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No charges in Ferguson case; protests flare in wake of decision

Plus: U.S. Attorney launches Somali anti-radicalization drive; e-pulltabs aren’t dead yet; the Rochester Fire Department mistakenly initiates ebola protocol; and more.

Police form a line in the street under a holiday sign after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict: From the New York Times’ Monica Davey and Julie Bosman: “The decision by the grand jury of nine whites and three blacks was announced Monday night by the St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert P. McCulloch … . The killing, on a residential street in Ferguson, set off weeks of civil unrest — and a national debate — fueled by protesters’ outrage over what they called a pattern of police brutality against young black men. … Word of the decision set off a new wave of anger among hundreds who had gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department. Police officers in riot gear stood in a line as demonstrators chanted and threw signs and other objects toward them as the news spread. ‘The system failed us again,’ one woman said. In downtown Ferguson, the sound of breaking glass could be heard as crowds ran through the streets.”

Kind of a “help them help themselves” sort of a plan. The AP’s Steve Karnowski says, “A federal prosecutor said Monday that a new program aimed at preventing the radicalization of Minnesota Somalis will focus on youth programs, job training and fewer security hassles when they travel by air. Andy Luger, U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said the pilot program is aimed at helping the Somali community itself address the ‘root causes’ of what has led some local Somalis to leave Minnesota to fight abroad for terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group in Syria and al-Shabab in Somalia.”

In the Strib, Paul McEnroe says,Somalis have complained vigorously to Luger about racial profiling when they fly out of the Twin Cities. Describing it as a ‘serious and recurring problem,’ Luger has vowed to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to end such practices. Just two weeks ago, Somali leaders in Minneapolis met with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, telling him that they preferred to drive hundreds of miles to Chicago rather than being repeatedly stopped and questioned for little reason at the Twin Cities airport.”

The Governor dropped a couple tidbits for reporters yesterday during the annual turkey festivities. MPR’s Tim Pugmire says, “Dayton said he’ll revisit the proposal that he and Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle unveiled last spring. He said $6 billion is needed over the next decade to address the state’s needs. ‘I’ll put something forward that they all can scream about. The reality is that we either invest more or we see our transportation system continue to get worse.’”

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If he dares say that Americans aren’t bright enough to follow what the Obamacare fight was all about he must be up to something nefarious. The AP reports, “A Republican legislator says Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson should consider seeking payback from a health care contractor hired to assist in the launch of the Minnesota insurance exchange. Rep. Greg Davids of Preston urged Swanson to examine the contract with Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who also advised the White House on the Affordable Care Act. He drew criticism when video surfaced of him saying ignorance among Americans was essential in getting the law passed.” Let’s get an unpaid intern on this, ASAP.

In the case of Isaac Kolstad, the young man stomped and brain-damaged in Mankato, the opposing attorney wants charges dropped. Matt McKinney of the Strib says, “The lawyer for former University of Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson said in a court hearing Monday that no one can prove his client was the one who nearly killed a Mankato man in a booze-fueled fight last May. He requested criminal charges against his client be dismissed. Nelson can be seen in a surveillance video recording kicking Isaac Kolstad in the head, but Kolstad was also sucker punched by another man, then hit his head on the pavement when he fell and also vomited, cutting off his air supply and causing brain damage, said defense attorney Jim Fleming. ‘They can’t say what injuries [Nelson] caused,’ said Fleming.” The presumption of course is that the stomping wasn’t exactly therapeutic.

These probably won’t make body parts or entire cars. Dee DePass of the Strib says, “Stratasys Ltd. has rushed its 3-D printers into three major retailers just in time for the holidays. In the past week, the company scored deals to sell on, in Staples office supply stores and in 27 additional Home Depot stores, including two in the Twin Cities. The agreements are a coup for Eden Prairie-based Stratasys, which until recently only sold its consumer line of 3-D printers online and via three East Coast stores.”

E-pulltabs are alive! Says Tim Nelson for MPR, “Tucked away in southwest Minnesota, Windom’s Phat Pheasant Pub isn’t much to look at from the outside. Inside, though, the bar is pretty much the world capital of electronic pulltabs. Gamblers at the roadside pub put down an average of more than $4,200 a day last month — more than three times what gamblers were betting there in October last year, and more than anywhere else in Minnesota. It’s the epicenter of an e-pulltabs industry that a year ago was left for dead.” Can you say, “Retractable domed soccer stadium”?

Maybe she asked about a Ricola?  MPR’s Elizabeth Baier says, “The Rochester Fire Department initiated its Ebola response plan for the second time in a month on Sunday, after a man called 911 to report his wife was experiencing flu-like symptoms. A few minutes after the call, 12 first responders arrived at the home, four wearing biohazard protective gear. There was just one problem: she was not suffering from Ebola. Deputy Fire Chief Steve Belau said the miscue occurred because the dispatcher did not understand the Somali caller, who had limited English skills.”

Finally, never cross a guy carrying a crossbow and a pick axe. In the PiPress, Elizabeth Mohr says, “Before he was arrested in Anoka County on Thursday for allegedly assaulting a woman with a hammer, Justin Joseph Cardinal reportedly shot a male acquaintance in Forest Lake with a crossbow and struck him in the face with a pickax. The incident began when the acquaintance refused to lend Cardinal his car, according to criminal charges. … Cardinal reportedly asked several times to borrow JBC’s car, but he refused ‘because neither Cardinal nor the female with Cardinal were in a condition to drive,’ the complaint said. Sometime between 5 and 6 a.m., JBC was walking to his bedroom when he encountered Cardinal holding a backpack, a pickax and a small handheld crossbow, according to a criminal complaint.”