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December 2, 2016

Do Too Many Cooks Spoil the Re-opening?

Filed under: Minnesota,St. Paul,St. Paul Pioneer Press,Uncategorized — baseball91 @ 4:46 PM

Restaurants in the Age of Free Agents. Nostalgia for old places, with the Team of “dazzling chefs and restaurateurs.” Kevin Fitzgerald. Josh Thoma. Jack Riebel. These are owners of the The Lexington, a restaurant in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The managing partner is Lorin Zinter for the ownership – Josh Thoma, Kevin Fitzgerald and Jack Riebel – of the Lexington and Il Foro. The Team had been busy filling a hole of missing Italian eateries in downtown Minneapolis. Behold Il Foro!


Jack Reibel fondly remembers his days as the up-and-coming chef inside the kitchen when the address went by the name of Goodfellows which had a nine-year (1996-2005) run here [before that this had been The Forum Cafeteria]. Il Foro brought on Troy Unruh, who had worked in the Goodfellows kitchen with Riebel, to serve as executive chef.

Opened. The 11-month-old effort. Now closed. This Team composed of superstar cooks planned to open Il Foro first. Il Foro closed in May 2016. Like The Lexington Restaurant in St. Paul, closed since 2013. The Lex then had been under different ownership.

The best laid plans of mice and men. Opening of The Lexington was to follow some time in the spring of 2015, said The Team. After 30 years of cooking, Jack Riebel won a James Beard Award nomination for the Butcher & the Boar. Being mentioned in the top 25 best new restaurants in America, as a semifinalist, he is part of the Team.

Riebel, formerly of Butcher & the Boar which is open, remains in place as the executive chef at The Lexington. Butcher and Boar opened in 2012; Riebel’s co-owners bought out his share of Butcher & the Boar in 2014. At that time he told Mpls-St Paul magazine that he no longer was involved in the restaurant’s operations. He described the split as being friendly. The Butcher & the Boar building just sold for $6 million reported in September 2016.

Knowing that they needed another partner, enter Lorin Zinter, former co-owner with Jim Christiansen of Heyday; yes, Restaurant of the Year, Heyday. Zinter left Heyday to pursue an opportunity at soon-to-open Italian eatery, Il Foro. Zinter had been the front-of-house hospitalitarian at smoothly running Heyday.

At this point, the Team is about 20 months behind schedule with the mentioned re-opening of the Lex. The Il Foro ownership – Josh Thoma, Kevin Fitzgerald and Jack Riebel – wouldn’t talk to the Star Tribune about the demise.  And no one in St Paul seems able to find out what transpires inside The Lex.

How does this team of chefs eat?  Where is the money?  Who is Josh Thoma? Or where has he been? In a joint venture with Chicago’s Four Corners Tavern Group, whose owners visited the Minnesota Smack Shack, proposed a partnership in what became a 10,000-square-foot restaurant at he base of the Google building in the Chicago West Loop, which opened April 21, 2016 and seats 300. Co-founder of La Belle Vie and Smack Shack, with his Smack Shack partner Kevin Fitzgerald, Josh Toma’s Smack Shack started as a food truck zipping around Minneapolis, the first legal food truck in town. Founder Josh Thoma, six years later, has two Smack Shack: a 200-seater in Minneapolis which opened in 2013 and the Chicago location.

In June 2010 StarTribune story, Tim McKee’s partner in La Belle Vie, Solera, and Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque, Josh Thoma, who more recently entered partnerships with the Barrio (with McKee) and La Grassa restaurants – stood accused of improperly transferring funds to the tune of $100,000 between Bar La Grassa and into two restaurants — Solera and Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque — via La Belle Vie. Thoma’s partnership at Bar La Grassa is history, as he and his longtime business partner, Tim McKee, were no longer managing Barrio.  City Pages quoted Thoma, “It was just one of those things where I told the accountant to make it work.  To a degree, I didn’t know how much was going where and when, although ultimately I’m responsible.”  City Pages reported that Thoma and McKee repaid the funds by relinquishing their stake in Barrio, and Thoma’s equity in Bar La Grassa.

La Belle Vie, the last bastion of fine dining in Minnesota called it quits, on October 24, 2014. La Belle Vie chef/owner Tim McKee made the announcement that he was closing his restaurant, one day short of their tenth anniversary in Minneapolis. Before that La Belle Vie had been open for seven and a half years in Stillwater, Minnesota.

City people in Minnesota leave the city on summer weekends. Fourteen years after opening the doors to the original Heartland location on St. Clair Avenue, Lenny Russo announced in October that Heartland would be closing the doors in downtown St. Paul.

It is next to impossible to make money operating a restaurant on the profits of 9 months of the year. “If all of those people would have come in twice more a year,” said Tim McKee on the closing of La Belle Vie, “we’d still be open. It’s so important that if there’s a restaurant or business in your community that you feel is important, you’ve got to make it your mission to support them. Otherwise they will close.”

What is the state of the union of good restaurants? A cursory list of Tim McKee mentees, both at now-closed Solera and at La Belle Vie, would contain Sameh Wadi of the recently announced closed Saffron; Jack Riebel of the recently announced closed Il Foro, and Minneapolis’ most recent winner of the Food & Wine top ten chefs in America, Jim Christiansen of Heyday, which is actually open.

