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Majority of Minnesota voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of immigration

Plus: more than 1,000 students, teachers and staff gather for sit-in at St. Thomas; another record year of profits for state municipal liquor stores; electric buses to soon be on the streets of Duluth; and more.

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

MPR Mark Zdechlik reports: “Cracking down on immigration was a central theme of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign …. But many Minnesotans do not agree with Trump’s direction on immigration. Those divisions come clearly into focus in the latest MPR News/Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. The survey of 800 likely voters found 42 percent approve of Trump’s handling of immigration policy while 52 percent disapprove; 6 percent were unsure.”

From WCCO-TV: “Students at St. Paul’s University of St. Thomas are calling for change after a student woke up to racist message written on his dorm room door. A crowd of more than 1,000 students, teachers and staff members gathered Thursday afternoon at Anderson Student Center for a sit-in to support freshman Kevyn Perkins, the recipient of the racist message.”

Says Paul Walsh for the Strib, “Municipal liquor stores in Minnesota saw yet another record year of increased profitability in 2017, the year when Sunday sales took effect, according to a state report released Thursday. Municipal liquor sales for last year statewide were up from the 2016 by $4.5 million and totaled nearly $349 million, according to the State Auditor’s Office. That represents a 1.3 percent increase.”

Says Mikkel Pates for the Grand Forks Herald, “Both the grain elevator general manager and his wife went on an Australian safari hunt within 30 days of a multi-million fraud that forced the Ashby Farmers Elevator Cooperative to sell out and dissolve, officials say in a complaint. The elevator’s lawyer, Erik Ahlgren, of Fergus Falls, on Oct. 16 filed a civil complaint with Grant County District Court asking for $9.8 million in actual and punitive damages. The co-op details $4,900,186.72 in unauthorized amounts by former general manager Jerry Hennessey.”

At City Pages, Hannah Jones writes, “… Minnesota’s U.S. House race is second in the nation for independent expenditures at a cool $38 million, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. It’s sitting just above Texas and Georgia at $36 and $35 million respectively, and following California at a whopping $90 million as of Thursday morning. (That’s likely to change. The numbers are climbing quickly.) Lest we sell ourselves (or our elections) short, let’s remember that Minnesota only has eight districts, as opposed to California’s 53, or Georgia’s 14. If you break it down by outside spending per district, Minnesota’s actually at the top of the list at $4.75 million.”

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Says an MPR story, “Seven new electric buses will soon be traveling the streets of Duluth. The Duluth Transit Authority was one of 10 transit systems in the nation to receive a federal grant to acquire the buses. They were introduced to the public on Thursday. They’re not transporting passengers just yet — there’s some testing and training to be done before the buses enter service on Nov. 19. … The buses won’t be zero-emission — because of the low temperatures seen in Duluth, the buses have a supplemental diesel-powered heating system.”

An Atlantic story by Peter Bildsten, former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions says, “Wisconsin has some of the laxest laws in the country when it comes to small-dollar lending like payday and auto-title loans. … The average interest rate charged on a payday loan here is 585 percent, and some lenders charge as much as 1,000 percent. … When a lobbyist for the payday-lending industry asked to meet with me to discuss yet another request for regulatory ‘relief,’ I rebuffed him. Fifteen minutes later, I got a call from the governor’s office directing me to give full consideration to the lobbyist’s requests because he represented big supporters of the administration.”

Says Isabella Murray for the PiPress, “St. Paul’s Downtown airport has a new tenant — a facility for luxury travel. Local private aircraft and charter company Best Jets revealed their new operation Thursday at the airport. … Best Jets planes can fit up to 19, and pricing ranges from $3,000 to $5,000 an hour. Most travel the company accommodates is for business, although customers also use services for personal trips.”

Says Tony Bown in the Strib, “Without ceremony, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced last week that it had convened a final ‘public review and comment period’ in advance of construction of proposed 13½ miles of the Minnesota Valley State Trail, from the Bloomington Ferry Bridge to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, all in Bloomington. Meanwhile, to the north, in the Carver Park Reserve, also without pomp or marching bands, preliminary work continued on sections of the Baker/Carver Regional Trail … These quiet events were certainly celebrated elsewhere — probably with clinked beer steins over unfolded maps — by the region’s extended bike path adventurers.”