Minnesota town votes to allow white supremacist church

MINNEAPOLIS — The people of Murdock, Minnesota, will be getting a new neighbor. The City Council voted Wednesday night to grant a permit allowing the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) to use an abandoned Lutheran church in the Swift County town as its third “hof,” or gathering hall, in the United States. Meeting online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the council kept its video camera turned off, meaning that other meeting attendees couldn’t see the members’ faces. Despite repeated requests from the online audience, council members refused to identify who voted for or against the permit, passing it ...

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Minneapolis man fueling global craze for the hottest quarantine toy you've never heard of

If you’ve never seen a kendama before, you might think it’s some sort of small wooden doll, or handheld weapon or tool for assembling IKEA furniture. In fact, it’s a Japanese toy made of two parts — a cross-shaped handle (the “ken”) and ball with a hole in it (the “tama”) — connected by a string.For centuries, kendama was rarely played outside its home country and you could hardly buy one in the United States. But in the past decade, its popularity has exploded around the globe. Within certain circles — largely young men, who film themselves “lacing bangers” (kendama-speak for landing difficul...

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Filmmaker exposes sinister fertility doctor in a new HBO documentary

“Baby God,” a disturbing new documentary about a fertility doctor who used deceit and rape to impregnate women with his own sperm, is largely set in Las Vegas, where the OB-GYN had set up practice.But the film, which premieres at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday on HBO, has a number of Minnesota connections.Dr. Quincy Fortier, the movie’s chief villain, graduated from the University of Minnesota’s medical school in 1945. One of his biological children, who ends up playing a key role in the story, lives in Walker, Minnesota, a three-hour drive north of the Twin Cities.And then there’s Hannah Olson. The film...

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Small businesses that took PPP aid may face a tax problem

A recent IRS ruling tying up a loose end in the 2020 economic-relief law could force many small businesses to pay taxes on government aid meant to help through the pandemic.The agency on Nov. 18 said the businesses cannot deduct expenses such as payroll and rent, paid for with money from the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act. Such deductions are common when those expenses are paid for with revenue from running a business.The ruling hardened a divide between the Trump administration and the main tax writers in Congress, who have sought since the corona­virus outbreak produced an econ...

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National fund started for families of health care workers who died of COVID

MINNEAPOLIS — A new national fund announced Monday aims to raise millions of dollars for families of the nearly 1,400 U.S. health care workers who have died from COVID-19.The St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation and Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, teamed up to create the Frontline Families Fund to help pay funeral costs and other expenses or college scholarships for children of the health care workers.“These people put their lives on the line, day after day after day, into harm’s way. They are the real heroes of th...

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US Rep. Ilhan Omar severs financial ties with husband's political firm

MINNEAPOLIS — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar has told supporters that her campaign is no longer doing business with her husband’s political consulting firm, a connection that had previously sparked scrutiny and complaints to campaign finance watchdogs.In an email late Sunday, Omar said her campaign was terminating its contract with the firm to “make sure that anybody who is supporting our campaign with their time or financial support feels there is no perceived issue with that support.”The Federal Election Commission has taken no public action in response to a complaint last year from a conservative gro...

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State asks judge to reconsider allowing audio and video coverage of officers' trial in George Floyd killing

MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors in the case against the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd have asked the presiding judge to reconsider his order allowing their upcoming trial to be recorded and livestreamed.In a two page motion filed Monday, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank asked Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill to revisit his Nov. 4 order allowing audio and video coverage of trial scheduled for March. The state objected to such coverage in July, but did not provide an explanation as to why.Citing immense global interest in the case, li...

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Here's what America is losing as Joe Biden transition is delayed

This country is closing in on two weeks since outgoing President Donald Trump was defeated at the polls. President-elect Joe Biden has only widened his lead since then, amassing 5 million more votes than the incumbent. He has far surpassed Trump in electoral votes with 290 at this writing and is on track for 306.Trump still refuses to concede. But what is far worse are the actions he has taken in the aftermath of the election. Precious days are slipping away as Trump obstinately forbids his administration from cooperating with the Biden transition team.Biden has been blocked from the daily pre...

