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Minnesota nonprofit allegedly tied to food aid fraud drops lawsuit against state

Plus: Minnesota voter turnout was below 2018 midterm levels; health department takes over three troubled care homes; image of a huge snapping turtle on Mississippi River goes viral; and more.

For MPR News, Matt Sepic writes, “A St. Paul nonprofit allegedly tied to a major food aid fraud scheme dropped its lawsuit against the state Wednesday. Partners in Quality Care had filed the suit in early September, alleging that the Minnesota Department of Education improperly cut off federal child nutrition program funding. MDE stopped sending payments in January to Partners in Quality Care, also known as Partners in Nutrition, after the FBI searched two dozen homes and businesses connected to a similar organization, Feeding our Future. Federal prosecutors later charged 50 people with stealing $250 million in hunger relief funds from two U.S. Department of Agriculture food programs that MDE manages on the state level.”

For the Minnesota Reformer, Christopher Ingraham writes, “Minnesota voter turnout on Tuesday came in at a respectable 60.66%, according to Secretary of State Steve Simon. While that’s shy of the near record-setting 64.3% in 2018, it’s still comfortably above the average for midterm years going back to at least 1950. Since the year 2000, midterm elections featuring a Republican presidential incumbent have tended to inspire the greatest levels of turnout among Minnesota voters.”

Stribber Chris Serres reports, “The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has moved to take over three troubled care homes in Minneapolis over safety concerns and allegations that they were siphoning resident funds to pay for expenses. Bywood East Health Care, Birchwood Care Home and Grand Avenue Rest Home had a pattern of failing to pay vendors for basic items, including food, telephone service, waste disposal and supplemental staffing, and had transferred thousands of dollars from resident trust accounts, according to a petition for receivership filed by the state in Ramsey County District Court on Oct. 27.”

At The Intercept Daniel Boguslaw writes, “Keith Ellison is no stranger to fending off political attacks from both parties. On Wednesday, he extended his streak and defended Democrats’ undefeated statewide mandate in Minnesota, stretching back to 2006. With 100 percent of precincts counted, Ellison won reelection as Minnesota’s attorney general by a little over 20,000 votes. This year, Ellison found himself caught between his reputation as a progressive attorney general who doggedly pursued lawsuits against corporate criminals, and a Democratic Party attacked for failing to uphold an ambiguous notion of law and order — despite the bona fides of its tough-on-crime president.”

At the Pioneer Press Dave Orrick writes, “Matt Birk played 14 seasons in the NFL before he won a Super Bowl ring. His rookie year in politics ended Tuesday night in defeat, as the ticket of Birk, the Republican candidate for Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, and Republican candidate-for-governor Scott Jensen, was defeated by Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat. Will Birk be back for another political season? ‘Impossible to say right now,’ Birk, a 46-year-old St. Paul native, said Tuesday night shortly after the race had been called for Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. ‘Running is exhausting, not for me, but for my family. My wife has been unbelievable and my kids have been unbelievable. I wouldn’t have a clue, and it wouldn’t be fair to them to make that decision right now.'”

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At KARE-TV Diane Sandberg reports, “A Hennepin County man was sentenced to more than nine years in prison and five years of supervised release after shooting someone during a carjacking in 2021.  Jerome Lee Swanson, 21, was handed a 115-month prison sentence for the June 5, 2021 incident.  According to court documents, Swanson approached a person driving a 2005 Buick LaCrosse in Minneapolis, asking for a ride. When the victim arrived, Swanson pulled out a pistol, aimed it at the driver and demanded the vehicle.  Court documents say that in the struggle that ensued the victim was shot in the hip. Swanson fled the scene in the victim’s Buick.”

An NBC Sports story by Mike Florio says, “Officially, Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s availability for Sunday against the Vikings is up in the air. If that were truly the case, however, the Vikings-Bills game likely would be off the board at every sports book. Instead, the game is available for wagering. With a line that has sharply moved toward the visiting team. It opened as high as the Bills giving 9.5 points. It’s now down to Buffalo minus-3.5 at FanDuel, and the Bills are favored by four at DraftKings. So what does that mean? It likely means that the sports books currently don’t expect Allen to play, and that they expect Case Keenum to get the nod against one of his various former teams.”

For MPR News, Kirsti Marohn writes, “Shala Holm never expected the photo she snapped of a huge snapping turtle months ago suddenly to get so much attention. The eerie photo shows the creature’s dinosaur-like head and outstretched forearms with claws extended toward a basket of fish. Holm, of Buffalo, Minn., was with her family on their annual vacation at Niemeyer’s Rugged River Resort near Brainerd in July when she captured the startling image. She and her daughter were in a tandem kayak on the Mississippi River, fishing for crappies.”