Prince remembered throughout Minneapolis 1 year after death

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 9:51 AM

The city where Prince loved, Minneapolis, is gearing up for a celebration of the musician one year after his death.

A lone jogger sprinted down the pathway between the hulking white Paisley Park compound and Minnesota Highway 5, indifferent to the history living on the other side of the sagging chain-link fence.

A purple makeshift wall on the property – the Prince4Ever Tribute Fence – cluttered with fan-donated mementos and photos, remained off limits Tuesday as Paisley Park closed to prepare for Celebration 2017, a four-day event launching Thursday.

The first anniversary of Prince’s still incomprehensible death arrives Friday, and the commemorative gathering is expected to attract about 2,000 fans from 28 countries, as well as offering musical performances from The Revolution, Morris Day & The Time and New Power Generation – a collective hug to honor the memory of the musical titan who died of an accidental opioid overdose at 57.

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Although Paisley Park, located about 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis in the suburban enclave of Chanhassen, now functions as a museum – a quick turnaround from studio to tourist attraction by the same folks who manage Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee – many fans have chosen to contribute to a “Graffiti Bridge” of sorts a few steps from the property.

The Riley Creek underpass, which connects Lake Ann Park and Paisley Park, was, before April 21, 2016, a naked slab of curved concrete.

Now, spray-painted R.I.P.s and messages of sadness, hope and gratitude are etched on the walls.

“Purple rain is what we bleed,” read one, while another also invoked a Prince lyric: “There’s something else…the afterlife.”

More love for Prince.(Melissa Ruggieri/AJC)

While Prince spent his later years in his Chanhassen hideaway – an area that was devoid of commercialism when he built it in the ‘80s but now resides less than a mile from a Target and across the street from a day care center – his loss is hardly relegated to the city of about 25,000.

In nearby St. Paul, the Minnesota History Center retrieved one of its treasured artifacts – the purple coat and white, ruffled shirt Prince wore in his 1984 career-making “Purple Rain” movie – to put on display this week.

The outfit, which Prince gave to the Minnesota Historical Society in 1992, is in danger of fading, so it can make only brief public appearances.

St. Paul residents Jason and Rachel Gorski donned purple attire Tuesday evening specifically to visit the small exhibit at the History Center.

“He and I were born the same year,” Jason Gorski said. “I’m trying to maintain just a tenth of his coolness.”

Rachel Gorski, 50, said she and her friends became Prince fans in high school.

“It was wild to be here (in Minnesota) when he died. The entire energy of the city was just down. People would cry spontaneously,” she said.

But, like many of Prince’s fans, the Gorskis eventually found a way to combat the sadness – they attended a Prince tribute show with Morris Day & The Time at the famed First Avenue music club in downtown Minneapolis and “danced the night away.”

Jason Gorski is confident that Prince’s legacy is solidified for generations.

“He will beat time because he has 100 more years of music (in the vault),” Gorski said. “It’s just too bad he won’t be here to spread it.”

Paisley Park will host the Celebration 2017 this weekend.(Melissa Ruggieri/AJC)

It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that everyone who lives in Minneapolis has some sort of Prince story.

But it makes sense that the staff at the Electric Fetus, a funky independent record shop that has been a musical mainstay in this city since 1968, would have much to say about one of the shop’s most famous, and most loyal, customers.

Fans might recall that Prince visited the store on Record Store Day 2016, five days before he died. He tweeted his thanks on April 16, and noted that he “rocked” a Stevie Wonder album on the way home (he also scooped up albums by Santana and Missing Persons).

Despite his obvious feelings of nostalgia that day, Prince was renowned for his interest in new artists.

“He would always be on top of the new music,” said David “Chilly” Caufman, who has worked at Electric Fetus for 18 years. “He really supported the scene here. He loved supporting local businesses.”

The store, unsurprisingly, has created a Prince sales display of books, candles and T-shirts, as well as a mug with the inscription from that final tweet.

The Electric Fetus record store has a Prince-centered music display, as well as one featuring books and candles.(Melissa Ruggieri/AJC)
 

Trump accusers call for congressional investigation into alleged sexual misconduct

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 1:39 PM
Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 3:19 PM

Accusers of Trump Sexual Misconduct Call for Congressional Investigation

Update 3:15 p.m. Dec. 11: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the allegations levied against President Donald Trump in a news briefing Monday, telling reporters that the president has “addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations.”

"The American people knew this and voted for the president, and we feel like we're ready to move forward," she said. "This took place long before he was elected to be president and the people of this country had a decisive election."

