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Klobuchar ‘still thinking’ about presidential run

Plus: Minnesota officials urge Congress to allocate more funding for CWD monitoring; Metro Transit ridership continues downward trend; Franken scandal ‘haunts’ Kirsten Gillibrand; and more.

MPR has a story saying, “U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she is ‘still thinking about’ running for president in 2020. The Minnesota Democrat was on ABC’s ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos’ on Sunday morning to discuss a variety of issues including climate change, immigration reform and the possibility of a government shutdown. When asked about a possible 2020 presidential bid, she replied: ‘Right now I am just still thinking about this, talking to people. I’m sorry to say I have no announcement for you on your show, and I actually learned this from my Senate race. Once, when I first was considering running for the Senate, (I) told someone that on the radio — and that was how my husband found out about it, and since he is watching today I’m not going to repeat that again.’”

Also at MPR, Nina Moini says, “Minnesota wildlife officials and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar are urging Congress to allocate more funding toward monitoring chronic wasting disease in the deer population. They’re asking the federal Department of Agriculture to develop national tracking of CWD and coordination among states, as well as standards for transporting deer across state lines. The disease is fatal to deer. There’s no cure and no vaccine, although teams of scientists are working on it. … The Department of Natural Resources reported this month that early test results showed hunters in that area killed at least half a dozen CWD-infected deer this fall.”

Says Brady Slater in the Duluth News Tribune, “The topic of climate change wound its way into District Court in Duluth last month, and now a judicial referee is deciding whether or not a trio of protesters was justified in shutting down a local bank earlier this year in the name of environmental defense. Scot Bol, Ernesto Burbank and Michael Niemi had their case argued before Referee John Schulte in October. … Bol and Niemi, both of Duluth, and Burbank, of Tucson, Ariz., were arrested last January after locking themselves to the Wells Fargo security gate in downtown Duluth.”

In Politico, Natasha Korecki and Laura Nahmias write: “Today, nearly a year after [U.S. Sen. Kirsten] Gillibrand led the charge in calling for [former Sen. Al] Franken’s resignation, the anger is fresh on the minds of major donors across the country. More than a dozen prominent West Coast, New York and national donors and bundlers — many of them women — said they would never again donate to or fundraise for Gillibrand or would only do so if she ended up as the Democratic presidential nominee. … The anger is at least in part a testament to donors’ fondness for Franken, a comedian who rose to fame as a “Saturday Night Live” cast member and remains in the eyes of his supporters one the Senate’s greatest champions for women — even after his resignation.”

Says a story at Reuters, “Wells Fargo & Co is fighting to shut some customers out of a sweeping plan to compensate around 600,000 drivers it pushed into car insurance they did not need, according to court documents and a source familiar with the effort. U.S. regulators fined Wells Fargo $1 billion in April over the insurance program and told the bank to compensate drivers who were harmed. Those drivers are also suing Wells Fargo in a federal court in California for more compensation that the bank is willing to pay. … Wells Fargo’s reluctance to compensate all drivers contradicts its pledge to help every customer who was hurt and that could intensify scrutiny of the scandal-plagued bank.”

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Laura Yuen at MPR reports, “One of the newest breweries in Minneapolis is trying to court a more ethnically diverse crowd than one typically found in many Twin Cities taprooms. La Doña Cervecería opened this fall in the Harrison neighborhood of north Minneapolis. The brewery’s commitment to inclusion is baked into its mission statement, which includes celebrating ‘the vibrancy, breadth and depth of Latino and Minnesotan culture.’”

For the Strib, Tim Harlow writes, “Metro Transit is out with its third-quarter ridership figures and the numbers continue their downward trend. Through September, ridership for the year totaled just over 63.9 million. That translates into a 2 percent drop from the 65.4 million rides taken during the first nine months of 2017. Transit officials will present the ridership report at Monday’s Met Council Transportation Committee meeting ahead of some big service adjustments that take effect on Saturday.”

In the PiPress, Kristi Belcamino reports, “A woman who has never met the victim set up a GoFundMe account and The St. Paul Fire Foundation also said Sunday it will accept donations after a house exploded on Payne Avenue Friday morning. John Lundahl, 80, was critically injured in the blast which is believed to have been caused by a gas leak. The explosion Friday decimated his home, sent a fireball up into the air that was seen for miles and shattered windows in surrounding homes and businesses in the Railroad Island neighborhood. Lundahl remains hospitalized in critical condition at Regions Hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman. The GoFundMe account will go directly to John Lundahl’s expenses.”

On the editorial page, the Strib says, “If the new administration of Gov.-elect Tim Walz and the reconfigured Legislature want to show Minnesotans they’re serious about ending gridlock and bickering in St. Paul, then tackling the issue of distracted driving would be a constructive and symbolic starting point. There should be no need for squabbling on this issue. … The state Department of Public Safety reports that 1 in 5 serious vehicle crashes can be attributed to what’s become a plague on the roads. From 2013 to 2017, there were 265 people killed and nearly 1,100 injured in such accidents in Minnesota. Yet not enough has been done to address the issue.”