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GOP Minnesota state senator accused of throwing teachers out of his office

Plus: Mike Lindell told to pay up in ‘Prove Mike Wrong’ contest; Facebook users can submit settlement claims; GeekCraft Expo returns to Minneapolis this weekend; and more.

State Sen. Nathan Wesenberg
State Sen. Nathan Wesenberg
In The Minnesota Reformer Michelle Griffith says, “Three teachers from Milaca School District — about 30 miles northeast of St. Cloud — met last week with their state senator to talk about how inadequate special education funding is burdening their district’s budget. The teachers say the meeting ended abruptly when the senator kicked them out of his office and accused them of ‘teaching kids to be gay and to hate white people.’ What’s not in dispute is that Sen. Nathan Wesenberg, R-Little Falls, threw the three teachers out of his office, though the teachers and first-term senator have different accounts of what led up to the confrontation. The teachers — who each wrote an account of what happened shortly after the meeting — say when Wesenberg learned that they were a part of the state’s teachers union, the conversation went downhill, with Wesenberg shouting and getting into one of the teacher’s faces.”

Says Stribber Paul Walsh, “A 49-year-old man has pleaded guilty to a road rage shooting on a Minneapolis interstate ramp that left the other driver dead. George Howard of Minneapolis pleaded guilty Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court to unintentional second-degree murder and illegal gun possession in the shooting of 38-year-old Luis D. Martinez Ortiz of Minneapolis on Aug. 29, 2021, at Interstate 94 and N. Dowling Avenue. … Howard’s criminal history in Minnesota includes three convictions for disorderly conduct, and one each for assault and for illegal weapons possession.”

At MPR News Robyn Katona says, “The GeekCraft Expo returns to Minneapolis this weekend with nearly 100 artisan vendors selling their own geeky handmade work from 3D-printed dice towers to toy photography. Daniel Way, a comic book writer for Marvel, founded the expo in 2016 with his wife, Kimberly Matsuzaki, who worked at Ubisoft. … It’s ‘a mall for nerds’ but, unlike regular malls, nothing is mass produced. There’s jewelry, stuffed animals, home decor, clothing, 3D-printed work, polymer clay, embroidery, toy photography, and more. ‘The Craft,’ as some call it, ‘really does cover the spectrum,’ Way said.”

A New York Times story by Jenny Gross says, “If you used Facebook in the United States between May 2007 and December 2022, you can apply to claim your share of a $725 million settlement that Facebook’s parent company agreed to pay to settle a class-action lawsuit, according to a claims website set up by a settlement administrator. Users can enter their information on to get their payment through their bank account, Venmo or other methods. The size of payouts is likely to be small, and it will depend on the number of people who submit valid claims and the length of time each applicant was a Facebook user during the period covered by the suit. The payout will be divided among claimants, with more given to those who have used the site longer.”

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This, in a Strib story by Brooks Johnson, “Legal weed is moving from novelty to normal in Michigan, the first Midwestern state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana after a ballot initiative passed in 2018. Since the first joint was sold in December 2019, more than $4.5 billion worth of legal cannabis has been sold in Michigan. With a combined 10% excise tax and 6% sales tax, that has generated more than $700 million in revenue for the state. … As Minnesota inches closer to legalizing recreational marijuana, the advice from advocates and professionals in Michigan is: Learn from our mistakes.

At KARE-TV Dana Thiede reports, “It’s been two weeks since the Animal Humane Society made the decision to close three of its busiest facilities due to a devastating outbreak of canine influenza. … [Dr. Graham Brayshaw, AHS Director of Veterinary Medicine] offered an update on the situation Thursday, saying there are still more than two weeks remaining in the 30-day quarantine mandated by the State Board of Animal Health. Dr. Brayshaw explained that canine influenza has been fairly rare in Minnesota, with only a few dozen cases since the virus first showed up in 2016.”

For WCCO-TV John Lauritsen says, “In a western Minnesota town, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper live on, as one of their last concerts ever still strikes a chord. In the late 1950s, there were no bigger names in music than Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. So when the teen idols announced they were coming to Montevideo as part of their Winter Dance tour, Jane Ellefson was gearing up. ‘Oh, I like rock ‘n’ roll, you betcha,’ Ellefson said. The date was January 27, 1959. The stars performed at the Fiesta Ballroom in Montevideo, and Ellefson brought her camera, something teenagers didn’t always have back then. The photos she captured that memorable night became the envy of rock ‘n’ roll fans across the country…”

At Mother Jones Tim Murphy writes, “Two years ago, in the midst of a national push to prove that the election had been stolen from President Donald Trump, Lindell put out a challenge: ‘Prove Mike Wrong,’ Lindell had data that he claimed showed Chinese interference in the election. The instructions for the contest were as follows: ‘Find proof that this cyber data is not valid data from the November Election. For the people who find the evidence, [$]5 million is their reward’. … when [Robert] Zeidman analyzed the 11 files Lindell had made available, he concluded that they did not, in fact, ‘contain any information related to the November 2020 election.’ He filed a 15-page report for Lindell, and waited for his prize money. … But what really stands out is this: Zeidman, according to the [Washington] Post, ‘was the only expert who submitted a claim.’ That’s right. Mike, the wrongest guy in the world, promised to give $5 million to anyone who could ‘Prove Mike Wrong,’ and only one person took him up on it.”