Original report: At least four women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment called on Monday for a congressional investigation into Trump’s behavior, pointing to recent investigations announced into lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct.

>> Read more trending news

Rachel Crooks, Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Lisa Boyne were among the more than a dozen women who accused Trump of sexual harassment in the run-up to last year’s election.

“They’ve investigated other Congress members, so I think it only stands fair that (Trump) be investigated as well,” Holvey said Monday at a news conference. “I think also a nonpartisan investigation is very important, not just for him but for anybody that has allegations against them. This isn’t a partisan issue. This is how women are treated every day.”

In a statement, White House officials dismissed the accusations as false and politically motivated.

>> Related: Who is accusing Trump of sexual misconduct? 

Leeds said she was motivated to speak out again in the wake of recent allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

“In some areas, the accusations of sexual aggression were being taken seriously. People were being held accountable. Except for our president,” Leeds said. “In fact, his staff made a big point of calling us all liars.”

Earlier on Monday, Crooks, Leeds and Holvey appeared on “Megyn Kelly Today” to share their stories.

Leeds said she shared her story because she "wanted people to know what kind of person he is.” Holvey said his election despite the allegations against him made Trump’s inauguration day particularly difficult.

“It was like the entire country said, ‘Meh, we don’t care that he’s like this,’” she said.

Holvey, a former Miss USA contestant, told CNN last year that Trump inspected each woman during an event in New York City in the month before the contest. 

"He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat; we were just sexual objects; that we were not people," Holvey told CNN. "You know when a gross guy at the bar is checking you out? It's that feeling."

Crooks told The New York Times that she shook hands when she met Trump while working for a firm in Manhattan's Trump Tower in 2005. Crooks, then 22, said he wouldn't let go of her hand, kissed her cheeks, then kissed her "directly on the mouth."

>> Related: Rep. John Conyers announces retirement in wake of sexual harassment allegations

"It was so inappropriate," she told the Times. "I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that."

Leeds told The New York Times that Trump put his hands up her skirt after meeting her on a plane in the early 1980s.

"He was like an octopus," she said. "His hands were everywhere."

Boyne told The Huffington Post that Trump made models walk on a table during a dinner in New York in 1996.

She told the news site Trump “stuck his head right underneath their skirts” and made crude comments about their underwear and genitalia.

In a statement released Monday, White House officials called the accusations false.

“The American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory (last year),” the statement said. “The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”

Crooks called the White House statement “laughable.” 

“I think, if they were willing to investigate Sen. (Al) Franken, I think it’s only fair that they do the same for Trump,” Crooks said.

>> Related: Al Franken will resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct

Franken announced last week that he plans to resign in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him by several women. The Minnesota Democrat was accused of groping women as they posed for photos with him and forcibly kissing at least two women.

He is one of three lawmakers who have announced their intention to leave office in weeks amid sexual misconduct scandals.

Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, submitted his resignation last week after he was accused of sexually harassing several women who worked for him. Conyers, D-Michigan, denied the allegations but said he decided to retire because of health concerns. The 88-year-old congressman was hospitalized in Michigan earlier this month.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, said last week that he plans to resign from his seat by the end of January after the House Ethics Committee announced it was investigating allegations of sexual harassment levied against him by his former employees.

Lawmakers call for investigation into Trump sexual misconduct allegations

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 4:21 PM

Congresswomen Call For Probe Into Trump Accusations

More than 100 Democratic lawmakers are calling on the House Oversight Committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct levied against President Donald Trump, a group of female U.S. representatives said at a news conference Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

More than a dozen women have accused the president of forced kissing, unwanted groping and making inappropriate sexual comments since 2015, when Trump announced his plan to run for office. The allegations span decades.

The president has repeatedly denied the claims.

The chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Florida, said Tuesday that “the time is right to get the truth” about the allegations. She said a letter requesting a congressional investigation had garnered more than 100 signatures from Democratic lawmakers by Tuesday afternoon.

>> Related: Who is accusing Trump of sexual misconduct?

“The #MeToo movement has arrived,” Frankel said. “Sexual abuse will not be tolerated, whether it’s by a Hollywood producer, the chef of a restaurant, a member of Congress or the president of the United States.”

The letter, sent to the chair and vice chair of the House Oversight Committee, said that the president has made statements that have appeared to give credence to the allegations against him.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) (4th L) speaks as she holds a news conference with other Democratic Congress members, including Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) (3rd L) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) (7th L), December 12, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House Democrats call on "investigating President Trump for sexual misconduct." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“The President has boasted in public and in crude terms that he feels at liberty to perpetrate such conduct against women,” the letter said, referencing a 2005 video from “Access Hollywood” in which Trump could be heard making crude comments about women. 

