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Minneapolis violent crime up slightly, but still near 30-year low

Faxed ad could carry $48 million penalty;  DFL, GOP convene same weekend; Senate office building advances;  fans snap up Dome seats; Kluwe’s NPR interview; frozen pond saves plunging vehicle; and more.

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

Crime: Up, but still way down. Says Reg Chapman at WCCO-TV: “Violent crime is up by 4 percent in Minneapolis but overall it remains at one of the lowest levels in 30 years. Homicide is down from last year and so is rape. Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau rolled out the crime stat numbers for 2013. ‘The second precinct saw the largest crime reduction in the city,’ said Chief Harteau. But there are other areas of the city dealing with an increase in crime, like north Minneapolis.” When do we get the stats on white-collar stuff?

At Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Patrick Clark follows on a Strib story from this past weekend: “The Minneapolis StarTribune reported this weekend on Doug Walburg, a White Bear Lake (Minn.) small business owner hoping the Supreme Court will shield him from as much as $48 million in penalties in a class-action lawsuit arising from, of all things, a faxed advertisement. … Emotionally, the case is much simpler: The FCC rule that [attorney Michael] Nack says Walburg broke was designed to prevent junk faxes, Walburg’s ads don’t sound like pure junk, and $48 million seems to be a large enough number to put [Walburg’s company] out of business.”

The same weekend? The AP says: “Minnesota Republicans and Democrats will be holding overlapping state conventions to back candidates for major offices on the 2014 ballot. Both parties have chosen the final weekend in May for their statewide endorsing conventions. Republicans said Tuesday they would be meeting in Rochester. The Democrats previously locked in a Duluth venue. The drama is in Rochester. Republicans are split over whom to back for governor and U.S. Senate. The endorsed candidates, if party activists can coalesce, are likely to face August primary challengers anyway.” Remember when the Democrats were the most fun?

Speaking of our legislative leaders … they will soon have “power views.” In the PiPress, Bill Salisbury reports: “In less than two years, visitors could enter a new state Senate office building with a three-story glass facade that would offer what the designer called ‘powerful views’ of the iconic marble state Capitol across the street. That concept moved a step closer to reality Tuesday when the state Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board approved design plans for the $63 million office building and a $27 million public parking ramp a block west of the new building. The controversial project is not a done deal. The designers still must get board approval for landscaping around and some mechanical details inside the building, and the House and Senate rules committees must give it a final green light. It’s also being challenged in court.”

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Bucky … not exactly the pride of beautiful, pastoral Montevideo … will plead guilty. Randy Furst of the Strib says: “A 25-year-old man indicted on a charge of gun and explosives possession is expected to plead guilty on Friday in a case that drew national attention after federal authorities said he was planning a terrorist attack in the western Minnesota town of Montevideo. Buford ‘Bucky’ Rogers is preparing to change his plea from not guilty to guilty in an appearance before U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery, according to a source familiar with the case.”

If you wanted the seat you were sitting in when Dave Kingman’s pop-up got stuck in the roof … you’re too late. Stribber Jim Adams says: “Phone calls — and lots of them — from nostalgic sports fans who have ordered more than 10,000 Metrodome seats are swamping the staff of a Fridley business that is removing and selling the chairs. Tuesday was the last day to place orders, and callers have been flooding the lines wanting to make sure their requests went through.”

A couple bits from ex-Viking Chris Kluwe’s NPR interview:
On comparisons to Phil Robertson’s suspension
I never said the Vikings couldn’t fire me for doing that [advocating for same-sex marriage rights]. As a private corporation, they totally have the right to do that. … Same with Phil Robertson. We both are entitled to our beliefs. We’re both entitled to our views and we’re allowed to speak out on those views. However, we are both also entitled to the consequences of those views.
On possibly being blacklisted
Coaches and GMs tend to regard punters as a very replaceable position … And with other teams … [they may think], ‘OK this guy was cut from the Vikings, he spoke out a lot. If we have the choice between signing him, and signing someone else who may not be as consistent but probably won’t, you know, bring as much media attention, well, we’re going to go with the guy who doesn’t bring media attention,’ because head coaches hate having attention on their teams.”

New details on what authorities are calling a murder-suicide involving two teenagers. Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “Nicholas Roecker apparently was battling depression when high school friend Kayla Koranda went to visit him Monday afternoon at his home outside Rochester, officials said. Now both college freshmen are dead in what authorities believe was a murder-suicide. … Sheriff David Mueller said his investigators believe that Roecker is the one who fired the fatal shots from a handgun, which was recovered at the scene.”

By now you’ve seen the CCTV shot of a truck sailing off a freeway ramp into a frozen pond? Walsh … again … writes: “A pickup truck slid off of an icy I-35E flyover ramp Tuesday morning in Little Canada, down to westbound I-694 and landed on a frozen-over holding pond. Fortunately, Anne M. Spiess’ vehicle did not break through the ice. Spiess, 54, of Maplewood, was in fair condition Tuesday afternoon at Regions Hospital.” Minnesota, where even the ice is above average.