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Minnesota GOP embroiled in dispute over use of Trump-endorsed WinRed fundraising platform

Plus: Minnesota Supreme Court rules in dog-custody case; closing planned for Cedar Riverside Community School; fire destroys building in Minneapolis; and more.

Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan
Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Grabbing popcorn. At HuffPost, S.V. Date reports: “Republican consultants with links to the Donald Trump-endorsed WinRed fundraising platform have sparked an angry dispute within the Minnesota GOP, which saw fully half of its online donations flow to the suburban Virginia firm. … Of the $202,126 raised by the Minnesota Republican Party online, $103,607 went to WinRed, with most or all of it passed on to IMGE LLC, based in Alexandria, Virginia, even though that company had little to do with much of the money raised, according to an email from Max Rymer, a Republican National Committee member from Minnesota. … [Rymer] described how state party chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, after listening to his questions on Feb. 15 about the contract with IMGE, then went to RNC chair Ronna McDaniel to accuse Rymer of trying to ‘destroy’ WinRed.

We don’t have a dog in this fight. The Star Tribune’s Alex Chhith reports:The Minnesota Supreme Court has affirmed a state Appeals Court ruling that a woman who left her dog in the care of her ex-boyfriend did not abandon her furry friend. … The ruling, issued Wednesday, returns the poodle and beagle mix, named Oliver, to Dannielle Zephier. … Zephier bought the dog from a breeder in 2008 and moved to California for school in 2013. Dogs were not allowed in her housing there. While in Minnesota, she had dated Derrick Agate Jr., and the two remained friendly when their two-year relationship ended. He agreed to take care of Oliver while she was away. … Zephier paid for veterinary bills, visited Oliver and communicated with Agate about him. But when she returned to Minnesota and sought to take Oliver back in 2017, Agate and his new girlfriend, Lee Ann Krueger, refused to give up the dog, arguing that they had been caring for him for years and were bonded with him.”

School’s out. At Sahan Journal, Becky Z. Dernbach reports:Pillsbury United Communities plans to close Cedar Riverside Community School, one of the first charter schools in the country, school board chair Janet Youngers announced at a board meeting on Thursday. Unless the school wins an appeal, it will close as soon as June 30. … A spokesperson for Pillsbury United Communities, the charter school’s authorizer, confirmed the decision not to renew the school’s contract via email. … In its letter announcing its intent not to renew the contract, Pillsbury United cited “significant struggles” in academics as a primary factor, as well as operational and governance concerns.”

Big fire in Minneapolis Friday morning. KARE reports:A mixed-use building with a restaurant on the first floor and apartments above has been shuttered and declared uninhabitable after it was gutted by fire early Friday. … Minneapolis Assistant Fire Chief Melanie Rucker says crews were dispatched just before 5:30 a.m. to 605 Cedar Ave. South after reports of heavy fire on the building’s exterior. … Crews knocked down flames coming from the restaurant’s grease vent and entered the building, where they found more fire in the kitchen’s interior grease chute. Flames had also jumped into the ceiling, walls and second floor hallways.”

In other news…

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Sad and scary:14-year-old Milwaukee boy dies of coronavirus complications” [Pioneer Press]

What a career:Rose Pelzel, First Woman To Become A Paramedic, Retires After 50 Years” [WCCO]

The icing on the lake:Expect low ice years on Lake Superior to continue” [MPR]

Good news:Apostle Islands camping reopens for 2021” [Duluth News Tribune]

A different kind of police dog:St. Paul police’s Sgt. Fuzz becomes nation’s first therapy dog certified a first responder in nation” [KMSP]

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