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Aaron Judge hits home run No. 60, one away from tying Roger Maris’ American League record

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Aaron Judge Hits Home Run No. 60, One Away From Tying Roger Maris’ American League Record
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He’s one away.

Aaron Judge led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a 430-foot shot to left center field for his 60th home run of the season. Judge tied Babe Ruth’s 1927 record as the Yankees were losing to the Pirates 8-5 at Yankee Stadium.

Judge is one shy of the American League record set by Roger Maris in 1961, with Maris’ family in attendance at the Stadium to see him challenge his record.

With the shot off of Pirates’ right-hander Will Crowe, Judge became just the sixth player in Major League history (ninth time) to hit at least 60 home runs in a single season, tying Babe Ruth’s long-standing record of 60. The second most in Yankees history and one shy of the team and American League record set by Roger Maris in 1961.

Only Maris, Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (64 in 2001 and 63 in 2001) have hit more home runs in a single season.

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Theater review: With ‘Tulu,’ Ethiopia’s Circus Abyssinia at its best when it soars

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Theater Review: With ‘Tulu,’ Ethiopia’s Circus Abyssinia At Its Best When It Soars
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In gymnastics and diving, they speak of “degree of difficulty.” The harder the maneuver, the more points a competitor deserves for pulling it off.

There are plenty of difficult dives and gymnastic gems being offered at Children’s Theatre Company. For the second time in four years, it’s opening its season with a new production from Ethiopia’s Circus Abyssinia, a visiting troupe full of acrobats, aerialists, contortionists and jugglers.

So is “Tulu” as exciting as the “Ethiopian Dreams” of three years ago? Judging from the performance I attended on the show’s second weekend, not quite. What was slated to be a 90-minute show was reduced to a little less than an hour, and it’s not as varied in the number of acts and circus styles as the earlier show, nor as slickly produced.

But degree of difficulty should be considered. In 2019, Ethiopia wasn’t embroiled in a civil war. Today, Ethiopians in the Tigray region are trapped in what some international organizations have described as the greatest humanitarian crisis on the globe. While perhaps unrelated to why this production’s cast was reduced to 10 from the 17 listed in the program, it must be a challenge to perform feats that require this kind of concentration.

Ethiopia is clearly a strong source of pride for the cast of “Tulu,” which is named after an athletic legend from that country, Derartu Tulu. In 1992, she became the first Black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal, taking the 10,000 meter run at Barcelona by rallying past a white South African, then inviting her on a hand-in-hand victory lap in what was seen as a major moment in post-Apartheid Africa.

What does this national hero have to do with what’s onstage at Children’s Theatre Company? Well, the ties seem tenuous, mostly reduced to an opening evocation of her landmark victory, the wielding of multi-colored hula hoops that end up forming the Olympic rings, and a strong sense of pride in Ethiopia, complete with flag waving.

Oh, and adrenaline and excitement. You’ll certainly find a fair amount of that in “Tulu” when Betelhem Dejene Tola is twirling like an eggbeater while attached to her spinning, roller-skating companion. Or when tumblers are leaping through hoops of fire, or being thrown toward the ceiling by their muscle-bound compatriots.

Yet the show’s most powerful moments are often its most meditative. Daniel Amera Seid displays exceptional grace and strength, making of himself a human sculpture while performing handstands atop short poles. And he offers one of the show’s most awe-inspiring acts, using straps dangling from the ceiling as his tools for something like a combination of gymnastics’ still rings and floor exercise disciplines. Set to some hypnotic music by Anteneh Minalu, it’s a breathtaking performance.

That’s just one example of the show’s terrific recorded soundtrack, a compendium of widely varied Ethiopian music that soothes, rocks, stirs and explodes forth in funky fashion.

For a production inspired by a woman, it doesn’t allow the cast’s three women to show off their artistry very often, their chief contribution two sets of impressive contortions to wow you and make you wince. But the acrobats end up stealing the show with a final set of soaring, spinning flights off the “Russian Swing,” often sticking their landings in ways that any Olympian would envy.

