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Cops shoot, kill man in St. Paul confrontation

PLUS: U of M women’s gymnastics coach resigns; state is having a strong travel season; Bostrom calls for St. Paul Parks/Rec head to resign; second Minnesota man reportedly killed in Syria; and more.

Question #1. Was he armed?  The Strib story on this morning’s police shooting in St. Paul. by Nicole Norfleet and Paul Walsh says, “Police shot and killed a man Thursday morning on St. Paul’s West Side in a confrontation that one witness said involved the suspect throwing rocks, punching an officer and charging at the cops. … [Said an eyewitness named Toby], ‘The guy charged at [the second officer], and he got about 5 feet away before the officer fired his weapon three times,’ Toby said. ‘And the guy went down, and they got one cuff on him. They were yelling, ‘cooperate, cooperate; give me your hand, give me your hand,’ but he wouldn’t give the hand. He was kicking his legs. And I think, at that point, the guy passed away.’ ”

MPR’s Tim Nelson says, “Witness Toby Mertz said he saw the squad car pull up to the suspect. He said an officer tried to grab the suspect, but was punched. He said the officer backed away and then drew his weapon as the suspect threw rocks at him. ‘And then (he) just quit throwing and just charged directly at him. That’s when the officer fired three times,’ Mertz said.”

Formerly funny Sen. Al Franken gets another not exactly flattering piece, this time from Josh Kraushaar at the National Journal. “Since defeating Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in a nasty, down-to-a-recount race in 2008, Al Franken has made himself a stranger to the national press, dodging reporters in the halls of the Capitol and rarely granting interviews to national media outlets in an extended effort to prove he’s a serious policymaker and not a spotlight-hogging celebrity. Now, as he faces his first reelection challenge, I wanted to see if things are any different back home. They’re not.”  What would Wellstone do?

Few things get the juices flowing hotter at conservative websites than a story with the word “mosque” in it. At Power Line John Hinderaker notes the lawsuit the feds have slapped on the city of St. Anthony over a mosque that was refused a construction permit. “Like me, you probably have never heard of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. I haven’t studied it, but, according to the DOJ’s web site, it prohibits zoning laws that ‘treat churches or other religious assemblies or institutions on less than equal terms with nonreligious institutions.’ So it may actually apply here. Although, of course, no one worried about that when a Christian group was being turned down. Apparently the Religious Land Use statute is being used by the federal government around the country to force acceptance of Islamic centers, contrary to local zoning regulations.”

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Another Minnesota-related death in Syria: Maury Glover’s KMSP-TV story says, “Sources tell Fox 9 News a second Minnesota family has received word that a man who left the Twin Cities has died fighting with the terror group ISIS in Syria. At about 9 p.m. on Wednesday, leaders in the Somali-American community heard that State Department officials notified a Minneapolis family that a second American was found among the dead militants. According to Fox 9 sources, Abdiraaman Muhumed — who was the focus of an MPR story just two months ago — died in the same battle as Douglas McCain, a former Robbinsdale-Cooper High School student.”

The GleanCity Pages’ Jesse Marx recaps moves to rein in the effects of Citizen United. “Next month, a constitutional amendment that would allow states and the federal government to put caps on corporate campaign donations is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate. It has the support of … Al Franken and was hailed by Amy Klobuchar earlier this summer as a way ‘to restore the right of individual Americans to have their voices heard’ over special interests. If approved, it would overturn the precedents set by two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions — Citizens United v. F.E.C. and McCutcheon v. F.E.C. — that allow corporations to spend a limitless amounts of cash to get pols elected. But by all accounts, the Senate amendment — and its companion in the House — is also, at least for now, a hopeless cause.

It seems folks have been coming and going and spending money at a pretty high rate. The AP says, “Minnesota is experiencing a strong summer travel season despite its late start and high water levels in some areas. Explore Minnesota Tourism says it’s the fifth year in a row of continued growth in travel. The state agency’s end-of-summer survey shows increased occupancy and revenue for the majority of Minnesota lodging properties, as well as a positive outlook for fall travel. Nearly half of respondents said summer occupancy was up and most reported higher revenue compared with last summer.”

Scam watch. Duluth’s Northland News Center reports,  “Two recent timeshare reselling schemes have allegedly defrauded victims out of more than $40,000 according to the Better Business Bureaus of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB). They say in most cases, timeshare owners received calls from someone claiming to represent sales companies. The timeshare owners were told there would be no upfront fees but after contracts were sent, consumers were told they have to wire escrow funds to Mexico, or money to cover transfer fees, closing costs and/or taxes and liens, to close the deal.”

The U of M’s women’s gymnastic coach has left the building. Says Jason Gonzalez of the Strib, “The University of Minnesota announced the resignation of women’s gymnastics coach Meg Stephenson on Thursday afternoon. Complaints from students and employees produced two investigations that led to Stephenson’s ‘mutually agreed-upon’ departure, a university release said. The university investigations are now closed. However, there is an open complaint filed with the federal Office for Civil Rights related to the program.”

The call is out for the head of St. Paul’s Park and Rec department. Frederick Melo writes, “St. Paul City Council Member Dan Bostrom is calling for the resignation of Parks and Rec Director Mike Hahm following a lease dispute with a coffee shop vendor that resulted this week in the third-largest legal settlement in city history. Hahm indicated last year his department would end its 13-year-relationship with Black Bear Crossings on the Lake and seek a new vendor to operate the Como Lakeside Pavilion. The decision touched off a legal fight with the city. … The city council voted 5-1 on Wednesday to approve $800,000 in settlement payments to the operator of Black Bear Crossings and his attorneys.”