NSA review finds no evidence supporting Tucker Carlson’s claims NSA was spying on him, sources say

Carlson had claimed that the agency was spying on him and planned to leak his communications to take him off air.

One of the sources said that Carlson’s name was picked up in third-party communications and his identity was unmasked, meaning others mentioned him in their communications. In the NSA foreign intelligence reports, the names of Americans are redacted, or “masked.” Certain authorized US officials have the authority to request the names of those individuals if they have a justifiable reason.

The Record first reported this story.
The NSA declined to comment on Saturday. Last month, when the accusations were made, the NSA tweeted a statement indicating the Fox host’s claim “is untrue.”

“Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air,” the statement said.

“For the NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson or any journalist attempting to secure a newsworthy interview is entirely unacceptable and raises serious questions about their activities as well as their original denial, which was wildly misleading,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

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Another St. Louis restaurant closes waiting for financial assistance; city says help is on the way | St. Louis News Headlines

ST. LOUIS ( — Another St. Louis business announced it’s closing its doors after waiting too long for COVID-19 relief money. 

Some of that money was in the form of a grant from the Small Business Administration. That Restaurant Revitalization Fund was created in March and aimed to be a lifeline for struggling restaurants. Due to court battles, some of the money was held up and now it has been used up. 

Quincy Street Bistro in south St. Louis City posted to its social media it decided to close its doors at least temporarily, if not permanently.

“We, like many other small locally-owned businesses, have applied for grants through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. We have hopes that those much-needed funds will come through for us, and many others like us,” the restaurant said in its post online. 

The business ultimately said because of legal snags with the grant, the restaurant doesn’t expect to get the money anytime soon and made the decision to close. 

“It’s heartbreaking because I know much work goes into and how much they must have fought to keep that from happening,” said Taco Buddha general manager Jeff Friesen. 

Friesen and the Taco Buddha owner, Kurt Eller, said they used money from the first two rounds of PPP and did not apply for a grant, knowing other restaurants need it more.

As for businesses still in dire need of assistance, the city says help is on the way in the form of the federal COVID relief money the city still has to decide how to spend. 

“We have to use the funds in a way where it creates, it helps to stimulates the economy, it helps get people in a better place,” said Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen.

The Board of Aldermen heard from the public Wednesday on how they think federal COVID relief money should be spent. The federal government is giving St. Louis $500 million over three years. Right now, the city has $252 million the bank. 

Reed hopes small business owners, especially restaurants, will reach out to the city now to let them know they need help.

“All other things being equal, a voice from some of the small businesses will change things dramatically within city government and can help them,” said Reed. 

The Board of Aldermen hopes to agree on how to spend this first round of money by July 16. Once the board passes that bill, it needs Mayor Tishaura Jones’ signature. After she signs it, the money can be accessed almost immediately and be given to small businesses. 

“They need to save them, they need to jump in and save them or we’re not going to have the same restaurant community,” said Eller.

The next public meeting to discuss how the money will be spent is July 6 at 9 a.m. and will be virtual. 

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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City, county review Manhattan Development Code | News

Officials anticipate moving into the final stages of finishing the Manhattan Development Code in mid-July. 

Chad Bunger, assistant director of community development for the city government, updated Riley County commissioners Thursday on the progress of the Manhattan Development Code during a joint meeting with Manhattan city commissioners. The main goal is to put all the zoning and design information into one document and make it easier for the public to understand. Officials have been working with Manhattan city commissioners on this document for the past few months. 

Manhattan Mayor Wynn Butler encouraged the county commissioners to review the code more in-depth before the city officially adopts it later this year.

“We would appreciate the feedback,” he said.

Butler also said he wanted to get Pottawatomie County more involved; none of the Pottawatomie County commissioners attended Thursday’s meeting. 

Like the city, Riley County is rewriting its subdivision standards, Bunger said. Riley County did not provide specific details on their standards during Thursday’s meeting. Commissioners also didn’t comment on Bunger’s code presentation.

