Staff Directory 34031274

Jennifer Bjorhus

Reporter | Watchdog and data team
phone: 612-673-4683
Jennifer reports on a range of topics, most recently government accountability and criminal justice. She has worked at the Pioneer Press, San Jose Mercury News, Oregonian and Seattle Times, and her work has won numerous awards. Her general rule is to listen hard, dig deep.
Recent content from Jennifer Bjorhus
Rep. Cornish, Sen. Schoen to resign after harassment claims

Rep. Cornish, Sen. Schoen to resign after harassment claims

Two Minnesota lawmakers announce they will resign on same day following harassment allegations that reverberated at State Capitol.
Rep. Cornish's ex-wife once obtained domestic abuse protection order

Rep. Cornish's ex-wife once obtained domestic abuse protection order

Rep. Tony Cornish, facing allegations at the State Capitol, was accused of aggressive behavior toward his ex-wife in 1990.
Ex-GOP Speaker Zellers says he warned Cornish

Ex-GOP Speaker Zellers says he warned Cornish

"I believe he should resign" and apologize, says the former GOP House speaker.
Lawmaker, lobbyist accuse Rep. Cornish of sexual harassment

Lawmaker, lobbyist accuse Rep. Cornish of sexual harassment

Late Thursday, House Speaker Kurt Daudt suspended Sen. Tony Cornish's chairmanship and called for a human resources investigation of the allegations, which Cornish denies.
Obituary: Accountant Benedicta Hernandez came to U.S. alone, then helped her family, community

Obituary: Accountant Benedicta Hernandez came to U.S. alone, then helped her family, community

Benedicta Hernandez, an accountant from the Philippines embarking on a new life, was the first of her family to land in the Twin Cities in…
Richfield goes to Minn. Court of Appeals to keep police officer fired

Richfield goes to Minn. Court of Appeals to keep police officer fired

Despite video of incident, officer won twice in court.
PART 3: How Minn. officers accused of serious crimes plea bargain to keep jobs

PART 3: How Minn. officers accused of serious crimes plea bargain to keep jobs

Officers with convictions – which might have cost them their careers in other states – can exploit weaknesses in Minnesota's licensing rules to keep their jobs.
Minnesota police licensing board to consider revising standards

Minnesota police licensing board to consider revising standards

Board chief says there's "potential for some change" in light of Star Tribune series.
What Minnesota can learn from Oregon on police oversight

What Minnesota can learn from Oregon on police oversight

In Oregon, police officers can be disciplined for infractions that wouldn't even trigger a state review here. The northwestern state has become a national model for rigorous licensing, with lessons for Minnesota in police accountability and improving public confidence.
PART 1: Minnesota police officers convicted of serious crimes still on the job

PART 1: Minnesota police officers convicted of serious crimes still on the job

Over the past two decades, hundreds of Minnesota law enforcement officers have been convicted of criminal offenses. Most were never disciplined by the state. More than 140 are still on the job.
Heavier rainfall, drained wetlands erode progress on Minnesota River.

Heavier rainfall, drained wetlands erode progress on Minnesota River.

The agricultural workhorse river has been the focus of intense efforts since the 1970s to improve its water quality; close to $1 billion has been spent on it. But it's unclear whether that has paid off.
PART 2: A blind spot for officers involved in domestic violence in state

PART 2: A blind spot for officers involved in domestic violence in state

The state rarely sanctions police officers in domestic violence cases, a glaring weakness that police chiefs and victim advocates say needs to change.
Mississippi River mayors eye wetlands and parks to reduce flooding and environmental damage

Mississippi River mayors eye wetlands and parks to reduce flooding and environmental damage

St. Paul's Chris Coleman says a project related to the Ford site could be among those packaged for investors.
Vapor intrusion scare delays start for St. Paul school

Vapor intrusion scare delays start for St. Paul school

The MPCA says the air at Crossroads Elementary Science and Montessori School is not contaminated, and vapor mitigation is being installed.
Fast-track training put officer Noor on Mpls. police

