>>School resource officer use-of-force “fix” passes MN Senate committee, stalled in House

(St. Paul, MN) — With the measure stalled in the Minnesota House, a state Senate committee this afternoon (Wed) on a 5-to-4 vote passed a bill that aims to clarify when school resource officers are allowed to use restraining holds on violent students. Anoka Republican Jim Abeler supports repealing the current law, saying it caused law enforcement to withdraw on-site officers from schools in his district “because they felt they had no choice, and to put their officers in peril for some kind of lawsuit and for some kind of personal damage, for doing what they thought was truly the best.” But bill author, Plymouth Democrat Bonnie Westlin says repealing the current law will undo all of last year’s work, when the goal is to build on it, “instead of going back to what I would describe as being sort of the Wild West, and things may vary from one district to the next.” The bill would have the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board develop a statewide policy to govern use-of-force by school resource officers. Opponents warn that activists appointed by the governor will be able to make any rule they want with no accountability to the public or law enforcement.

>>Langer leaving as head of MN State Patrol, Walz lauding him for service

(St. Paul, MN) — Governor Tim Walz is thanking Colonel Matt Langer for his service to the state, as the State Patrol chief announces he’s leaving April 2nd to become director of global policing for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Langer joined the State Patrol in 1999 and has been chief for ten years. He says, “Beginning my career with the State Patrol was an easy decision – deciding to leave has been the opposite.” Governor Walz says Langer’s “dedication, compassion, and commitment to Minnesotans will leave a lasting impact on our state” and the governor says Langer “has been my first phone call during incredible challenges, and has been by our side to celebrate major accomplishments.” Public Safety Commissioner Bob Jacobson is lauding Langer’s leadership and says he’ll immediately begin the process to name a new State Patrol chief.

>>One dead, five injured in Alexandria house fire

(Alexandria, MN) — One person is dead and five injured in a house fire in Alexandria this morning (Wed). A man was found dead inside the single-family home, and five other people were taken to the hospital in Alexandria. Three of the five were then airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center. The other two were treated at the hospital in Alexandria and released.

>>Eight-year-old boy killed in Sherburne County crash

(Elk River, MN) — An eight-year-old boy is dead after a two-vehicle crash this (Wed) morning near Elk River in Sherburne County. The Minnesota State Patrol says a car driven by 43-year-old Erin Cooney of Elk River was attempting to cross Highway 169 when it collided with an S-U-V driven by Ryan McGrath of New Hope. Troopers say Cooney was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and her eight-year-old passenger died at the scene. McGrath suffered minor injuries. The report says the roadway was dry at the time.

>>Leading Democrat ramps up push to make MinnesotaCare available to all

(St. Paul, MN) — House Democratic Majority Leader Jamie Long is ramping up his push for allowing any Minnesotan, regardless of income, to purchase health insurance on state-subsidized MinnesotaCare. Long says lawmakers are “trying to figure out a way to deal with this continued problem where we still have a big chunk of folks in Minnesota who can’t afford care, or who have care they really can’t use.” Opponents warn that encouraging patients from other health insurance plans to go on MinnesotaCare will force some hospitals to close unless the state increases its reimbursement rates.

>>Finalists for U-of-M president making campus visits

(Rochester, MN) — One of three finalists for University of Minnesota president, Dr. James Holloway, is wrapping up three days of campus visits today (Wed). When asked this morning in Rochester about attracting and retaining students, Holloway said “we need to look for the ways that we simplify what we tell people. The person has to make a decision about whether to spend that or not and, as part of that, we have to make really clear how we bring value to society.” Holloway is currently provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of New Mexico. Another finalist, Doctor Laura Bloomberg from Cleveland State University is visiting the U-of-M’s five campuses today, tomorrow and Friday. And Doctor Rebecca Cunningham from the University of Michigan will be in Minnesota next week.

>>Supporters of insurance coverage for infertility lobbying at MN Capitol

(St. Paul, MN) — Legislators and supporters at the State Capitol today (WED) are pushing for Minnesota to become the 22nd state to require insurance coverage for the treatment of infertility. President and CEO of The National Infertility Association Barb Collura says because of lack of insurance, patients often resort to riskier and less effective medical treatments. Collura says, “They can afford to pay for out-of-pocket, however that can result in multiple births, twins and triplets, and that raises other risks — premature births and so on.” The group says the law will reduce financial strain on families while only minimally impacting insurance premiums. Experts say more than 185,000 Minnesotans face infertility.

>>Three Men Sentenced to Prison for Violent Carjacking Conspiracy Targeting Uber, Lyft Drivers

(St. Paul, MN) — Three Minneapolis men have been sentenced to prison in connection with a series of violent carjackings and armed robberies. Court documents say between September and October 2021, 20-year-old Shevirio Childs-Young, 21-year-old William Saffold, 23-year-old Javeyon Tate and 20-year-old Eric Knight lured Uber and Lyft drivers to preplanned locations under the guise of a ride, then carjacked the drivers at gunpoint. The group would show weapons, beat and pistol-whip drivers, demanding their keys, wallets, and unlocked cell phones to further steal money through bank account apps. The men were arrested after an FBI agent approached Saffold, who drew a gun, then fled on foot. All four men plead guilty to all charges. Knight was sentenced to 5 years, Tate to 6.5, Childs-Young to 8, and Saffold will be sentenced later this month (2/20/24).

>>Pizza Lucé Donating Valentine’s Dessert Sales to Animal Humane Society

(Golden Valley, MN) — Pizza Lucé restaurants are running a Valentine’s Day special to raise some dough for the Animal Humane Society. Officials say 100 percent of sales on sweets and desserts today at Pizza Lucé locations will go back to the A-H-S. Dine-in, take-out and delivery of desserts will benefit the Animal Humane Society. Pizza Lucé has nine restaurants in the Twin Cities and Duluth.


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