Recent content from James Eli Shiffer
Sen. John Marty knows his bill calling for more openness at the Legislature isn’t going anywhere this year. He introduced it at Friday’s special session…
The law, which usually dealt with revolting speech, criminalized even true statements, if they were delivered with malevolent intent.
But despite collecting more information than ever before, most of government handles it the old-fashioned way. You have to ask for it. Then you wait.
The people hoping to adopt research dogs from the University of Minnesota know them only by code numbers: 14AC2, 12AC1, 14CC4 and so on. They…
In the public report of Congress’ investigation of the 9/11 attacks, something strange happens after page 395. The words disappear, replaced by blank lines that…
A media policy spelled out in February prohibits any photography or videography, reversing a previous rule that allowed inmates, with the approval of the Department of Corrections (DOC), to grant on-camera interviews.
Nearly a month has passed since the Dakota County commissioners fired the county’s longtime community development director. The public still doesn’t know why. No one…
Today marks the start of Sunshine Week, the annual exercise in chasing away the shadows of government secrecy. It’s observed by citizens examining public records,…
With his legal appeals exhausted, Bonn Clayton knows the time has come to write a $600 check. That’s the penalty for lying about an election.…
The law says the public has the right to read most of the government’s e-mail, because open records are critical to democracy.The law also says…
As heavy machinery scraped the site of a highway project near Lake Minnetonka, something unusual turned up in the dirt: quarter-sized fragments of bone. That…
After a grand jury exonerated police in a fatal shooting last February on Hwy. 212, the dash cam video became public. Except for the moment that the fatal shots were fired.
Minnesota still requires phone companies to deliver a printed copy of the residential listings to its customers every year. That could change as soon as this spring.
By the end of this year, PFOA, a major category of perfluorochemicals, will join PCBs, chlorofluorocarbons and leaded gasoline in the graveyard of chemical villains that we once loved.
Thomas Owens thinks he would have remembered if the government owed him $3,772. Yet more than 20 years after he paid off his federally backed…
In making their case for privacy, livestock farmers paint a menacing picture of what can happen when people know how to find them. Drones with…
In these strange times, merely asking what the government is doing can get you a file at the FBI. That’s what I learned earlier this…
My saga begins way, way back in April, when I came across a 2013 list of “troubled” public housing authorities nationwide. Only one Minnesota agency…
The Minnesota Zoo’s experiment to create an “insurance population” of Dakota skippers represent a small but heroic effort to counterbalance whatever is killing them in the wild.
Tim Briggs said he’s the first commercial drone operator in Minnesota to get permission from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Advances in DNA, the electronic trail of social media and a concerted national effort to match missing persons reports with unidentified remains have solved mystery after mystery, often within hours.
Buffeted by a cold October breeze, the banner on the construction fence still says “Lowertown Ballpark Opening May 2015.” Workers are too busy welding steel…
Casserole dishes that shatter into flying fragments are among the 21,000 report that are part of the catalog of horrors and mishaps reported by consumers to the federal agency in charge of ensuring that the stuff we buy doesn’t kill or injure us.
There’s a $72 billion federal program that controls the money of 8 million vulnerable Americans, and you’ve probably never heard of it. The
People who put their phone numbers on the Do Not Call list reported a staggering 3.7 million violations last year. That doesn’t include…
John Kotalik’s battle over a medical bill sounded like so many of the eye-glazing pleas launched in my direction every day. But Kotalik’s e-mail noted…
The University of Minnesota has launched its vision of an eco-friendly city in rural Dakota County, and right now, it looks an awful lot like a gravel pit.
Two days before his date with the workhouse, James Barth made one final bid for freedom. He told a Hennepin County district judge that he…
Fresh from the county workhouse, LeAnn Sargent will have plenty to talk about when she rejoins the Maple Grove City Council next month. The foul…
The long-lived dream of river commerce in Minneapolis officially ended a few weeks ago, laid to rest by the stroke of a presidential pen.
In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and lawsuits, shareholders have alleged that Edward Adams has at times served as a director, officer, lawyer and stockbroker for Scio, a start-up company that has suffered net losses of $13 million since it went public, with Adams as chairman, in 2011.
The police have never knocked down Rich Neumeister’s door in the middle of the night. They haven’t rifled through his files, tapped his phone or…
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is the first publicly accessible nationwide database designed to solve some of the most puzzling and agonizing modern mysteries.
The strange journey of the $200 grand in the silver attaché case began when drug investigators raided a Minneapolis tobacco shop.
When it comes to hazardous rail freight, the public just has to have faith.
The Star Tribune has identified the drivers and occupants of 78 of 84 cars, trucks and other non-construction vehicles that remained on the bridge or sank in the river, as well as six of the road construction workers.
Back in the days when Minneapolis had a Skid Row, John Bacich was its king. Bacich owned the Victor Hotel, Rex Liquors and the freewheeling Sourdough Bar, home of the 10 cent beer. Those institutions, like the rest of the Gateway District downtown, were swept away by urban renewal in the early 1960s.
On Thursday morning, Reuven Rahamim bubbled over with enthusiasm about the future of his company, Accent Signage Systems.
In a part of Minneapolis where neighbors often feel buffeted from all directions, Sunday's tornado was one thing they didn't think they had to worry about.
The iconic sign's owner thinks he deserves a break from city's graffiti crackdown policy. | Hard Data
Longtime landlord finds a way to make money at bottom of city's real estate market.
But some say the disaster could bring a chance to improve north Minneapolis' housing stock - if landlords don't flee.
On a trip to South Dakota to view bison, one family finds the creatures can be both noble and annoying.
Whistleblower: Despite new management taking over, Minneapolis holds landlord responsible after years of maintenance complaints
The case of Terri Ann Hauge, charged with bilking 10 vulnerable adults, shows the flaws in selecting and monitoring conservators.
Loan modification scams are finding victims in desperate homeowners.
Denny's settled a slip-and-fall case, but the source of trouble at a Coon Rapids restaurant remains.
Gusher demonstrates problems with enforcing little-known rule in Minneapolis.
Some motorists are shocked by what it costs to get cars back when towed from private property.
It took nearly a year before Isaac and Mika Turner of Northfield, Minn., noticed the $19.95 monthly charges on their credit card. Now the couple has sued Intelius, a popular people-search website, for signing them up for a service they never wanted.
Whistleblower heard this year from hundreds of people who wanted us to look into their situations. Here's an update on a few we wrote about in 2010.
The sudden departure of Healthworks exposes tension between Medicare and medical providers.
Orono resident Jay Nygard believes installing a small wind turbine in his yard would be an energy saver, but he has run into opposition from the city.
Some residents of the Meadow Creek Condominiums in Hopkins say they were misled, others that they ought to have paid better attention.
A tense question in apartment buildings: Who pays the exterminator?
Maplewood officials wanted an entrepreneur to make changes before issuing a new permit. When she refused, they took action that some think went too far.
Pampers defends "Dry Max'' as parents vent online over leaks, blow-outs and, more ominously, red bottoms.
Citing a 2004 decision that limits the use of videotaped interviews, Hennepin County won't prosecute a case involving 4-year-old victim.
Because the owners of a new senior housing complex in Edina defaulted on loans, each resident is being sued and may be ousted.
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