‘Circus Abyssinia: Tulu’

  • When: Through Oct. 23
  • Where: Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls.
  • Tickets: $69-$15, available at 612-874-0400 or childrenstheatre.org
  • Capsule: Not as full a show as 2019’s “Ethiopian Dreams,” but there’s high-flying fun to be had.

Rob Hubbard can be reached at [email protected]

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Anthony Santander blasts 2 homers, Gunnar Henderson ends extended skid as Orioles outslug Red Sox, 14-8

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Anthony Santander Blasts 2 Homers, Gunnar Henderson Ends Extended Skid As Orioles Outslug Red Sox, 14-8
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The at-bats leading up to the sixth inning for Gunnar Henderson were promising, displaying the plate discipline that has made him such a standout player despite being the youngest in baseball. But with a crack that split the late evening chatter at Fenway Park, Henderson’s resounding swing broke him out of the first slump he has experienced in the majors.

Henderson clobbered a home run to straightaway center field Monday night, a two-run bomb that went 428 feet and left his bat at 111.1 mph — the hardest hit ball of his career. The blast was part of the offensive onslaught before and after a 100-minute rain delay from the Orioles in a 14-8 win against the Boston Red Sox, starting the final road trip of the season on a positive note.

Henderson had entered that at-bat on an 0-for-16 skid, but his plate appearances had been strong; he walked three times earlier in the game before coming to the plate and wowing in the sixth. The rookie sent his fourth homer 428 feet off right-hander Kaleb Ort.

Baltimore feasted on Boston’s pitching staff, even with a lengthy rain delay following the second inning. That barrage backed up a solid outing from right-hander Spenser Watkins, who entered in relief of right-hander Jordan Lyles.

The rain delay shortened Lyles’ outing to two innings, during which manager Brandon Hyde made an unusual mound visit to a starting pitcher. Lyles’ four-seam fastball velocity was 2.1 mph slower than average this season, according to Statcast. He still limited the damage, allowing a solo homer to J.D. Martinez before Kiké Hernández drove in a second run.

The cushion for Lyles and the rest of Baltimore’s staff was large, however, with Mullins’ leadoff homer setting up a four-run second inning off right-hander Connor Seabold. And after the delay, a triple from Kyle Stowers off the Green Monster — the second three-bagger of the game, following Cedric Mullins’ two-run triple — drove in another run in the third.

That cushion shrunk in the fourth, when Boston plated three runs off Watkins to cut the deficit to one. Yet the bats quickly made up the distance again, with Anthony Santander clubbing his 30th and 31st homers of the season, joining Eddie Murray and Ken Singleton as the only Orioles switch hitters to reach that number.

As Watkins and the rest of the bullpen settled, Baltimore tacked on offensively and moved to within 3 1/2 games of the Seattle Mariners for the final American League wild-card spot with nine games remaining.

Around the horn

  • In order to get a fresh arm in the bullpen, Baltimore optioned left-hander Keegan Akin to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled right-hander Logan Gillaspie. The Orioles said the decision wasn’t based on Akin’s performances, although he has an 8.13 ERA in six appearances this month.
  • Infielder Ramón Urías said the spasms he has dealt with between his right shoulder and neck felt better Monday and that he should be available off the bench. He has been in and out of the lineup after he first experienced the spasms last week, reaching for a towel in the shower to trigger the painful reaction. “I talked to the manager and I said I’ll play with pain or without pain,” Urías said.
  • Infielder Terrin Vavra is dealing with a sore hamstring and wasn’t in the lineup Monday. He exited Sunday’s game after playing six innings.
  • Pitchers Beau Sulser and catcher Cam Gallagher joined the taxi squad. Gallagher, a recent waiver claim from the San Diego Padres, grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He said he was a fan of the Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies, and “I grew up watching Cal Ripken [Jr.] play,” he said.

[email protected] SOX

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.

