prominent Democrats, is considered to be the front-runner for the position.”

This is completely understandable. Says Paul Walsh for the Strib, “A day after Americans voted for president, a motorist who allegedly was extremely drunk rammed into two vehicles stopped at a traffic signal in Lino Lakes, Minn., and explained to police afterward that she was drinking to drown her sorrows over Donald Trump’s victory, authorities said.”

Next time she may be stopping here. Jess Fleming of the PiPress says, “The Stone Saloon, the historic house on Smith Avenue that is being restored to its historic function as a German lager house, officially has begun construction. The Anthony Waldman House, which was initially built in 1857, is located on Smith Avenue between West Seventh Street and the High Bridge. One of the oldest still-standing structures in the city, the house has been a private residence most recently. Owner Tom Schroeder purchased the building in 2008. The historic building, which is being painstakingly restored, will serve as the taproom and restaurant.”  

No doubt “both sides are equally guilty.” In the Duluth News Tribune, Jana Hollingsworth writes, “Duluth school district teachers will talk with students this week about diversity and tolerance following reports of election-related hate speech coming from several schools, including East and Denfeld high schools. Last week racist and homophobic graffiti was discovered in a girls’ bathroom stall at Denfeld, and some East students were targeted by another East student with racist speech on social media. The Denfeld graffiti and the comments made on Facebook both made reference to President-elect Donald Trump.

Out of business … for four and a half months. In the PiPress, John Autey reports, “The Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul is now operating while under construction, but it will be closed from Dec. 5 until its $30 million renovation and expansion is completed in mid-April. The museum currently has four exhibits, as well as satellite locations at the Mall of America and in Rochester. When the museum reopens in the spring, it will have a different layout and 10 new exhibits, along with a cafe and coffee bar, more bathrooms and elevators, officials say.”

Want to know why Itasca County went Republican?  An MPR story says, “ ‘The way of life that folks have in rural Minnesota has been under attack,’ said Gary Cerkvenik, a former DFL lobbyist. ‘We live in an area that’s heavily dependent on logging, on mining, and when you have a situation like KeeTac, a major taconite plant in Itasca County which was shutdown primarily as a result of foreign imports of steel. When you have a paper mill in Grand Rapids is substantially below where it was 20 years ago in terms of employment. When the new taconite plant at Essar went into bankruptcy. … You have this cascading economic impact for people who work with their hands,’ in the mines and in the woods he added.’ I get it. They want to be great again.

Here’s something to cleanse your head. Dan Kraker of MPR reports, “Finding the rattlesnake plantain seed was a vital step in [David] Remucal’s quest to save it and other rare orchids native to Minnesota. His goal is to build a seed bank of all 48 orchids in the state, including the showy lady’s-slipper, Minnesota’s state flower. It’s part of a broader effort led by the Smithsonian Institution to bank the genetics of the more than 200 orchids in North America — more than half of which are endangered — before they’re gone. Researchers often describe orchids as the plant equivalent of the canary in the coal mine: Their deaths can be a warning of environmental changes likely to be exacerbated by climate change.”

Hey! It’s an explanation. Not a good one. But an explanation. Barry Amundson of the Forum News Service reports on a guy arrested for exposing himself … in a library. “ … a 19-year-old woman had been sitting at a library table Oct. 11 when 34-year-old Jesus Gabriel Rivera approached her. … Rivera left for a few minutes, then came back to stand next to her and she realized his pants were unzipped and he was exposing his genitals, the charges say. In talking to police he denied exposing himself, telling officers he did not think surveillance cameras would show that happening, though he may have inadvertently forgotten to zip his pants up after using the restroom.”