Fast-track training put officer Noor on Mpls. police

The former police chief stood by the training of officer Mohamed Noor, who shot and killed Justine Damond. But not everyone is sold on the process.
Fatal police encounters in Minnesota since 2000

Fatal police encounters in Minnesota since 2000

More than 160 people have died in forceful encounters with law enforcement in Minnesota since 2000.
With help from Minnesota researchers, imperiled prairie butterfly takes new flight

With help from Minnesota researchers, imperiled prairie butterfly takes new flight

As the tallgrass prairie has disappeared across much of Minnesota, the Dakota skipper has nearly vanished. Researchers at the Minnesota Zoo have been breeding Dakota skippers in captivity, and now, for the first time, the butterfly is being reintroduced into the wild.

Despite criticism, Minnesota lawmakers seek expansion of R&D tax break

The legislative auditor finds the credit doesn't pay for itself, but the increase is still being sought.
Iron Range agency names new management company for Giants Ridge resort

Iron Range agency names new management company for Giants Ridge resort

It's the latest change at Giants Ridge after an unflattering audit in 2016.
Suit alleges faulty appraisal in PolyMet land swap

Suit alleges faulty appraisal in PolyMet land swap

Environmental groups want to block a deal with the mining company proposed by the U.S. Forest Service.
Fatal bat disease confirmed in the Twin Cities area

Fatal bat disease confirmed in the Twin Cities area

White-nose syndrome has killed thousands of bats across Minnesota.
Comment period on restricting mining near BWCA extended to August

Comment period on restricting mining near BWCA extended to August

Proposal to ban mining on 234,000 acres of national forest open for scrutiny.
More than 200 gather in St. Paul to denounce hate crimes, bomb threats vs. Jewish groups

More than 200 gather in St. Paul to denounce hate crimes, bomb threats vs. Jewish groups

Recent threats against Jewish sites led over 200 from many beliefs to gather in St. Paul to denounce hate.
Legislative auditor: Minnesota R&D tax credit lacks explicit purpose, doesn't pay for itself

Legislative auditor: Minnesota R&D tax credit lacks explicit purpose, doesn't pay for itself

The audit, released at a Senate Taxes Committee meeting, leaves lawmakers to digest the implications of a somewhat rudderless tax break that some have recently proposed enlarging.
Minnesota's R&D tax credit is popular with business and lawmakers. But does it work?

Minnesota's R&D tax credit is popular with business and lawmakers. But does it work?

State auditor to release report on effectiveness.
Gov. Dayton aims for 25 percent water quality boost by 2025

Gov. Dayton aims for 25 percent water quality boost by 2025

Plans public meetings across the state to gather ideas.
Obituary: Tony Perpich, state senator and one of a famous trio

Obituary: Tony Perpich, state senator and one of a famous trio

The former state senator formed one-third of a storied trio of siblings in Minnesota politics, the DFL clan from the Iron Range that included George Perpich and the late Rudy Perpich, Minnesota's longest-serving governor.
How the upper Mississippi goes from pristine to polluted

How the upper Mississippi goes from pristine to polluted

New MPCA report is the state's first comprehensive look at the entire upper Mississippi
Columbia Heights seminary vows to continue clash with BBB

Columbia Heights seminary vows to continue clash with BBB

Defamation settlement is not enough, says seminary owner.
Dayton signs $500 million deal to protect rural waters

Dayton signs $500 million deal to protect rural waters

The highly anticipated state-federal deal will provide $350 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and $150 million in state funds.

Minnesota agency says police didn't discriminate in hauling mentally ill man to jail

State sides with police after Alexandria family alleges dad faced discrimination.
Waste flows downhill, and that's what worries folks in Hendricks, Minn.

Waste flows downhill, and that's what worries folks in Hendricks, Minn.

The people of Hendricks, Minn., thought they had won the feedlot war two years ago when they sued to stop a mega-dairy slated for a…
Feds block copper-nickel mine near BWCA

Feds block copper-nickel mine near BWCA

In a major victory for environmentalists, the federal government said it will not renew the expired mineral leases of Twin Metals Minnesota, saying its proposed copper-nickel mine near Ely poses too great a risk of contaminating the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Environmental groups drop suit vs. MPCA over Minntac's long-expired water permit

Environmental groups drop suit vs. MPCA over Minntac's long-expired water permit

Environmentalists said they are satisfied by new steps to regulate Minnesota plants.

