>>Plea deal in Minneapolis fatal carjacking brings outrage from victim’s family
(Minneapolis, MN) — A judge in Hennepin County, after rejecting a similar deal in October, today (Thurs) accepted a plea agreement allowing 20-year-old Husayn Braveheart to avoid prison time as co-defendant in a northeast Minneapolis carjacking that killed 39-year-old Steven Markey from Plymouth. Prosecutors downgraded charges from aiding-and-abetting second-degree murder to first-degree attempted assault. The Star Tribune reports the victim’s mother wept, saying the defendant “did not assault Steve. He killed him.” The judge said he doesn’t have discretion because the charges were amended, but expressed unease with the plea deal. Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty defended it, saying Braveheart “has made enormous strides and been responsive to treatment during the past five years of his incarceration.”
>>Xcel Energy Fined $14K for Permit Violations
(Monticello, MN) — Xcel Energy is being fined $14,000 for permit violations at its Monticello nuclear plant. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) says Xcel needed to install temporary tanks to store groundwater contaminated with radioactive tritium in November, but didn’t get the required permits. The water has now been transferred to a permanent in-ground lined pond and the temporary tanks have been dismantled.
>>Minneapolis Man Pleads Guilty to Participating in FOF Fraud Scheme
(Minneapolis, MN) — A Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to his role in the $250 million fraud scheme that exploited the federally funded Feeding Our Future program during the COVID-19 pandemic. 40-year-old Ahmed Omar-Hashim, also known as Salah Donyale, admitted from April 2020 through January 2022, he knowingly participated in the scheme through his company Olvie Management Inc. in St. Cloud, claiming to have served 1.6 million meals to children by submitting fake meal sheets and invoices, then pocketing the money.
>>Pro-choice group warns clinic wait times will increase if U-S Supreme Court halts mail shipments of abortion pill
(Undated) — The group Pro-Choice Minnesota warns if the U-S Supreme Court halts shipments by mail of the abortion pill mifepristone, it will “gum up” the clinic system and affect wait times for all procedures. Executive Director Maggie Meyer says, “Abortion care is time-sensitive…. It only lasts for nine months, and so the longer we delay any sort of abortion care, the more complicated it could be.” The group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life warns shipping the abortion pill before an in-person medical evaluation will endanger women’s health. Meyer responds telemedicine rules require that appointment, and says safety is “near 100 percent” for the abortion pill.
>>Wildfire risk persists in MN due to lack of snow
(Undated) — Don’t let the calendar fool you — the potential for wildfires is not out of the question in Minnesota. The DNR’s Karen Harrison says lack of snow and unusually warm, dry conditions over the next week are likely to increase fire danger in much of the state. Harrison says late 2011 into early 2012 was probably the last time Minnesota experienced wildfires in winter. Harrison says the first spring wildfire of the 2012 season was reported on February 14th. The DNR is asking people to consider delaying any planned burning until conditions improve.