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The New Yorker details Franken resignation saga

Plus: working group and public hearings on Minnesota officer-involved shooting investigations; reviving freshwater mussel populations; St. Paul’s Hillcrest development; and more.

Then-Sen. Al Franken
Then-Sen. Al Franken speaking to the media outside his office on Capitol Hill on November 27, 2017.
REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

A lot of people are talking about the New Yorker’s long examination of the fall of Al Franken. Jane Mayer writes: “Franken’s fall was stunningly swift: he resigned only three weeks after Leeann Tweeden, a conservative talk-radio host, accused him of having forced an unwanted kiss on her during a 2006 U.S.O. tour. Seven more women followed with accusations against Franken; all of them centered on inappropriate touches or kisses. Half the accusers’ names have still not become public. Although both Franken and Tweeden called for an independent investigation into her charges, none took place. This reticence reflects the cultural moment: in an era when women’s accusations of sexual discrimination and harassment are finally being taken seriously, after years of belittlement and dismissal, some see it as offensive to subject accusers to scrutiny. “Believe Women” has become a credo of the #MeToo movement.”

Time for a new approach? The AP reports (via WCCO): “Minnesota’s top law enforcement officials are launching a working group and public hearings on police-involved shootings. … Attorney General Keith Ellison and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington say the group will begin work later this summer. The move comes as police departments and the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension have often come under heavy criticism for their handling of such shootings.”

These are the good mussels. For the Forum News Service, John Molseed writes: “Minnesota’s freshwater mussels need some help. … While wildlife naturalists are doing their part to help some species gain a foothold in areas where they have disappeared, mussels also need a hand from wildlife in their habitat. … To reproduce, mussels need host fish to carry their larvae to maturity and them throughout their habitat. … Staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Center for Aquatic Mollusk Programs in Lake City did their part last week. They released captive-raised black sandshell mussels in the Cedar River near Austin in southern Minnesota.

Big potential St. Paul development. The Pioneer Press’ Frederick Melo reports: “The Greater East Side-District 2 Community Council spent a recent evening watching video from a drone flying high over the 112-acre Hillcrest Golf Club. … Closed in 2017 and just purchased by the St. Paul Port Authority for $10 million, the site could someday host hundreds of housing units, as well as offices and commercial development on the city’s far East Side, off Larpenteur Avenue and McKnight Road.”

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Playing campaign finance games. In the Daily Beast, Lachlan Markay and Sam Brodey report: “For months, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) presidential campaign made regular payments to its staff and vendors, with varying daily expenditures that never exceeded $335,000. But on April 1, 2019, the campaign’s spending exploded. … Whereas Klobuchar’s campaign spent an average of about $55,000 per day through the end of June, according to FEC filings, it dropped a whopping $624,000 on the first day of April, including a $300,000 payment to the campaign’s digital vendor. … That massive uptick in expenses was likely due to the fact that April 1 marked the beginning of the new fundraising quarter. By putting off the payments until then, Klobuchar was able to put the best possible spin on her presidential campaign’s financial position during the previous three months.

In other news…

In case you were wondering:Car Fire In Minneapolis Parking Garage Spews Plume Of Smoke Over Downtown” [WCCO]

One good tern deserves another:Sinking island to be raised to help terns” [Duluth News Tribune]

Now don’t do it again:Equifax reaches $700 million settlement with states, including Minnesota, over data breach” [KMSP]

The governor’s hometown paper does a profile:The Walzes come to St. Paul: Mankato governor adjusting to state role” [Mankato Free Press]

From a local company:Electric scooters give Duluth a new way to roll” [Duluth News Tribune]