Keeping The Lexington’s name, renovating and giving the place a more casual atmosphere, with plans to renovate the structure and add a rooftop patio, these three Saint Paul-born big-time operators led by Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald of Smack Shack seem to be leaving Jack Riebel waiting. A news conference at The Lexington restaurant was where St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman introduced the trio of new owners, in November 2015. Speculation about the new owners ran high, until the names of the owners were released, followed by the theme of stagnation, just keeping a lady waiting.

February 3, 2016

Concerning Bulk Surveillance & Video Policing

Filed under: Law,Minnesota,Uncategorized — baseball91 @ 12:50 AM
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Each American household seemed to have an ability to freeze time, with cameras and camcorders. And in a sense there has been a loss of spontaneity, a loss of freshness in the Information Age, if you have listened to the Grammy Award-nominated songs in the recent years.


Bulk surveillance program. Time, frozen. In a sense, freezed time is what newspapers did each day, explaining what is in a series of events, near and far away, though news rooms these days are staffed by less than fifty percent the number of professionals that were there ten years ago.

Police investigations were the next to be cut back. In early 2016, police will begin asking local camera owners to join “a network” to provide ‘critical” video evidence, after the Rochester City Council on November 18, 2015 approved an annual $16,749 contract for the SecuroNet software program, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin. SecuroNet Founder Justin Williams and Accounts Director Gregory Boosalis were in Rochester the following day to demonstrate their software program which links access by Rochester Police to private businesses and residences with existing security cameras part of the bulk surveillance of their SecuroNet system.

In The SecuroNet system, when does a third party contractor become part of the public sector? Expected to go live early in 2016, who can view the collected video, logged as evidence and kept, according to Minnesota law, from public review? With a contract in place with SecuroNet Founder Justin Williams and accounts director Gregory Boosalis, the Rochester police department had some internal steps to take before SecuroNet system would be ready to accept participants, before police begin asking local camera owners to join the bulk surveillance network, Captain John Sherwin said.

Surveillance programs: As part of this new investigative response for Rochester, Founder Justin Williams mentioned The SecuroNet program is voluntary! Doesn’t this idea of selling cybersecurity sound suspiciously like a protection racket.

“With that existing camera infrastructure in place” – adding video policing to the standard procedure for the Rochester police – “it’s something that we want to tap into even more and we feel that this is the tool that can help us do that,” Captain John Sherwin said about the bulk surveillance program, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin.

With the software rights retained – like in the case of my computer, with the Internet Service Provider and the municipality that installed the broadband, and now SecuroNet Founder Justin Williams – who does the SecuroNet system video belong? With their hand in at least hyping and most likely launching the SecuroNet network, who do these cameras now belong?  Why is SecuroNet Founder getting an annual $16,749 contract out of the private cameras in the community? Are these more of the things that members of the public seldom think about, when 61 private sector security cameras become part of a public network? The Fifth Amendment provides the right not to self-incriminate, but what of the computer installations in the operation in the 2016 model vehicle? What of the private camera on my property, once a business volunteers to join the network tied to the SecuroNet founder as well as the public sector? Will I get prosecuted for something that happens on my own property that incriminates the owner of the camera/tape?

On matters of public policy, the Rochester police seem interested in reducing the number of jobs, like corporations cut back the jobs of real people, with dreams of a real-time crime center, in the coming age of drones.

“Video collected by police through the SecuroNet system would be logged as evidence and be, according to Minnesota law, kept from public review until the criminal case had been closed,” Captain John Sherwin of the Rochester Police Department told the Rochester newspaper about the impersonal and confidential video files. “Quite frankly, many of our cases are solved through video evidence, and … based on private sector video,” Captain John Sherwin of the Rochester Police Department told the Rochester newspaper.

Beware the security experts, capitalizing on the fears attached in a free society, with freedom of the press, free speech, and freedom of religion! The proprietary software is poised to collect annual fees, as the world gets less personal – in the coming age of, the less human age of, drones – and the intensity of hate will increase between police and civilians. As government infringes more and more upon my privacy, a strong partnership between the private sector and the police is the most efficient way to address this growing threat of the Bogey Man?

The foot that you shoot, in your private parking lot, might be your own. On the seamy side when the police solicit your video tapes, does it feel like extortion? You will be kept on an enemies’ list – the opposite of the Better Business Bureau? – if you refuse? Would SecuroNet be asking me to donate my hunting rifles to the police, next? And should you refuse, the police will respond more slowly to a break-in? PLACE can be one day either be used against you, or claim you, based upon current events, like what happened with the passage of law called The PATRIOT ACT. Wasn’t this software program from the private sector unnecessarily separating in the public arena, on some kind of litmus test for patriots, those leery of a police state from those old-fashioned vigilantes?

January 10, 2016

On the Coverup of How Many Rapes in Germany?

Filed under: European Union,Homeland Security,Media,Minnesota,St. Paul — baseball91 @ 1:12 AM
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Stefan Wagstyl writes from Cologne on behalf of the Financial Times about the government response to the “ mass sexual assault.” In Cologne. On New Year’s Eve.

