‘Prairie Home Companion’ pianist Butch Thompson dies

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Jacob Aloi, MPR says “Butch Thompson”‘s charming and spritely playing of the piano entertained audiences all over the globe. Thompson, who was the original pianist for ‘A Prairie Home Companion,’ has died at the age of 78. According to Travis Anderson, a jazz musician and photographer, Thompson was able to master music from the past and enjoyed performing it for modern audiences. “When you attended a Butch Thompson concert, it felt like you had been transported back to the 1920s or earlier. Anderson stated that he was proudly unapologetic. “Everyone benefits by listening to Butch, who listened to how music was played many, many many years ago. If it speaks to people then, it can speak to them now.”

Adam Uren from BringMeTheNews reports that “British pop star Darius Danesh, 41, was found dead in his apartment in Rochester, Minnesota, last week. A spokesperson for the singer said: ‘It is very sad that we announce the death of Darius Campbell Danesh. The local medical examiners declared Darius dead on August 11. According to the local police, there were no suspicious circumstances or signs of intent. While medical examinations are continuing, the cause of his sudden death remains unknown.

The Strib’s Paul Walsh states that state regulators have revoked a Minneapolis-based plastic surgeon who has been repeatedly accused of sexually abusing female patients during appointments over the years. Last week, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice released a statement stating that Christopher Kovanda was no longer licensed to practice medicine here. This was due to “conduct with a client which is sexual or could reasonably be interpreted as such by the patient” and “seductive or sexually demeaning behavior to a patient.”

For SportsIllustrated.com Joe Nelson says, “The only thing Stefon Diggs wants more than a Super Bowl ring is a funnel cake. Although it’s possible that this is not true, the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver wants to eat some of the delicious Minnesota State Fair treats. He’ll even eat fair food in Buffalo, 150 miles from the New York State Fair. Diggs tweeted: “I haven’t been to fair or carnival for so long.. [sad facial emoji] I want a funnel cake. Diggs also said that Minnesota has the best fair anywhere in the world. ‘”

KSTP-TV Ellen Galles reminds us that “school is only a few weeks away” for most Minnesota students. is a law designed to limit screen time for some state’s youngest learners. This law, which took effect July 1, states that children in public-funded kindergartens and preschools cannot use screens without teacher engagement. Some exceptions may apply. Kelly Morrison, DFL-Deephaven, sponsored the bill. She said that the idea came first from constituents and parents. Then COVID-19, distance learning and other technologies heightened the need. “Kids learn best through tactile play, where they can use all their senses and are also moving,” Morrison said. Morrison stated that screens tend to keep us pretty stationary.

KARE-TV’s Devin Ramey reports that thousands more Minnesota schoolchildren will be eligible to receive free meals in the coming year, thanks to a new initiative by state and federal agencies. Governor Tim Walz made Monday his announcement. According to Walz’s press release, Minnesota was selected as one of eight states to participate in a pilot program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About 90,000 additional children from Minnesota will be eligible for free school meals after collaboration with the Children’s Cabinet, Minnesota IT Services, Department of Human Services, and Minnesota Department of Education.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Bill Glauber wrote that Harry Wait, a Racine County man who fraudulently requested absentee ballots to prove voter corruption exists, should not be prosecuted. Instead, Johnson stated that Wait was a white hat hacker for trying to expose a flaw in the Wisconsin Elections Commission system. Johnson said Tuesday that there was no malign intention to what Wait did at a Milwaukee event on border security. Johnson answered the question about Wait facing felony charges and said that he would not be prosecuted for any of his actions. I admire what he did. He did a great job of showing the public vulnerability that WEC doesn’t care about.

Stribber Mara Klecker reported that Patrick Henry High School will get a new name after the Minneapolis school board unanimously directed the school community on Tuesday to start the name change process. In 2020, the school names advisory committee of the board had recommended that the North Side high school be renamed because Patrick Henry, an 18th-century Virginia politician who was a leading advocate for independence and the Revolutionary War, owned slaves. Tuesday’s resolution stated that students, staff and community members recognized the need to change the school’s name to better reflect the community’s values.

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