Connect with us


Minnesota House Democrats expel Rep. John Thompson from caucus



Minnesota House Democrats expel Rep. John Thompson from caucus

Minnesota House Democrats voted to expel Rep. John Thompson from their caucus Tuesday night, citing “credible reports of abuse and misconduct” and Thompson’s “failure to take responsibility.”

The exceedingly rare move has no impact on Thompson, who represents St. Paul’s East Side, still holding office. Such a bid to oust him from the House may yet come, but that’s not what Tuesday night’s drama was.

Thompson’s expulsion from the Democratic-Farmer-Labor caucus amounts to his fellow liberals — who control the majority of the House — booting him from their ranks and makes it unlikely he will chair a committee — or perhaps even sit on one — or carry much influence anytime soon.

In other words, Thompson’s peers essentially told him: We don’t want you on our team.

Thompson has been under pressure from top Democrats to resign from office ever since media reported in July details of past allegations of physical violence toward women. Thompson, who has never been convicted of domestic abuse, has repeatedly opted not to publicly address numerous specifics of the allegations, though he has remained defiant and refused to step down.

Tuesday night’s caucus meeting was held behind closed doors.

The caucus’s top two Democrats, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, issued the following statement:

“Rep. Thompson’s actions, credible reports of abuse and misconduct, and his failure to take responsibility remain unacceptable for a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. It would be best for Rep. Thompson, his family, and the institution for him to resign. In the absence of a resignation, the Minnesota House DFL has voted to remove Rep. Thompson from the caucus.”


Thompson appears to have known it was coming.

On Tuesday morning, he released a statement via social media that initially referred to his “expulsion,” though that word was later removed.

The statement, which ran about a dozen paragraphs long, carried similar themes to his previous statements, emphasizing the difficulties of living as a Black man who only sought advocacy in 2016, after his friend Philando Castile was killed by a St. Anthony police officer.

When it came to the specific allegations of violence against two separate women, he avoided specifics. Here’s part of his statement:

“Currently, some are saying because of the past allegations against me that I am not fit to serve in this legislative seat. The fact is, I don’t have a hateful bone in my body for anything other than the blatant racism that is being displayed all over the world and that some play as though it does not exist. Allegations about something that allegedly happened to me twenty years ago does not disqualify me from doing my job today. As a matter of fact, it only gave me strength to fight harder and help transform the communities I am fighting for.

“Have I made some bad decisions in the past? Yes.

“Have I been through the storm and back? Yes.

“Am I a passionate and vocal Black man? Yes.

“I did not run for office to talk about my family or put our past — true or false — front and center, but now I have no choice. The fact is I promised my wife when I ran for office that I would not put her through being in a spotlight in any way when it comes to our personal business. We can’t undo that, but we have had to seek additional mental health professionals for our children because of the slander that they see about us in the media and (spread) about on social media outlets.”


Thompson found himself under the spotlight after he was pulled over for driving without a license July 4 and said he was the victim of racial profiling. The most recent political problems have come not from the driving-related issues, but from past accusations that he has physically abused multiple women.

A review of Minnesota and Wisconsin court records show Thompson has never been convicted of domestic abuse. He has been arrested, charged or listed as a suspect in six incidents involving alleged violence toward women between 2003 and 2011 in Wisconsin and Minnesota, according to public records located by the Pioneer Press.

Several of those cases involve statements made to police by Lee Thompson, the lawmaker’s current wife. In an impassioned statement on the steps of the state Capitol in late July, Lee Thompson unequivocally denied that Thompson ever harmed her, though she only addressed one of the incidents, and she didn’t respond when asked how to reconcile the statements of two pedestrians who told police they saw Thompson strike her outside a Superior, Wis., grocery in 2003.

Neither she nor Thompson addressed a 2004 Eagan police report in which police say she told officers, in a recorded statement, that Thompson threw her against a table, which broke; that he choked her to the point where she couldn’t breathe and was close to passing out; and that he dismantled the telephone during the final of three attempts she made to call 911. Parts of that account were corroborated by a child who was present, according to police reports.

The police file contains photographs of a woman, images reviewed by the Pioneer Press, that show marks along the base of her neck. According to those police reports, Thompson denied the events happened as alleged.