Weren’t these rapes? Outright organized rape!  The interior ministry has 32 people suspects for the 379 New Year’s Eve “sexual assaults,” 22 of whom are allegedly asylum seekers, including “Moroccans, Algerians and Syrians.” From what are the Moroccans seeking asylum?

With the second rape by not just the politicians trying to gain support over an outrageous event, but by the media like the Financial Times. Did you see the spin in the headline by the male journalist covering the story? “Merkel backs plans to tighten the law on refugees who commit crimes.”

Crimes! The missing word is rape [noting that a journalist does not write the headline].  And then the coverup of the rapes.  To call rape “sexual assault” is to soften the appreciation of the crime which is much more than a temporal offense. ‘Chancellor Angela Merkel said on 09 January 2016 that she wants stricter asylum laws, after a series of “sexual assaults” in the city of Cologne.’ To a nation that should be shocked by the response to rapes.

Three days after a piece by Marc Champion of Bloomberg in Newsday, Stefan Wagstyl is unaware that the story now is of THE COVERUP, as the number of criminal complaints rose to 379 from 170.  Women filing criminal complaints should be outraged at the lack of coverage on the coverup, as well as the phony story pursued about a government response to the “ mass sexual assault.”

The Financial Times does not see the story if it bit them in the proverbial ass.  These rapes are going to bring down not just PERSON OF THE YEAR, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s  government but will affect what happens to the United Kingdom’s future in the European Union, when the Brexit vote comes.

Private.  Secret.  Hidden.  The police operations of the current decade all over the world are in the category of secret and hidden using methods to secure data off license plates, over phone lines and computers, in the United States under the authority of secret courts. So how could this news of a public crime outside Cologne’s Cathedral occurring on New Year’s Eve be hidden for several days?  Were  all of these people still on a long holiday weekend?  Is there censorship in Germany because of the political sensitivity, of the influx of refugees? And the outrage was in the January 1st press release issued by the Cologne police that it had been a peaceful New Year’s Eve in Cologne. And journalists like Stefan Wagstyl in Cologne go with the press releases, unable to identify Cologne as a sanctuary city.

So there was this coverup …. In Germany, for a number of days after all these rapes in one night in Cologne. This was the danger of this open door policy toward immigrants combined with the then public accommodation, of rapists … given sanctuary.  Outside the cathedral.  And so few politicians seemed to know that most rapes are committed by serial rapists who are never caught. So the coverup is because of the concern about racism of German people, as exhibited in the 1930s, by the authorities? Speaking of one horror following the next.

In the United States, there is selective enforcement of the law.  Rebellions occur when inequality threatens stability.  Repeatedly in Minnesota, the laws involving permits to protest have not been enforced against Black Lives Matter since at least January 2015, when Black Lives Matter walked down the interstate highway with impunity. Today Black Lives Matter invaded retail stores in St. Paul with immunity, as the group had done during Christmas week, at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport.  More and more, select groups are above the law, given sanctuary.  Above the law, like so many of the elected leaders live their lives.

We do live in a police state where it is impossible to be a member of a police force, having to report to leaders like the Minnesota governor, the St. Paul mayor, or in the case of Cologne, the mayor in the city which is welcoming refugees who allegedly believe in Sharia law for everyone.  With immunity for rape.  As law and order breaks down. As government becomes the rule of men and women rather than the Rule of Law.

And sometime after January 2nd, according to Cologne Mayor Henriette’s interview with der Spiegel, she found out 19 claimed criminal complaints were registered with the FEDERAL police inside the train station, besides the 3 emergency calls made to local police. And the Mayor during the summer had had an office located right across the street from the cathedral,in order to follow events there. Before her election.

Was there a police presence that night, outside the cathedral?  Have you noticed the wrong methods of selected enforcement by so many police, by those with power above and so little understanding of what it is to have a Closeness, outside a cathedral, that is supposed to accompany power. There are many people who do not know who are given power. Worse than the people who do not know are those who do not feel. Those who no longer search, passing on the missing – the no THERE. Like in this piece in the Financial Times. No longer grasping the Truth or even trying to grasp something of the Truth into the new year. A reporter, passing on the missing news– could you feel the no THERE there in his story, like trying to pass on nothing, in the 2016 election year, with the missing feel for the game that surrounds Donald Trump, Hillory Clinton and so many of the news people who cover them. People who cover up rape. Or with a selected enforcement of the rule of law.


September 2, 2013

Concussion Syndrome from NFL Affects the Entire State of Minnesota

Filed under: Minnesota,Minnesota Vikings — baseball91 @ 9:16 PM
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As history students of Nazi Germany learn eventually, collaborators rarely get punished. 

A spokesman for the Minnesota Vikings voiced concern when The Sports Facilities Authority of Minnesota had announced the retention of the Dorsey Whitney law firm of Minneapolis as well as FTI Consulting of Palm Beach, a forensic accounting firm.  The investigation by the state of Minnesota by independent counsel was of concern for the Minnesota Viking because this could lead to costly construction overruns, per a news story dated August 20,2013.  

viking hat FTI Consulting of Palm Beach was asked to review the NFL owner application of Zigi Wilf concerning the “financial due diligence” the league performed at the time Wilf acquired the Minnesota Vikings. Apparently such due diligence was not considered when the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill authorizing public funding of the construction of a new $975 million stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.  

