Muskie vs. walleye fight heats up at Capitol

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Minnesota State Capitol

Pretty close to an “only in Minnesota” story. Says Dave Orrick in the PiPress, “Minnesota’s simmering civil war of game fish — muskies vs. walleyes — has flared up at the state Capitol. In response to a yearslong state effort to expand muskie stocking, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have proposed a sweeping bill that would turn back the clock on recent victories for muskie fishing enthusiasts. The proposal sides squarely with groups of walleye anglers and lake associations who for years have been leery of the muskellunge, the Department of Natural Resources, and, to some extent, those who fish for muskies, a larger, less-common cousin of northern pike. The bill would even allow spearing of muskies on some lakes, potentially re-opening an old wound within the fishing community.”

So he’s on equal footing with Jared Kushner? For the AP, Steve Karnowski tells us, “Minnesota’s elections chief says he’s been working closely with the Department of Homeland Security to protect the state’s balloting process from attack. Secretary of State Steve Simon even got a security clearance of ‘secret’ this month. It comes as concern grows about Russian targeting of America’s election infrastructure. … Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s new budget proposal includes $1.4 million for upgrading Minnesota’s 14-year-old voter registration system. It also includes $87,000 for software and hardware recommended by Homeland Security for the upcoming elections.”

Our modern world. Mary Divine of the PiPress writes, “In a laboratory near Interstate 35E and Minnesota 36, Abbott Laboratories employee Teresa Tollefson peers through a microscope, dips a Q-tip in Isopropyl alcohol and gently swabs a ring the size of a dime. First, she turns the microscope to its 7X setting. If she sees any anomalies in the pyrolytic carbon ring, she’ll bump up to 30X ‘for closer inspection,’ she said. Tollefson is helping build the world’s smallest pediatric mechanical heart valve for children with heart defects. Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the valve is the first deemed suitable for newborns and young infants. It is the smallest mechanical heart valve available commercially in the world.”

Want to live downtown? Jim Buchta of the Strib says, “A pair of high-rise apartment buildings in downtown Minneapolis aims to fill a residential gap between the tower-centric central business district and leafy Loring Park. Minneapolis-based Alatus is planning a 31-story tower with about 350 rentals called the 12th St. Tower at 228 S. 12th St. Two blocks away, Detroit-based City Club Apartments recently broke ground on a 17-story tower at 95 S. 10th St. with 307 units that’s being called City Club-CBD Minneapolis. Together, the buildings will bring hundreds of residents to the south end of Nicollet Mall, which has seen little residential development over the past 20 years. They’ll also bring much-needed commercial and retail space to that neighborhood.”

Gripping story from Sarah Horner in the PiPress. “Two years ago, Natalie Pollard was sentenced to spend the next decade of her life in prison. It meant the St. Paul woman would miss the early years of the son she gave birth to in jail after her conviction on charges that she unintentionally murdered her boyfriend in July 2015. But now Pollard gets to watch her son grow up. This past fall, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed her murder conviction, opening the door for Pollard’s recent guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter. … She said she swung a knife at her boyfriend, who she said had abused her previously, in self-defense on July 2, 2015. Pollard told investigators that [Obinna] Nwankpa showed up drunk to the townhouse she lived in with her children that day and she told him to leave. But he returned, broke in through a window, and began trying to fight her. She followed him to the basement, grabbing a knife along the way for protection, she said. She claimed Nwankpa came at her again, so she stabbed him.”

Likewise, a good read from Emily Flitter in The New York Times on a victorious Wells Fargo whistleblower. “After Duke Tran escaped from slavery, but before he became a millionaire, he was a Wells Fargo employee. … In 2014, according to Mr. Tran, his boss ordered him to lie to customers who were facing foreclosure. When Mr. Tran refused, he said, he was fired. He worried that he wouldn’t be able to make his monthly mortgage payments and that he was about to become homeless. Joining a cadre of former employees claiming they were mistreated for speaking out about problems at the bank, Mr. Tran sued. He argued in court filings that he had been fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on misconduct at the giant San Francisco-based bank. Mr. Tran said he didn’t want his job back — he wanted Wells Fargo to admit that it had been wrong to fire him and wrong to mislead customers who were facing foreclosure. It was a long shot. Banks generally are happy to reach private settlements, but loath to publicly admit wrongdoing, which can open them up to litigation. But Mr. Tran, who fled Vietnam as a teenager and then was enslaved by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, wasn’t daunted by long odds.”

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