TV: MASN2

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM

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Daniel Jones puts up fight, but Cowboys overpower Giants and Sterling Shepard goes down

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Daniel Jones Puts Up Fight, But Cowboys Overpower Giants And Sterling Shepard Goes Down
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Daniel Jones ran for his life and Saquon Barkley ran for a highlight-reel touchdown.

But Brian Daboll’s Giants finished flat and fell to Cooper Rush and the division rival Dallas Cowboys, 23-16, on Monday Night Football for their first loss of the season.

They also lost veteran receiver Sterling Shepard to a non-contact left knee injury on Jones’ final throw of the night: an interception to Cowboys corner Trevon Diggs after receiver David Sills had slipped on his route.

Jones’ offense had gotten the ball back on their own 9-yard line, down 7, with 1:45 to play and a chance to tie. That was thanks to a third-down stop by safety Julian Love and defensive end Jihad Ward on Cowboys tight end Jake Ferguson.

The Giants simply couldn’t cash in.

Dallas (2-1) scored 17 answered points in a 10-minute second half stretch to overcome a 13-6 Giants lead. Barkley had put the Giants up seven with a blistering 36-yard TD run with 5:31 to play in the third quarter.

Rush and the Cowboys quickly answered, however, with 75-yard and 89-yard touchdown drives. Ezekiel Elliott’s 1-yard TD run through a Tae Crowder arm tackle tied it at 13 apiece with 27 seconds to play in the third.

Then CeeDee Lamb made a one-handed, 1-yard TD catch over Adoree Jackson on a beautiful Rush fade pass with 8:30 remaining in the fourth for the 20-13 lead.

A fairly loud “Let’s Go Cowboys” chant broke out at MetLife Stadium after the score.

Lamb made four catches for 48 yards on the go-ahead drive, including a key 4-yard catch on 4th and 4 from the Giants’ 41-yard line with 10:27 to play in a tie game. It was the right call by the Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore.

Drops by Shepard and Kenny Golladay gave Dallas the ball back and a 28-yard punt return by the Cowboys’ KaVontae Turpin set up Brett Maher’s 44-yard field goal to put the Cowboys up, 23-13, with 5:58 to play.

The Giants’ Graham Gano answered that with a 51-yard field goal, his third of the game, at 3:37 of the fourth quarter for the final score.

The Giants (2-1) lost for the 10th time in their last 11 meetings against the Cowboys dating back to the start of the 2017 season. Daboll’s team will look to rebound next Sunday in their third straight home game against the Chicago Bears (2-1).

Jones did all he could facing intense pressure. The Giants’ quarterback was hit 12 times and sacked five times, three by defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence going by rookie Giants right tackle Evan Neal.

Jones ran for 79 yards to go with his 196 passing yards. He rushed for 30 yards alone on the Giants’ third quarter touchdown drive. Barkley capped it with his TD.

Barkley followed strong blocking from his offensive line, broke an Anthony Barr tackle, juked safety Donovan Wilson and then bounced outside and outran corner Diggs to the front left pylon.

It was the first rushing TD allowed by the Cowboys’ defense this season.

But Rush and the Dallas offense answered emphatically with a touchdown drive of their own to tie the game at 13 apiece with 27 seconds left in the third quarter.

A 29-yard completion to tight end Peyton Hendershot into busted zone coverage keyed a scoring drive finished off by a 1-yard Elliott TD run to the right side. Then the Cowboys’ defense pressured Jones into a quick four-and-out.

Dallas ran the ball for 176 yards to the Giants’ 167 led by Tony Pollard’s 105 on 13 carries. The Giants’ defensive front sorely missed stud D-lineman Leonard Williams (sprained right MCL), who had a 114-game streak broken with the first absence of his NFL career.

The Cowboys only led, 6-3, at halftime despite running the ball 14 times for 126 yards through two quarters, a 9.0 yards per carry average.

Pollard (six for 71), Elliott (eight for 55) and the Dallas offensive line had its way early. And Dallas defensive end Dorance Armstrong blocked Gano’s 47-yard field goal attempt on the game’s opening drive.