At Gov. Mark Dayton’s request, Peter W. Carter, the co-chair of the securities litigation and enforcement practice at Dorsey & Whitney, was retained by the Sports Facilities Authority.  

 The reason for the investigation is the recent findings of fact in a twenty-year old New Jersey lawsuit in which a judge ruled against Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and family in civil lawsuit. One of the Time-Life publications, Forbes or Sports Illustrated, have estimated the wealth of the owner of the Minnesota Vikings at $310 million.  So how does the state of Minnesota, as a partner in the public funding of this stadium, know whether the Wilfs will have any money left by the time that the Wilfs get done paying damages in this twenty-year old lawsuit?  The defendant in the lawsuit, Viking owner as well as brother Mark Wilf and cousin Leonard, recently lost the lawsuit which resulted in findings of fact that the Wilfs had “committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as violating New Jersey’s civil racketeering statute.  In a lawsuit first filed in 1992, a disputed a 764-apartment complex named Rachel Gardens has resulted in a judgment against Zygi and Mark Wilf with damages to be determined by September 23, 2013. All this while the state of Minnesota is moving to begin construction of a new publicly financed stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

 According to the Associated Press, the trial lasted 209 days, lawyers took depositions from 56 people, with Zygi Wilf on the witness stand for 33 days. The Associated Press reported that Judge Wilson said that court documents showed the Wilfs had 30,000 to 50,000 apartment units, a charter airline, two hotels and and more than 100 other properties, besides the Minneota Vikings. No press comment have been made concerning the outstanding liabilities from the financing on these properties. Damages in favor of the plaintiffs have not yet been determined, though the treble damage aspect of a RICO action as well as the interest in the twenty years it took for this matter to be adjudicated may leave the Wilfs with nothing in the bank to operate their football team.  The RICO count based upon racketeering is subject to treble damages — that is, that the verdict will be multiplied times three, if this would be under federal law. And then there are punitive damages. There has been little mention on television sportscasts on in the written press whether the plaintiffs are also entitled to interest over 20 years on the overall judgment incurred as well as during any duration during the time of appeal. Lobbyists for professional sports franchises had become the media itself that covered them, because the networks sold commercial time, because consumers bought their products. And so the collaborators who have served to promote the building of the stadium with public financing.

 Yeah, it is so kind for the spokesman for the Minnesota Vikings to express concern to the increase in cost which come from any delay, as the Wilfs might not be able to meet their own share of financing.  If RICO damages are levied in this litigation, having “cheated the plaintiffs out of millions of dollars” per the findings of fact, the Wilfs’ family fortune is gone and when your partner has no assets left and is judgement-proof, the state carries responsibility for everything in building a new stadium, leaving the state of Minnesota exposed to all kinds of liabilities under the law as joint  tort feasors. The sport writers here have picked up only on the judge’s finding that the Wilfs are cheaters, having “cheated” the plaintiffs, not on the affect of the punishment on those who partner with a cheat.

There are in excess of 4500 plaintiffs involved in a consolidated concussion lawsuit against  the National Football League which was settled last week.  That settlement, involving a lot more players but a lot less money than this new stadium, was covered in the media a lot better than the oversight of public funding of the next Viking Stadium, in a state that should be getting rather good at all the Ps and Qs involved in stadium construction approved by the state legislative bodies.

 Yeah, Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs, announced that the Vikings were pulling away from negotiations with the state in the later part of August. The only difference between intervention and manipulation with the public airways is one of advanced communication. And so many of us Minnesotans had become just football airheads, concerning addictions and/or the oversight of cheaters. With too little concern about steroid use, like the little concern about concussions in the NFL. Like so little concern about the ill-gotten gains of the owner of the local NFL team.

January 26, 2013

In School Districts Above the Law

Statutory rape, based upon age, is when in Minnesota someone more than two years older than the victim engages in sexual penetration with someone at least 13 years of age and less than 16 years of age. There is no exclusions for hockey players.

“The school investigation is concluded,” Barb Olson said more than a week ago. “It’s an off-campus incident. The only connection to the school is students-athletes are involved and they ascribe to a code of conduct.”

“Over?” Like John Belushi proclaimed in the movie “Animal House”, “It’s not over.” The Sun Press & News reported on the suspensions of 13 high school hockey players over an “incident” which was investigated by the Osseo Area School District. In a judgment handed down on January 17, the senior high officials had already completed the hearing process, which allegedly included conducting “a thorough investigation,” in consultation “with the Minnesota State High School League and the Maple Grove Police Department.”