But for many lawmakers, such detailed allegations, while unproven in court, have proven to be untenable for Thompson, a first-term lawmaker who gained a reputation as a Black Lives Matter activist.


Many of Thompson’s fellow lawmakers of color have been publicly quiet since his scrutiny began. On Tuesday, six of them issued a joint statement that didn’t say whether they supported or opposed the expulsion but instead spoke to the plight of Black families, including domestic violence.

“While we do not condone the allegations concerning Rep. Thompson’s actions, this could have been an opportunity to find accountability in a way that seeks redemption and transformation,” the statement read in part. It was issued by Minneapolis Reps. Aisha Gomez, Esther Agbaje and Hodan Hassan, and St. Paul Reps. Athena Hollins, Fue Lee and Jay Xiong. The six do not constitute all the House lawmakers of color.

Click to comment


Massachusetts coronavirus cases increase by 1,283, highest daily death count in months



Massachusetts coronavirus cases increase by 1,283, highest daily death count in months

Massachusetts health officials on Tuesday reported 1,283 new coronavirus cases and 25 COVID deaths, which was the highest daily death count in more than five months.

Total COVID hospitalizations in the Bay State dropped again, while the positive test rate ticked up.

Virus cases have been climbing for months amid the more highly contagious delta variant. Now deaths have been higher in recent weeks.

The 25 new COVID deaths was the highest single-day tally since April 3’s count of 30 deaths. Last week, the state reported 24 new COVID deaths in one day.

The state’s total recorded death toll is now 18,480. The seven-day average of deaths is now 7.1. The record-low daily death average was 1.3 in mid-July.

After the new 1,283 virus cases, the seven-day average of cases is now 1,222. Two months ago, the daily average was 352 infections.

The positive test average has been coming down, however. The percent positivity is now 2.10%, a dip from 2.98% last month. The daily positive test rate for Tuesday’s report was higher at 2.98%.

There are now 636 COVID patients in the state, a daily decrease of five patients.

The state reported that 173 patients are in intensive care units, and 103 patients are currently intubated.

Of the 636 total hospitalizations, 211 patients are fully vaccinated — or about 33%. Those who are unvaccinated are at a much higher risk for a severe case.

Continue Reading


West St. Paul plans $2.1 million upgrade to Marthaler Park



West St. Paul plans $2.1 million upgrade to Marthaler Park

A planned overhaul to Marthaler Park in West St. Paul will feature a brand new design, with an improved sledding hill, modern bathrooms and new playground equipment.

The improvements will cost about $2.1 million, said Dave Schletty, the city’s assistant parks and recreation director. The work could begin in 2022 and be completed in 2024.

Improvements for Marthaler Park have been ongoing for some time, Schletty said. The city started working with WSB, a Minneapolis based design and consulting firm, in the mid-2010s, but was held up because the recent Robert Street development cost more than anticipated. Now the plan is to move ahead in three phrases.

“Instead of waiting three years where we could have full funding, we’d rather start,” Schletty said. “With the help of our consultant, we felt like it would be doable and fine to break it into phases.”

  • Phase 1: In 2022, demolish parking lots and put in new ones. The city may also put in a paved trail connecting a parking lot to the River-to-River Greenway Trail.
  • Phase 2: In 2023, improvements will be focused on the central portion, including the playground, picnic area and possibly the bathrooms.
  • Phase 3: In 2024, focus on pond cleanup and the park’s sledding hill.
Rendering for the Marthaler Park in West St. Paul with details on upgrades planned through 2024. (Rendering made by WSB. Courtesy of Dave Schletty)

The city has held public meetings and collected comment cards from residents. Officials have also been working with the Marthaler Park Neighborhood Group, an informal group formed after a shooting at the park to help take care of it.

Carol Keyes-Ferrer, a member of the Marthaler Park Neighborhood Group, said that she wants to see trash and security improve in the park. She looks forward to increased lighting in the park.

“I’m glad that they’re keeping the basketball court and keeping the tennis courts because we see those used a lot,” Keyes-Ferrer said.

Plans for Marthaler Park are not final. The parks department will have a table at the West St. Paul open house on Thursday and will take any questions and suggestions for Marthaler Park. The gathering is located at the city’s Municipal Center, which is across the street from the park.