Bunger told The Mercury on Friday he offered to review the code in more detail with the county at a later time. He said he hopes officials take him up on that. 

“I think there’s more discussion to be had on the finer details,” Bunger said Friday.

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Google and Apple scare us, app makers tell Congress

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, speaks at the 2019 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco on November 19, 2019.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Some app makers who rely on mobile distribution from Apple and Google are scared of how much power the tech giants have over their businesses, according to congressional testimony delivered Wednesday.

“We’re all afraid,” Match Group Chief Legal Officer Jared Sine told Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, at a hearing.

The hearing brought together representatives from Apple and Google and several of their most outspoken critics, including Match Group, which owns dating site Tinder; Tile, which makes devices that help users find lost objects and faces new competition from Apple’s AirTag technology, and streaming music service Spotify.

The hearing comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are working on updates to the antitrust laws that could better account for the power a few tech giants hold over many digital markets. That includes the ability of platforms such as Apple and Google to manage the main distribution platform for apps while increasingly hawking their own competing products.

Throughout the hearing, the app makers expressed fear over how easily either company could undercut their businesses by making small changes to their app store rules. They also complained of high fees for in-app purchases and unclear enforcement of standards.

Allegations of threats

Multiple executives accused Apple and Google of threatening their businesses.

Sine said Google called Match Group on Tuesday night after his testimony became public to ask why his testimony differed from the company’s comments in their latest earnings call.

On the earnings call, Match executives had said they believed they were having productive conversations about Google’s 30% in-app payment fee through its Google Play store. But in testimony, Match complained that Google had made “false pretenses of an open platform” and complained about its “monopoly power.”

Wilson White, Google’s senior director of public policy and government relations, said it sounded like employees working in Google’s business development team reached out to ask an “honest question.” White said he didn’t view it as a threat “and we would never threaten our partners” because Google needs app developers to use its app store in order for it to be successful.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the call was “potentially actionable.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 2, 2021.

Graeme Jennings | Pool via Reuters

Klobuchar said she planned to look into the matter further.

Spotify Chief Legal Officer Horacio Gutierrez said he could think of “at least four clear examples of threats and retaliation” from Apple after Spotify decided to speak out about alleged anticompetitive behavior and Apple’s fees for developers on digital products purchased through its platform. That included threats of removing Spotify’s app, refusing to promote it, or waiting for months for minor app updates to be approved, he said.

“They’ve basically thrown the book at us in order to make it hard for us to continue to sustain our decision to speak up,” he said.

Fees and rival products

Many app makers have complained about the fees gatekeepers charge for in-app purchases for digital services.

Gutierrez complained of what he called Apple’s “gag order” over how Spotify can communicate with its own users about how to upgrade to its paid version.

For instance, Spotify allows customers to upgrade only outside of its iOS app in order to avoid Apple’s 15% to 30% commission fee on digital services purchased through its platform. But because Spotify doesn’t sell the paid service through its iOS app, Apple also doesn’t let the app maker talk about upgrades with customers through the app — instead, users have to upgrade through a web browser on a PC or another method.

At the same time, Apple operates a competing service, Apple Music, which has no such restrictions. Gutierrez said this gives Apple’s version an unfair advantage.

Representatives from Apple and Google both told lawmakers that their fees for developers are meant to cover the costs that go into distributing apps through their platforms and securing them appropriately. Apple Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer compared the services offered on the App Store today to the cumbersome and expensive process app makers had to pursue to distribute their apps before the App Store existed.

White cast the group as a set of “small but vocal” representatives of “primarily large companies.” He said he worried that in trying to satisfy their complaints, “we damage the very foundation that has allowed the Android open source ecosystem to work so well for a much larger set of small and medium-sized businesses.”

In addition to complaints about fees, developers worried that Apple’s own rival products incentivized it to make unfavorable decisions toward them.

For example, Tile General Counsel Kirsten Daru said the company had asked Apple for permission to use ultra-wideband technology on iPhones to make its item-tracking technology more precise than it can be using only Bluetooth. She said Apple had refused the request, then reserved the technology for its own competitive AirTags, which it announced Tuesday.