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'Boogaloo Bois' face new charges for possession of machine guns and silencers

MINNEAPOLIS — After trying to capitalize on the civil unrest in Minneapolis this summer, two members of anti-government Boogaloo Bois attempted to sell untraceable machine guns and unregistered silencers to Hamas, an international terrorist group, to be used in attacks against United States and Israeli soldiers overseas, according to a new indictment announced by federal prosecutors in Minnesota Friday.Michael Robert Solomon, 30, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, met with an undercover FBI agent, who they believed to be a senior member of Hamas, on July 30, according to federal court documents. Th...

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Signs of 'financial stress' emerge in survey of Twin Cities rent payers

MINNEAPOLIS — September was a more difficult month for working-class and low-income renters in the Twin Cities.With federal assistance in limbo, 85% of people who lived in the oldest, most affordable market-rate rentals (Class C buildings) were able to pay their rent by Oct. 6 when the grace period for late rents typically ends, according to the Minnesota Multi Housing Association’s monthly survey of more than 35,000 market-rate units, most of them in the metro. That’s down from 88% last month and 94% last year, and doesn’t include heavily subsidized and Section 8 rentals.Cecil Smith, presiden...

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Unicorn Riot's protest coverage brings global notice to the alternative media group

MINNEAPOLIS — Niko Georgiades, like so many youths, wanted to be a pro athlete when he grew up. If not that, a sportscaster, he thought, narrating jump shots and three-pointers while practicing basketball at his home near Albert Lea.Instead, at 38, Georgiades provides play-by-play of a different sort, while livestreaming protest marches, sit-ins, mass evictions and civil unrest for Unicorn Riot, an alternative media group he co-founded. In late August, three short months after George Floyd was killed, he was filming the unrest in downtown Minneapolis spurred by rumor that a Black man — yet anot...

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The format of the next presidential debate is suddenly obvious

Before President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19, a strong case could be made for modifying the format of the remaining debates from face-to-face to remote. Now it’s essential.It may seem premature to consider the format of future debates before we know the seriousness of the president’s condition. But at present the nation should operate under the assumption that the president is going to recover and that the campaign will go on.The first debate was a disaster. Only those with an appreciation for rhetorical blood sport found anything uplifting or informative in the confrontation between Dona...

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Guest says Minnesota fundraiser with Trump 'very safely done'

MINNEAPOLIS — A St. Paul philanthropist and political donor who attended a Shorewood fundraiser with President Donald Trump shortly before his COVID-19 diagnosis was revealed said Saturday that guests were all tested beforehand and were careful about social distancing.“It was very safely done,” said Helene Houle, who paid $100,000 to attend the president’s fundraiser Wednesday at the Lake Minnetonka home of Minnesota business leader Marty Davis.Houle said in a phone interview that guests were told to arrive at least an hour ahead of start time and to wait in their cars.“They gave us the test i...

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Bobby Marshall made history playing in NFL's first game a century ago

MINNEAPOLIS — Odds are Bobby Marshall is the greatest football player, the most distinguished Minnesotan and the most multifaceted Black pioneer you’ve never heard of.As the first full century of NFL games officially faded into the history books this past week, today’s players look forward to a future in which their voices can impact social justice. But it’s also important, leaders say, to look back and honor the backs upon which today’s opportunities were built.“It’s amazing to me what those guys went through to give us the opportunities we have today,” said Vikings co-defensive coordinator A...

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Biden hangs on to lead over Trump in Minnesota: poll

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Vice President Joe Biden maintains a steady lead over President Donald Trump in Minnesota, propelled by strong support among women and younger voters, according to a new Star Tribune/MPR News/KARE 11 Minnesota Poll.The poll found the Democratic challenger leading 48% to 42% over the Republican incumbent among likely Minnesota voters. Another 8% were undecided, while three third-party candidates together totaled 2%.Biden’s six-point lead in a potential swing state comes less than six weeks ahead of the Nov. 3 election, showing little change from the Democrat’s 49% to 44% ad...

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