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Minnesota’s Moose Are Dying

Plus Elder's resignation and the state's first Native American poet laureate!

Danika Perkinson

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These Deer Literally Have Brain Worms

TGIF motherfuckers! Ready to FEEL BAD? If so, check out “What’s killing Minnesota’s moose?” Vox dropped the heartbreaking video report Thursday, and it’s since racked up nearly 200,000 sad, sad views. "The [Ojibwe] relationship to the moose is almost mythic," begins Carl Gawboy of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, setting the table for a CSI-like rundown of how researchers tag moose and investigate their eventual deaths. The biggest killer? Brain worms from white-tailed deer. While gross, the worms don’t harm deer, who historically lived in warmer parts of Minnesota. But climate change is, uh, changing the climate, driving the deer and their brain worms north and resulting in dramatic declines in the moose population. The deer boom has also attracted wolves, who find moose calves to be the “easiest thing on the landscape to eat.” Bloodthirsty ticks, who aren’t dying off in proper numbers due to diminishing snow, are also eating the moose alive. Day not ruined to your satisfaction? Consult this Strib photo gallery of the scorched-earth Superior National Forest following four weeks of wildfires.

Cop Cars: Never Stop Never Stopping

Ramsey County announced this week an end to felony prosecutions resulting from low-level traffic stops—those bullshit charges that come around after cops pull someone over for a broken tail light or expired tabs. Stops like this disproportionately effect people of color and can be tragic and deadly; officer Kim Potter shot and killed Daunte Wright after he was stopped for having expired plates, and in 2016, Philando Castile was murdered by police after they pulled him over for a broken tail light. "I'm not going to continue to perpetuate these unjust practices, these police practices, that have really harsh results to our community," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi told CNN Thursday.

Elder Out

MPD's spokesperson John Elder retroactively resigned on Thursday "to take a leadership role in a neighboring law enforcement agency," according to an announcement from the city of Minneapolis. The resignation, effective September 8, comes after City Council voted last year to eliminate the public information officer role and give those responsibilities to the city's communications department. Don't have much to add beyond this:

*Deep Sigh* C'mon, Jacob

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey really doesn't want people voting yes on the public safety ballot question—so much so that he's misrepresenting what other elected officials have to say about it. "The campaign of @Jacob_Frey sent a newsletter today that incorrectly stated my position on the public safety charter amendment," Senator Tina Smith tweeted yesterday. "I am still considering whether it would move us closer to a city where everyone feels safe, like I think a lot of people are doing." It's been about 24 hours—has Frey issued a statement on the error/lie? Nope! But Smith's mentions have been full of folks asking her to support the charter amendment. Looking for an explainer on what a "yes" or "no" on the ballot question would actually do? We've got one!

Poetic Justice

In very cool news: Minnesota has appointed its first Native American poet laureate, Gwen Nell Westerman. As a professor in the English Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Westerman has been spreading the joys of poetry to students for decades. “Poetry is song, and I remind them that they know the lyrics to a thousand songs,” she explained to MPR news, rather poetically. “So, they know a thousand poems, at least. In this role, I think it will be my responsibility to help sing the stories of all the people of Minnesota.” Westerman’s work has been published in both English and Dakota, and includes Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota, which won two Minnesota Book Awards. She’s in good company; Joy Harjo, of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, was named the first Native American national poet laureate earlier this year. Westerman is Minnesota’s third poet laureate; Robert Bly took on the role in 2008, and Joyce Sutphen was appointed in 2011.

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