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Whalen shares WNBA finals memories ahead of Hall of Fame induction

Plus: St. Paul Fire Department asks for $4 million in relief; drag is huge in the Twin Cities despite anti-drag legislation in other states; researchers making progress on sulfate pollution fix; and more.

Lindsay Whalen shown during Game 5 of the WNBA playoffs against the Los Angles Sparks on September 26, 2017.
Lindsay Whalen shown during Game 5 of the WNBA playoffs against the Los Angles Sparks on September 26, 2017.
MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig

ESPN.com’s M.A. Voepel writes about some of Minnesota basketball great Lindsay Whalen’s memories ahead of her induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday. Whalen “will be the first of the Lynx championship core to go into the Hall of Fame. A native of Minnesota, a state known for its American folklore, Whalen was the women’s basketball version of Paul Bunyan, except she was 100% real. And it’s why she was so beloved by teammates and fans. She led Minnesota Gophers women’s basketball — where she is now head coach — to the 2004 Final Four, and was the No. 4 pick in the WNBA draft that year. Minnesotans desperately wanted her to go to the Lynx, but she was selected by Connecticut. She played in two WNBA Finals with the Sun before the trade that brought her home in 2010 and helped launch the Lynx dynasty under coach Cheryl Reeve.”

WCCO-TV’s Adam Duxter reports, “The St. Paul Fire Department is requesting nearly $4 million in relief from the city in 2023. Chief Butch Inks made his case to St. Paul City Council Wednesday, emphasizing that the department is doing more than ever before with only slightly higher staffing levels. … In 2013, the department’s 433 sworn staff responded to 38,569 calls. Next year, it’s projected that 444 staff will be responsible for an anticipated 63,221 calls. The means while staffing has increased by 2.5%, demand has gone up by 64%. ‘We’re the busiest department in the state,’ said St. Paul Fire Captain and Local 21 President Mike Smith. ‘It’s taken a toll on the women and men that serve every single day.'”

An AP story says, “Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, who served for four years before losing election in 2020, announced Thursday he will run for an open spot on the court next year. The race will determine majority control of the court. Kelly, a conservative, joins two liberals who have previously announced their candidacies. Those are Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz. … ‘If an activist were to win next April, Wisconsin’s public policy would be imposed by four lawyers sitting in Madison instead of being adopted through our constitutional processes,’ Kelly said in a statement announcing his candidacy. ‘I won’t let that happen on my watch.’”

At MPR News, Dan Kraker says, “Outside the wastewater treatment plant in the Iron Range town of Aurora, a small trailer could hold clues to solving a big environmental problem facing northern Minnesota — how to protect wild rice from sulfate, a pollutant released by iron ore mines, wastewater treatment plants and other industries. … treated water discharged from the city water plant eventually flows into the Partridge River, which was recently added by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Minnesota’s list of waters that do not meet the state’s wild rice sulfate standard.”

For the Insider, Jordan Hart says, “Businesses are upping their wages in the tight labor market of Mankato, Minn., where open positions outnumber available workers. In a state where the unemployment rate is 1.8%, nearly two points lower than the national average, the jobless rate in Mankato – home to 103,000 – is even lower. That’s forcing companies to compete with one another by offering far above Minnesota’s minimum hourly wage of $8.42 and more benefits.”

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A story at The Racket by Em Cassel says, “When Flip Phone Events got its start in 2012, the Twin Cities drag community was a much different — and much smaller — place. ‘Not many people would see drag that often,’ says Flip Phone founder Chad Kampe. ‘You had to go to the Gay 90’s, pretty much, to see any drag back then.’ A decade later, drag is everywhere. Flip Phone operates in six cities around the country, and Kampe and his husband have gone from full-time teachers to full-time event producers.  … Drag’s explosive popularity has been followed by protests, attacks, and, in some states, proposed anti-drag legislation. Though the performance art has become relatively mainstream, a vocal conservative opposition would like to see it relegated to the margins once more.”

Stribber Liz Navratil reports, “Kristyn Anderson, an attorney who spent more than two decades working in state government, will take over as Minneapolis city attorney after the City Council approved her nomination Thursday morning. Anderson will begin the new job Sept. 26, making her the fifth person to helm the city attorney’s office in four years. As city attorney, Anderson will oversee a civil division that provides guidance to elected officials and city staff and defends the city against lawsuits, as well as a criminal division that prosecutes misdemeanor crimes that happen within the city.”

Says Paul Walsh for the Strib, “A Ramsey County jury’s verdict means a $56 million payout for a St. Paul man who was severely scalded by hot water that escaped from a high-pressure hose while working at Summit Brewing Company. DeWarren Harris, 33, was awarded more than $35 million in damages by jurors who at the end of the 2 1⁄2-week trial Wednesday found that the makers of the power-washing hose and the St. Paul’s brewery were negligent when he was burned over 40% of his body from the unintended release of 180-degree water as he cleaned a warehouse floor in the canning room in May 2014.”