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Harding High teachers, parents say St. Paul school had grown increasingly dangerous

Plus: Drought recedes in much of Minnesota; man sentenced to probation for filming in Minnesota State Fair men’s bathroom; Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court election gets national attention; and more.

Harding High School
Harding High School

For the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges reports, “Three days after one student killed another with a knife in the halls of Harding High School, the school staff gathered for a meeting with Superintendent Joe Gothard. When someone asked, ‘Who here was not surprised that this happened?’ virtually every hand went up, according to three teachers who attended the meeting. ‘This wasn’t a one-time thing. It was inevitable,’ one teacher told the Pioneer Press on the condition of anonymity. ‘It just felt like it was a matter of time,’ said another teacher.”

Stribber Greg Stanley says, “Minnesota began 2023 with about half the state still in drought. It was particularly bad in the south, with a severe stretch that began almost two years ago reaching from Minneapolis to close to the South Dakota border. But with every shovelful of snow, the dry spell has been easing up across the state. Minnesota is off to one of the snowiest, wettest starts to a year in more than a century. The drought has been improving all winter, said Caleb Grunzke, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. … While the drought is receding, it still covers about a third of the state, including the Twin Cities and the Fargo-Moorhead area, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Parts of southeastern Minnesota, including all of Cottonwood County, are still in severe drought.”

This in the Strib from Ellie Roth, “The votes are counted — Empire officially will become Minnesota’s newest city on Tuesday when the new mayor and City Council are sworn in. There were 319 votes cast in the Valentine’s Day special election. Trent Larsen will become Empire’s first mayor after beating each of the other candidates by 200 votes. Tom Kaldunski, Danny Rubio, Eric Hanson and Marla Vagts will fill the four City Council seats. … Empire made the decision to incorporate in order to establish borders and prevent annexation of new developments by the exploding Dakota County cities of Lakeville, Rosemount and Farmington. A judge signed off on the incorporation in June.”

A WCCO-TV story says, “A 34-year-old Minneapolis man has been sentenced to two years of probation for illegally filming dozens of men inside a Minnesota State Fair bathroom. Kurtis Neu was convicted of interfering with privacy. A charge of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images was dropped. Neu admitted to making 80-plus recordings of men urinating in the Ag/Hort bathroom over the course of three days during the 2021 season. Neu also told investigators he recorded videos at the 2019 fair, and revealed that he gave some of the videos to a friend, who he named.”

For BringMeTheNews Declan Desmond says, “A Duluth church has announced the exit of its longtime senior pastor over a misconduct investigation into his son, who served as a pastoral assistant at the same church. In a message to its congregation this week, The Vineyard Church said the pastor resigned after failing to cooperate with the investigation, and that he and his wife allegedly ‘knew about this misconduct at the time and failed to act.’

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Also for the Pioneer Press, Mara Gottfried reports, “Five people were shot, two fatally, in St. Paul in an altercation that erupted after a celebration of life event Saturday. The gunfire in Frogtown happened less than 24 hours after another shooting in St. Paul wounded three teens. The Friday night shooting also happened after a funeral, but police said the incidents were unrelated. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said Friday’s and Saturday’s shootings ‘shake our sense of security. It’s just plain heartbreaking.'”

Also at WCCO, Kirsten Mitchell says, “As St. Paul police continue their investigation into a deadly shooting at a celebration of life Saturday, the community is mourning the loss of a prominent member. Larry Jiles Jr., known to many as ‘Chef Hot Hands,’ was one of two people killed in the shooting. Three others were hurt. ‘I don’t know if anybody’s got anything bad to say about him,’ said Lino Lakes resident Paul Behr. By lunch time Sunday, nearly everyone in the small town of Centerville had heard the news. ‘Nice guy, very outgoing, cordial. He’s always willing to help anybody,’ Behr said.”

This from Rochester’s KROC-AM, “On Saturday night at around 1 a.m. the Chaska Police Department received a phone call that a man was passed out in his vehicle in the Arby’s Drive-Thru. When officers arrived they found a 43-year-old male passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle, and he was the only person in the vehicle. Thankfully someone in the drive-thru noticed something was wrong and was able to put the car in park and turn it off so that nobody was injured and the car would stay in place. The man was too drunk to perform a field sobriety test, so a blood test was conducted later. The man admitted to drinking Boones Farm liquor earlier in the day. It was not published what his blood alcohol level was at the time and charges are pending.”

For MPR News, Ron Trenda says, “Periods of rain, freezing rain and snow are expected in Minnesota and western Wisconsin on Monday. A wintry mix could transition to mainly snow in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin as we go through Monday afternoon. … Parts of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin are likely to see several inches of snow Monday into Monday evening: Only minor snow accumulations are expected in most of central Minnesota. The Twin Cities metro area could see a rain/snow mix for a while, with little or no snow accumulation expected.”

For WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee Charles Benson says, “On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters picked Judge Janet Protasiewicz the liberal candidate, and former Justice Daniel Kelly, a conservative, to face off in the April election to determine which way the state Supreme Court will lean. [NBC’s Chuck] Todd has done stories on Wisconsin being ‘patient zero’ for polarization. Does he think this race will take it to a new level? ‘I absolutely do, especially because abortion is on the ballot,’ said Todd. ‘That issue alone is going to invite millions of outside money.’ … ‘When you see how politicized this has gotten in Wisconsin, it is hard to sit here and say to yourself, once they win that election, this is, you know, nothing but black robes and the rule of law,’ said Todd. ‘I mean, more than any other Supreme Court in the country, I feel like those justices in Wisconsin’s robes are all red and blue. There are no black robes.’”

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