Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Poll finds Biden, Walz under 50 percent approval in Minnesota

Plus: a Minneapolis voter guide from the Star Tribune; failings of Minnesota’s mental-health treatment system; Twin Cities area wells poisoned by industrial chemicals; and more.

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden
REUTERS/Leah Millis

Or only a little more than half disapprove, depending on how you look at it. MPR’s Brian Bakst reports:Slightly fewer than half of respondents to a new Minnesota Poll approve of the job performance of President Joe Biden and Gov. Tim Walz, underscoring possible political challenges facing Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterm election. … Biden, who won’t personally be on next year’s ballot, had a higher percentage of people disapprove of his performance — 51 percent to 47 percent; only 2 percent offered no opinion in the poll conducted for MPR News, the Star Tribune, KARE-11 and FRONTLINE.”

City of Minneapolis voter guide from the Star Tribune: “Minneapolis voters will cast ballots on city leadership for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd’s murder by police. Early voting began Sept. 17 and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2. The historic elections drew a near-record number of candidates, with 102 people filing to run for office. The Star Tribune asked each candidate for mayor and City Council some questions on top issues: … The responses below are the candidates’ own words, lightly edited for clarity and length.

Major failure of the system. KARE’s Brandon Stahl, A.J. Lagoe and Steve Eckert report: “As he sat toward the back of a Metro Transit bus in February 2020, video shows 26-year-old Malcolm Lessley springing up without warning, pulling a gun tucked under his waist band and shooting a man in the face. … Lessley’s fall through the cracks began in December 2018, a year before the bus shooting. Prosecutors charged him with felony assault with a dangerous weapon after video showed him pointing a gun at a cab driver. But a judge found him incompetent to stand trial and referred the case for civil commitment. A second judge ruled he ‘poses a substantial likelihood of causing physical harm’ and ordered the state Department of Human Services to treat his mental illness. … That never happened. … His social workers later told a judge that Lessley went missing, but there is no record anyone tried to find him. Had someone asked his mother, she says she would have told them that he lived with her, waiting to get help that would never come.”

Wells unwell. The Star Tribune’s Greg Stanley reports:More than 50 homes near the Twin Cities have lost their drinking water after dozens of wells were found to be contaminated with a powerful industrial chemical. … The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) found the contamination this summer while it was monitoring the groundwater near two sites with known pollution problems — the now-closed Waste Disposal Engineering (WDE) Landfill in Andover and the Water Gremlin plant near the city of Gem Lake. … The agency found unsafe levels of 1,4 dioxane, a potential carcinogen that has been used for decades in solvents and adhesives, in the wells of 47 homes next to the WDE landfill and in 15 homes in Gem Lake.”

Article continues after advertisement

In other news…

Don’t tip your waiter:Twin Cities Thai Restaurant Hires Robot Server Amid Staffing Shortage” [WCCO]

Not punking you:The Smithsonian Procures Leather Jacket from the Suicide Commandos” [Minneapolis.St.Paul]

All younger than the baby on the cover:‘Nevermind’ at 30: Today’s young Minnesota rockers reflect on an album ahead of its time” [Current]