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MPR fires Current DJ after criticism over handling of sexual misconduct story, allegations

Plus: Minneapolis Council members air frustrations over city’s crime spike; state seeking volunteers for COVID antibody testing; Minnesota State High School League set to reconsider restarting football and volleyball this fall; and more.

Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media building, St. Paul
Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media building, St. Paul
MinnPost file photo by Jana Freiband

The Star Tribune’s Chris Riemenschneider writes: “Responding to criticism from listeners and its own staff, Minnesota Public Radio fired a DJ for 89.3 the Current late Tuesday, a day after the resignation of an MPR reporter who investigated sexual-harassment allegations against the on-air personality. ‘Eric Malmberg will no longer be a DJ on The Current,’ said a statement from MPR President Duchesne Drew. … It was the first time Malmberg’s name surfaced publicly since reporter Marianne Combs triggered the controversy Monday, saying she had resigned because of MPR’s decision to hold off on a story alleging sexual misconduct by an unnamed Current DJ.”

A FOX 9 story by Theo Keith says, “Minneapolis City Council members aired their frustrations Tuesday about a spike in crime across the city that has shootings at a five-year high and the city’s police chief acknowledging that criminals feel ‘emboldened.’ … The most immediate concern from council members appears to be MPD’s response to the crime spike. Five members told Arradondo that constituents have heard from rank-and-file officers that they won’t respond to property crimes or enforce laws in certain areas of the city without more resources.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson, “The Minnesota Department of Health is going door to door across the state to find volunteers for free COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing to assess the actual spread of the pandemic. … State health officials said an accurate assessment is needed to inform Minnesota’s pandemic response and to identify hot spots at risk for more cases. Prevalence studies also indicate if the population is getting closer to a level of ‘herd immunity’ that chokes the spread of the virus.”

In the Pioneer Press, Katrina Pross writes: “Ramsey County is taking steps to reform its bail system and eliminate the disparities it can create. The Ramsey County Attorney and Sheriff’s offices as well as other community organizations have partnered in an initiative to move away from a cash bail system and instead look at ways to improve the pretrial process. The county has been granted five years of research and policy support from Arnold Ventures to carry out the effort and is one of seven sites selected across the country.”

For MPR, Dan Kraker says: “Federal wildlife officials have denied a request to grant endangered species protection to Minnesota’s beleaguered moose population. … Moose have all but disappeared from northwestern Minnesota in the past three decades. … In a brief notification published in the Federal Register Tuesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service found that the population of northwestern moose did not qualify for endangered species protection because it was not ‘discrete’ from the moose population in Canada, and therefore didn’t meet the criteria for a ‘distinct population segment’ under the federal law. 

Also in the Pioneer Press, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “All St. Paul officers are currently going through training in moral courage — the concept of doing what’s right in the face of fears or challenges, especially in the heat of the moment. The workshops were already planned when George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody in May, and the case has given more urgency and attention to the duty for officers to intervene.”

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This from KARE-TV,Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown expects to lay off 126 employees in November. In a notice sent to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Radisson Hotel Group said it was ‘experiencing unforeseen financial consequences associated with the national COVID-19 crisis.’”

Says David La Vaque for the Star Tribune, “The Minnesota State High School League is poised to schedule a highly unusual meeting for Friday to take up whether to restart football and volleyball seasons this fall. The move surfaced Tuesday at a workshop for board members who voted on Aug. 4 to postpone those seasons until March because of COVID-19 concerns. After hearing discussion that included considerable feedback from schools in support of playing and balancing risk, Board President Blaine Novak asked league executive director Erich Martens and legal counsel Kevin Beck for details on what it would take the call a meeting for as soon as Friday.”