“Subsequently, Mr. Trump apologized and called it ‘locker room talk.’ He has since called all his accusers liars.”

>> Related: Melania Trump defends husband's lewd comments about women as 'boy talk'

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Michigan, the vice president of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, said Tuesday that Americans “deserve to have a thorough investigation that will reveal the facts.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the call for an investigation as unnecessary and unwanted by the American people.

“The president has answered these questions,” she said Tuesday at a news briefing. “He has spoken to these accusations and denied and pushed that they are all false and fabricated accusations. Frankly, I think if Congress wants to spend time investigating things they should prob focus on some of the thins that the American people would really like to investigate, like how to secure our borders, how to defeat ISIS (or) how to pass tax reform that actually impacts them.”

Four of Trump’s accusers on Monday called on Congress to investigate Trump’s behavior. Rachel Crooks, Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Lisa Boyne first accused Trump of sexual harassment in the run-up to last year’s election.

“They’ve investigated other Congress members, so I think it only stands fair that (Trump) be investigated as well,” Holvey said Monday at a news conference. “I think also a nonpartisan investigation is very important, not just for him but for anybody that has allegations against them. This isn’t a partisan issue. This is how women are treated every day.”

The pressure to investigate Trump’s actions has grown as the “#MeToo” movement has encouraged more women to speak out about their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. Earlier this month, three lawmakers announced their intention to resign or retire amid sexual harassment scandals.

>> Related: Trump accusers call for congressional investigation into alleged sexual misconduct

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, announced last week that he plans to resign in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him by several women. He was accused of groping women as they posed for photos with him and forcibly kissing at least two people.

Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, submitted his resignation last week after he was accused of sexually harassing several women who worked for him. Conyers, D-Michigan, denied the allegations but said he decided to retire because of health concerns. The 88-year-old congressman was hospitalized in Michigan earlier this month.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, said last week that he plans to resign from his seat by the end of January after the House Ethics Committee announced it was investigating allegations of sexual harassment levied against him by his former employees.

Al Franken: What happens to his Senate seat if he resigns?

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 8:16 AM

What You Need To Know About Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken, (D-Minn.), will make an announcement on the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday as to whether he will resign his seat amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Franken is expected to speak at 11:45 a.m. ET.

Franken has been accused of inappropriate conduct by several women. On Wednesday, more than 20 fellow senators called for Franken to resign.

What happens to his seat if he does? Here’s a look at the process of filling the seat.

Requirements:

A person who would be a senator from Minnesota must:

Be at least 30 years old

Be a resident of Minnesota

Be a U.S. citizen for at least nine years

Who makes the decision on a replacement?

According to state law, Minnesota’s governor is authorized to fill the vacancy if a senator resigns. The governor, Democrat Mark Dayton, can make temporary appointments to fill Senate vacancies, but a special election must be held to fill the seat until the next scheduled election of that seat is held.

When would a special election be held in this case?

In Minnesota, if the seat is vacated at least 11 weeks before a scheduled primary, then a special election must be held the following November. There is a primary set for Aug. 14, 2018, in Minnesota, so that would mean that a special election would have to be held in November 2018 if Franken resigns before May 29, 2018. Minnesota’s other senator, Amy Klobuchar, (D), is up for re-election in that election.
 

The winner of the special election would serve out Franken’s term, which ends in January 2021. If that person wants to stay in the seat for the six-year term that begins in January 2021, he or she would have to face re-election in November 2020. 

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) looks over his papers during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, on Capitol Hill November 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill Al Franken's Senate seat, reports say

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 3:00 AM

WATCH: Senator Al Franken Resigns from Senate

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will be appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat of fellow Democrat Al Franken, the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio are reporting.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Al Franken will resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct

Gov. Mark Dayton will announce Smith's appointment at a news conference Wednesday morning, the outlets reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the decision.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Al Franken: What happens to his Senate seat if he resigns?

Both outlets reported that Smith, 59, also will vie for the seat in the November 2018 special election.

The news comes less than one week after Franken announced he'd be resigning amid sexual misconduct allegations.

>> Read more trending news

From 2003-2006, Smith, a New Mexico native who has lived in Minnesota since 1984, was vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. She also was chief of staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Dayton before becoming lieutenant governor in 2015.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

What You Need To Know About Al Franken