Schletty encourages residents to contact the city and share ideas.

“I’ve been with the city 20 years, so about the time I started was when we were first talking about (Marthaler Park) improvements,” Schletty said. “To actually see it finally coming together, I’m really, really excited.”


West St. Paul will host a free Open House at its Municipal Center, 1616 Humboldt Ave. with live music, kids games, police and ire demonstrations, free food and more. The event will run from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23.

Continue Reading


‘Scared to death’ Vermont advocates rally for emergency housing



‘Scared to death’ Vermont advocates rally for emergency housing

Posted: Updated:

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — An 84-day extension of emergency housing benefits is set to expire for more than 540 Vermont households this week. Vermont Legal Aid (VLA) and housing advocates are asking the state for more time.

“Most of us are afraid for our lives, the winter itself,” said 24-year-old motel voucher participant Randy Tatro. “If you’re homeless in the winter, and you can’t end up in centers—People will freeze to death.”

April Metcalf, a participant in the voucher program, says she’s lived in several different motels in Central Vermont throughout the pandemic. “It’s just really hard. I’m scared to death, and I’m sure everybody else is,” she said. “When Thursday comes, what are we going do to?”

In a letter to the Department for Children and Families, VLA and shelter providers are asking the department to extend the benefits “for as long as possible, dictated only by room availability,” for 543 households. VLA staff attorney Mairead O’Reilly said that with COVID cases rising due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, ending the benefits doesn’t make sense. “When the legislature approved the administration’s plan to offer benefits for only 84 days, the circumstances were really different,” she said.

Rick DeAngelis, executive director of the Good Samaritan Haven in Barre, said that without an extension, 50 to 75 people in Washington County, Vermont, will lose housing. He said the state should take advantage of the recent decision by FEMA to extend a 100% cost-share through the end of the year. “In this period of uncertainty and crisis, why wouldn’t you use that funding to provide support and protection?” he asked.

The advocates’ letter also points out that while the state is investing in affordable housing and additional shelters, the units won’t be ready in time. Another Way, a drop-in site in Montpelier, is supplying camping gear—tarps, tents, sleeping bags, and meals—to those in need.

However, Ken Russell, executive director of the site, says it’s a temporary fix. “We’re helping them get stable emotionally to the best of our ability,” he said. “But this feels like pulling the rug out from underneath the motel system. These are human beings we’re talking about, here. These are people who are not outside just because of moral failings, they’re in life crisis.”

Metcalf says she’s hoping and praying for more support from Gov. Phil Scott and his administration. “What do they expect us to do?” she said. “Really.”

Continue Reading


Missouri’s abortion law in federal court; focus on Down syndrome diagnosis



Missouri’s abortion law in federal court; focus on Down syndrome diagnosis

ST. LOUIS – Missouri could join Texas with one of the strictest abortion laws in the country if a federal court of appeals rules in the state’s favor.

Back in 2019, the Missouri General Assembly passed a bill banning abortions after eight weeks or if the mother receives a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. A day before the law was set to go into effect, a federal judge blocked the measure, and it has been an ongoing legal fight since. A rare move Tuesday as all 11 members of a federal court of appeals heard the case.

“Today, we argued that every single life matters,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said. “We are hopeful that we are on the right side of this issue, and we are going to continue to fight for those most vulnerable among us.”

Just days after lawmakers passed the legislation, Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill which does not allow exemptions for rape or incest survivors. But the focus in Tuesday’s hearing wasn’t how long a woman has to get an abortion. Instead, it was about a mother receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis.

“People who are pregnant, regardless of why they are choosing to have an abortion should be able to have that care here in the state of Missouri,” Chief Medical Officer for Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region Dr. Colleen McNicholas said. “Pregnant folks who are facing an abortion in the context of having a diagnosis of a fetal anomaly, a genetic diagnosis, whether it’s Down syndrome or any other diagnosis, are facing a real traumatic decision.”

Earlier this summer, a three-judge panel from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the law, but after the June decision, the court made a rare move and decided in July to re-hear the case before all the judges.

Schmitt said the focus was on the Down syndrome piece because that’s a relatively new issue for the courts.

