5 things to know today: Oversight board, Emission limits, Monkeypox, Discrimination suit, MoorHeart award

1. Questions raised over officer shooting at oversight board meeting

Seven members of the Police Advisory & Oversight Board peppered Police Chief David Zibolski with questions about last week’s police-involved fatal shooting.

Local activist Faith Dixon told the board they should demand release of the body camera v and in-squad car videos of the incident, but instead of doing that they asked numerous questions about the incident as the chief laid out police policies and procedures on such shootings.

To put the question of the release of the video to rest, Zibolski made it clear that the prosecutor in the case, North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, made the decision as weights whether to charge the officer with a crime.

State law does allow the release of the video or that it be sealed.

However, Wrigley, who took over the criminal case from the Cass County state’s attorney office, previously told The Forum his office would follow standard protocol and not release the video while the shooting is under investigation.

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Wrigley told The Forum in a Thursday interview there was no basis to make an exception in this case, adding that it’s release now would be inappropriate. He said there are practical, constitutional and legal reasons for not releasing the video.

Read more from The Forum’s Barry Amundson

2. Agency says RJ Zavoral & Sons, Inc. exceeded air emission limits for portable asphalt plant

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RJ Zavoral & Sons, an East Grand Forks earth moving and construction services company, has exceeded air emission limits for a portable asphalt plant and failed to test equipment while working on a project in Pennington County.

According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency enforcement investigation, RJ Zavoral & Sons, Inc., exceeded air pollutant emissions, failed to complete equipment performance tests for up to four years and failed to keep various required equipment inspection records. The violations are associated with two of the company’s portable hot mix asphalt plants and two portable rock crushing plants.

One of the asphalt plants exceeded particulate matter emissions by more than seven times the permitted limit, according to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency news release. The inspection records the company was required to keep included annual inspection and calibration records for all asphalt plant control equipment; monthly inspection records of ducts, connections and housings for leaks, and fabric-filter devices for interior cleaning system equipment; and daily inspections of monitoring pressure and pressure-drop gauges, temperature indicators, flow gauges, recorders and fabric-filter devices for exterior cleaning system equipment and operation.

Read more from Forum News Service’s Meghan Arbegast

3. South Dakota reports first known monkeypox case in the state

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This digitally-colorized microscope image depicts monkeypox virus particles from a human skin sample.

Submitted / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

South Dakota state health officials on Thursday, July 14, reported the first known monkeypox case among a South Dakota resident.

A man in his 30s from eastern South Dakota has tested positive for the virus, according to the state Department of Health, upon confirmation by the State Public Health Laboratory.

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The specimen will be submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation as monkeypox, technically known as orthopoxvirus.

Monkeypox can spread when a person comes into contact with the virus by having direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. Minnesota has reported nine monkeypox cases, while Nebraska and Iowa have reported two each. North Dakota has yet to report a case, according to the CDC case tracking map.

“The number of monkeypox cases has grown substantially over the past two months in the U.S. and globally,” state epidemiologist Josh Clayton said in a news release. “Prompt identification of the characteristic monkeypox rash by patients and clinicians is necessary to curb the transmission of this virus, although more cases are anticipated before the number of new cases slows.”

The South Dakota Department of Health encourages individuals to contact their health care provider early if they develop symptoms of monkeypox to aid rapid detection and prevent ongoing transmission.

Read more from Forum News Service’s Jeremy Fugleberg

4. State settles racial discrimination case with St. Cloud company

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From MPR News via Forum News Service

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has settled with a St. Cloud company over charges of racial discrimination against a former employee.

The agency’s investigation found probable cause that Nahan, a printing company, subjected the former employee, who is Black, to a racially hostile work environment from 2018 to 2019.

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According to a memorandum on the department’s findings, two white Nahan employees regularly made racist comments and used racial slurs when referring to Black people.

One refused to shake hands with the former employee or his son, who also worked for Nahan, saying, “I don’t shake African American hands.”

The department says the two repeatedly reported the incidents to supervisors, who told them to disregard the comments. The father’s health deteriorated as a result of stress, the memorandum stated.

“What’s concerning here is not just that employees were using racial slurs when referring to their fellow Black colleagues and making derogatory comments about Black people, but that management knew this was occurring and did nothing to stop it,” said Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero.

Read more

5. You may not have met this Moorhead man, but you’ve probably waved to him

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John Cunningham greets drivers with a smile and an occasional wave Tuesday, July 12, 2022, on Eighth Street South, Moorhead. He was presented with the MoorHeart award by the Moorhead City Council on Monday for his putting smiles on the faces of many drivers.

Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Honk if you like John Cunningham.

Lots of people do.

And Cunningham likes them right back.

That includes city officials in Moorhead, who recently presented Cunningham with the MoorHeart award for July 2022.

A team of volunteers from city boards and commissions bestows the award on those deemed to have gone above and beyond to demonstrate a strong sense of community.

“I love it and appreciate it so much,” Cunningham said of the award as he sat in his motorized scooter on the sidewalk next to Eighth Street South in Moorhead, just outside of the Eventide senior living center where he lives.

As Cunningham chatted on a recent morning, drivers passing by would wave to him and, in many cases, honk their horns for good measure.

Every time, he would smile and wave back.

Winter or summer, such exchanges are something of a daily occurrence outside Eventide, just as they were outside the Elim Rehab and Care Center in south Fargo, where Cunningham lived before that structure burned down in January 2020 .

Read more from The Forum’s David Olson

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