According to a story on January 25 in the Minneapolis StarTribune, “At a news conference called Thursday to talk about how to move the team forward, school officials declined to give specifics on what led to the suspension of 13 players last week. When reporters asked Principal Sara Vernig about the purported existence of a sex video stemming from the incident, she said: ‘I can’t answer that. It’s part of the investigation.’ She later added, ‘I’ll tell you, personally, it’s been devastating and disappointing.’ Longtime head coach Gary Stefano called it ‘by far my worst experience’’ in 32 years as a coach. He said references to a purported video called ‘The Show’ had been ‘brought up.’ School officials stopped him from answering further, citing privacy laws.”

Concerning the Maple Grove hockey scandal, this from City Pages:

“A person who identified himself as a student teacher in the Osseo School District (of which Maple Grove High School is a part) said the following on Twitter (his identity is being withheld; screengrabs were sent to us by a third party):

This high school hockey team sex tape is about to blow up as more of these facts come out, these kids are screwed…

[replying to someone else] I’m student teaching in that school district & the teachers were talking about it today if the stuff is true it’ll get bad..

could be a long road out of jail depending on some details…

I’m not sure how much is known yet but its all slowly coming out…

one girl, rest were hiding & watching/video-taping it…

yeah the stuff was crazy. (They do it every year, get the girl drunk, girl might have been 15 etc.) If these are true its bad…

it will depend on a lot of the detail, but it could get really bad….”

The incredible thing here is that the Maple Grove High School thought that somehow the high school had jurisdiction in this matter that was being covered up, for reasons of privacy. From the statement released by Osseo Area School Distict Community Relations Director Barb Olson it had seemed reasonable to conclude that police were on hand at the private residence, at the time of this “incident.” And the investigation, hearing and penalty all came down between January 14 and January 17? And it had seemed reasonable to conclude that the “incident” involved chemicals or sexual harassment/hazing, since penalties were (improperly) invoked under the Minnesota State High School League’s code of conduct.

So why was the Osseo Area School District releasing statements concerning a criminal matter? Why was the Osseo Area School District investigating a criminal matter under the auspices of the Minnesota High School League? In the last ten days, the Community Relations Director Barb Olson made reference to an “alleged” incident, in a press release, concerning the suspension of 13 hockey players, after an investigation into an “incident” at a private home in December.

In Maple Grove, Minnesota, school officials have just a slight idea of the code of conduct and the applicable penalties under the rules of the Minnesota High School League, based upon the press releases and news conference held to date. And where was the County Attorney with jurisdiction in these matters, over and above the “the investigation” by the Osseo Area School District and their conclusion of law to punish a violation of “the code of conduct” which each athlete signs at the start of a season. The completed investigation determined that in mid-December in a private home involving multiple athletes there were violations of the State High School League code of conducts. “We can’t provide the specifics about who were involved and what the incident was or the specific consequences,” according to Barb Olson, based upon data privacy law

Well, if you believe the TWEETS, a member of the hockey team had sex with a young woman below the age of 16. And the incident was recorded. And there was talk of “The Show” tape which must refer to a song which had come out of the movie “Money Ball” when to high school kids, even to hockey players, “ball” referred to something else. It is of note that the Minnesota State High School League’s code of conduct does not address criminal sexual conduct.

City Pages has reported that the Maple Grove Police Department had no idea of the incident. So that was why the county attorney was acting like a former soccer player keeping his/her hands off of the matter? With maybe no idea, maybe the district attorney might now start taking over the investigation, under due process, to find out what happened to “The Show,” specifying the Minnesota laws involving statutory rape.

Note the initial reaction by the administrators at the school, in their official press release last week that stated: “It’s an off-campus incident. The only connection to the school is students-athletes are involved and they ascribe to a code of conduct.” Was there a hope all of this discomfort, when the young men knew the young women at the party, would go away? Was the failure to notify the county attorney because it was the kids of Maple Grove? Or did no one in Maple Grove recognize criminal sexual conduct? And what of the suggestion that this might be some kind of lingering hockey ritual in Maple Grove, passed along from one class to the next? Whether in public school or private churches, sexual abuse by people you knew was hard to consider — by police and county attorneys.

If the alleged woman involved was 15 years old, rather than calling the Minnesota High School League, the county attorney should be filing charges, whether the family of the victim agrees or not. The public interest included the degree of fame and honor a hockey player got in the first place from representing his high school. And an investigation should include how long this “Show” has been going on.

Meanwhile, in facing the most private parts of lives, with school administrators dragging a code of conduct of the Minnesota State High School League into the discussion, to cloud a public accounting of the matter, the hockey team was intact, the perpetrator as well as the bad kids on the team who said nothing were back on the ice, in uniform with their mouthguards, representing a high school and an administration with so little idea where the real world begins. And the law not yet enforced.


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POST SCRIPT: Maple Grove is a city in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The Hennepin County Attorney serves as the chief prosecutor of all adult felony crimes and juvenile offenses in Hennepin County. The County Attorney is also responsible for providing legal counsel to the County Board of Commissioners and all county departments, as well as representing the county in civil lawsuits, child support matters, child protection actions and mental health commitments. The Osseo School District is the fifth-largest school district in the state of Minnesota, serving all or parts of Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Corcoran, Dayton, Maple Grove, Osseo, Plymouth, and Rogers. The Osseo School Board re-elected Maple Grove resident Dean Henke, a twenty-five year resident of Maple Grove, as the board chair (with his 9 years of experience as an Osseo school board member) at annual organizational meeting on January 8, 2013. The Osseo School Board also elected Teresa Lunt vice chair, Tammie Epley clerk and Jim Burgett treasurer.

