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Poll shows Walz approval rate at 56 percent

Plus: Freeman defends Klobuchar in Myon Burrell case; U of M expert says people should assume coronavirus ‘will hit hard’; allegations against former Minnesota men’s hockey assistant; and more.

Gov. Tim Walz
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Gov. Tim Walz
For MPR, Tim Pugmire writes: “After just over a year in office Gov. Tim Walz is getting good marks from Minnesota voters. A new MPR News/Star Tribune Minnesota Poll shows 56 percent of those surveyed said they approve of his job performance, 25 percent disapprove and 19 percent are unsure. … There was more approval than disapproval for Walz in all areas of the state. The lowest approval was 47 percent in southern Minnesota, where Walz served as a member of Congress for a dozen years before becoming governor.”

For KARE-TV Jeremiah Jacobsen says, “Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman released a detailed statement and posted a YouTube video on Monday, responding to questions surrounding the prosecution and conviction of Myon Burrell. … ‘Now, a news report claims Mr. Burrell has a third alibi, that two people are claiming they were with him at a nearby grocery store at the time of the shooting,’ the Hennepin County Attorney’s office statement said. ‘These two people never came forward and no plausible explanation has been offered why these two people waited 18 years to say anything.’” 

In the Star Tribune, Chao Xiong says, “A brief clip of Burrell’s interview posted on the ABC News website showed him responding to a reporter’s question about Klobuchar’s culpability. ‘Personally, I feel like she is the source of everything that happened,’ Burrell said. Freeman said questions about Burrell’s conviction should be directed at him and not Klobuchar, whom activists have called on to withdraw from the presidential campaign, because the second conviction did not involve her.”

This from Dan Gunderson at MPR: “So far, there are a few dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in the United States. But Minnesota Department of Health infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said it’s very likely there will be outbreaks of the virus here. And Michael Osterholm, an expert in infectious disease at the University of Minnesota, said people should assume the virus will hit hard.

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The Star Tribune’s Erin Adler writes, “The state has revoked the license of a Twin Cities-based service provider after determining that its staff neglected to provide the assistance to vulnerable adults for which they were hired, resulting in unlivable conditions such as insect infestation, rotting food, mold, cat feces and garbage strewn throughout the apartment. One Life Health Services, based in Inver Grove Heights, was licensed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide a variety of services to vulnerable adults …. In a memo dated Feb. 18, the state revoked that license, finding maltreatment based on neglect.”

For The American Prospect, David Dayen writes, “The $3 billion settlement from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission covers Wells Fargo’s notorious fake accounts scandal… . This is often portrayed in the media as a consumer fraud, hitting poor customers with unfair charges …. But that was a minor part of this scheme; only a handful of the millions of accounts yielded fees. The fake accounts scandal is better understood as a combination of wage theft and securities fraud. … Shareholders pay these fines, not the executives who committed the crimes. In this case, shareholders were also the victims, which is perverse.

Also, Christopher Snowbeck and Patrick Kennedy of the Star Tribune write, “Shares in nearly all of Minnesota’s publicly traded companies were swept up Monday in a broad sell-off that was shaped by intensifying fears about the economic impact of the coronavirus. … Shares of only one other Minnesota company fared worse than UnitedHealth Group: Golden Valley-based CyberOptics Corp., a supplier of semiconductor manufacturing test equipment. Its shares fell 12%, but that followed a run-up last week after a strong results announcement.”

An AP story tells us, “The University of Minnesota is investigating allegations that a former men’s hockey assistant sexually abused players more than 30 years ago. Athletic director Mark Coyle sent a letter to members of the 1984-85 hockey team after The Athletic sports website reported the allegations against former assistant Thomas ‘Chico’ Adrahtas. The Athletic detailed Adrahtas’ exit from the Gophers program after several people went to the school’s athletic director at that time to report allegations of sexual abuse.”

For The Hill, Joe Concha says, “MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Monday questioned whether Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) should drop out of the Democratic presidential race, noting that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is building a lead as other candidates stay in the contest but fail to build substantial support.  Scarborough spoke of increased chatter that Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) might need to drop out to ‘consolidate efforts against Bernie Sanders.’ Warren is in fourth place in Nevada’s caucuses, which took place over the weekend, while Klobuchar is now in sixth place. ‘People are talking about how as well as she’s done, as good of a campaign she’s run, it is time for her to get out of the race’, Scarborough said of Klobuchar before pivoting to Warren.”