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Minneapolis City Council members defend travel costs

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Erin Golden of the Star Tribune reports, “Minneapolis City Council members and their aides used city funding to travel to seven foreign countries and seven U.S. cities last year, where they attended conferences and met with officials on issues ranging from airport noise to urban farming, public markets and diplomacy. In total, the 10 council members who traveled … spent just short of $43,000. That amounts to a fraction of the city’s $1.2 billion annual budget … .”

Says an MPR story: “Two executives with a Minneapolis child care facility have been charged with overbilling the state of at least $103,527, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said Friday. The criminal complaints say Abdirizak Ahmed Gayre, 51, owner and director of Minnesota Child Care Services at 2500 Minnehaha Ave., conspired with Ibrahim Awgab Osman, 54, to fix attendance records to show children attended more days at the center than they, in fact, did. Prosecutors also allege the daycare had 16 holidays, more than the 10 permitted by the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program.”

At MPR, Peter Cox says, “The DFL’s District 60B House race in Minneapolis will go to a primary in August. This time, with three candidates. … Long-time officer holder Phyllis Kahn and Mohamud Noor, who faced off with Kahn in a primary two years ago, battled for votes with first-time candidate Ilhan Omar at the DFL nominating convention at Northwest Middle School in Minneapolis. On the first ballot, the newcomer, Omar, took in almost 55 percent of the delegates, to Kahn’s nearly 35 percent and Noor’s 11 percent. After two ballots, Noor didn’t have enough delegates to continue. But most of his delegates chose not to endorse either of the two remaining candidates in the next three rounds.”

In the Pioneer Press, Kristi Belcamino writes, “A fundraising account has been created to aid the father of a 23-year-old law clerk shot to death last week at a law firm in St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood. Chase Passauer of Minneapolis, a clerk in the North Star Criminal Defense law firm on Selby Avenue, was gunned down Thursday by a man police described as a disgruntled former client. A criminal complaint was filed Friday against Ryan David Petersen, 37, claiming he had been unhappy with how the firm had been handling his criminal case. He also is accused of punching a Woodbury police officer who was arresting him for DWI in November. The GoFundMe account is asking for $25,000 to help with expenses that Passauer’s father Christopher will incur.”

Paul Walsh of the Strib reports, “A 39-year-old woman who was shot four times on a busy Minneapolis street in what appears to have been a road-rage attack is expected to survive her injuries, police said. …  In hopes of tracking down the man who shot the unidentified South St. Paul woman on Wednesday, police released photographs of her bullet-riddled car. The photos of the silver four-door sedan show two bullet holes in the driver’s side door, another in the side-view mirror and the window fully blown out.”

A Forum News Service story says, “It’s been more than 15 years since Donald Blom was found guilty of killing Moose Lake teenager Katie Poirier, but a new cable TV show is taking a new look at the high-profile kidnapping and murder and how surveillance cameras made the difference. Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler was one of several people — including Poirier’s brother and law enforcement officials — interviewed for ‘See No Evil’, a 13-part television series that looks at how real crimes are solved with the help of surveillance cameras. The episode on the Katie Poirier case is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. April 19 on the Investigation Discovery channel.”

Says Chris Hubbuch of the La Crosse Tribune, “BNSF Railway says human error caused the Nov. 7 derailment that sent more than 20,000 gallons of ethanol into the Mississippi River near Alma, Wis., while a broken rail has been blamed for a January derailment in Houston County, Minn. Both derailments remain under investigation by the Federal Railroad Administration. An accident report that BNSF filed with the agency blames the train operator for applying the dynamic brakes too rapidly, causing 25 cars to jump the tracks.”

Says Sam Cook in the Duluth News Tribune, “Minnesota’s first turkey hunting period opens Wednesday in a season that will offer several changes to hunters. This year, turkey hunting time periods will be longer, all will include weekends and more time periods will be available to each hunter. Turkey populations south of Duluth are bouncing back after the severe winter of 2013-14, said Chris Balzer, area wildlife manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Cloquet.”

The AP reports, “For decades, the ratio of students to school counselors in Minnesota has ranked near the very bottom nationwide and some lawmakers are saying that trend has gone on long enough. Democrat Sen. Susan Kent is leading the push in trying to secure funding to help schools pay for more counselors and support staff. Kent says Minnesota does so many things well in education but is ‘clearly dropping the ball’ on this issue. Counselors around the state say they’ve long stayed quiet, but are now making their pleas public in an effort to get more help.”

Here’s Stribber Adam Belz: “The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has settled on plans for a major revamp of Cedar Lake’s South Beach. Now it just needs to find funding. … Plans for the beach approved last week call for a new floating launch dock for canoes, a series of ramps, railings, stairways and retaining walls, bike racks, widened bike and pedestrian paths, picnic tables, toilets, new trees and bushes and a seating plaza between the Cedar Lake Parkway Trail and the beach.”

Kate Taylor for Business Insider writes, “Target is one of the best chains in the business for bargains. However, there are a couple of items that you should keep out of your shopping cart. CBS News interviewed the managing editor of website Ben’s Bargains, Kristen Cook, to break down what you should be buying at Target — and what you should be avoiding.”

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