“I think that every individual deserves the right to live their life and pursue happiness including those with Down syndrome,” Schmitt said. “This is modern-day eugenics, this is discriminating to the most extreme level of the elimination of an entire class of people because of a trait.”

During a press conference after the hearing, Schmitt, citing a 2019 dissent from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky, Inc.), claimed roughly 70% of babies in the U.S. are aborted due to a Down syndrome diagnosis.

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a law in Texas that bans abortions as early as six weeks, allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone who participates. This law makes Texas the most restrictive state in the country for abortions.

“I would say that Missouri is on the list of many states who are on the verge of losing access to abortion and so last week Texas, this week, Missouri,” McNicholas said.

McNicholas said it’s not a decision the state should make for women who are pregnant.

“Anti-abortion groups and legislators have longed tried to find wedge issues to push people to anti-abortion stances but our stance, my stance, the stance of the patients I care for, everyone has a unique situation,” McNicholas said.

Planned Parenthood in the Central West End in St. Louis is Missouri’s only abortion clinic. The Show-Me State is one of five states across the country that only has one clinic. McNicholas said whatever the ruling is, they won’t close their doors.

“This is a public health matter, it is basic healthcare and we will continue to fight for people to have access to that,” McNicholas said.

Under the Missouri law passed back in 2019, physicians who perform abortions after eight weeks could face anywhere from five to 15 years in prison but the woman who made the decision to have the abortion would not be charged. Anyone who participates in an abortion after the knowledge of a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis could be charged with civil penalties which could include the loss of a medical license.

Currently in Missouri, a woman can have an abortion up to 22 weeks. The number of abortions in Missouri per year has decreased significantly over the years in the past decade. According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, the state recorded 6,163 abortions in 2010, but only 46 in 2020.

Here is the list of abortions per year in the last decade:

2010 – 6,163
2011 – 5,772
2012 – 5,624
2013 – 5,416
2014 – 5,060
2015 – 4,765
2016 – 4,562
2017 – 3,903
2018 – 2,911
2019 – 1,368
2020 – 46

Schmitt said he does not know when the court will rule but is hoping for a quick decision.

The hearing in St. Louis comes less than three months before the country’s highest court is expected to hear arguments for a Mississippi law that challenges the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which establishes abortion as a protected right.

Continue Reading


Officials: Many Haitian migrants are being released in US



Officials: Many Haitian migrants are being released in US


DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — Many Haitian migrants camped in a small Texas border town are being released in the United States, two U.S. officials said Tuesday, undercutting the Biden administration’s public statements that the thousands in the camp faced immediate expulsion.

Haitians have been freed on a “very, very large scale” in recent days, according to one U.S. official who put the figure in the thousands. The official, with direct knowledge of operations who was not authorized to discuss the matter and thus spoke on condition of anonymity

Many have been released with notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days, an outcome that requires less processing time from Border Patrol agents than ordering an appearance in immigration court and points to the speed at which authorities are moving, the official said.

The Homeland Security Department has been busing Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border, and this week added flights to Tucson, Arizona, the official said. They are processed by the Border Patrol at those locations.

A second U.S. official, also with direct knowledge and speaking on the condition of anonymity, said large numbers of Haitians were being processed under immigration laws and not being placed on expulsion flights to Haiti that started Sunday. The official couldn’t be more specific about how many.

U.S. authorities scrambled in recent days for buses to Tucson but resorted to flights when they couldn’t find enough transportation contractors, both officials said. Coast Guard planes took Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso.

The releases in the U.S. were occurring despite the signaling of a massive effort to expel Haitians on flights to Haiti under pandemic-related authority that denies migrants an opportunity to seek asylum. A third U.S. official not authorized to discuss operations said there were seven daily flights to Haiti planned starting Wednesday.

Accounts of wide-scale releases – some observed at the Del Rio bus station by Associated Press journalists – are at odds with statements a day earlier by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who traveled to Del Rio to promise swift action.

“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned, your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life,” he said at a Monday news conference.

The releases come amid a quick effort to empty the camp under a bridge that, according to some estimates, held more than 14,000 people over the weekend in a town of 35,000 people. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, during a visit Tuesday to Del Rio, said the county’s top official told him the most recent tally at the camp was about 8,600 migrants.