While Apple is rolling out a way for third-party developers to build on the more precise location data, Daru said that in order to access that, “we have to give Apple unprecedented control over our business and direct customers to the Find My app to find their lost items.”

Apple’s Andeer argued AirTags is a separate product from Tile, which currently has the majority of the market share for the space, and that opening tools to more third-party developers will encourage competition.

Unclear standards

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the FBI investigation into links between Donald Trump associates and Russian officials during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2020.

Susan Walsh | Reuters

Lee asked Andeer to differentiate between why a paid service through Tinder might incur a commission while one for Uber would not. Andeer explained an Uber customer is paying for a non-digital service — a car to show up to their house — while they don’t expect the same return from Tinder, saying that would be a different service, in what appeared to be an insinuation of sex work.

The app makers emphasized their reliance on the app stores because of their unprecedented access to consumers. But, they argued, it’s not the symbiotic relationship that Apple and Google like to paint.

“We are not successful because of what Apple has done, we have been successful despite Apple’s interference,” Gutierrez said. “And we would have been much more successful but for their anticompetitive behavior.”

WATCH: Here’s why some experts are calling for a breakup of Big Tech after the House antitrust report

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Opinion: Biden’s infrastructure plan must look to the future, not wrap itself in a nostalgic view of past American greatness

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Project Syndicate)—President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan is likely to be a watershed moment for the American economy, clearly signaling that the neoliberal era, with its belief that markets work best and are best left alone, is behind us. But while neoliberalism may be dead, it is less clear what will replace it.

The challenges that the United States and other advanced economies face today are fundamentally different from those they faced in the early decades of the 20th century. Those earlier challenges gave rise to the New Deal and the welfare state. Today’s problems—climate change, the disruption of labor markets due to new technologies, and hyper-globalization—require new solutions.

Capitol Report: Biden says he’s ‘prepared to negotiate’ on infrastructure as he meets bipartisan group of lawmakers

We need a new economic vision, not nostalgia for a mythicized age of widely shared prosperity at home and global supremacy abroad.

On climate change, Biden’s plan falls short of the Green New Deal advocated by progressive Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But it contains significant investments in a green economy, such as supporting markets for electric vehicles and other programs to cut carbon-dioxide emissions, making it the largest federal effort ever to curb greenhouse-gases.

Economics is different from an arms race. A strong U.S. economy should not be a threat to China, just as Chinese economic growth need not threaten America.

On jobs, the plan aims to expand employment offering good pay and benefits, focusing, in addition to infrastructure, on manufacturing and the growing and essential care economy.

Book Watch: Caregiving is a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure like bridges and roads

The role of government

New ways of thinking about the role of government are as important as new priorities. Many commentators have framed Biden’s infrastructure plan as a return to big government. But the package is spread over eight years, will raise public spending by only 1 percentage point of gross domestic product, and is projected to pay for itself eventually.

A boost in public investment in infrastructure, the green transition, and job creation is long overdue. Even if the plan were nothing more than a big public investment push financed by taxes on large corporations, it would do a lot of good for the U.S. economy.

We need a new economic vision, not nostalgia for a mythicized age of widely shared prosperity at home and global supremacy abroad.

But Biden’s plan can be much more. It could fundamentally reshape the government’s role in the economy and how that role is perceived.

Traditional skepticism about government’s economic role is rooted in the belief that private markets, driven by the profit motive, are efficient, while governments are wasteful. But the excesses of private markets in recent decades—the rise of monopolies, the follies of private finance, extreme concentration of income, and rising economic insecurity—have taken the shine off the private sector.

At the same time, it is better understood today that in a complex economy characterized by so much uncertainty, top-down regulation is unlikely to work. Regardless of the specific domain—promoting green technologies, developing new institutional arrangements for home-care workers, deepening domestic supply chains for high-tech manufacturing, or building on successful workforce development programs—government collaboration with nongovernmental actors will be essential.

