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Minnesota lawyers free death-row inmate in Louisiana

Bill would keeps bars open till 4 a.m. for All-Star Game; teen snowmobiler dies in Montana avalanche; home lenders want higher credit score for minorities; and more.

Excellent work … The AP says: “A man who spent nearly 26 years on death row in Louisiana walked free of prison Tuesday, hours after a judge approved the state’s motion to vacate the man’s murder conviction in the 1983 killing of a jeweler. Glenn Ford, 64, had been on death row since August 1988 in connection with the death of 56-year-old Isadore Rozeman, a Shreveport jeweler and watchmaker for whom Ford had done occasional yard work. Ford had always denied killing Rozeman. Six Minnesota attorneys worked on the case for more than 20 years, said St. Paul Attorney Deborah Ellis.”

What?! Another AP story says: “A Minnesota House panel is considering temporarily changing state law to let bars stay open until 4 a.m. when the All-Star Game comes to town this July. The new closing time would pave the way for revelers in Hennepin County to celebrate America’s national pastime for two extra hours.” “Revelers”? It’s a meaningless baseball game.

A Minnesota man has died in a Montana avalanche. The story in the West Central Tribune says: “An 18-year-old teen from Lake Lillian died Tuesday afternoon after being buried in an avalanche while snowmobiling. The name of the man has not yet been released. The Yellowstone Park Dispatch received a report about 4 p.m. Tuesday of a … snowmobiler buried in an avalanche in the Daisy Pass/Crown Butte area near Cook City … . The snowmobiler was located about 5:10 p.m. near the toe of the debris field, about 6 feet below the surface, according to the sheriff’s department.”

For MPR, Annie Baxter reports on home lending for minorities: “According to a report from the Urban Institute and Moody’s Analytics, lenders are demanding average credit scores of as much as 750, or 50 points higher than the typical American’s credit score. It’s also higher than the average score a decade ago, when it was easier to maintain a good credit score. The mass layoffs and foreclosure crisis of the Great Recession had not yet wreaked havoc.” Were they even checking credit scores prior to 2008?

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A PiPress story tells the story of an award for a feisty northern Minnesota publisher: “[The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information] will present to a newspaper publisher in northern Minnesota the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information award for pursuing a lengthy court battle that disclosed a gap in state data practices law. Marshall Helmberger, publisher of Timberjay Newspapers, received the award for mounting a legal challenge against the St. Louis County school district. The 2 1/2-year case revealed a gap in state law that allows government contractors to avoid providing information under the Minnesota Data Practices Act.”

At Midwest Energy News, Jeff Tomich writes: “The value of rooftop solar energy systems goes on trial in Minnesota today in a case drawing attention across the country as regulators, utilities and clean energy advocates grapple with how to integrate customer-generated energy into the century-old utility business model. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will hear arguments from at least a dozen parties on how to devise a formula to compute solar power’s value.”

A KARE-TV report says “thousands” of criminals are avoiding apprehension just by crossing state lines. Jay Olstad and Steve Eckert say: “ ‘To charge someone, especially with a serious offense, and then later say we’re not going to bring them back and prosecute them, I am dumbfounded,’ says Scott Burns, Executive Director of the National District Attorneys Association. ‘It is unconscionable.’ He’s talking about what our investigation discovered in a national FBI database — a list of outstanding arrest warrants for felony level crimes all across the country.”

Don Davis of the Forum News Service reports on the legislative battle against synthetic drugs: “Years of legislative work has slowed, but not stopped, their sales. Most media attention has focused on a Duluth store, Last Place on Earth, that sold the drugs. Last Place sold $6 million worth of the drugs in one year, Simonson said. But, [DFL Rep. Erik] Simonson said, synthetic drugs are an issue all across Minnesota, especially in communities with colleges. In Moorhead, for instance, police fought head shops selling the drugs for years. Simonson said the drugs are a problem in the Twin Cities, but other crimes attract more attention.”

Whoa! Paul Walsh and Tim Harlow of the Strib say: “A speeding motorcyclist going at least 100 mph struck a pothole or a crack along a winter-worn stretch of a Minneapolis interstate and was thrown to his death, authorities said Wednesday. Anand Baskaran, 30, of the Long Island community of East Northport, N.Y., hit the pothole along eastbound Interstate 394 near Theodore Wirth Parkway about 9:50 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the State Patrol. Baskaran was not wearing a helmet, state safety officials said. … Three witnesses said that Baskaran and another motorcyclist were going at least 100 mph, and possibly as high as 120 mph … .” At that speed, I doubt the helmet would have been much help.