The criteria for deciding who is flown to Haiti and who is released in the U.S. was unclear, but two U.S. officials said single adults were the priority for expulsion flights.

The Homeland Security Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Mexico has begun busing and flying Haitian migrants away from the U.S. border, authorities said Tuesday, signaling a new level of support for the United States as the camp presented President Joe Biden with a humanitarian and increasingly political challenge.

The White House is facing sharp bipartisan condemnation. Republicans say Biden administration policies led Haitians to believe they would get asylum. Democrats are expressing outrage after images went viral this week of Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics against the migrants.

Mexico has helped at key moments before. It intensified patrols to stop unaccompanied Central American children from reaching the Texas border in 2014, allowed tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration courts in 2019 and, just last month, began deporting Central American migrants to Guatemala after the Biden administration flew them to southern Mexico.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign relations secretary, said Tuesday he had spoken with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, about the Haitians’ situation. Ebrard said most of the Haitians already had refugee status in Chile or Brazil and weren’t seeking it in Mexico.

“What they are asking for is to be allowed to pass freely through Mexico to the United States,” Ebrard said.

Two Mexican federal officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, confirmed Mexico’s actions.

One of the officials said three busloads of migrants left Acuña on Tuesday morning for Piedras Negras, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) down the border, where they boarded a flight to the southern city of Villahermosa in the state of Tabasco.

The other official said there was a flight Monday from the northern city of Monterrey to the southern city of Tapachula near the Guatemala border. Tapachula is home to the largest immigrant detention center in Latin America. The flight carried about 100 migrants who had been picked up around the bus station in Monterrey, a hub for various routes north to the U.S. border.

The second official said the plan was to move to Tapachula all Haitians who already solicited asylum in Mexico.

The Haitian migrants who are already in Mexico’s detention centers and have not requested asylum will be the first to be flown directly to Haiti once Mexico begins those flights, according to the official.

Around Ciudad Acuña, Mexican authorities were stepping up efforts to move migrants away from the border. There were detentions overnight by immigration agents and raids on hotels known to house migrants.

“All of a sudden they knocked on the door and (yelled) ‘immigration,’ ‘police,’ as if they were looking for drug traffickers,” said Freddy Registre, a 37-year-old Venezuelan staying at one hotel with his Haitian wife, Vedette Dollard. The couple was surprised at midnight.

Authorities took four people plus others who were outside the hotel, he said. “They took our telephones to investigate and took us to the immigration offices, took our photos,” Registre said. They were held overnight but finally were given their phones back and released. Authorities gave them two options: leave Mexico or return to Tapachula.

On Tuesday afternoon, they decided to leave town. They bought tickets for a bus ride to the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, planning to continue to Tapachula where they had already applied for asylum.

Others left without being told. Small groups arrived at Ciudad Acuña’s bus station to buy tickets to Veracruz, Monterrey and Mexico City. The same bus lines prohibited from selling them tickets for rides north through Mexico, sold them tickets to head south without issue.

In Haiti, dozens of migrants upset about being deported from the U.S. tried to rush back into a plane that landed Tuesday afternoon in Port-au-Prince as they yelled at authorities. A security guard closed the plane door in time as some deportees began throwing rocks and shoes at the plane. Several of them lost their belongings in the scuffle as police arrived. The group was disembarking from one of three flights scheduled for the day.


Verza reported from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, and Spagat from San Diego. Associated Press writers Mark Stevenson in Mexico City, Felix Marquez in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Evens Sanon from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Michael Balsamo in Washington, Michael R. Sisak in New York and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, also contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage of migration at

Continue Reading


Google to spend $2.1B on Manhattan campus acquisition



Google to spend $2.1B on Manhattan campus acquisition

NEW YORK — Google is planning to buy New York City’s St. John’s Terminal for $2.1 billion, making it the anchor of its Hudson Square campus.

The announcement Tuesday arrives with the city buffeted by the pandemic and most offices still largely unpopulated.

While CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post late last month that Google is delaying its global return to offices until Jan. 10, the commitment by the company to further invest in New York City real estate was trumpeted both by Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who called it “one of the shots in the arm we need as part of our comeback.”