If it succeeds, the example it sets of markets and governments acting as complements, not substitutes—demonstrating that each works better when the other pulls its weight—could be its most important and enduring legacy.

In all these areas, the government will have to work with markets and private businesses, as well as other stakeholders such as unions and community groups. New models of governance will be required to ensure public objectives are pursued with the full participation of those actors who have the knowledge and capacity to achieve them. The government will have to become a trusted partner; and it will have to trust other social actors in turn.

In the past, each excessive swing in the state-market balance has eventually prompted an excessive swing in the opposite direction. The Biden plan can break this cycle. If it succeeds, the example it sets of markets and governments acting as complements, not substitutes—demonstrating that each works better when the other pulls its weight—could be its most important and enduring legacy.

Biden’s unhelpful framing

In this regard, it is unhelpful to view the Biden plan as a way to restore America’s competitive position in the world, especially vis-à-vis China. Unfortunately, Biden himself is guilty of this framing. The package will “put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the coming years,” he recently argued.

Peter Morici: Biden doesn’t understand how dangerous China is

It may be politically tempting to market the infrastructure plan in this fashion. In an earlier era, the prevailing fear that the U.S. was losing its edge to the Soviet Union in ballistic missiles and in the space race helped catalyze a national technological mobilization.

But there is much less reason for fearmongering today. It is unlikely to buy much Republican support for the plan, given the intensity of partisan polarization. And it diverts attention from the real action: if the plan increases incomes and opportunities for ordinary Americans, as it should, it will have been worth doing, regardless of the effects on America’s geopolitical status.

Moreover, economics is different from an arms race. A strong U.S. economy should not be a threat to China, just as Chinese economic growth need not threaten America. Biden’s framing is damaging insofar as it turns good economics at home into an instrument of aggressive, zero-sum policies abroad. Can we blame China if it tightens restrictions on U.S. corporations as a defensive measure against the Biden plan?

The plan could transform the U.S. and set an important example for other developed countries to follow. But to achieve its potential, it must avoid misleading state-versus-market dichotomies and outdated Cold War tropes. Only by leaving behind the models of the past can it chart a new vision for the future.

This commentary was published with permission of Project SyndicateBiden Must Fix the Future, Not the Past.

Dani Rodrik, professor of international political economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, is the author of “Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy.”

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Republican attorneys general seek assistance from courts in thwarting Biden’s agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — These are busy days for Republican state attorneys general, filing repeated lawsuits that claim President Joe Biden and his administration are overstepping their authority on immigration, climate change, the environment and taxes.

The strategy harks back to what Democrats did during Trump’s presidency, heading to court in New York, California, Maryland and other states where they were likely to receive a friendly reception. Even before that, Republicans were frequent filers during Barack Obama’s White House years.

“This is something the Republicans have taken from the Democratic playbook, just as the Democrats had taken a lot of things from the Republican playbook during Trump’s tenure,” said New York University law professor Sally Katzen, who served in the Clinton White House.

The legal action reflects GOP opposition to Biden initiatives, but it also is providing the attorneys general, many with higher political ambitions, to showcase their willingness to stand up to Biden and unabashedly side with Trump.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022, brags in a TV ad that he is “on the conservative front line suing to stop the Biden administration’s worst abuses.”

The main target of lawsuits filed so far have been executive orders issued by Biden.

But several states also have sued over a provision of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan that prohibits states from using their share of federal money to reduce taxes.

Chris Carr, the Georgia attorney general and new chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, said he and his colleagues have been cast in this role because Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House.

“We’ve got a situation where President Biden says, ‘Look, I want to be more bipartisan in nature.’ But then he turns around and has issued more executive orders in the beginning of a term than any president in modern history, I’m told,” Carr said.

“Our job is to ensure the rule of law is upheld. It’s a natural tension we’ve seen throughout American history. How does the federal government stay in its lane?” he said.

It took only two days after Biden’s inauguration for the first legal fight to erupt.

