Protecting the Earth--in Myriad Ways
THE INDEFATIGABLE LESLIE Davis--perennial political candidate and founder of the one-man environmental crusade known as Earth Protector Inc.--fired his aide Joe Arons last week. The grounds for dismissal? Arons had sent out an unauthorized press release. And not just any press release. Dated May 16 and addressed to "local and national media," the salvo--which Davis attached to his own faxed dispatch announcing his parting of the ways with Arons--noted that Gov. Jesse Ventura's autobiographical descriptions of his sex life had raised numerous questions, to which Earth Protector now was demanding answers. For instance: "Did the governor screw the 16-year-old Minneapolis girl or the Nevada prostitute in the ass?" And "How often did the governor masturbate when he was a U.S. Navy SEAL?" Though he warned recipients of his own announcement that those "easily offended by frank language" might want to refrain from peeking at the attachment, Davis says he wasn't offended by his former staffer's effort. It was just that he can't condone Earth Protector material being disseminated without his approval. "I didn't think it was that off-color--but I wouldn't have done it," notes Davis (who, incidentally, claims Earth Protector has three card-carrying members in addition to himself). Off Beat was unable to track down a local phone listing for Arons; Davis says he thinks he's in California. "I took him to the airport," he says. "And I gave him some cash."
I Went to Minnesota and All I Got Was This Lousy Loon
WHEN HE VISITED Minnesota a few weeks back, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway gave us a simply lovely silver bowl, and Governor Ventura handed back a carved loon that looked like someone had just run out and bought it at Trinkets R Us. Not so, assures Kit Borgman, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development. "It's a hand-carved, hand-painted loon," says Borgman, "made by an artist from St. Cloud, with a little card that explains its cry, how 12,000 loons make their home in Minnesota, and how it's nature's most gentle bird." Besides, she adds, "It's big--a foot and a half or something." (Borgman says the loons cost $35. For comparison's sake, consider that North Dakota governor Ed Schafer gave the prince a license plate that says "HAAKON" when he stopped in Grand Forks, while Iowa gave him squat.) According to Borgman, the loon-as-gift motif is a carryover from the Carlson administration; when Czech president Václav Havel visited not long ago, he got one, too. Ventura isn't married to the idea, Borgman notes. "But we're still trying to figure out what sort of gifts the governor wants to give--we know he likes Timberwolves stuff a lot."
No More Miller Time
DONNA MILLER WON'T be going back to jail. Last week Miller, the subject of Beth Hawkins's April 14 cover story "The Fist and the Knife," agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter in the 1997 death of her boyfriend. Her attorneys expect that when she is resentenced in mid-July, Miller will receive a lengthy probation rather than further prison time. Miller had served 19 months of a 12-year sentence when the state supreme court ruled earlier this year that prosecutor Kathryn Quaintance had misled the jury when she argued during the murder trial that regardless of whether Robert Earl Cosey had been beating Miller when she stabbed him to death, she wasn't entitled to claim self-defense. "Although I don't feel that the negotiation she was offered was completely in tune with her degree of culpability, it was a compromise and it avoided a trial, it avoided her risking prison," says Renee Bergeron, one of Miller's two attorneys. "I think it was a reasonable choice for her to make." Miller, who was freed on bond in May, is completing her GED. She is also working as a volunteer, helping other women navigate the legal system, and training to become an advocate for victims of domestic violence. "I feel like I can talk to women a little better," she says. "They won't be afraid to ask me questions. Mostly I'm just trying to start my life again. All of this did happen pretty quickly."
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