November 10, 2012

Give To The Max Day

Since 2005, Lorena Klinnert and a group of friends have raised money for the Bluefields Children’s Fund which supports a food program and school expenses for children in Bluefields, a very poor coastal area of Nicaragua. In her letter of support, Sister Joanne Klinnert said: “My sister Lorena and the small group of people that work with her are doing what we who first settled in Nicaragua set before ourselves: to do what is to be done.”

On Friday, November 16, at 7:00 pm Lorena Klinnert is holding a fund-raiser at 300 Marshall Ave. 3, in St. Paul, Minnesota for the children of Bluefields, Nicaragua. Come hear the story of the team that provides funds to continue the ministry which provides a meal a day of beans and rice –with a little meat added a few days a week — for 120 children a day. This program was prompted by a missionary couple who runs the local clinic and noticed many malnourished and underweight children. The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota is a community of Catholic women religious who walk in the very real footsteps of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. “We welcome those who wish to join us as sisters, associates, volunteers, transfer sisters, friends and donors.”Give to the Max Day 2012 Coming Soon

On Thursday, November 15, every donation you make during Give to the Max Day, gives your favorite organization the chance
throughout the 24 hours to double the money, as hundreds of nonprofits and schools will offer the opportunity to double your dollars for thousands of nonprofits and schools.

The online giving destination for creating change in Minnesota.

September 28, 2012

The Killings at Accent Signage Systems

Filed under: Minneapolis,Minnesota — baseball91 @ 1:30 AM
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In a slowly developing story, a shooting took place today at Accent Signage Systems’ 30,000-square-foot office and production space in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood in Minneapolis during the end of the business day. Eight Accent Signage Systems employees were seen standing in a prayer circle near the scene of a shooting late this afternoon, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Approached after their prayer, the eight people of a total staff numbered at 28 in July, said they did not wish to comment about the shooting of six people, with two reported dead and four hospitalized.

Sixty-one year old Reuven Rahamim who stared ths interior-signage company is the son of Iranian Jews that had come to the Israel in the late 1940s. In 1974 Reuven Rahamim’s family emigrated from Israel to Minnesota; after starting Accent Signage Systems in the early 1980s out of the basement of his Minneapolis home, Reuven Rahamim was expecting “Accent’s annual revenue, now in the $5 million to $10 million range, to grow 11 percent this year.” And if so, he had plans to hire up to seven more people, per the July 2012 piece in

Minnpost had just run a piece in their online paper about Rahamim’s company in August 2012. “Accent’s work also goes beyond sign-making,” with workshops set up “at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Moose Lake, where they teach job skills and train inmates to build signs for the state. Accent provides the same type of training at the VA Hospital in Milwaukee, serving veterans who have difficulty finding work.” Minnpost also reported, “Rahamim said he tries to give back to the community, because the U.S. has allowed him to achieve success he wouldn’t have reached anywhere else.”

Minnpost is a collection of veteran journalist forced into retirement by the financial pinch felt at newspapers throughout the nation, who now do a better job with the news than the green staff left behind at the Minneapolis StarTrib.



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The photo is of the killer identified as Andrew John Engeldinger who lived at 3721 12th Avenue South in Minneapolis, a fourteen year employee of Accent Signage Systems.

April 4, 2012

Removing the Claws from Clawback

Filed under: Bernie Maddoff,Minnesota — baseball91 @ 7:06 PM
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Mark Dayton signed into law Tuesday legislation that shields Minnesota nonprofits which are being asked to return millions in tainted donations, in cases when time had elapsed after the donations were made and the money spent. The retroactive legislation overwhelmingly endorsed in House and Senate votes became controversial only in the days leading up to Governor Dayton’s signature – perhaps because after years of budget cuts at newspapers, no one was left to write thoughtful pieces about what soon would be public policy. According to the StarTribune, it was discovered this legislation seriously affects the potential for collection attempts such as those to existing clawback cases stemming from the Petters bankruptcy, in recovery of losses for victims of a Ponzi scheme like Tom Petters’; Petters’ alleged co-conspirator Frank Vennes Jr., their associates, and Mr. Petters made as much as $425 million in tainted donations, bankruptcy trustee Doug Kelley estimated.

The issue is tainted donations. Charities asked for a pass because they claim that they lack the resources to do due diligence on all of their contributors and, in some cases, already have unwittingly spent the money by the time criminal activity is associated with the donation. Because nonprofits did not have the time or staff that the rest of the world should have to look into why the return on investments were so high? Does the law shield Minnesota nonprofits, but the nonprofits from other states are not shielded? After years of having news presented with a local angle, thinking had developed here that some were better than others – in need of a shield as this law does give extended immunity to charitable and religious organizations that take donations and contributions unwittingly which are a result of ill-gotten gains.

Estimating the sought contributions total as much as $445 million in the case of Petters, Kelley said those funds should be returned to to creditors of Petters’ business operations as well as the investors who were victims of Petters’ $3.65 billion scheme. Under the signed law, only half of the $445 million may be collectible under the new law.

