A dishwasher is accusing her bosses at the Owatonna Holiday Inn of putting her through a full cycle of sexual harassment.
According to a lawsuit filed by Maria Armendariz recently in federal court, Alfonso and Luis Sanchez asked if she'd reserve a room with them to get drunk and put on lingerie, told her that her sexy voice would qualify her for 1-900 work, inquired if she had a taste for women, and grabbed their crotches in front of her.
On one occasion, her lawsuit says, the two men picked her up off the ground, carried her to the freezer, and told her they were going to undress her, stopping only when a co-worker, alerted by her screams, came over to investigate.
Among the other alleged indiscretions of Luis Sanchez: sticking his hand down Armendariz's pants and telling her, "you are mine;" hitting her on the behind with a spatula; pushing her into a pizza oven and burning her arm; and calling her a "lazy, stupid fuck" after she failed to finish her work on time.
After a year working under him, Armendariz filed a restraining order against Luis Sanchez last fall. Afterward, she says, she was taken off the work schedule. She is suing the Owatonna Holiday Inn for unspecified damages.
The hotel has yet to file an answer to the complaint, and its lawyer, Britton Weimer, declined comment. Steve Rahim, the hotel's general manager, said he'd signed the summons but never read the complaint. He never looked into the allegations of sexual harassment, he said, and never took action against Luis or Alfonso Sanchez. Both of them quit last week, according to a restaurant hostess. Neither could be reached for comment. —Jonathan Kaminsky
Dangerous if swallowed
Talk about going down the wrong pipe. A man died in police custody last week, days after officers pulled him over at North 12th Street and Currie Avenue. Police found the man stuffing a plastic baggie filled with what was suspected to be crack cocaine in his mouth. Tests determining its contents are still pending.
The officer tried to retrieve the bag, but the man swallowed it and started choking, causing it to get sucked into his lungs, says Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jesse Garcia. The man then went into respiratory arrest. He was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injures.
"It's not the brightest thing to do," says Garcia. "We spend a lot of time telling little children not to put little baggies in their mouths, and here we have an adult doing this.... Even McDonald's warns people not to swallow plastic bags."
Nonetheless, not everyone gets the message: Crack kills. (Apparently, in more ways than one.) We'll chalk it up to natural selection. —Beth Walton
Happy anniversary! You're fired!
When Bernadette Levesque-Olson showed up for work at the Star Tribune last Thursday, it marked her 24th year of employment with the state's largest daily newspaper. The occasion, however, was not celebrated with a cake. Rather, Levesque-Olson, a supervisor in the pre-press unit, was told she was being terminated.
In the latest round of bloodletting on Portland Avenue, Levesque-Olson was among five employees in the graphics and pre-press areas given two weeks' notice last week. The affected workers were not told if they would receive any kind of severance package.
"These are people with decades of service to the Star Tribune," says one worker who was spared the hatchet, but would only speak anonymously for fear of retribution from the company. "It's just awful." —Paul Demko
Woman bites dog
In an unfolding story highly indicative of our society's double standard vis-à-vis human-canine relations, a Minneapolis woman remains unpunished after biting a dog.
When a pit bull jumped her neighbor's fence and attacked her Labrador, Amy Rice sunk her choppers into the pit bull's nose. The bested dog fled, leaving Rice to tend to her wounded canine companion.
During 2007, the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Center euthanized some 79 dogs because they had bitten humans, according to city spokesman Matt Laible. But authorities say they have no intention of putting Rice to sleep.
No word yet on whether Rice will be fitted with a muzzle. —Matt Snyders
City Pages hires Andrea Myers as music editor
City Pages is proud to announce that it has hired Andrea Myers as music editor.
A veteran beat reporter who has covered the local music scene for years, Myers has been published everywhere from the (now-defunct) Pulse to HowWasTheShow.com, and of course, in City Pages. She is perhaps best known as one of the founders of Reveille, an online music magazine.
Myers got her start at a relatively young age when she was taken under the wing of Jim Walsh, a former City Pages columnist and the author of All Over but the Shouting, an oral history of the Replacements.
"I've always admired Jim's writing, and have been reading his articles since I was in high school," Myers says. "He has been kind enough to mentor me through some of the most challenging parts of my writing career, and I owe a lot of my success to his influence and support."
Reveille fans need not worry: The site will continue under the direction of Myers's co-founders. As for her plans for the City Pages music section, Myers promises stepped-up coverage of local bands, shows, and music news.
"Now's the time for City Pages to reclaim the spotlight for local music coverage," Myers says. "I am excited to provide a passionate voice for the paper and give readers a chance to learn about the great music being made in our backyards."
You can also expect to see frequent blog posts providing updates between print editions. Myers says she usually goes to at least four shows a week and enjoys providing reviews within hours of leaving a concert.
"I can't wait to start my new position at City Pages," Myers says. "I think this will be a great opportunity to show my love of the local scene and use the resources at the paper to further investigate and report on local music trends."
City Pages is excited to welcome Myers aboard.