Following the president’s announcement of a 100-day pause in deportations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — who famously appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Trump’s loss to Biden in a crucial set of swing states, drawing the support of 17 fellow state attorneys general and 106 Republican members of Congress — went to court and won a court order against the halt.

Several other states have since followed with similar claims.

Just since the middle of March:
• Texas, Montana and 19 other states filed suit in Texas to overturn Biden’s cancellation of the contentious Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
• Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry led 13 states in suing the administration to end a suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water and to reschedule canceled sales of leases in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska waters and western states.
• Missouri sued over the restriction on state tax cuts as a condition of receiving money from the huge COVID-19 bill.

See: Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton battles Texas news media over records related to Capitol siege on Jan. 6

Also: Twitter sues Texas attorney general, claiming retaliation for its Trump ban

Earlier in March, Schmitt led 12 states in a suit that claims the administration lacks the authority to take account of the social costs of climate change. The president said on Jan. 20 that federal agencies must account for damages caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions, including changes in farm productivity, human health and property damage from increased flood risk.

In at least two instances, Republicans are trying to get the Supreme Court involved to keep in place Trump policies that Biden is reviewing or has indicated he will reverse.

Paxton is leading a push to get the justices to reimpose the Trump-era immigration rule denying green cards to immigrants who use public benefits like food stamps. A federal court has blocked the policy nationwide and the Biden administration dropped the defense of it.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is leading a 19-state effort to keep the court from dismissing a case over the Trump policy that bans family planning programs that receive federal funds from referring women for abortions.

The administration and medical groups that had challenged the policy agreed to dismiss the case because the Health and Human Services Department shortly will propose a new rule rescinding the ban on abortion referrals.

Paxton’s predecessor was Greg Abbott, now the Texas governor. Abbott burnished his conservative credentials by frequently going to court over Obama initiatives. “I go into the office, I sue the federal government, and I go home,” he said in 2013, boasting then of having sued the administration 25 times.

By the middle of 2016, the Wall Street Journal counted at least 44 times that Texas went to court against the Obama administration.

The one thing that has changed since the last Democratic administration is that Trump was able to move appeals courts across the country to the right, adding six judges each to appeals courts that hear cases from Ohio and Texas and four to the court that includes Missouri. All three already leaned conservative.

Even the famously liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which hears appeals from Montana, became more evenly balanced in the past four years, with the addition of 10 Trump appointees.

“Republican attorneys general might take extra comfort from the fact that there were a significant number of conservative judges confirmed during the Trump administration, and there are a number of courts of appeals where the balance was tipped. So, it’s an even better shot than before,” Katzen said.

MarketWatch contributed.

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Agency review finds some Trump administration CDC guidance was not grounded in science or free from undue influence

The review found that some guidance “used less direct language than available evidence supported,” “needed to be updated to reflect the latest scientific evidence” and “presented the underlying science base for guidance inconsistently,” according to the spokesperson.

“I am focused on moving CDC forward with science, transparency and clarity leading the way. It is imperative for the American people to trust CDC. If they don’t, preventable illness and injury can occur — and, tragically, lives can and will be lost,” Walensky said in a statement to CNN.

“This agency and its critical health information cannot be vulnerable to undue influence, and this report helps outline our path to rebuilding confidence and ensuring the information that CDC shares with the American people is based on sound science that will keep us, our loved ones, and our communities healthy and safe.”