Stillwater financial adviser gets six years for ripping off clients

Levi Lindemann stole $1.9 million from clients, including friends and relatives.
Prosecutions in U.S. police shootings rise, convictions remain rare

Prosecutions in U.S. police shootings rise, convictions remain rare

Convicting police officers of murder or manslaughter in fatal on-duty shootings is difficult.
Database of deaths after police use of force in Minnesota since 2000

Database of deaths after police use of force in Minnesota since 2000

More than 140 people have died in forceful encounters with law enforcement in Minnesota since 2000.
Zimbabwe court drops charges against professional hunter in Cecil the lion case

Zimbabwe court drops charges against professional hunter in Cecil the lion case

Theo Bronkhorst helped Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer track the lion.
Minnesota likely No. 1 again in voter turnout

Minnesota likely No. 1 again in voter turnout

Voter turnout dropped in Minnesota, yet it was strong enough that the state has likely regained its No. 1 spot.About 74 percent of eligible voters…
Family of mentally ill man killed by Burnsville police sues city

Family of mentally ill man killed by Burnsville police sues city

A grand jury decided the deadly force was justified; Kong's family says he posed no threat.
Arbitrator orders Minneapolis to rehire fired police officer

Arbitrator orders Minneapolis to rehire fired police officer

Blayne Lehner to get an unpaid suspension of 40 hours over use of force.
Are Minnesota cops in more danger now than in the past?

Are Minnesota cops in more danger now than in the past?

A look at 35 years of data on assaults and killings of police officers in Minnesota shows the answer isn't exactly clear.
Minnesota minority households get left out of the income boom

Minnesota minority households get left out of the income boom

Racial earnings gap persists, but some see signs of progress.
St. Joseph grieves for Jacob and his family

St. Joseph grieves for Jacob and his family

In the Wetterlings' hometown, their neighbors expressed sadness and relief.

Citing victims' wishes, cost, agencies aren't rushing to test old rape kits

Minnesota's approach contrasts sharply with states such as Ohio, whose attorney general pushed to ship all old rape kits for analysis. More than 500 defendants have been indicted as a result.
Officers who pulled over Castile not zealous traffic enforcers

Officers who pulled over Castile not zealous traffic enforcers

The traffic ticket data are incomplete but don't signal extreme racial profiling.
Officer who shot Castile helped book him in jail after 2011 stop

Officer who shot Castile helped book him in jail after 2011 stop

Officer Jeronimo Yanez was also one of the two officers assigned to work the July 2 armed robbery of a Lauderdale convenience store.
Mentally ill man gets 8 years for standoff that injured cop

Mentally ill man gets 8 years for standoff that injured cop

His lawyer sought care over jail, but judge said accountability needed.
Officer who shot Castile went to 'Bulletproof Warrior' training

Officer who shot Castile went to 'Bulletproof Warrior' training

Critics say "survival" seminar fosters paranoid mind-set, but firm defends approach as balanced.
BCA: Squad video in Castile case won't be released yet

BCA: Squad video in Castile case won't be released yet

Citing active investigation, St. Anthony won't make squad car evidence public.
Grand jury clears Roseville officers in February shooting

Grand jury clears Roseville officers in February shooting

John Birkeland, who had a history of mental illness and had stabbed a police dog, was fatally shot in February.

Fatal encounters with police in Minnesota since 2000

Fireworks injuries in Minnesota last year were highest in a decade

Fireworks injuries in Minnesota last year were highest in a decade

The number of emergency room visits, mostly from young people, especially men, have been increasing in recent years.
Wayzata man resigns from Chisholm film venture amid fraud charges

Wayzata man resigns from Chisholm film venture amid fraud charges

Jerry Seppala resigned from Ironbound Studios Minnesota after a federal grand jury indicted him and two California men for allegedly cheating investors out of $12 million meant to finance movies. The indictment makes no mention of the Iron Range film studio space.

