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Poll: 33 percent of Minnesotans say Franken should resign from U.S. Senate

Plus: state announces $26 million in grants for expanding high-speed internet access; zombie apocalypse assignment sparks controversy at Minnesota high school; FiveThirtyEight says Vikings have 90 percent chance of making the playoffs; and more.

Sen. Al Franken
MinnPost file photo by Jana Freiband

Ouch. A KSTP/Survey USA poll says, “In less than a week since sexual harassment allegations were leveled against Minnesota Senator Al Franken, his approval rating has plummeted and many Minnesotans say he should resign, according to an exclusive KSTP/SurveyUSA poll. In a poll conducted Monday night after allegations from a second woman were made public, only 22 percent of 600 Minnesotans surveyed said he should remain in office. Another 33 percent say he should resign, while 36 percent say he should wait for results of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.”

The booksellers are mostly sticking by him, though. At Publisher’s Weekly, Claire Kirch writes, “All Minnesota booksellers who responded to PW said they are taking a wait-and-see attitude with Franken and his book, which has been selling well in the state. ‘Giant of the Senate’ was also featured in this year’s Midwest Independent Booksellers Association holiday catalog, which recently was distributed to the 125 bookstore members of the organization. … ‘We’ve already had customers stop by and commiserate,’ said Judith Kissner, owner of Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge, Minn., which has sold 300 copies of Giant of the Senate. ‘I am stocking it as I would any other book, especially since it’s in our holiday catalog.’”

Inch by inch. An AP story says, “State officials have announced $26 million in grants to expand high-speed internet access in Greater Minnesota. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and the Department of Employment and Economic Development announced the 2017 Border-to-Border Broadband Grant recipients Tuesday. The latest grants go to 39 broadband infrastructure projects across Minnesota aimed at providing access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.” Someday it’ll be the 21st century everywhere in the state.

Cafeteria controversy. Says Tim Nelson at MPR, “Reports that school cafeteria workers are taking lunches from kids who can’t afford them has some children’s advocates calling for change. Jill Haggerty, a mother in Stewartville in southeastern Minnesota, said her kids in middle and high school reported seeing lunches taken from classmates and the food dumped in metal buckets in front of them earlier this month. … Haggerty said she got similar reports multiple times, and that a school food service worker confirmed the practice when she called. Haggerty called it ‘very disturbing.’”

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Kindergartners with guns. The AP reports: “A kindergartner from north central Wisconsin is among the first youngsters to bag a buck under the state’s new law that eliminates the state’s minimum hunting age. Six-year-old Lexie Harris is no stranger to the woods. Her dad, Tyler Harris, has taken her hunting since she was 3. But, it wasn’t until Gov. Scott Walker signed the law on Nov. 12 that Lexie could legally shoot a deer. Harris has taught his daughter how to shoot with a youth rifle and has attached a smartphone to the scope to make it easier to see her target.”

One benefit of the Wisconsin’s law: kids who are well-prepared for zombies: For the Forum News Service, Beth Leipholtz says: “A hypothetical zombie apocalypse is to blame for recent controversy at Parkers Prairie High School in west-central Minnesota. A teacher gave ninth-grade geography students an assignment that Principal Carey Johnson initially said is part of a nationally recognized curriculum called Zombie-Based Learning. One of the questions asked students to choose three people to sacrifice during a zombie apocalypse and explain why they were chosen. The assignment from teacher angered some parents of ninth-graders.”

Speaking of the apocalypse, FiveThirtyEight is talking about the Vikings’ playoff chances. Daniel Levitt writes, “The offensive resurgence has been led by a pair of players who could easily not even be in the league: Quarterback Case Keenum and wide receiver Adam Thielen both entered the NFL as undrafted free agents. Since Week 6, the two have been among the top players at their positions and have helped Minnesota reel off five straight wins to improve to 8-2. Minnesota now holds a 90 percent chance of making the postseason, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions.” As a lifelong fan, I’m trying to protect my sanity by taking the low expectations route.