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Minnesota faces growing conflict over public housing for disabled

PLUS: Minnesota’s West African community struggles with the impact of Ebola epidemic;  Target wants to dismiss data-breach lawsuits; the other Pohlad directs a movie; and more. 

The young and the restless: The Star Tribune’s Chris Serres looks at the growing conflict over public housing, due to an influx of young people with mental disabilities “who are being forced by a tight rental market and a shortage of affordable apartments to live with the elderly. Statewide, the percentage of disabled people in public housing increased 24 percent between 2009 and 2012, the last year for which data are available, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The mix of elderly and younger disabled populations can be volatile. …Over the past year, calls to local police have risen enough that residents have set up a neighborhood watch program — something they would have considered unthinkable not long ago.”

MPR’s Mukhtar Ibrahim has a story on how the outbreak of Ebola is affecting the state’s sizable West African community: “The Ebola epidemic that is sweeping across West Africa has hit hard in Minnesota, which has one of the largest West African populations in the nation. … Over the past several weeks, Brooklyn Park, home the nation’s largest Liberian-American population outside of Liberia, has hosted a series of town hall meetings where medical experts have answered questions about Ebola after some in the community raised concerns. ‘The virus has not made it to the United States naturally but the fear of it has, and the city of Brooklyn Park took our responsibility very seriously to respond to that fear,’ said Brooklyn Park Fire Chief Kenneth T. Prillaman … . Many in Minnesota’s West African communities are traumatized by the news that the virus is killing so many in their homelands, said Abdullah Kiatamba, chairman of Minnesota African Task Force Against Ebola.’”

Fargo wins. Again. The Vikings won their first game of the season against the St. Louis Rams (in convincing fashion, no less), but The AP has the more shocking sports story of the week: ESPN’s popular “College GameDay” program is headed back to Fargo. “School officials officially announced the news Sunday that the three-hour pregame show would return to eastern North Dakota … . ‘It’s more than an honor,’ said Prakash Mathew, the interim athletic director at North Dakota State. ‘It’s recognition for the university and the city of Fargo, as well as the whole region. It’s a big deal.’ The team is coming off its third straight national title and has won five games straight against upper-tier Football Bowl Subdivision schools, including Iowa State two weeks ago.”

The swing set: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glenn Howatt look at the Minnesota House races that have the potential to swing the election to Republican control. “If Republicans succeed in flipping the House majority, they will break the one-party control DFLers have enjoyed in the Legislature since 2012, when they swept the GOP out of power in the House and Senate,” they write. “Even if DFL Gov. Mark Dayton should win re-election, a Republican House could bottle up spending proposals and stop tax increases cold, since tax bills must originate in the House. … Most incumbents running for re-election in the 134-member House have little to worry about. A Star Tribune analysis shows that fully 107 seats fall neatly into the ‘safe’ category, with little chance of an upset.”

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Is it possible for neither side to win? In the Pioneer Press, Tom Webb writes that Target is seeking to dismiss a multibillion-dollar complaint filed by a group of banks in the wake of last year’s massive data breach. “The banks claim Target was negligent in its handling of shoppers’ credit and debit card information, which allowed hackers to steal sensitive information about some 100 million U.S. consumers. … But in a response filed Sept. 2, Minneapolis-based Target argued the banks’ costs aren’t its responsibility.”

The GleanMinnesotans and militants: In the New York Times, Jack Healy follows up on the death of Douglas McCain with a look at the “pipeline” of potential recruits from Minnesota to Syria: “The tools of online propaganda and shadowy networks of facilitators that once beckoned Mr. Kastigar and Somali men to the Horn of Africa are now drawing hundreds of Europeans and about a dozen known Americans to fight with ISIS, according to American law enforcement and counterterrorism officials. Investigators are looking into what led a handful of other people from Minnesota to follow the same path, said Kyle Loven, an F.B.I. spokesman in Minneapolis. American intelligence and counterterrorism officials say Mr. McCain, 33, and a second American believed to have been killed while fighting for ISIS traveled in the same circles in Minneapolis and knew each other.”

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s PAC endorsed GOP candidate Jeff Johnson in his run for governor against Mark Dayton, the Star Tribune’s Patrick Condon reports: “In a Friday statement, interim President Bill Blazar said Johnson ‘is the candidate who best represents the Minnesota Chamber’s pro-business, pro-jobs agenda.’ … The statement from Blazar said chamber leaders appreciated Dayton’s interest in meeting with the group, but criticized him for ‘enacting some of the highest tax rates in the nation, and increasing labor mandates and regulations on employers.’ The chamber typically backs Republicans.”

Movie man: The Times’ Michael Cieply has the story of a somewhat familiar name: big-time Hollywood producer William M. Pohlad, who has now directed his second film. “The new movie, a musical biography of the Beach Boys‘ Brian Wilson, titled “Love & Mercy,” will have its world premiere on Sunday night at the Toronto International Film Festival. … The quiet approach is Mr. Pohlad’s way. A son and heir of the Minnesota billionaire Carl Pohlad, who died in 2009, Mr. Pohlad has for over two decades financed and produced movies that consistently get more attention than he does.”