The morality of keeping tainted money has nothing to do with the number of years after donations were made and the money spent, unwittingly. There is a lot of irony here to have a governor who comes from one of the most generous families in Minnesota history to be left to decide the issue of tainted money. Legislative supporters of the bill – charitable groups like Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Twin Cities (Attorney Robert McCollum who sits on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Cities called Dayton’s action “a significant day in the history of the state for nonprofits.”) and chemical addiction treatment program Minnesota Teen Challenge, along with representatives of bankruptcy trustee Doug Kelley – were in the governor’s office Tuesday morning as the governor considered his last-minute options on the bill.

So no legislator knew how the issue of the rape of Europa was handled at the end of WW II, concerning stolen art? The Minnesota legislature was not much better than those two generations ago considering what happened to all the art hijacked by the Nazis — because they were of Aryan blood — or, about what happened to all the perpetrators involved with crimes against humanity who were never punished. And it was left to private citizens who survived like Simon Wiesenthal with the inner passion to seek real justice.

So legislators have no idea about the current state of fund-raising? A charity keeps dossiers on who their benefactors are before the head of a charity solicits a gift. There is a bit of irony of the timing of this piece, as Benedict XVI last week referred to the reality of “human evil and ignorance,” within even his church. He was alluding to a cozy relationship some clergy appear to have in Mexico with the overlords of drug cartels who sometimes give money to the church to demonstrate their Catholic bona fides. Maybe a lot like Tom Petters. So when it comes to inheritance, birthrights, and being the receiver of goodness, how are the Big Brothers/Big Sisters going to teach these kids how to live when faced with the hard decisions. Because Minnesota nonprofits did not have the time or staff or money that the rest of the world was expected to have to look into why the return on investments were so high? After years of having news presented with a local angle, thinking had developed here that some were better than others, and a law was need to shield Minnesota nonprofits – without comment on nonprofits from other states.

“Organizations can now move forward without the fear that they one day may have to pay back what was donated to them,” Attorney McCollum who does volunteer his time to sit on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Cities, said in a StarTribune interview Tuesday. The signed legislation makes organizations liable to return tainted contributions received unwittingly within two years of a donation. The StarTribune vaguely stated that any questionable contributions — ill-gotten gains –discovered after two years are not affected by the law. In an e-mail Tuesday, bankruptcy trustee Doug Kelley told the StarTribune he would probably challenge the constitutionality of the new law.

On issues of tainted money, lobbyists were actively involved in this legislation, in the system set up financing elections. Note the magic in coming to a period of time, just like those legislative elections. What was so magical about two years?

It has been previously reported that Governor Dayton’s chairman of the METROPOLITAN SPORTS FACILITIES COMMISSION, Ted Mondale, had started a company with money loaned from the ill-gotten gains of Tom Petters. Perhaps placed in charge to lead the charge to collect tainted public tax money so that athletes, in the age of free agency, can play their games in a place and receive their riches way above the working women and working men — without any claws to fight back — before they leave Minnesota, so much better than the rest of us. This same prevalent thinking was what allowed churches and the Boy Scouts to be above the law, as if charities and their employees did not have to be watched over — so much better than the society that they served.

In a world more and more with thoughtless leaders. In a world more and more surrounded by thoughtless people, the recipients of charity thought they were entitled — after a certain period of time — to all of the perceived to be goodness from their beneficiaries with money. In a world more and more with thoughtless charities, there was so little thought put into the justice issues concerning the morality of law in Minnesota. Yes, Attorney Robert McCollum called Dayton’s action “a significant day in the history of the state for nonprofits.” And as a result there was justifiably more and more doubt if charity and love would — or should — prevail.

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September 8, 2011

When Spring Turns to Falls

With investment in the country valued at $19.4 billion in 2009, with additional exports to Syria estimated to be $1.1 billion in 2010, the Russian government dispatched Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to Damascus last week to urge Syrian leader Bashar Assad to halt “violence” against protesters, and implement promised political changes, The Moscow Times reports today.

Russian firms have quite a presence in Syrian involving infrastructure, energy and tourism, along with lucrative arms contracts. So, Russia has blocked efforts by the European Union and United States to impose punitive measures through the United Nations, after a “crackdown” on unrest since March. Russia also has rejected U.S. and European calls for Bashad Assad to step down. “Russia is categorically against any interference, especially military, in the internal affairs of a country,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Tuesday in response to e-mailed questions to the Moscow Times. “Efforts to resolve the problems in Syria through outside force would provoke utter chaos in the Middle East.”

This “utter chaos” has already resulted in the death of 2,200 Syrian demonstrators, according to United Nations estimates. But there is a lot at stake in Syrian, a Soviet-era ally, for Russia. Russia maintains its only military facility in the Middle East with its Tartus naval base in the Mediterranean. In January 2011, oil-producer Tatneft, based in Tatarstan, had announced it would spend $12.8 million drilling exploratory wells near the Syria- Iraqi border.