The Trump administration repeatedly butted heads with its own medical advisers on the nature and subsequent public messaging of the ongoing pandemic. As early as February 2020, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a top CDC vaccination expert, warned that the virus could bring severe disruption to American life, affecting schools and businesses, and told people to get ready at the same time Trump was reassuring the nation that the virus was “going to go away” and was “very well under control.”
The effects of the clash were stark, with Trump appointees often taking the upper hand. Michael Caputo — a close Trump ally who served as a top official in the Department of Health and Human Services — was accused by critics of politicizing the CDC and the HHS response to the coronavirus pandemic. CNN reported in September that Caputo and his team had demanded to see weekly science reports out of the CDC before they were released, with some HHS communications officials pushing to change the reports’ language so as not to undermine Trump’s political message. In response to that assertion, Caputo criticized the CDC with conspiratorial accusations.
In October, sources told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Messonnier was told to “lay low” as Trump downplayed the threat of the coronavirus. The Trump White House stopped CDC briefings on the pandemic last March after Messonnier warned of worsening spread and disruptions, angering the then-President.
Walensky wrote in the agency’s review of the Trump administration’s guidance that she had some difficulty making sense of which guidance documents had provided major new updates — and she recommended ways in which the agency under the Biden administration can do things differently.

While conducting the review, Walensky wrote that she “found it too difficult” to tell whether a new document represented a major or very minor update to existing guidance, and to decipher what the core recommendations were in long documents.

Some documents also were removed or replaced from the CDC’s website during the review. The review names the document that had been previously removed as “The Importance of Reopening of America’s Schools this Fall,” while the document “Overview of Testing for SARS-COV-2” had been replaced. According to the review, a link to the document “Opening up America Again” also was removed from the website.

Walensky noted in the review that “there was not a consistent practice of publicizing the supporting evidence in a scientific brief in conjunction with every major new guidance.” But, she added, “We are now committed to providing updated science briefs if there is research to inform guidance updates.”

Walensky wrote that the CDC “will finalize production and reviews of remaining prioritized new guidance” in the weeks ahead. Walensky laid out several recommendations for moving forward, including making it clear what scientific evidence was used for major new guidance documents, as well as planning media briefings when new guidance is released, along with several other recommendations.

This story has been updated with additional background information.

CNN’s Stephen Collinson, Maggie Fox and Elizabeth Cohen contributed to this report.

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Opinion: Proposed bill is a threat to the future health and safety of our community. | Columnists

This has served Tulsa County well for many years with marked improvements in the county health rankings compared to other counties in Oklahoma. Embedded in our local community, we are better able to engage with local partners in support of a community health improvement plan that includes a focus on social determinants of health that impact our local population.

In 2011, Tulsa County was ranked No. 27 in Oklahoma out of 77 counties. By 2019, Tulsa County improved to No. 13, and through targeted initiatives in our county, our community’s health will continue to improve.

A recent argument in favor of the bill that has surfaced is that the Oklahoma State Department of Health needs control of the Oklahoma and Tulsa public health departments to secure more funding for the state.

State funding requests do not carve out Tulsa and Oklahoma counties, just as they do not carve out populations from tribal nation health departments.

In fact, Oklahoma is the 28th most populous state yet ranks 25th in estimated two-year federal funding directed to states per person by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Yet, the state of Oklahoma ranks 43rd or worse in every domain of America’s Health Rankings report.

Metro health departments, tribal health departments and the Veterans Administration have made great improvements in health outcomes because they are able to target the specific needs of their populations. This is an established principle of population health.

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City, Golf Club Inc. continue to struggle with vision for the future | Local

The future of Litchfield Golf Course continues to bounce around like a tee shot on a hard fairway.

Litchfield City Council, during its meeting Jan. 18, discussed again the state of the municipally owned golf course and clubhouse, as well as negotiations with Litchfield Golf Club Inc., the nonprofit entity that runs the clubhouse, on a separation agreement.

By the end of a presentation by Councilor Eric Mathwig, who along with Councilor Betty Allen has been negotiating a separation with GCI board, a quick resolution seemed unlikely.

But there were pleas from both sides to find a way to work together toward a solution.

“We need to work with them,” John Carlson, the City Council’s newest member said. “They want the same thing we want. They want the golf course to be a nice course, well-run and profitable. At least I’m assuming that’s what they want.

“We’re all on the same team,” Carlson added later.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the Council, GCI president Carl Minton said that the group’s board of directors unanimously approved a resolution to suspend negotiations and continue to operate under terms of a 2013 contract.