Wayzata man among 3 charged in $12M movie investing scheme

The man behind one of Minnesota's largest film studios and two California men have been indicted after the FBI said they bilked investors out of $12 million that was supposed to finance movies.

If you're poor, you'll pay more for car insurance, study finds

Minneapolis is included in consumer group's report.
Bodycam video shows Burnsville officers fatally shooting man with knife

Bodycam video shows Burnsville officers fatally shooting man with knife

3 officers who killed man with a knife were cleared.
Reverend sues BBB over seminary's F rating

Reverend sues BBB over seminary's F rating

Group says it's doing its job, but Philip Jegede says it's bias.
Police being forced to front lines of growing mental health crisis

Police being forced to front lines of growing mental health crisis

At a time when police are facing intense scrutiny over the use of force, more law enforcement officials agree with Beckie O'Connor that officers need more training. Yet no one is taking charge.

How we counted police-involved deaths

Shortcomings in public data have obscured a full accounting of the cases.
Scars of a standoff in St. Paul: He's now fighting to rebuild his life

Scars of a standoff in St. Paul: He's now fighting to rebuild his life

During a suicidal episode last year that warped into a standoff, Robert Wood seriously injured a St. Paul police officer by shooting him in the face with an air rifle. But St. Paul officers didn't kill him.
Part 1: Police being forced to front lines of mental health crisis

Part 1: Police being forced to front lines of mental health crisis

A Roseville officer walks into the unknown every night. Twice, when the calls came, he fired his weapon.
Harrowing video shows Columbia Heights police killing of Kirvelay

Harrowing video shows Columbia Heights police killing of Kirvelay

Footage shows failed efforts to get Kirvelay to respond to commands.
Teamsters pension fund to Congress: We need your help

Teamsters pension fund to Congress: We need your help

With the retirements of 407,000 people on the line, the Teamsters' Central States Pension Fund is appealing to Congress to help solve its dire financial predicament.
U.S. Treasury rejects cuts to the Teamsters' pension fund

U.S. Treasury rejects cuts to the Teamsters' pension fund

The U.S. Treasury Department has rejected the deep retirement cuts sought by the ailing Teamsters Central States Pension Fund. The decision is a relief to thousands of retirees, who stood to see pension checks slashed.
Pill discovery keeps spotlight on role of drugs in Prince's death

Pill discovery keeps spotlight on role of drugs in Prince's death

The discovery of prescription pills at Paisley Park follows new details about the emergency landing made by Prince's jet in Moline, Ill.
Scathing audit questions Iron Range agency's accountability

Scathing audit questions Iron Range agency's accountability

The audit also found that from 2006 to 2014, the IRRRB has subsidized Giants Ridge operations by $17.4 million, averaging $1.7 million a year.
Iron Range agency may be in store for an overhaul

Iron Range agency may be in store for an overhaul

IRRRB could receive new oversight, incentives in response to harsh audit.

Watchdog arm of Congress to probe oversight of pension fund

GAO will review the Labor Department's handling of failing Central States fund.

Teamsters fund cuts would hurt 14,800 in Minn., new report says

An advocacy group says the cuts would shrink payments by tens of millions in the state. Pension officials dispute the report.
Riled Teamsters at Mpls. meeting voice opposition to pension cuts

Riled Teamsters at Mpls. meeting voice opposition to pension cuts

U.S. Treasury has a May 7 deadline to accept, reject or tweak the proposal for cuts.

Feds reschedule town hall forum on Teamsters pension cuts

Proposal would cut benefits of about 15,000 in Minnesota.

Meeting on pension cuts postponed

Due to the East Coast snowstorm, the U.S. Treasury Department has postponed a public session on proposed cuts to the Central States Pension Fund that…

Treasury to hold town hall in Minneapolis on Teamster pension cuts

The U.S. Treasury has scheduled a Jan. 25 town hall meeting in Minneapolis for feedback on the drastic benefit cuts sought by trustees of the…
Minnesota shows solid population gains, but growth will slow

Minnesota shows solid population gains, but growth will slow

State ranks No. 24 for growth rate; North Dakota still the fastest.
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