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St. Paul Council Member Dai Thao facing criminal charges for helping woman cast ballot

St. Paul Council Member Dai Thao
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
St. Paul Council Member Dai Thao

Dai Thao's troubles. Says Sarah Horner in the PiPress, “St. Paul City Council member Dai Thao faces criminal charges for allegedly taking an elderly woman to a polling place in November and helping her cast her ballot, authorities say. Thao, who was running for mayor of St. Paul at the time, was charged Tuesday with unlawfully marking a ballot, misconduct in or near polling places, and unlawful assistance of a voter, according to the criminal complaint filed against him in Ramsey County District Court. The first charge is a gross misdemeanor. The other two are petty misdemeanors.”

Says Grace Pastoor of the Forum Service: “Nearly a year after the Bemidji, Minn., community discovered that Brandon Bjerknes had engaged in sexual conversations with his students, his victims and their families continue to suffer. One girl is currently in a state mental hospital due to multiple suicide attempts. At least two more have had to make trips to the emergency room after cutting themselves. Some have been bullied by other students. Some can’t trust boys or men. … The parents who spoke at the hearing described an ordeal that began even before Beltrami County law enforcement discovered that Bjerknes had spent three years posing as a teenager online, persuading more than 50 children to send him sexually explicit photos and text messages.”

It's almost like people don't like big banks or credit card companies. Here’s John McCormick at Bloomberg on the news that Tim Pawlenty quit his Washington job as the head of the Financial Services Roundtable. “His work for a group that lobbies for U.S. banks and insurance, asset management and credit card companies already is drawing criticism from political opponents. Pawlenty was paid $2.6 million in 2015, according to the group’s most recently available IRS filing. The Financial Services Roundtable is one of the largest advocacy groups for the industry and includes major bank and insurance executives on its board. The group, whose members include leading banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., and Bank of America Corp., strongly backed the tax overhaul signed into law in December as well as Republican efforts to dial back Wall Street regulation.”

Weird case. The Strib’s Libor Jany writes: “Murder charges were filed Tuesday against Ronald Bailey, who police say was seen on camera going into the northeast Minneapolis apartment of Riley B. Housley III before Housley was attacked on Jan. 21. Bailey was arrested Tuesday afternoon and was being held in Hennepin County jail in lieu of $1 million bail. Housley’s death, initially thought to have been accidental, was later ruled a homicide. Three homicide detectives were eventually assigned to the investigation.”

Can’t hurt. The St. Cloud Times Anna Haecherl writes: Three members of Minnesota's congressional delegation are asking Electrolux to reconsider its planned closure of its St. Cloud manufacturing facility. U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, along with Sixth District U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, sent a letter Thursday to Electrolux CEO Jonas Samuelson asking him to "reconsider your decision as soon as possible," according to a press release Tuesday from the International Association of Machinists.

One man. And a dream. Says a Forum News Service story, “A 40-year-old man is recovering this week after being injured after attempting to jump a homemade rocket bike off of his house roof in Willmar, in west-central Minnesota. According to a police report, the rocket bike consisted of a pair of skis, a bicycle frame and motorcycle exhaust pipe and was being fueled with Heet, an antifreeze product. The unidentified man fell approximately 13 feet and apparently hit a fence in the yard during the plunge. When rescue personnel arrived in the Friday incident, he was on his back on a sled, pushing himself around on the driveway with his feet. He was reportedly swearing and yelling about the pain, according to the report.”

It’s like Vegas, only with extra cheese and fries. A Fox 9 story says, “Who could have predicted the final score of a record-breaking Super Bowl? Well, a small restaurant in the small town of Lonsdale, Minnesota perfectly predicted the score…with burgers. Taste of Lonsdale held a Burger Battle in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. The New England burger is a maple-infused burger topped with bacon, grilled apple and cheddar. The Philly burger is stacked with cheesesteak ingredients like grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms and melty cheese. … It was a tight battle all week, but on Saturday, Feb. 3, the Philly burger edged the New England burger 16 to 7. The final score of 41-33 was posted at 9:56 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday – more than seven hours before kickoff.”

This was a genuinely smart move. Also from Fox 9: “The Super Bowl fans have mostly left the Twin Cities, but one Edina woman is learning that all those visitors left something wonderful behind: piles of winter weather gear. Nancy Killilea spent the day Tuesday visiting several hotels participating in her ‘Pass Your Parkas’ mission. Killilea came up with the idea late last week after seeing a Texas man post online that he had purchased warm boots for the Super Bowl that he would never wear again. … In the coming days, Killilea plans to count and sort all of the collected items. They will then be distributed to the homeless population through St. Stephen’s Human Services and House of Charity.”

Conservatives can’t get a break in this culture. Tad Vezner in the PiPress reports, “Several student groups at the University of Minnesota have worked for months with U police and administrators to bring well-known conservative commentator Ben Shapiro to campus for a speaking event. But they’re expressing disappointment for being relegated to a venue on the St. Paul campus, not the main campus in Minneapolis, and worry that fears of protests are denying them equal time and space for conservative views. …  Over a half-dozen venues were explored, Dibble said — and in the end they settled on the North Star Ballroom in the Student Center of the St. Paul campus, which is actually in Falcon Heights.” 

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Comments (1)

The left-behinds this wonderful woman from Edina

...is collecting appears to me to be the ONLY benefit an average Joe is going to get out of the Babylonian excesses of the Super Bowl.