“Google is leading the way here in our economic comeback but also further asserting what we know more and more: New York City is now one of the great tech capitals in the world,” de Blasio said at a virtual news conference Tuesday.

Google’s had a footprint in New York City for more than two decades, and it is the company’s largest location outside of California. Its 1.7 million-square-foot Hudson Square campus is on the Hudson River just south of the New York University campus and Greenwich Village.

“As Google moves toward a more flexible hybrid approach to work, coming together in person to collaborate and build community will remain an important part of our future,” the company’s Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said. “It is why we continue investing in our offices around the world. Our decision to exercise our option to purchase St. John’s Terminal further builds upon our existing plans to invest more than $250 million this year in our New York campus presence.”

Continue Reading


Twins break out the bats in win over Cubs



Twins break out the bats in win over Cubs

CHICAGO — Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez both make their home in New York — Rizzo as a Yankee, Báez as a Met. Craig Kimbrel pitches on the other side of Chicago these days for the White Sox. Kris Bryant is headed to the playoffs as a Giant.

Nelson Cruz will enjoy a trip to the playoffs this year as a Tampa Bay Ray, and José Berríos is hoping his Blue Jays make it.

The late July sell-off for both the Cubs and the Twins of some of their biggest and best names left Tuesday’s late-September matchup with little intrigue. These days, the fifth-place Twins and fourth-place Cubs are just trying to stave off 90 losses.

The Cubs inched a little closer to the dreaded number on Tuesday, falling 9-5 to the Twins in the series opener at Wrigley Field in a game that lasted four hours and five minutes.

That’s what tends to happen when you collect 16 hits in a game, as the Twins (66-85) did. Nearly everyone got in on the action, except for Jorge Polanco, who uncharacteristically struck out four times as part of an 0 for 6 day against the Cubs (67-84).

But that hardly mattered, because his teammates more than picked up the slack.

“It was really kind of an explosive effort from our guys,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “You can point to a number of them. … But really, everywhere you looked, there were good swings. There were guys who came up in good situations with people on base getting it done.”

One of those was Mitch Garver, who returned from weeks on the injured list with a back injury on Tuesday. When Garver returned from a lengthy stint on the injured list earlier this year, he hit two home runs in his first game back. This time around, he had three hits.

“I had some rust when I was rehabbing for those three games,” Garver said. “I was getting some good swings off, wasn’t making solid contact. Then to come out today and find the barrel three times was pretty good for me. Four (times) actually.”

Garver was one of four Twins to finish the game with three hits. Josh Donaldson, Max Kepler and Nick Gordon each did so as well, and all three each drove in two runs.

Gordon’s opposite field two-run home run broke open a tie game in the fourth inning, giving the Twins a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“The guy comes in every day and has great energy about him,” Donaldson said of Gordon. “We love him around here, and for him to be able to hit a home run at that time of the game was big for us.”

Starter Griffin Jax went three innings, giving up three runs before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the fourth. Jax gave up a pair of home runs — he has now surrendered 21, tying him with former Twin J.A. Happ for the team lead.

After his departure, the Twins used six different relievers to cover the remaining six innings, all but one turning in scoreless efforts.

“It felt like and you can’t fall prey to this, but it also felt like it wasn’t necessarily a (four)-run-game,” Baldelli said. “It felt like we had scored more runs than we actually had, and we scored a bunch of runs. So we had to stay locked in in every way to win this ballgame.”

Continue Reading


11 state landmarks to be lit purple, blue, red, and pink for annual #BeKind21 Campaign



11 state landmarks to be lit purple, blue, red, and pink for annual #BeKind21 Campaign

NEW YORK STATE (NEWS10) — Gov. Kathy Hochul Tuesday announced that 11 state landmarks will be lit purple, blue, red and pink on Tuesday, Sept. 21 in celebration of Born This Way Foundation’s annual #BeKind21 Campaign to build kinder, more connected communities that foster mental wellness.

“Youth today face stressors to their mental health that were unfathomable to generations only a few decades ago,” Gov. Hochul said. “It is crucial that we encourage mental wellness among them and make sure they have access to resources to keep themselves safe and healthy. I want to thank Lady Gaga and Born This Way Foundation for their tireless work and let them know New York State is with them every step of the way.”

