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Walz selects Lutheran Social Service’s Jodi Harpstead as DHS commissioner

Plus: microplastics contaminate Great Lakes; Radinovich takes helm of hemp group; bike thefts hit high in Minneapolis; Voyageurs Wolf Project; and more.

Gov. Tim Walz introducing Jodi Harpstead as the new commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services
Gov. Tim Walz introducing Jodi Harpstead as the new commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Big job. WCCO reports: “Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday his pick for the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. … The governor tapped Jodi Harpstead to helm the behemoth agency, which employs 6,700 people and serves about a million Minnesotans, many of which are the state’s most vulnerable residents. …The Department of Human Services has undergone a turbulent few months. The former commissioner, Tony Lourey, abruptly resigned in July, as did his chief of staff. The reason for the departures remains a mystery.”

Just what we needed. The Star Tribune’s Jennifer Bjorhus reports:A new contaminant has turned up in western Lake Superior — tiny snarls, tangles and shreds of plastic that are appearing by the hundreds of thousands, mystifying scientists and Minnesota pollution regulators. … While the level of debris doesn’t approach the microplastic soup found near Hawaii, a gyre known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it does exceed what’s been found in the north Atlantic Ocean. … The exact source of the microplastics remains something of a puzzle, and it’s not clear yet how to gauge their impact on people, aquatic life and the environment.”

Radinovich career move. The Forum News Service reports (via the West Central Tribune): “The trade organization representing farmers, processors, distributors and others in the hemp industry on Monday, Aug. 12, announced that Joe Radinovich would become the group’s executive director.

These things happen in cycles. The Star Tribune’s Tim Harlow reports: “Minneapolis routinely ranks among the most bike-friendly cities in the country, but it turns out that bike thieves like it here, too. Bike theft is at a five-year high, and Police Department data obtained by the Star Tribune shows almost 4,300 bikes reported stolen since 2017.

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Few things are hungry like the wolf. The Duluth News Tribune’s John Myers writes: “The violence happened in a tall-grass meadow, just off the riverbank, and most anyone else who might wander by here would have missed it entirely. … But dropping down on their knees, Tom Gable and Austin Homkes saw more than just depressions in the grass. They didn’t miss the tiny specs of beaver hair, the wolf scat with more beaver parts, a piece of pelvis bone from a beaver. … ‘Tom, we’ve got stomach contents here,’ Homkes hollered. ‘This is definitely a kill site. There was a struggle and a kill here.’ … Chalk up another first for the Voyageurs Wolf Project, an ongoing effort to learn more about wolves and their prey in Minnesota’s only national park.”

In other news…

New publication focusing on immigrants and refugees:Editor’s note: Welcome to Sahan Journal!” [Sahan Journal]

Legislator profile:Jamie Long wants us to keep the pressure on” [Southwest Journal]

Not good:Minneapolis worker says she was fired for reporting CEO’s butt comments” [City Pages]

Interesting:Former DNR commissioner Tom Landwehr compiles Minnesota hunting history book” [West Central Tribune]

Only to be killed by a driver:Michigan wolf wanders over 2,000 miles in 3 states” [West Central Tribune]

R.I.P.:Former state Rep. Joe Begich, a spirited Iron Range defender, dies” [Star Tribune]