In an interview with Rebecca Rodenborg of the Faribault Daily News, the man who filed sexual-abuse charges against former Shattuck-St. Mary’s teacher Joseph Machlitt says his only regret is not coming forward earlier. Machlitt, who now lives in St. Paul, was charged last November with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and fourth-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct. Although the Rice County Attorney’s Office dropped the charges amid questions about the statute of limitations, court documents say Machlitt admitted to the incidents to investigators. The victim, now 47 and whom Rodenborg calls Joel, said he was 14 when Machlitt, then 31, allegedly sexually abused him. Joel hit his head in an on-campus pool in June, 1980, and Machlitt kept him at his apartment due to the risk of concussion. Joel said he fell asleep on a couch and when he woke, Machlitt allegedly sexually assaulted him. Machlitt left before the school year began. Joel said the abuse has affected him ever since. When former Shattuck-St. Mary’s department chair Lynn Seibel was accused last October of alleged sexual misconduct, Joel found that Machlitt was recently employed as a tutor in Edina. “When I found out he was still working with children, what choice did I have but to come forward? I think back and wonder how much of this was my fault by not coming forward? How much pain and suffering have I caused?”
Kay Fate of the Rochester Post-Bulletin brings us the story of a 12-year-old who was cited by police after he allegedly threw a rock from a pedestrian overpass, striking a car below. A man called Rochester police on Friday afternoon saying he’d been driving northbound on U.S. 52 when an object bounced off his hood and hit his windshield, which did not break. He saw three kids on a pedestrian bridge that crossed the highway and gave police a description. An officer stopped them shortly after. The 12-year-old allegedly admitted to throwing a small rock off the bridge. The boy was also in possession of marijuana, the report says.
Dan Linehan of the Mankato Free Press goes into great detail about a racial-profiling dispute between the ACLU in Mankato and Gaylord police officer Eric Boon. The ACLU says 59 percent of traffic tickets Boon issued in the last year were issued to Latinos, who make up about 23 percent of the city’s population. The city’s other two full-time officers ticketed Latinos about 30 percent of the time. Boon says he is simply aggressively enforcing traffic laws. He adds that the Michael’s Food plant employs hundreds of people and more than three-quarters are Latino, so when the shifts change, the percentage of Latinos on the roads in Gaylord can skyrocket. The ACLU has not filed a civil rights lawsuit against Boon, and Gaylord police have reviewed Boon’s conduct and found nothing to merit discipline. In its own investigation, The Free Press looked at the final court disposition of 150 citations in Gaylord given by the department’s three full-time officers, the State Patrol and the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office in 2012. Boon accounted for about two-thirds of citations given to Latinos, and about one-fifth of citations given to whites.
The state Department of Natural Resources has put out the call for volunteers willing to learn how to recognize the 11 known species of frogs and three species of toads that live in Minnesota by their croaks, writes Steve Browne of the Marshall Independent. Volunteers of the annual Minnesota Frog and Toad Calling Survey (MFTCS) have been collecting data and identifying frog species by their calls since 1996. “The purpose of the survey is to get a sense of each species, what ranges it inhabits and whether the population is expanding or contracting,” said Heidi Cyr, frog and toad survey volunteer coordinator. The DNR schedules nighttime listening surveys on three evenings between April and July. Volunteers travel a 10-stop route equipped with a CD with recorded calls of Minnesota frog and toad species and a poster showing the species. To volunteer, go to the DNR website. “Citizen science is so important and without volunteers it simply wouldn’t be possible,” Gelvin-Innvaer said.
The Radisson Duluth Harborview hotel is for sale, reports Peter Passi of the Duluth News Tribune. He quotes industry insiders who say the 288-room hotel is up for $9.5 million. Jeff Briner, the hotel’s general manager, said the listing has sparked plenty of interest. The Radisson was built in 1969 and features the revolving JJ Astor Restaurant on its 16th floor. The hotel is controlled by Trinity Hotel Investors LLC of New York City and Paramount Lodging Advisors is the hotel property broker. An online listing by Paramount says the hotel is available under the Radisson flag, could be rebranded as a Doubletree, or could operate under a new name. The property sold in January 2007 for $5.8 million. On March 13, a waterline broke and flooded the building’s lower level. The Radisson is scheduled to reopen on May 15. Briner said repairs should boost the value of the property.
Linda Vanderwerf of the West Central Tribune reports that iPad usage has changed education in the district. In December, 2011, former high-school Principal Rob Anderson said he’d like to see all juniors and seniors have iPads by the following fall. The business community got involved, more than $300,000 was raised, and the school used its capital equipment fund to match it. On the first day of school this year, 600 iPads were turned on, and there was never a problem getting the digital natives to use the new technology. Assignments are given and turned in electronically, accounting for a dramatic decrease in paper use. Tests are taken electronically, too. The iPads have helped students with special needs find new ways to participate in class. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said “the high school has bought into this much faster than any of us expected. It’s an amazing switch for how they teach and what they teach.” Kjergaard also said the district will be on a digital path from now on and will need to plan for eventual replacement costs. “We can never go back.”