Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Dayton gets earful over controversial mining project

Plus: Vikings’  Everson Griffen expected be away from the team for the foreseeable future; Minnesota’s only solar panel factory opens; judge clears Macalester College of wrongdoing over firing of faculty member; and more.

Gov. Mark Dayton
MinnPost photo by Erin Hinrichs

Says Dan Kraker for MPR, “Gov. Mark Dayton heard many choice words — and delivered a few, too — Monday night during a town hall meeting on the Iron Range about a contentious mining project near Nashwauk where two companies are locked in a power struggle over the former Essar Steel site. Mesabi Metallics won the bidding last summer in bankruptcy court to take control of the Essar Steel site, beating out Cleveland Cliffs, which already runs three taconite operations in Minnesota. Many locals, though, remain loyal to Cliffs, one of the Iron Range’s largest employers, and don’t trust the upstart Mesabi Metallics to deliver.”

For the PiPress John Shipley and Chris Thomasson report, “Hospitalized on Saturday evening, [Viking Everson] Griffen will be away from the team for the foreseeable future. After the Vikings requested a welfare check by Minnetrista police Saturday, Griffen was taken to a hospital and placed on a health and welfare hold, the end of a long day that started with Griffen being turned away from practice. … It’s unclear whether the Vikings expect him back at all this season.”

Article continues after advertisement

Also from MPR’s Kraker: “Mountain Iron, Minn., bills itself as the ‘taconite capital of the world.’ It’s home to Minntac, the nation’s largest iron ore mine. Now the town of fewer than 3,000 has something else to boast about: the opening of the state’s only solar panel factory, and the first to open in the U.S. in 2018. Heliene opened its first solar panel plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, eight years ago. Now, it’s investing more than $18 million to get a 25,000 square foot factory up and running on the Iron Range, after another manufacturer abandoned it last year.”

Says Erin Golden in the Strib, “For some Minnesota school districts, the evidence of a particularly tough round of budget cutting is hard to miss this fall. Forest Lake has fewer teachers, a shuttered elementary school and higher fees for parking and sports events. Robbinsdale’s class sizes are larger while Burnsville has fewer teachers and staff members. Other districts, such as Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan, patched multimillion-dollar budget gaps with money from reserve funds, but are now warning their communities that bigger shortfalls could loom on the horizon. Around the state, dozens of districts are beginning a new school year amid some of the toughest financial circumstances they’ve faced in recent years.”

This from KSTP-TV: “With last winter lasting until April, snow may be the last word Minnesotans want to hear. But flakes may begin to fall sooner than later in northern Minnesota, according to KSTP Chief Meteorologist Dave Dahl. Dahl said the Arrowhead could see a light dusting as soon as Thursday evening. Whatever falls is not expected to accumulate. Snow in September is not uncommon, but there are usually only trace amounts, according to Dahl. During the month of October, Minnesota usually averages 3 inches of snow, Dahl said.”

Also in the Strib, Glenn Howatt reports, “A nationwide shortage of EpiPens has Minnesota families and pharmacies scrambling to obtain the lifesaving medication devices, which are often the only option for people having severe allergic reactions. The shortage is one of several that have hit the nation’s drug market recently, including a new shingles vaccine, prompting federal lawmakers to call for the government to address gaps in pharmaceutical manufacturing.”

The Forum News Service has more on a story from Monday. “A 25-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder after police say he shot his roommate multiple times before burying him in a 10-foot pit last week in west-central Minnesota. Jordan Jerome Dalman is being held in the Otter Tail County Jail on a $1 million bond. Dalman, along with his parents, told the Otter Tail County sheriff’s office on Friday about an incident at his home north of Pelican Rapids. Dalman told deputies his roommate died during a fight between the two. He said he buried his roommate’s body in a pit behind the house. According to criminal charges filed Monday, an entire pickup truck was also buried in the pit.

A PiPress story by Josh Verges says, “A judge has cleared Macalester College of wrongdoing after it fired a faculty member for having sex with a recent graduate. Kristin Naca, an assistant professor of poetry, sued the college in 2016 in U.S. District Court on dozens of counts related to discrimination, hostile work environment and disability accommodations. U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz last week rejected the final remaining claims and dismissed the case at Macalester’s request. … Naca was being considered for tenure in 2015 when the college solicited input from her former students. In response, a 2014 graduate came forward to accuse Naca of initiating a sexual relationship with her.