Maher then got the Cowboys on the board first with a 26-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead with 2:09 left in the first quarter.

Gano answered with a 42-yard field goal of his own at 11:17 of the second quarter for the 3-3 tie. Jones paced the Giants’ offense with 110 passing yards and 24 rushing.

But Dallas’ Maher added another 28-yard field goal with 9:09 to play for the 6-3 lead that would hold through halftime.

The Giants haven’t scored a first-half touchdown yet this season. They’ve been outscored 25-9 combined in their three first halves. And they were fortunate Monday’s halftime deficit wasn’t worse.

Lamb dropped a deep pass from Rush that would have resulted in a touchdown or Dallas possession inside the Giants’ five yard line.

And on the Cowboys’ second scoring drive, Giants slot corner Darnay Holmes got away with no flag despite tackling Dallas receiver Noah Brown in the end zone on a red zone third down.

Dallas then benefitted at the end of the half from an offensive pass interference flag thrown against Shepard that negated a 20-yard Jones completion to Golladay.

The pass to the Dallas 38-yard line would have had the Giants in field goal range. Instead, they ended up turning the ball over on downs and Dallas got a crack at a third field goal. But Maher’s 59-yard try hooked wide left.

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Yankees get early lead but fail to clinch AL East in 3-2 walk-off loss against Blue Jays, Judge stuck on 60

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Yankees Get Early Lead But Fail To Clinch Al East In 3-2 Walk-Off Loss Against Blue Jays, Judge Stuck On 60
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TORONTO — The waiting is the hardest part.

Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. lined a walk-off RBI-single in the bottom of the 10th to give the Blue Jays a 3-2 win over the Yankees at Rogers Centre Monday night. Toronto also held Aaron Judge homerless. The division-winning celebration and history will have to wait another day.

The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Yankees (94-59) and delayed what the team hope is inevitable. The Bombers came into the game with a magic number of two, meaning they need one win in this three-game series to clinch the American League East and the No. 2 seed in the American League playoffs. The Blue Jays (87-67) dropped their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to three.

For the sixth straight game, Judge did not hit a home run. He remains at 60 for the regular season and one shy of the American League single-season and Yankee franchise record set by Roger Maris in 1961.

Monday was a little different than the last five.

Every time he came to bat over the last five nights, the sold-out crowd at the Stadium rose and held up their phones, hoping to record history. There was an eerie quiet of expectation as each pitch was thrown and then — even for doubles — a groan of disappointment. His family has been in the ballpark since the team returned from a road trip to Milwaukee on Tuesday night and Maris’ family has also been there to wait and congratulate Judge if he breaks their father’s record.

It’s been a lot, but Judge has continued to downplay it.

“I’ve played in New York for six years now, this is par for the course, especially the playoff games we’ve had, opening days are hectic,” Judge said. “It’s just another game to me.”

Monday there were cheers and some boos for the one walk, but the Blue Jays are playing for a postseason spot, so their fans, most of the 34,307, were thrilled to see Judge held within the ballpark.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit his fourth home run of the season in the second inning. The 404-foot shot to left-center field was the 10th home run the Yankees hit since Judge hit his last homer Tuesday night. It also gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

But in the bottom of the fourth, the Yankees shortstop helped give it right back. With Bo Bichette on first, he let a Guerrero Jr. hard-hit ground ball eat him up, bouncing off his wrist and losing it. The Blue Jays official scorer ruled it a hit because it was 111 miles per hour off the bat.

Luis Severino walked Alejandro Kirk and then Teoscar Hernandez hit one off the center field wall. While he admired that, Judge fired the rebound to Kiner-Falefa. Hernandez got a late start out of the box after a slow walk and bat flip and the Yankees had a chance to get him at second base, but the shortstop fired home but could not beat the second runner.

Severino was charged with those two runs.

The lefty allowed two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out four over four innings.

Judge is 5-for-18  with eight walks since his last home run.

