Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


DFL officials defend law allowing only Trump’s name to appear on Republican presidential primary ballot

Plus: International Eelpout Festival in Walker canceled; officials unable to pinpoint cause of Francis Drake Hotel fire; Tu Dance cofounder steps down from leadership amid allegations of sexual harassment; and more.

Secretary of State Steve Simon
Secretary of State Steve Simon
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley

MPR’s Brian Bakst reports: “Two of Minnesota’s leading Democratic officeholders and the state DFL Party went to bat this week for a state law the Republican Party relied on to include only President Trump by name on the March presidential primary ballot. The odd bedfellows situation at the start of a supercharged 2020 election year comes in a case before Minnesota’s Supreme Court. The case attempts to open up the ballot to a Republican trying to challenge Trump while also undoing the law that led to it.”

The Star Tribune’s Tim Harlow reports, “The number of people arrested for driving while impaired in Minnesota is on the rise, and it’s not just drunken drivers police are catching. A majority of the 27,975 motorists cited for driving while impaired (DWI) last year had too much alcohol in their system, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. But a growing number of drivers arrested for being impaired by substances other than alcohol — namely cannabis, opioids and methamphetamine — contributed to a nearly 5% increase in DWI arrests last year when compared with 2018.”

WCCO-TV has this: “Event organizers for the International Eelpout Festival in Walker announced Thursday that it won’t take place in 2020. The large gathering in the month of February to celebrate bottom-dwelling fish was in its 41st year. While attendance at the festival has increase year after year, so has the amount of trash, traffic and safety concerns generated by its crowds. Now, the economics behind the event “no longer work,” according to a message sent out Thursday afternoon.”

Says an AP story, “North Dakota’s Roman Catholic dioceses on Thursday released a list of 53 clergy members who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Bishop John Folda of the Fargo Diocese said in a statement that the list is the result of a ‘thorough review’ of files dating back to 1950. Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck said there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that have occurred after 1989. The list includes 31 people in the Fargo Diocese and 22 in Bismarck.”

This also from the AP, “A retiring Wisconsin English teacher cited for defecating in a public park for two years told authorities he was ‘being an idiot’ and that he did it for convenience and to be disrespectful. Jeffrey S. Churchwell, who is retiring from Milton School District later this month, will have to pay $365 in fines plus $5,705 in restitution to the Public Works Department, which cleaned up after him. … The reports indicated Churchwell had been defecating outside of and on a building at Natureland Park in the town of Whitewater, sometimes several times per day, since 2017.”

Article continues after advertisement

In the Star Tribune, Liz Navratil says, “Minneapolis fire officials cannot pinpoint the cause of the Christmas Day blaze that spread from a single apartment to destroy the Francis Drake Hotel, leaving about 200 people homeless. Using witness statements and the science behind fire patterns, the Minneapolis Fire Department was able to determine that it began in Unit 244 on the second floor of the historic building, said Larry Oker, who works in the Fire Investigations Unit. But fire and water damage prevented firefighters and insurance representatives from safely accessing the starting point, Oker said.”

Says Jessica Armbruster for City Pages, “Monday night, artistic director/cofounder Uri Stands stepped down from his leadership role at TU Dance amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault from a former employee, who has filed a lawsuit. According to attorney Jeff Anderson, who is representing the unnamed woman, Sands ‘sexually exploited’ her, and has stated that there was ‘nonconsensual sexual intercourse.’ Sara McGrane, the company’s lawyer, has stated that both Sands and TU Dance vigorously deny all allegations.”

Also at City Pages, this from Hannah Jones, “President Donald Trump rang in the new year just like the rest of us: at a big, fancy party, surrounded by family, friends, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Yup – that’s Minnesota’s own evangelizing pillow mogul swanking it up at Mar-a-Lago. Other notable guests included Fox anchor Lou Dobbs—a man who once attributed the simple act of having a ‘good weekend’ to Trump—and Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon and longtime Trump cabinet member, as far as Trump cabinet members go.”

Article continues after advertisement