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St. Olaf says racist note directed at student was a hoax

Plus: Paulsen calls for independent investigation into Russian interference; Forest Lake may not disband police department; Arctic Cat to shut down North Loop offices; and more.

Holland Hall, St. Olaf College

Red meat for talk radio. Says Jennifer Brooks and Paul Walsh at the Strib, “A racist threat against a St. Olaf student that touched off campuswide protests and forced the college to cancel classes earlier this month was a hoax, the school revealed Wednesday. A student confessed to writing the note, St. Olaf President David R. Anderson wrote in a message to students. The threat — an anonymous, typewritten note — was ‘fabricated,’ he said, as an apparent ‘strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.’

$5 million measles. The WCCO-TV story on the outbreak says, “Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger has requested the legislature create a public health response contingency fund to help battle infectious disease outbreaks. On Wednesday, Ehlinger released a statement regarding an immediate need for an emergency fund, citing the recent response to a series of infectious disease outbreaks. … Ehlinger is requesting the legislature create a public health response contingency fund of $5 million to ‘to ensure sufficient resources are available for immediate, life-saving actions to protect Minnesotans from infectious disease outbreaks and other unanticipated public health threats.’”

But dead men don’t pay taxes, do they? Iris Perez at KMSP-TV says, “It’s only been three weeks since Fox 9 brought you the story of Adam Ronning, the Minnesota man who the IRS falsely declared dead for 29 years. Tuesday, thanks to Senator Amy Klobuchar, Ronning received the news he’s waited decades to hear – the issue has been rectified. ‘This was an absurd situation. This constituent was declared dead by the government when he wasn’t. It doesn’t get much worse than that,’ the Senator wrote to Fox 9 in a statement shortly after her office delivered the news.”

Hmmmm. Is someone feeling the shifting tide in his district? The AP reports, “Minnesota GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen is calling for an independent investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election following President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. Paulsen is the only Republican in Minnesota’s delegation to do so. In a statement, he says the Comey firing amidst the investigation into Russian meddling is ‘extraordinary.’ Paulsen says it calls for an independent investigation that American people can trust. Paulsen faces a difficult re-election fight in a swing district in Minneapolis’ western suburbs.” 

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I’d go for 50. Stribber Stephen Montemayor reports: “A drug kingpin whose organization trafficked large quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription narcotics through two Minnesota Indian reservations was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in federal prison. Omar Sharif Beasley, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in December 2015 and admitted to leading a distribution network that funneled drugs from Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis to communities in and near the Red Lake and White Earth Indian reservations.”

Not dead yet. The PiPress Nick Woltman writes: “The Forest Lake Police Department might not be dissolved after all. Two days after the city council voted to disband the 25-person department and contract with the Washington County sheriff’s office for law enforcement services, Forest Lake officials reached a tentative agreement with the union representing its officers to keep the department operating through at least 2019, according to a news release issued late Wednesday night by Forest Lake. The contract must still be approved by the city council and by the union’s members, which include the department’s patrol officers and sergeants.”

So much for artisanal snow machines. Nicole Norfleet of the Strib writes, “Less than a year after recreational vehicle maker Arctic Cat opened a modern headquarters in the North Loop of Minneapolis, the company’s new owner has decided to close the office. Textron Inc. announced in January that it would purchase Arctic Cat in a $247 million deal. On Tuesday, Rhode Island-based Textron notified Arctic Cat employees that it would close the offices at 500 N. 3rd St. by the end of the year. Most of the 60 employees who currently work there will have the opportunity to gradually transition to the company’s St. Cloud campus … .” North Loop to St. Cloud. That’s a bummer, man.

For Midwest Energy News Frank Jossi says this about the omnibus budget bill and alternative energy in Minnesota. “Clean energy and environmental advocates are concerned that several provisions in a Minnesota Jobs and Energy Omnibus bill would remove regulatory oversight of programs, shift power from experts to legislators and potentially kills jobs in a growing sector. … .”

You might be able to help. Kirsti Marohn at MPR says, “The Minnesota State Fire Marshal is asking for the public’s help in solving a series of church arson fires going back five years. According to the fire marshal, 13 churches in eight Minnesota communities have been intentionally set on fire since 2012. That includes last year’s blaze that caused millions of dollars in damage to the 118-year-old St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Melrose, as well as the historic Darling Church near Little Falls that was destroyed in March.”