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Judge tosses out child endangerment charge against ‘cannabis mom’

Plus: Dayton outlines education plans; St. Paul winter towing, mapped; Walker rejects casino plan; and more.


This took way too long. Tom Cherveny of the Forum News Service says, “District Judge Thomas Van Hon has dismissed the more serious of two charges that Lac qui Parle County brought against a Madison mother for treating her 15-year-old son with medical cannabis for a traumatic brain injury. In a ruling filed Wednesday, the judge dismissed the ‘child endangerment — permitting to be present when possessing a controlled substance’ against Angela Brown. The court allowed a charge of contributing to the need for child protection to go forward to trial. Both charges are gross misdemeanors.”

The governor gave out some more details of his education funding plans. The AP says, “Dayton told a conference of child advocacy groups Friday that he’ll recommend about $372 million for expanded early education scholarships, Head Start programs and subsidized school breakfast. An aide said later that an increase in the basic per-pupil funding allowance will be part of that, too. In addition, Dayton is set to propose around $160 million for social service programs that benefit struggling families, perhaps through extra child care assistance.”

Whatever happened to the grand American tradition of shooting him with a gun? In the PiPress, Elizabeth Mohr says, “A St. Paul grocery store owner who hit a customer with a machete in an argument over the price of a canned orange drink drew a reduced jail sentence Thursday. Hamza Ahmad Abualzain, 34, of Columbia Heights pleaded guilty in December to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and asked the court for a downward departure from the presumed 27-month prison sentence. He was ordered to 180 days in jail instead. In arguing for the reduced sentence, defense attorney Sean Stokes told the court Abualzain was remorseful and has worked hard as an immigrant from the West Bank for himself and his wife, who speaks no English and is pregnant with the couple’s second child.” Oh, he’s new here. Well, he’ll learn how we handle disputes over orange juice.

Unlike Minneapolis where tow trucks strangely skip over some of the toitiest areas, St. Paul gives everyone the hook. For MPR, Curtis Gilbert and William Lager write, “Data compiled by MPR News show tow trucks made it to most residential parts of the city during the storm that began Dec. 27. That stands in contrast to Minneapolis, where trucks focused their efforts in areas with large amounts of rental housing closer to the city’s only impound lot.”

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You wonder if this would go the same way if Charles and David Koch had an interest in the project? Mary Spicuzza of the Wisconsin State Journal reports, “Gov. Scott Walker has rejected the Kenosha casino project. Walker announced Friday that he had informed the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) of his decision about the casino project proposed by the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin and Hard Rock International. ‘After a comprehensive review of the potential economic impact of the proposed Kenosha casino project, the risk to the state’s taxpayers is too great’ … .”

Imagine being Brian Fitch’s girlfriend? Reporting from the accused cop killer’s St. Cloud trial, Matt McKinney of the Strib says, “Fitch’s former girlfriend Taya Moran testified that he told her two days before Patrick’s shooting that he would shoot a police officer if he was pulled over. The two of them had had an argument the day before and Fitch had threatened to break into her apartment and steal a television, she said in court Friday. … Moran also acknowledged under cross examination from defense attorney Lauri Traub that she recently told a friend of hers who is in prison and facing a lengthy sentence that she would refuse to testify in court against Fitch unless the prosecution helped cut a deal for her friend.”

For the PiPress, Marino Eccher opens his story saying, “Two witnesses who saw Officer Scott Patrick’s shooter were unable to pick Brian Fitch Sr. out of photo lineups, a St. Paul police officer testified Friday. Both leaned toward photos of men in their early 20s with hair. Fitch is 40 and bald.”

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is schmoozing with the Prez today. The Strib’s Allison Sherry says, “St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is talking up the city’s paid leave policy at the White House Friday — an idea generating popularity nationally and touted by President Barack Obama in this week’s State of the Union address. St. Paul started giving opportunities for its 2,700 employees to take paid paternity as of Jan. 1. Non-birth parents get two weeks and birth parents get four weeks. St. Paul was among the first cities nationally to adopt the plan. The policy will cost the city about $200,000 annually, though Coleman says he expects to make that back in retaining talented staffers amid the state’s booming economy.”

And OMG! Josh Hartnett! Selling! His! House! Celebrity! Gasp! At City Pages Tatiana Craine says. “When he’s not getting lap dances from Jimmy Fallon, fans have been able to see Hartnett in Penny Dreadful and Parts Per Billion, with The Lovers coming up later this year. Hartnett’s return to the spotlight means he’s got less time to spend in his hometown. After 13 years, our latest Local Boy Made Good is downsizing from his East Isles home to a smaller spot. So, what are you getting for that $2.4 million price tag?” If he leaves entirely there goes our major league status, again.