“I love my home state so much, and on September 21st, I am excited for the world to witness how New Yorkers lead and inspire with kindness. And as we celebrate the end of our #BeKind21 campaign, we continue the call to action to keep kindness going always,” said Lady Gaga, co-founder, Born This Way Foundation. “The world has been heavy recently, and at times things have felt so dark for so many people that it can be hard to find hope. So let’s lift each other up, and let’s light the way forward with kindness in New York, and everywhere.”

Landmarks to be lit include:

  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • The “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Grand Central Terminal – Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • The Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex
  • MTA LIRR – East End Gateway at Penn Station
Continue Reading


‘This is definitely not a human thing, this is a God thing,’ Springfield officer receives kidney at SLU Hospital



‘This is definitely not a human thing, this is a God thing,’ Springfield officer receives kidney at SLU Hospital

ST. LOUIS – Two Missouri police officers have never met, but are forever connected.

The sacrifice of one gave a second chance to the other through a kidney transplant at SSM Health St. Louis University. 

“At 12:12 in the morning the phone rang, and it was the coordinator telling us that they had a match for Mark, and it was the Independence officer that had been killed in the line of duty she said we need you to be in St. Louis at 8 a.m.,” Heather Priebe said.  

The phone call changed everything for Springfield Police Officer Mark Priebe. He needed a new kidney.
Priebe was paralyzed after being intentionally struck by a vehicle in 2020.

His kidneys began to fail this summer. A kidney match was found when Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was shot to death in the line of duty last week. He was an organ donor. 

“The way the dots were connected, and the people reaching to the right people in within my department and the people who knew each other from Independence PD and Springfield PD. This is definitely not a human thing, this is a God thing,” Officer Priebe said.  

The transplant surgery was Sept. 18 at SSM Health St. Lous University Hospital.

Officer Priebe said he is “doing really good. Everything’s looking good. We’re just dealing with typical after-surgery stuff. I’m hoping to get up later this afternoon and get a little more mobile.” 

Heather Priebe said, “The nephrologist was just in from the transplant team and told Mark that his kidney function looks better than his own kidney function.” 

It’s a story of an officer and an organ donor at this point, but Officer Priebe and his wife are reaching out to Madrid-Evans’ family, hoping they can meet them someday.

“We’ll never meet Blaize on this Earth. Today, all we can do is thank him through our prayers and thank his family,” Heather Priebe said.   

Officer Priebe and Heather are hoping to return home to the Springfield area in a couple of weeks. 

“What a difference one person can make in so many different lives by willing to donate,” Priebe said. 

Continue Reading


White House faces bipartisan backlash on Haitian migrants



White House faces bipartisan backlash on Haitian migrants

WASHINGTON — The White House is facing sharp condemnation from Democrats for its handling of the influx of Haitian migrants at the U.S. southern border, after images of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics went viral this week.

Striking video of agents maneuvering their horses to forcibly block and move migrants attempting to cross the border has sparked resounding criticism from Democrats on Capitol Hill, who are calling on the Biden administration to end its use of a pandemic-era authority to deport migrants without giving them an opportunity to seek asylum in the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., an administration ally, said images of the treatment of the migrants “turn your stomach” and called on the administration to discontinue the “hateful and xenophobic” policies of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.

“The policies that are being enacted now — and the horrible treatment of these innocent people who have come to the border — must stop immediately,” Schumer told the Senate on Tuesday.

At the same time, the administration continues to face attacks from Republicans, who say Biden isn’t doing enough to deal with what they call a “crisis” at the border.

Reflecting the urgency of the political problem for the administration, Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday the images “horrified” him, a seeming shift in tone from a day earlier, when he and others were more sanguine about the situation at the border.

Mayorkas announced later that the agents involved have been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation. “The actions we’re taking are swift and strong, and we will take further action as the facts adduced in the investigation compel,” he said on Twitter.

It’s a highly uncomfortable position for the administration, led by a president who has set himself up as a tonic for the harshness of his predecessor. But immigration is a complex issue, one no administration has been able to fix in decades. And Biden is trapped between conflicting interests of broadcasting compassion while dealing with throngs of migrants coming to the country — illegally — seeking a better life.