In the first inning, Judge saw four pitches, lining a single into right field. He ended up scoring the Yankees’ first run on Gleyber Torres’ sacrifice fly. In his second at-bat, Judge got ahead in the count 2-0, before fouling off an 83-mile an hour slider. He swung over an 82-mph splitter and then worked a six-pitch walk. He was forced out at second on Anthony Rizzo’s ground ball to second for a double play. In the sixth inning, Judge battled back from 0-1, but Kevin Gausman caught Judge looking on an 85-mph slider that was low.

Manager Aaron Boone started his usual battle with the home plate umpire about the low strike to the 6-7 Judge, yelling “it was low, it was low, it was low.”

In the eighth, Yimi Garcia fell behind Judge 3-1, but got him to strike out swinging on a 91-mph slider that was low and away.

In the top of the 10th, the Blue Jays intentionally walked Judge to load the bases with two outs. The Blue Jays brought in lefty Tim Mayza to face Rizzo. It worked as Mayza got Rizzo to ground out to eliminate the threat.

Judge made a terrific running catch of Bichette’s fly ball in the bottom of the 10th to keep the game alive.

Batting .314 with his major league leading 60 homers and his 128 RBI, Judge is in the lead to win the first Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera achieved the milestone in 2012.

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Mental health workers at Allina and M Health Fairview set three-day strike

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More than 400 mental health workers at M Health Fairview and Allina Health facilities plan to strike for three days next week as part of a push for their first labor contract.

It will be the second work stoppage for members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa. Mental health workers held a one-day strike in May during Mental Health Awareness Month.

“It is frustrating that it is coming to this once again. Minnesota is facing a huge mental health crisis that impacts so many families,” said Dana Disbrow, a psychiatric associate at M Health Fairview. “We are fighting for safe staffing levels and a contract that helps us work to improve our industry, but we keep running into dead ends from the employer.”

Workers voted to unionize in late 2021 and 98 percent of the group vote to support the three-day strike.

In a statement, Allina Health officials noted it was not unusual it to take a year or more to come to an agreement on first contracts. Officials said they offered competitive pay and safety protections that other workers have agreed to.

“We have negotiated in good faith with the union 18 times since they chose to unionize,” the Allina statement said. “Striking does not benefit anyone. However, we will be prepared to continue caring for our community in the event a settlement is not reached.”

There is one date set for negotiations before the strike, which is scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 3.

“We know that our staff are facing levels of demand for mental health care never before seen,” M Health Fairview officials said in a statement. “We will continue to bargain in good faith with our colleagues to settle on a contract all parties believe is equal and fair.”

The SEIU Healthcare strike follows a three-day strike that began Sept. 12 by 15,000 nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association. Nurses said their work stoppage was believed to be the largest private-sector nurses strike in history.

Nurses and mental health workers are pushing for similar improvements in their working conditions, including more staff. Nurses at 15 hospitals in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports continue to negotiate with management, but have not reached an agreement.

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Judge never ordered state to keep paying Feeding Our Future, but that’s not the end of it

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Judge Never Ordered State To Keep Paying Feeding Our Future, But That’s Not The End Of It
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The Ramsey County judge being scrutinized for his role in the explosive growth of Feeding Our Future never ordered state regulators to keep paying the nonprofit’s allegedly fraudulent meal claims, but he did warn they’d have a “big problem” if they stopped.

In the wake of the indictments in the alleged $250 million food-for-kids scandal, Gov. Tim Walz last week turned the spotlight onto Ramsey County District Court Judge John Guthmann and suggested his decisions in Feeding Our Future’s 2020 lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Education should be “investigated.”

The judge on Friday responded, calling the governor’s criticism “false.”

As Walz told it, even though the education department suspected Feeding Our Future and the sponsor’s food-serving clients of fraud, Guthmann ordered the department to keep making tens of millions of dollars in food reimbursements.

Guthmann says he “never issued” such an order and that the department “voluntarily resumed payments.”

