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Franken: ‘I have a long way to go to win back the trust of the people of Minnesota’

Plus: Iron Range unemployment drops to 4 percent; northern Minnesota pastor becomes target of threats; two Minnesotans claim big Powerball winnings; and more.

Sen. Al Franken
MinnPost file photo by Jay Weiner

Franken emerges. For MPR Cathy Wurzer and Mark Zdechlik say: “A week-and-a-half after the first of four allegations of sexual misconduct against DFL Sen. Al Franken surfaced, Franken told MPR News he has felt shocked, embarrassed and ashamed but that he will not leave the Senate. ‘I’m going to do my job and I’m going to go forward. I’m going to take responsibility. I’m going to be held accountable and I’m going to try to be productive in the way I speak about this,’ Franken said he was taking responsibility for his behavior and that he has apologized to the women who have accused him. ‘I have been reflecting on this,’ the two-term senator said. ‘I want to be a better man.’”

At the Strib, Jennifer Brooks says: “Franken, who said he has posed for ‘tens of thousands of photos’ over the years, says he does not remember any that included his hand sliding down to cup women’s backsides, as several have alleged. …Franken said he has spent the past week ‘thinking about how that could happen and I just recognize that I need to be more careful and a lot more sensitive in these situations.’ Asked whether he expects any other women to step forward with similar groping allegations, Franken said: ‘If you had asked me two weeks ago, ‘Would any woman say I had treated her with disrespect?’ I would have said no. So this has just caught me by surprise.’”

With WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy, Franken said: “When asked if his credibility as a progressive bulldog has been undermined, he said: ‘Yes … I have a long way to go to win back the trust of the people of Minnesota.’ ‘I am just very sorry,’ he added. Franken said he would be back to work in Washington on Monday, with a focus on net neutrality.”

A bit of a turnaround. According to an AP story, “Unemployment rates on Minnesota‘s Iron Range reached their lowest point since the turn of the century, but the tight labor market is making it challenging for local businesses. Iron Range unemployment reached 4 percent in September, its lowest rate since 2000, on the heels of area mines gaining strength and solid performances in seasonal construction and tourism jobs, according to figures provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.”

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Fail. At the PiPress, Dave Orrick has a handy list of the ways that funky DVS computer system is, uh, fouling up. “Some dealers have taken to issuing a pair of 21-day temporary tabs when someone buys a new car — so the customers won’t have to reapply for a second one when the new ones don’t arrive on time. … If a computer operator makes a mistake, such as entering an incorrect VIN (17-character vehicle identification number) or misspelling a name, and if that error isn’t caught early on, it can’t be fixed — without canceling the entire transaction and starting over. There’s a point of no return in the data-entry portion that’s frustrating many involved, and causing delays.”

A pastor? The Forum News Service folks say, “The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help after threatening notes against a pastor and his family were left at a Tofte church in recent months. Zoar Lutheran Church on Lake Superior’s North Shore received its first threatening note Oct. 3. The second came soon after. The third note was posted to the church sign a few weeks ago. … . [Rev. Daren] Blanck said the church plans to lock the doors during all of its events unless somebody is attending the door.”

Get your rest somewhere else. Stribber Tim Harlow says, “The Goose Creek rest area on northbound I-35 near Harris, Minn., in Chisago County, has been closed for construction since summer, and Drive readers wonder when it’s going to reopen. Not until August or September 2018, said Rob Williams, MnDOT’s rest area program manager. … Others asked if MnDOT will ever replace the Lake Iverson rest area on eastbound I-94 near Fergus Falls. Prone to flooding due to its high water table, it has been closed since 2009. Williams said it will be replaced, but it may take until 2022.” You’ll just have to hold it until then.

Two winners. The Strib’s Paul Walsh writes: “Two Minnesotans have stepped up after striking it rich on Powerball drawings, lottery officials announced. First, Sobhi Elgharabawi of Maplewood won $1 million from the Powerball drawing on Nov. 18. He bought his winning ticket at the Robbinsdale Food Market at 4001 W. Broadway in Robbinsdale. …  On Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving, Jean Davis of Waverly checked in with lottery headquarters and claimed her $1 million Powerball prize from a drawing on Aug. 23. That’s the same drawing in which a $758 million jackpot, Powerball’s second-largest prize ever, was won in Massachusetts.”

At The Viking Age, a site about, you know, the Vikings, Adam Patrick reports, “During the recent Thanksgiving edition of NFL Gameday on the NFL Network, current NFL Media analyst and Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin was given the opportunity to revisit his preseason Super Bowl 52 prediction of the Cowboys (shocker) defeating the Raiders. Irvin scrapped both of the teams he picked in the preseason and instead decided to go with the Minnesota Vikings getting a Super Bowl win at home in U.S. Bank Stadium over the New England Patriots.” That’s all fine and good, but if you’re a life-long Minnesotan, you know our role is to expect only the worst.