The provision in question, known as Title 42, was put in place by the Trump administration in March 2020 to justify restrictive immigration policies in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But the Biden administration has used Title 42 to justify the deportation of Haitian migrants who in recent days have set up an encampment in and around the small city of Del Rio, Texas. The provision gives federal health officials powers during a pandemic to take extraordinary measures to limit transmission of an infectious disease.

A federal judge late last week ruled the regulation was improper and gave the government two weeks before its use was to be halted, but the Biden administration on Monday appealed the decision.

“The Biden administration pushing back on this stay of expulsions is another example of broken promises to treat migrants with respect and humanity when they reach our borders to exercise their fundamental right to asylum,” said Karla Marisol Vargas, senior attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project and co-counsel on the litigation.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson demanded a meeting with Biden to discuss the situation and called the treatment of the Haitian migrants “utterly sickening.”

“The humanitarian crisis happening under this administration on the southern border disgustingly mirrors some of the darkest moments in America’s history,” he said in a statement.

Shortly after the judge’s decision on Friday, Homeland Security officials formed a plan to begin immediately turning the groups of Haitian migrants around, working against the clock. But people kept coming.

Trump essentially put a chokehold on immigration. He decreased the number of refugees admitted to a record low, made major changes to policy and essentially shut down asylum.

Biden has undone many of the Trump-era policies, but since his inauguration, the U.S. has seen a dramatic spike in the number of people encountered by border officials. The Haitian migrants are the latest example.

More than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants have been removed from the encampment in Del Rio, and Mayorkas predicted a “dramatic change” in the number of migrants there within the next two to four days as the administration continues the removal process.

As the controversy swirled around him, Biden spent his Tuesday address at the U.N. General Assembly in New York calling for the global community to come together to defend human rights and combat injustice worldwide, declaring, “the future will belong to those who embrace human dignity, not trample it.”

The remarks stood in notable contrast to images of the Border Patrol agents on horseback. Biden himself seemed to acknowledge the challenge his administration faces with immigration, offering a clipped response when asked by a reporter after his U.N. remarks to offer his reaction to the images.

“We’ll get it under control,” he insisted.

Vice President Kamala Harris also weighed in, telling reporters in Washington that she was “deeply troubled” by the images and planned to talk to Mayorkas about the situation. Harris has been tasked with addressing the root causes of migration to the U.S., and emphasized that the U.S. should “support some very basic needs that the people of Haiti have” that are causing them to flee their homes for the U.S.

Videos and photos taken in recent days in and around Del Rio show Border Patrol agents confronting Haitians along the Rio Grande near a border bridge where thousands of migrants have gathered in hopes of entering the country.

One Border Patrol agent on horseback was seen twirling his long leather reins in a menacing way at the Haitian migrants, but not actually striking anyone. There was no sign in photos and videos viewed by The Associated Press that the mounted agents were carrying whips or using their reins as such when confronting the migrants.

The agents, wearing chaps and cowboy hats, maneuvered their horses to forcibly block and move the migrants, almost seeming to herd them. In at least one instance, they were heard taunting the migrants.

Asked about the images on Tuesday, Mayorkas told lawmakers that the issue had been “uppermost in my mind” ever since he had seen them. He said the department had alerted its inspector general’s office and directed that staff from the Office of Professional Responsibility be present round-the-clock in Del Rio.

“I was horrified to see the images, and we look forward to learning the facts that are adduced from the investigation, and we will take actions that those facts compel,” Mayorkas said. “We do not tolerate any mistreatment or abuse of a migrant. Period.”

Previously, during a Monday news conference, both Mayorkas and Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz played down the incident, with Ortiz telling reporters that the agents were working in a difficult and chaotic environment and trying to control their horses.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mayorkas spoke Monday before he had seen the images. “He believes this does not represent who we are as a country and does not represent the positions of the Biden-Harris administration,” Psaki told reporters on Tuesday.

Criticism was withering from members of Congress, including Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. He called on Mayorkas to “take immediate action to hold those responsible accountable.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called for an investigation.

Republicans, meanwhile, stepped up their continued criticism of Biden’s approach to the border, with 26 Republican governors calling on the president to change his border policies.

“A crisis that began at the southern border now extends beyond to every state and requires immediate action before the situation worsens,” they said in a statement.

Continue Reading