MPR’s Eric Ringham and Matt Sepic write: “Two days after an MPR News investigation detailed years of alleged mistreatment, sexualization and belittling of some women who worked for Garrison Keillor, the popular host blasted MPR leadership and said one victim ‘enjoyed the flirtation.’ ‘If I am guilty of harassment, then every employee who stole a pencil is guilty of embezzlement,’ Keillor said in a statement to MPR News. (Read the whole statement here.) He also shot back at a woman who accused Keillor of ‘dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents … over a period of years’ … Keillor declined requests for interviews. But on Wednesday, in an email to KARE 11 reporter and host Jana Shortal, Keillor said ‘the allegations are untrue … whatever flirtation occurred between the complainant and me was mutual, believe me.’ He added that ‘she enjoyed flirtation, as many people do.’”
Oops? The Strib’s Jessie Van Berkel writes: “The Minnesota Management and Budget department has failed to implement a required program that would reward state employees for cost-saving ideas, an auditor’s review found. The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released a report Thursday saying the department needs to add a mandated ‘gainsharing’ program. But Management and Budget officials called such a program unworkable.”
Guilty plea in MOA stabbing. WCCO reports: “Authorities say a 20-year-old Minneapolis man accused in a stabbing that put the Mall of America in lockdown back in November has pleaded guilty to charges. Mahad Abdiaziz Abdirahaman of Minneapolis was charged with two counts of first-degree assault in connection with the incident. The incident happened at about 6:44 p.m. on Nov. 12 as Bloomington police responded to a report of a stabbing. It started as a theft that was interrupted.”
Not that they’re rushing into things. WCCO-TV says, “The Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board voted Thursday to expand the list of crimes that would merit disciplinary action. The board unanimously approved the proposal, marking the first significant change to the standard code of conduct for police officers in more than 20 years. Three misdemeanors were added to the list of crimes that could warrant potential disciplinary action by the board. They are: misdemeanor fifth-degree assault, misdemeanor domestic assault and fourth-degree misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.”
Minnesota nice. In the PiPress Dave Orrick says, “An alleged smear campaign involving major Republican candidates for Minnesota governor has burst into social media — and apparently been squelched. Here’s how nasty it was: A fake Facebook account featured an accusation — with no evidence — that Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who’s running for governor, is a pedophile. … the fake Facebook account was created by a campaign staffer for former state representative and former Republican Party chairman Keith Downey, who’s also running for governor. Downey has disavowed the incident, calling the comment ‘disgusting.’”
Down. From the AP: A continued decrease in enrollment has caused most Minnesota State colleges and universities to lose money in the 2016-17 school year. Enrollment dropped for the sixth consecutive year in 2016-17, with full-time enrollment at nearly 132,000, down 17 percent since 2010-11, the Pioneer Press reported. Officials anticipate an additional 2 percent decrease this year. Officials attribute the enrollment decline to the state’s low unemployment rate and a declining number of young adults in the state.
Welcome to the 21st century. Tom Olsen for the Forum News Service says, “Minnesota’s high court will soon face a major decision on cameras in its district courtrooms. For the past two years, a pilot project has allowed news organizations to capture video and photographs inside some sentencing proceedings — and [David] Lillehaug and his fellow justices will soon decide whether to make that policy permanent.”
Even Minnesota is watching its water supply. Kirsti Marohn of MPR says, “Minnesota isn’t as far down the path of reusing water as other some states that have faced persistent droughts and water shortages, like California or Arizona. ‘We don’t often think about water being something that we have to consider being scarce in Minnesota’, said Jen Kader, program manager with the Freshwater Society. ‘Yet in some places, water resources are being drained faster than they’re being replenished’. … A growing population, increased irrigation and industries that use large amounts of water have depleted groundwater resources in some parts of Minnesota.”