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Minneapolis sees rise in violent crime

Plus: checking in on Eric Kaler; Punch Pizza raises employee pay again; pornographic audio played over Bay-area Target store’s loudspeaker; and more.

“Disrespect-on-Facebook homicides”?? The Star Tribune’s Libor Jany reports on the uptick in homicides in Minneapolis: “The fatal shootings of a young man in north Minneapolis Wednesday night and a woman at a south Minneapolis bus stop late Tuesday were the latest episodes in a year in which violent crime in the city has reached levels not seen in nearly a decade. … Authorities frequently attribute violent crime’s increase — up 10 percent in two years — to the substantial rise in domestic assaults and flashes of social media-fueled violence, which often leads to waves of retaliatory shootings. … ‘When you look at homicides, they’re [happening] for a multitude of reasons: You have domestic-related homicides, you have gang-related homicides, you have disrespect-on-Facebook homicides,’ Harteau said Wednesday in a phone interview.”

Say how are things going for U president Eric Kaler, anyway? MPR’s Peter Cox fills us in: “University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler calls 2015 the most challenging time of his presidency and it's not hard to see why. He's found himself in front of podiums and cameras this summer and fall defending the university and sometimes apologizing for it. Lawmakers are promising greater scrutiny of the U's funding requests. … But while he's been targeted as part of the problem, Kaler's boss backs him — and university donors do, too. Last year, the university raised $351 million, about $62 million more than the previous record-setting period. Those new figures will be released in an annual report later this month.”

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Apparently not every restaurant in the Twin Cities is finding it impossible to conduct business.  The Pioneer Press’ Nick Woltman tells a success story: “Raising its employees' wages to $10 an hour was enough to get St. Paul-based Punch Neapolitan Pizza a shout-out from President Barack Obama. But it wasn't enough for Punch. … Beginning Monday, the lowest-paid workers at Punch's nine Twin Cities restaurants will earn $11 an hour. … Despite concerns about how such an increase in costs could decrease the company's bottom line, co-owner John Puckett said he believes it pays off in the long run. He expects the move to cost $4 million over 10 years. But he's not raising prices. …‘I'm more worried about us not being able to get the best people than I am about profitability,’ Puckett said. ‘We're thinking much more long term.’

Target: Expect More… More… More… “Target is taking ‘very seriously’ the blaring of pornographic audio over a Bay Area store’s loudspeaker for several minutes for unsuspecting patrons,” writes Paul Walsh in the Star Tribune. “Customer Gina Young recorded about 30 seconds of the audio and posted it to her Facebook page. By midday Thursday, her video has been viewed more than 140,000 times. … She said the erotic intrusion stopped for about two minutes, then started up again, lasting roughly 15 minutes in all. … ‘People were screaming at employees, videotaping, some laughing, some disgusted,’ she wrote.”

In other news…

The Dayton mine disaster/bonanza tour begins later this month. [Star Tribune]

That time Prince threw a three-hour party for the champion Minnesota Lynx… [Star Tribune]

Here’s Second District Republican contender Jason Lewis on the issues. [MPR]

“Xcel Energy Wants To Replace 100,000 Minnesota Streetlights With LEDs” [WCCO]

Mystery tunnels: “Kellogg Boulevard work delayed months thanks to bluffs, mystery tunnels” [Pioneer Press]

Uh, president?