A review of the court record shows Guthmann is correct that he did not order the department to pay Feeding Our Future. However, a nearly three-hour hearing in April 2021 seems to have left state officials with the impression that they had no choice but to keep paying.

“Feeding Our Future demanded that MDE make payments, and the court made it clear that if MDE were to continue the legal fight to withhold payments, MDE would incur sanctions and legal penalties,” the education department said Friday.

Guthmann said through a spokesman Monday that the department’s interpretation was inaccurate, emphasizing that he had no jurisdiction over payments.

DELAYED APPROVAL

Six months before that hearing, while the education department was consulting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about an implausibly large increase in reimbursement claims, Feeding Our Future sued the department for taking too long to approve 51 applications for new sites to feed children during the coronavirus pandemic.

The nonprofit wanted Guthmann to grant an emergency temporary restraining order requiring speedy decisions on the applications.

Guthmann never had to rule on that request because the two parties reached an agreement in which the department promised to approve or reject the applications “in a reasonably prompt manner” and to provide any technical assistance necessary to get them approved.

But in January 2021, the department informed Feeding Our Future that it was “seriously deficient” as a food program sponsor because it lacked tax-exempt status — that turned out to have been a mistake — and because it did not properly file a financial audit.

On March 31, 2021, the department issued a second deficiency notice related to the audit and other concerns, including reports that suggested the nonprofit’s clients weren’t actually serving the meals for which they were getting paid.

That letter informed the nonprofit that the department would stop reimbursements until it could validate the claims.

Feeding Our Future complained to the judge that the department had broken its promise, and Guthmann called an April 21, 2021, hearing.

‘GOING BANKRUPT’

According to a transcript of the hearing, the department at the time was holding up $20.5 million in reimbursement requests from Feeding Our Future.

“My people are going bankrupt. The kids are going without food,” Feeding Our Future attorney Rhyddid Watkins said.

MDE told the judge it was prohibited from paying on invalid claims and had put conditions in place for the nonprofit to come back into compliance.

Guthmann acknowledged that the lawsuit concerned the timely approval of site applications and that he had no jurisdiction over payments. Still, he said throughout the hearing that, by his reading of federal regulations, the department’s decision to stop payments was premature and that it must give Feeding Our Future time to submit documentation that would demonstrate compliance.

“The regulation doesn’t allow you to withhold payment while you’re seeking that information,” the judge said. “ … You stopped payment first and then asked your questions.”

At one point, Kristine Nogosek with the Attorney General’s Office explained to the judge: “MDE’s argument is that by imposing the additional conditions, that the deficiency can be remedied so that MDE does not have to suspend payments during the whole corrective action, serious deficiency process.”

Guthmann responded: “Well, suspending payments is not a condition. It’s an action. So it just is inconsistent with the plain language of the regulation. And in the absence of a different regulation that you’re relying on, you’ve got a big problem.”

Some have criticized the department for resuming payments after that hearing rather than continuing to fight it. Attorney General Keith Ellison said Monday they had good reason:

“MDE and the Attorney General’s Office did not pursue the stop-pay through legal channels because to do so would have risked having to disclose to Feeding Our Future MDE’s report of suspected fraud to the FBI and the subsequent federal criminal investigation,” he said.

SANCTIONS

The education department noted Friday that besides urging officials to resume payments, Guthmann also held the department in contempt for not processing site applications.

The judge hinted at the prospect of sanctions during the April 2021 hearing and imposed them in June 2021. For violating the December agreement to quickly process site applications, he ordered the state to pay the nonprofit $35,750 in sanctions, plus $11,750 for attorneys fees.

“MDE cannot divide the application process into pieces and take as long as it wishes at every stage of the process except the last,” the judge wrote. “In the context of a finite school year and an even shorter summer season, such a practice can only be viewed as a clear violation of both this Court’s order and applicable federal regulations.”

Guthmann added: “Only through a strong statement by the Court, accompanied by a meaningful financial consequence, can the Court ensure that the MDE will follow its orders.”

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