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Authorities release suspect in killing of Cold Spring officer

Mining metals beat earlier estimate; “deadbeat dad” gets unusual sentence; faith-healing parents appeal conviction; real estate strength; and more.

He’s been what? Larry Oakes and Curt Brown of the Strib are saying: “Stearns County prosecutors have released Ryan Michael Larson without charges in the shooting of Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker. Authorities determined there was not sufficient evidence to charge Larson, 34, who had been held in the Stearns County jail since midnight Thursday on suspicion of murder. … Larson told the St. Cloud Times on Sunday that authorities have the wrong man. ‘Basically, they have no evidence whatsoever that points in my direction,’ Larson said during a phone call from Stearns County Jail. He added: ‘They have no gun, they have no fingerprints, they have nothing.’ … there are no special security plans in place for Larson.”

Upon further review … there are 19 percent more goodies in the ground than they thought. The AP says: “The company planning an underground copper, nickel and precious metals mine near Ely in northeastern Minnesota has boosted its estimates of the reserves the site holds. Toronto-based Duluth Metals says its final estimates are an average 19 percent higher than an interim estimate in June. The company will use the data as it develops detailed plans for its Twin Metals mine, which it plans to build eventually just east of Birch Lake.”

And who exactly is going to monitor this? In the Journal Times over in Wisconsin, Kristen Zambo writes: “Looking across the courtroom at a deadbeat dad of nine, who owes almost $100,000 in back child support and interest, a judge on Monday lamented not being able to prohibit certain men from breeding. ‘This has come up before,’ Racine County Circuit Court Judge Tim Boyle began. ‘It’s too bad the court doesn’t have the authority to sterilize.’ Before him was Corey Curtis, 44, of Racine. Curtis had fathered nine children with six women, Boyle said, and was in the hole on child support payments for his youngsters. … That’s when [assistant DA Rebecca] Sommers piped up that Boyle did have authority to restrict Curtis’ future breeding. She said a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling found that a judge may, as a condition of a person’s probation, order the defendant not to have another child unless he can show he can support that child. ‘I will make that a condition of the probation,’ Boyle said immediately, sentencing Curtis to serve three years’ probation.”

Also from across the river … Todd Richmond of the AP writes: “A couple who prayed while their daughter slowly died of diabetes will try Tuesday, Dec. 4, to persuade the state Supreme Court to overturn their homicide convictions, arguing state law protects them from prosecution. The case presents charged questions for the court about where religious freedom ends. The justices for the first time will have to weigh whether the state’s faith-healing exemptions protect parents from criminal liability if their choices lead to a child’s death.” “ … Faith-healing exemptions?”

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The Los Angeles Times has picked up on the Barnesville, Minn., flap over a teenager being refused confirmation by a priest upset with his opposition to the marriage amendment. Most of it is familiar here. But Jenny Deam writes: “Doug Cihak wonders about that as well. ‘What are you doing looking over our shoulder, reporting a kid’s Facebook page to father’? he says. ‘Get a life, will you’? Although the amendment failed statewide, in Barnesville it passed easily, leaving the Cihak family unsure of their next step. ‘We don’t have anything bad to say about the Catholic Church. I’ve been a Catholic my whole life. I’m 53. I don’t plan to do anything else,’ Doug Cihak says. Lately he has been rethinking once-steadfast beliefs. ‘Before, I was always one man, one woman. I am a conservative,’ he says. But at the polling place, he paused when it came to voting on the Marriage for Minnesota Act. ‘In the end, I sided with my son.’ ” So does that disqualify him for communion?

The GleanFurther good news in the real estate sector. Says Jim Buchta at the Strib: “A report from CoreLogic today shows serious signs of strength in the national and local housing markets. It said that house prices across the country rose 6.3 percent during October, the biggest year-over-year increase in six years. House prices in the Twin Cities posted the exact same increase. … When you exclude distressed sales (short sales and foreclosures) from the mix, prices in the Twin Cities were up 7.3 percent compared with last year; up 0.5 percent from September.”

I have no idea what “fast fashion” means … But Janet Moore of the Strib reports: “Fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 will open its new store at the Mall of America on Dec. 15 in space once occupied by Bloomingdale’s. When the iconic department store closed earlier this year, mall officials said they would turn the 210,000-square-foot space into a series of mini-anchor stores. Forever 21 will relocate from its current digs at the mall to a new 80,000 square-foot two-level space that takes up a sub-level and part of the first-floor footprint on the mall’s southeastern end.” Maybe it means you get fries with it.

Marianne Combs of MPR notes that Korean pop star Psy will be in town Tuesday night. Unless you’ve spent the past six months at the bottom of a cave, you at least have heard of — if not seen — his YouTube sensation “Gangnam style” (which has nothing to do with “gangs” BTW. Says Combs: “Tonight’s ‘Jingle Ball’ at the Xcel Energy Center brings together some of the hottest acts in the pop music scene, including the South Korean phenomenon Psy(his real name is Park Jae-sang). Psy is the man behind ‘Gangnam Style,’ a video that has gone viral over its funny dance moves, catchy tune and campy humor. The video is a send-up of the posh Gangnam neighborhood in Seoul. … It’s interesting that despite Psy’s amazing popularity, American media doesn’t seem interested in learning much else about him. … It turns out Psy is a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music and speaks English quite well.”

From Monday … the off-duty cop charged in the smackdown of another patron at an Andover bar last summer wants charges tossed on a technicality. Sarah Horner of the PiPress says: “The attorney for [David Clifford] the Minneapolis police officer accused of assault while off-duty this summer will ask the court to dismiss the charges against him because of ‘improper investigation’ techniques allegedly employed by a detective in the case. … After reviewing the video surveillance of the incident from the bar, Patrick Erickson, a former Washington County deputy and owner of Law Enforcement Tactical Training Association, concludes in the signed document that Clifford’s actions were in self-defense. A third filing by [attorney Fred] Bruno asks the court to order [Brian] Vander Lee to provide a sample of his hair so it can be tested to determine if he had any stimulants in his system at the time of the alleged assault. A letter drafted by an employee with the Tox Group Inc, a forensic toxicology consulting company in St. Paul, states that Vander Lee’s blood alcohol level at the time of the incident was 0.189. It also said the Ramsey’s man’s elevated pulse and low body temperature suggest other chemicals may have been in his system as well.”