With a staff of 80 Russians on the ground, Stroitransgaz has been working in Syria for more than 50 years. Nikolai Grishenko, director of Sovintervod, compared today’s protests to the 1980s civil unrest in Syria, which the government “successfully” crushed at the price of up to 25,000 dead and wounded civilians. With a 20-person team in Aleppo, Grishenko added his belief that Assad was a “decent man.”

According to data from the Moscow Defense Brief, there are more than $4 billion in active arms contracts between Syria and Russian capital, including MiG-29 fighters, Pantsir surface-to-air missiles, artillery systems and anti-tank weaponry. The Arab Spring has already put at risk an estimated $10 billion worth of business contracts Russia had with Gadhafi’s regime in Libya.

The Russians are having as bad a year as the Minnesota Twins.

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August 8, 2011

Fairness at the Fairgrounds: Causes of Riot in Milwaukee

Filed under: Milwaukee Riot,Minneapolis,Minnesota — baseball91 @ 3:43 PM
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March 27, 2012 Downtown Minneapolis has been hit by six incidents of “mob” attacks since February, mostly around the Nicollet Mall by homegrown terrorists. On March 16, several of the seven males inside an enclosed bus stop surged toward a bicyclist, striking first a 23-year-old rider, as the group then surrounded a second bicyclist and began assailing him, police said. Approaching officers saw a group of about 15 to 20 youths running around a corner from the melee, ending up on a nearby restaurant patio, where assualts continued. A lot like what had happened in Milwaukee in 2011. Or at the Mall of America on the day after Christmas 2011. With more incidents anticipated with warmer temperatures.


August 8, 2011 Milwaukee, Wisconsin is witnessing its own Arab Spring-like summer. Marauding black kids at the fairgrounds after sunset Thursday night started by beating up each other, police said, before turning on Caucasian families leaving the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds. Investigators reported that the African-American kids had gathered in West Allis in the perimeters of the fairgrounds and had not been enjoying the offerings of the fair. Thirty-five people were arrested either by fairground police, West Allis Police or Milwaukee Police. And a lot of people were injured.

Afterward, one blogger from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote that these homegrown terrorists needed to be stopped. “It bears repeating that the vast majority of African-Americans in Milwaukee are good, hardworking people, and that members of all races interact every day with mutual respect. Though I suspect plenty of these kids grew up with poverty, violence, unsafe neighborhoods, lousy parents or other challenges, forget about blaming society as the responsibility for this thuggery lies with the perpetrators.”

Again and again and again, there was a communication to white Milwaukee, as racial incidents kept happening. There was a public relations nightmare Thursday night for the Wisconsin State Fair, with Truth buried in the story about the community of Milwaukee. If these incidents of race-related violence keep happening. The “mob attack” was not an isolated incident, after similar occurrence at a Summerfest hip-hop show this year, along with the Riverwest looting and racially motivated beatings last month as a group of seventy-five to one hundred black youth disturbed traffic before moving across a bridge west to the Riverwest neighborhood where “ransacking” and robberies of two gas stations by the mob took place. These youths are trying to force the issue – the truth about life in Milwaukee. There had been in the recent past similar “wilding which forced the Greek festival to move out of its northwest side neighborhood, after the late Riversplash too was hobbled by violence.” The issue with all of the stages of life when a community was truly hobbled by violence for a spell, was denial, anger, and fear. In arriving at the acceptance of what was the community standard.

Now the institution of the State Fair, writes the blogger from the Milwaukee Journal, “is left to pick up the pieces, to try to focus back on fun.” Not that they care, but “the thugs had to know that they were damaging the reputation of a beloved institution.” When the issue was really over the acceptance or rejection of institutions.

Yes, black kids at the fair started by beating up each other, police said, and these “kids may not realize that the damage they’re causing may be inflicted mostly on themselves in the long run, as doors close and attitudes harden,”writes the Journal-Sentinel blogger. I have slightly modified his conclusion. About when normal day-to-day life returns, and the morning silence begins with issues of trust. In everyday relationships. At home. In neighborhoods. Maybe that’s the whole point. When so many of its loved ones are silently suffering, there are all of these beloved institution. In a land of plenty, there was this American Pollyanna image of county fairs as a midsummer oasis of fun, food and farm animals. And nowhere were people asking how the social institutions, which helped developed attitudes and behavior, had let the African-American community down. Over hunger and the acceptance of hunger. Or over what was missing in the black community about American life, as seen on television. How many were kids of single moms? The missing nurturing part which came from home-cooking, not just the suggested minimum daily vitamin requirement. These kids who had not been enjoying the offerings of another fair. There are all of these beloved institution, but why should these kids care, if no one truly cared about them? Especially an African-American president? Perhaps like their own fathers. With all of this lip service by communal leaders everywhere, where was this caring about a fair pursuit of happiness? For everyone.

Again and again and again, the problems were left to a new generation of single moms to try and discover the answer in their own homes, because the community seemed to be failing. And as the new immigrants with the same black skin seemed to demonstrate, it was not an issue of skin color but the issues of the community standard of care for each other. And deaf community leaders, letting these grandkids of Motown and Blues musicians rap — without any idea mentioned any more of love in the pursuit of the truth about it all.

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