Reporter's notebook


Special godparents

While looking through a collection of emails exchanged between former superintendent Rod Thompson and members of the 2015 Shakopee School Board, we found an email from Thompson with the subject line: “Special Godparents.”

The Jan. 2, 2015 email was sent from Thompson to board members Reggie Bowerman, Scott Swanson, Matt McKeand, Angela Tucker, Shawn Hallett, and former board members Mary Romansky and Chuck Berg.

When asked about the email, Swanson, Bowerman, Hallett, McKeand and Berg said the godparent designation was not an official title, but an honorary one.

Tucker did not respond to a request for comment. Romansky said “it comes as news” to her that she was a godparent to one of Thompson’s children.

“(Thompson’s) family wanted to give the school board an honorary designation for supporting their efforts to adopt a child,” Hallett said in an email. “There was an email sent to us with a picture of the ceremony, but I did not attend, nor was I ever involved in any way.”

Swanson confirmed the same: “The request resulted in an honorary designation only. I did not attend any services nor did I participate in any official events beyond being listed as an ‘honorary godparent’ on a separate certificate,” he said.

Bowerman said Thompson informed the board the month prior that he was listing them as “honorary godparents” on a baptismal certificate.

Many details in the January 2015 email are redacted because the school district’s lawyer deemed it private data. The main message was a "thank you" from Thompson to the board, along with a photo of his recently adopted child, for making the adoption possible.

In January 2014, the board gave Thompson an "adoption benefit" worth up to $30,000 in reimbursable adoption expenses. In November, Thompson was arrested on 21 charges that he stole and embezzled nearly $74,000 from the school district, including allegations he committed fraud with his adoption benefit. The case is pending.

“Thank you sincerely for all you have done for our family,” Thompson wrote in the email. “(Redacted) will forever know that this special group played a key role in supporting us on his adoption journey.”

- Amanda McKnight


Flushed with cash

About six hours north of the Twin Cities, somebody just became a very rich person.

According to the Pioneer Press, a woman in Roseau — Debbie Kujava — bought the winning $22.8 million Minnesota Lottery ticket. The ticket was purchased from the Holiday convenience store there.

If Kujava picked the cash option, it would amount to $9.4 million after taxes. Here are some examples of what a person could buy with $9.4 million:

  • 2.25 million boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
  • A 1927 Spanish estate with five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a wine cellar and a pool in Pacific Palisades, California.
  • Several used private jets.
  • A really nice yacht.
  • Ninety college educations.
  • More than 22 years of paying a personal journalist $400,000 each year to follow you around and write about your life. Just a suggestion.

- Maggie Stanwood

Quote of the Week

“I think it’s great that so many students realize they’re important in America and they have a voice and they can really inspire change if we all gather together as a collective and protest where we see injustice."

- Prior Lake High School junior Dan Faragher on the student walkout protests that happened across the country to advocate for gun control legislation.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this notebook said you could buy the Minnesota Vikings team for under $30 million. You definitely could not. It would be like, $600 million. We regret the error.