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Minneapolis police to investigate shooting of Muslim men as hate crime

Plus: lawyers want ‘deradicalization’ assessment for two men convicted of trying to join ISIS; agreement expected on Vikings stadium bird study; state and local groups work (with cows) to save Minnesota’s native grasslands; and more.

To be investigated as a hate crime. Says Liz Sawyer of the Strib, “The shooting that wounded two young Muslim men in Minneapolis early Wednesday will be investigated as a possible hate crime, Minneapolis police confirmed Thursday. … In the attack, which happened about 2 a.m. Wednesday near the University of Minnesota, an assailant allegedly made disparaging remarks about Muslims before opening fire on five young men clad in Muslim prayer robes called qamis.”

Meanwhile, this one has gone national. ABC News has the AP story on our fatal love triangle. “A Minnesota woman was charged Thursday with hiding a machete her boyfriend allegedly used to decapitate a man she said raped her. Prosecutors charged the 22-year-old woman with being an accomplice to second-degree murder after the fact and with third-degree assault, both felonies. … She’s accused of tying up and beating David Haiman, breaking his nose, after he arrived at the Grand Rapids apartment she shared with Joseph Thoresen, 35.” 

The People magazine story, by Chris Harris, says, “According to police, Thoresen’s girlfriend told them she became very upset upon learning Haiman would be coming to the couple’s Grand Rapids apartment: She alleged he had sexually assaulted her once, though he was never charged with the crime. She relayed the rape allegation to Thoresen. When Haiman arrived, the girlfriend allegedly told police he agreed to have her tie him up. Subsequently, she allegedly punched him, breaking his nose, police said. She eventually untied him, and Thoresen allegedly repeatedly punched Haiman. Thoresen’s girlfriend allegedly told police the couple had been smoking meth prior to Haiman’s arrival, the police spokesperson says.” 

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Laura Yuen at MPR reports, “Attorneys for two men recently convicted of trying to join the terrorist group ISIS in Syria are asking a judge if their clients can be assessed for ‘deradicalization.’ Unlike six friends who pleaded guilty to charges of plotting to enlist with ISIS, Abdirahman Daud and Guled Omar took their chances and went to trial in May. A jury found the two men, along with a third defendant, guilty on several terror-related charges. They face up to life in prison as punishment. Now, Daud and Omar want an option that’s been offered to their friends who’ve pleaded guilty: They want to be considered for possible rehabilitation.”

Save the Timber Rattler! In the Strib, C.B. Bylander says, “David and Kathy Palmquist are among many Minnesotans whose uncommon actions benefit uncommon species. Residents of Winona, they are part of a southeastern Minnesota timber rattlesnake responder network that aims to sustain a state threatened species that as recently as 1989 could be killed for a government-paid bounty.”

Here’s a good, developing business story. Says Jennifer Bjorhus in the Strib, “The co-founder of a fledgling film studio on the Iron Range has vowed it will stay in business, despite the departure of its CEO following federal fraud charges and continuing uncertainty about its first movie, ‘Legend of Grimrock.’ Jerry Seppala resigned from Ironbound Studios Minnesota after a federal grand jury indicted him and two California men for allegedly cheating investors out of $12 million meant to finance movies.”

Big Brother saves big bucks. Says a story from the Strib’s Dee DePass, “Determined to quell speeding, idling and truck accidents, Minnetonka-based AmeriPride Uniform Services started installing high-tech monitoring devices across its entire fleet 20 months ago. … Officials at the127-year-old  linen and uniform servicing company say the firm won big when it installed a high tech truck monitoring device called ‘inthinc’ in more than 1,800 vehicles, at an estimated cost of roughly $50 per truck. … the data is in. And it’s impressive: $500,000 reduction in fuel and maintenance costs in first 12 months: 99 percent decrease in speeding events since implementation.”

From MPR’s Brian Bakst:An agreement could be announced within weeks to study whether the glass on the new Minnesota Vikings stadium is harmful to birds. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said her agency is working to finalize a research proposal to satisfy concerns of the Audubon Society. The group and other bird-protection organizations are worried that massive glass panels on the $1.1 billion stadium’s exterior will confuse and kill birds.” Do you have any idea how much attention the first dead bird is going to get?

The grass will follow the cows. For MPR, Britta Greene says, “Records say when the first plows sliced through the great Midwestern prairie, a popping sound rang through the air like a volley of pistol shots. It was the sound of millions of roots snapping against the plow’s steel blade. Vast tallgrass prairie once covered about a third of Minnesota’s landscape. But less than 2 percent of that native grassland remains, much of it plowed under for agricultural use. … Now, though, state agencies and private conservation groups are pushing ahead on plans to preserve tracts of land — and cattlemen and their cows are playing a surprisingly important role.”