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Report: Use of carcinogen TCE widespread among Minnesota businesses

Plus: Sen. Smith claims Moorhead underpass project sabotaged by partisan politics; Madison teacher charged over recording devices found in Minneapolis hotel rooms last month; Minnesota welfare payments increase for first time since 1986; Mille Lacs walleye limits to remain unchanged; and more.

Water Gremlin
Water Gremlin, which makes fishing sinkers and lead acid battery terminals, had used trichloroethylene as a solvent to clean and coat its products. While the chemical isn’t banned in Minnesota, it can increase the risk of cancer.
Anderson Companies

TCE all around us. The Star Tribune’s Jennifer Bjorhus reports: “After the revelation last year that White Bear Township manufacturer Water Gremlin pumped tons of a carcinogen into the air for more than a decade, Minnesota pollution regulators have tried to determine who emits the dangerous pollutant and how much. … The troubling reality underlying the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s new legislative update on trichloroethylene, called TCE, is that the MPCA still doesn’t know the scope of the problem.

Elections have consequences? The Rochester Post Bulletin’s Patrick Springer reports:Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., said a proposed Moorhead underpass was the victim of ‘political partisanship and patronage’ when the Trump administration funneled money to communities that are politically strategic for Republicans. … Smith made the accusation in an opinion piece published on Thursday, Jan. 30, under the headline, ‘The Ukraine scandal comes to Minnesota.’”

Remember that weird story about Minneapolis police investigating “electronic devices” at a Minneapolis hotel? Welp … Isthmus’ Dylan Brogan reports:A Madison East High School teacher, David Kruchten, has been charged with seven counts of attempting to produce child pornography. Kruchten, a business education teacher, was put on administrative leave in December after East students found hidden cameras in their hotel rooms while on a school trip in Minneapolis.  … Kruchten is an advisor to East’s DECA program, an extracurricular club that competes around the country in marketing and business events. The students were attending a DECA conference when they found hidden cameras in their rooms at the Hyatt Regency. Kruchten was arrested by federal agents Thursday morning. The arrest stems from a joint investigation conducted by the Minneapolis Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.”

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For what it’s worth. The Star Tribune’s Chris Serres reports: “The last time that welfare recipients in Minnesota saw an increase in their monthly cash payments, Minnesota Twins slugger Kirby Puckett was elected to his first Major League Baseball All Star Game, gas cost less than $1 a gallon and Rudy Perpich was just elected governor. … Thirty-three years later, thousands of poor families on Minnesota’s family welfare program will see a long-awaited increase of about $100 a month, bringing the maximum cash subsidy for a typical family of three to $632 a month. Minnesota has not increased its cash assistance for poor families since 1986, even as the cost of living has more than doubled. Only two other states, Arizona and Oklahoma, have gone as long without raising welfare payments.

Fish cap steady. KSTP’s Jay Kolls reports: “The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, along with eight Chippewa bands, have kept the 2020 walleye harvest limit at the same amount as 2019 for Mille Lacs Lake: 150,000 pounds. … Licensed anglers will be able to harvest 87,800 pounds of walleye. The Chippewa bands that retain fishing rights will be able to harvest a 62,200-pound limit.”

In other news…

Sounds pretty serious:Delta suspends flights between China and U.S. for 3 months” [Star Tribune]

Would-be Stauber challenger:Nystrom posts $132K in campaign’s first fundraising disclosure” [Duluth News Tribune]

Rural medical-care gap:U of M study: Women in rural areas travel nearly three times farther for breast cancer treatment” [KMSP]

For those not Iowa’d out yet:Voters’ 2nd choices could be important for Klobuchar in close Iowa caucuses” [KARE]

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This all tracks:Minnesota hates Wisconsin, loves Canada, and can’t follow instructions” [City Pages]

Tough sledding:Muzzle disqualification leads to post-Beargrease drama” [Duluth News Tribune]

Cool:Brainerd Native Alan Roach Will Be Stadium Announcer For Super Bowl LIV” [WCCO]

Speaking of the Super Bowl:The Oral History of Prince’s Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show” [The Ringer]