The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) is investigating reports of an attempted burglary and vandalism of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic center in Bloomington. Security cameras show two men wearing masks and gloves entered the building around 2 am this morning and began breaking windows and entering different offices. The same mosque was the target of vandalism in August when someone threw a bomb into the building. No one was injured in the resulting blast. The FBI is investigating that incident.
The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a Duluth woman. Around midnight sheriff’s officials received a report of a woman wrapped in a blanket asking for help in the 5100 block of Gnesen Road in the city of Rice Lake. A vehicle belonging to 24-year-old Chassie Lee was located about a half mile away and had sustained major damage. She was last seen walking southbound on Gnesen road. Ground and air searches have turned up nothing so far. Anyone with information is asked to call 9-1-1.
A 20-year-old woman was found on fire Thursday afternoon near the Lake Superior College Fire Training Center in Duluth. According to police, the fire was put out by a passerby who then called authorities. Police say the incident was not an accident at the school, and is being investigated as a crime. A Lake Superior College spokesperson says the woman was not on LSC property and is not affiliated with the college in any way. The woman was taken to a hospital with life-threatening burns. Anyone with information is asked to call 9-1-1.
The man struck by a semi Wednesday afternoon near University of Minnesota campus died Thursday from his injuries. 46-year-old Charles Coleman of Brooklyn Center was attempting to cross the intersection when he reportedly struck the side of the semi and was knocked underneath its trailer. Family members said Coleman worked as a cook at the university and was on his way home after the lunch shift, likely on his way to the light rail station. The driver of the semi is cooperating with authorities.
Authorities have identified the man killed in a crash in Blaine Wednesday night. 19-year-old Mohamed Amin of Blaine died after the car he was driving collided with a semi truck. Two passengers in Amin’s vehicle a twelve-year-old and a 13-year-old are hospitalized with critical injuries. The semi driver, a 41-year-old man from St. Paul, was not hurt and is cooperating with authorities.
Plans for a giant ice palace in St. Paul for the annual Winter Carnival may have fallen through but another city says it will build one of its own. Organizers in Detroit Lakes say they will harvest enough ice to build a two-story structure measuring 60 by 30 feet. The ice from Detroit Lake, south of the city, was set to go to St. Paul in the first place so now it will be used for the annual Polar Fest celebration in February.
There is news that a two-year old boy in southern California died this year after being crushed by an Ikea dresser. The accident happened in the same way a toddler was killed in Apple Valley in 2016. That makes eight children who have died as a result of the Malm dresser which was recalled. Ikea has been offering refunds and an anchor kit for customers, while paying out more than 50-million dollars in legal settlements.
The National Weather Service has released its winter outlook for the U-S. Three-quarters of Minnesota is forecast to have wetter months than normal ahead. Southwestern and west-central Minnesota will likely remain normal. As for temperature, while meteorologists think most of the country will be warmer than normal, Minnesota is forecast to be normal, with the exception of northwestern counties, which are expected to cooler than normal.
State officials have announced this year’s grants to preserve or build 18-hundred units of affordable housing in 60 developments across Minnesota — 126 million dollars they say will leverage 350 million dollars in private and local funding. But Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal says Minnesota has also lost some units of affordable housing that never had the requirement that they be affordable. She points to “some big projects in the Twin Cities area particularly, where investors have come in and bought fairly modest apartment buildings, put a lot of investment into them, and then those rents are raised by quite a bit.” Tingerthal says economic growth ironically has increased the housing crisis because people’s income isn’t going up as fast as rents in particular.
Tingerthal expects affordable housing will be a high priority included in Governor Mark Dayton’s bonding proposal for 2018. “This year we did get an allocation of 45 million in new bonding authority for housing and we are hoping that that number will be even bigger next year,” she says.
Much more in this interview with MNN’s Bill Werner:
A lot depends on next month’s state budget forecast, but expect another push by Governor Mark Dayton in 2018 to beef-up state funding for early childhood education. He’s talking about home health visits, child care and pre-kindergarten. Dayton says, “I’m gonna keep pushing to expand that, ’cause I think that’s our number-one most successful strategy for closing the achievement gap and getting the next generation of Amazon employees ready to fire out.”
Dayton says positive effects of early childhood education are undeniable. He says, “You just hear it over and over again: The benefits to those children at the time and the benefits to the quality of the education they’re able to absorb starting when they’re five and go to kindergarten.”
Republicans and Dayton have repeatedly disagreed about pre-kindergarten in public schools. G-O-P lawmakers contend it’s more cost-effective to target funds to at-risk students rather than spend large amounts on universal pre-K.
More in this excerpt from Dayton’s recent media avail:
Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken have introduced a Senate resolution honoring the Minnesota Lynx for their fourth W-N-B-A Championship in seven years. Klobuchar says the Lynx have “shattered records, made history, and established a true sports dynasty.” Franken says for a generation of Minnesota youngsters, the Lynx have “served as an inspiration and as an example of what can happen through grit, perseverance, and hard work.”
Congressman Keith Ellison has introduced a similar resolution in the U-S House.
Backers of Enbridge’s controversial Line 3 replacement pipeline in northern Minnesota are decrying the behavior of a couple dozen activists who shut down Wednesday night’s public hearing in Duluth. Nancy Norr with the group Jobs for Minnesotans says, “I would never want to suggest that all opponents of this Line 3 replacement project would support that type of behavior that was exhibited by I would say 20 to 25 activists.” Norr predicts people in the community won’t participate in hearings if they see that kind of intimidating behavior. One observer said the crowd got lively after the administrative law judge repeatedly refused to let indigenous women speak more than once, while some said white workers from Enbridge could speak twice.
Minneapolis Police say an adult pedestrian died at the hospital after he struck the side of a semi and was knocked under its trailer Wednesday afternoon on the U-of-M’s East Bank campus in Minneapolis. It happened at University Avenue and Huron Boulevard. The victim’s name has not yet been released. Authorities say the semi driver stopped immediately and is cooperating with investigators.
The federal government has granted Minnesota an extension through October 10th, 2018 to implement its new REAL ID system, temporarily easing concern that citizens would not be able to board commercial flights with their existing drivers licenses after January 22nd of next year. But there’s still a complication, in the form of continuing trouble the state has been having issuing current drivers licenses, vehicle tabs and titles because of new software. Governor Mark Dayton indicates with REAL-ID licenses, the state could well do a phased rollout. “That’s something definitely we’ll look at for REAL ID,” he says, “as a way of trying to smooth that transition.” Republican Representative Dennis Smith responds a rollout is fine, but if the state delays too long, “Eventually the federal government is going to say, enough’s enough, and they will not allow our citizens to board airplanes,… to be on military bases and federal buildings as well.”
Dayton says about current problems with issuing drivers licenses, tabs and titles because of new software, “I’m not saying there haven’t been some serious snafus. There have been, but 99-point-whatever percent of those transactions have been handled smoothly.”
Here are Gov. Dayton’s comments from his Tuesday press conference on problems with the new state software for issuing drivers licenses, vehicle tabs and titles, plus comments on REAL ID:
Rep. Smith’s comments on the situation:
(Gopher Sports.com) — The University of Minnesota will host its annual senior night at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium when they host No. 19 Ohio State University. The Gophers will kick off against the Buckeyes at 6:00 p.m. SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES The Buckeyes come in with an overall record of 12-3-1. They have scored 30 goals […]