“We look forward to working with the city in the future on our mutual interests,” Minton said.

Minton’s letter was provided as an addendum to the City Council’s agenda packet. Mathwig said he received the letter during a Jan. 13 meeting with Golf Club Inc. representatives.

After receiving the letter, Mathwig said, he twice asked GCI’s negotiating team if they wanted to see a copy of the city’s separation proposal. After twice saying “no,” they relented and agreed to review the proposal.

“What they originally saw, they liked,” Mathwig said of the proposal, which included details of city investment in improvements to the clubhouse, as requested by GCI representative Pete Kormanik at the Council’s first meeting in January.

Total of the investments made in 2020 — which included $62,250 in membership reimbursement from 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 — was $195,766.06, according to the agreement.

Mathwig said he asked the GCI representatives to present the city’s proposal to the entire Golf Club Inc. membership, and while they initially indicated that could be done, Minton called Mathwig the next day and said that would not happen.

“They told us flat out that the proposal was not going to go to the membership,” Mathwig said, but would instead go to the GCI board, whose members would decide if the entire membership would see it.

The fact general membership would not see the proposal was troubling, Mathwig said.

“Personally, from me, as a member (of GCI) …if I wasn’t sitting in this chair … I would not know what’s going on,” he said.

“It is their decision, but I feel it’s a huge decision, and I feel the membership should be involved,” Allen added in agreement.

Councilor Darlene Kotelnicki said that if GCI was going to continue with the 2013 agreement and nothing was changing, “the board should be entrusted” to make that decision.

At-Large Council member Ron Dingmann, serving as acting mayor in Mayor Keith Johnson’s absence, asked whether Mathwig and Allen had negotiated the portion of golf membership fees that the city pays to GCI.

“No,” Mathwig said. “We were only put together to negotiate a separation.”

And that seems to be a sticking point for GCI representatives. In one discussion, GCI’s Minton said that every discussion has been about transition, and wondering “why is there not an option of us working together like we used to,” Mathwig said.

But the “working together” portion is outlined in the separation agreement, Mathwig said, and “our negotiation team was put together to work on a separation.”

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Biden and Harris review readiness of military troops

Congressional leaders presented newly inaugurated President Biden and Vice President Harris with gifts, a long standing tradition.

Sen. Roy Blunt presented Biden with a painting by an African American painter from the Civil War, Robert S. Duncanson, “Landscape by Rainbow.” Blunt noted that first lady Jill Biden helped pick out the piece.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar presented Biden and Harris with Lenox crystal vases. The company is based in Pennsylvania, Biden’s home state.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and presented the President and Vice President with American flags.

McConnell took a moment to also offer a few encouraging remarks to both Biden and Harris, noting how both are not only a son and daughter of the Senate, but that they both managed to skip serving the House altogether. A humorous remark that garnered laugh and applause from those in attendance.

“It’s my honor and privilege to help present these flags of our nation that were flown over today’s event here at the Capitol,” McConnell said.

“The Star Spangled Banner is our greatest symbol of endurance of the American idea. It flies over this building on triumphant days and tragic ones. For all factions and all parties. And today, this flag flew over our former colleagues inauguration as the very first female Vice President of the United States to our very distinguished colleague, Madam Vice President, please accept this flag with the highest compliments and congratulations of the United States Senate,” he said.

Pelosi presented Biden with the same flag that was flown when he was sworn in. “It’s my privilege to extend the flag flown the moment, the early moment that you were sworn in as President of the United States.”

GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who had supported efforts to challenge the election outcome, and Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer welcomed Biden and Harris and presented them with framed photographs of their swearing-in ceremonies.

“Today, Vice President Harris made history and all America should celebrate that. But, we should also remember that this is not the end but just the beginning. As leaders, we’re judged not by our words but by our actions. So, let’s go forth from here together, accomplish great things for the American people and every time you look at this photo, remember the beginning of the job we have to do. Congratulations,” McCarthy said.

WATCH: Congressional leaders present 32-pound gifts to Biden and Harris

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