I-35 bridge collapse survivor faces terror charges

Mohamed Amiin Ali Roble
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Mohamed Amiin Ali Roble

For the AP, Amy Forliti says this about the latest Minnesotan facing terrorism charges. “A survivor of the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 people now faces terror charges after authorities say he traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State group, departing the U.S. just a few weeks after collecting more than $91,000 in settlement money for his injuries. Mohamed Amiin Ali Roble, 20, was charged Wednesday with providing and conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He was weeks shy of his 11th birthday when the school bus he was riding in plummeted about 30 feet as the bridge collapsed. Roble, one of 145 people who were hurt, received the settlement funds on his 18th birthday.”

At the Strib, Stephen Montemayor writes, “… an ATM card associated with Roble’s checking account was used roughly 45 times after he traveled to Istanbul. Between December 2014 and March 2015, those withdrawals totaled more than $47,000 and all came from near Gaziantep, Turkey — about 35 miles from a border crossing into Syria popular with ‘jihadist-oriented travelers,’  … According to trial testimony, Roble kept in touch with friends back home and his deep pockets became the source of banter among co-conspirators.” 

Taking it to the top. Says Matt Sepic for MPR, “A fight over proposed ballot measure to increase minimum wage in Minneapolis to $15 an hour is going to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Over objections of the City Council, a Hennepin County judge ruled Monday that a ballot question asking voters to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour must go on the November ballot. The city appealed and requested accelerated review. The state’s high court set oral arguments for Aug. 30. Early voting starts Sept. 23.”

Also from the Supremes: Tim Nelson at MPR tells us, “The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday delivered a blow to a key municipal finance mechanism in St. Paul for the last decade. The court ruled that so-called “right-of-way assessments” instituted more than a decade ago by the city should legally be considered taxes, not fees. That’s a crucial distinction, since millions of dollars in assessments have since been levied against thousands of tax-exempt properties — everything from public schools to churches. … The plan also allowed him to extend his predecessor’s record of eight straight years without a property tax increase … .” But Grover Norquist never said nuthin’ about fees.

While he’s on the topic of taxes, Nelson also reports, “St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is asking city officials to raise a proposed property tax hike to 7 percent next year to help fill a $3 million budget hole. The breakdown of talks over a potential special legislative session means the city isn’t going to get an expected $3 million boost in state aid, and simply cutting that money could cost the city up to nine police officers, force one of the city’s recreation centers to close and trim the city’s racial equity initiatives, Coleman wrote Wednesday in a letter to the St. Paul City Council.” The Mayor can expect to feel the fiery outrage of Ol’ Sooch any hour now.

The line starts … way over there. Says Steve Karnowski of the AP, “Paisley Park, the private estate and studio complex of the late music superstar Prince, will open for daily public tours starting Oct. 6, the trust company overseeing his estate announced Wednesday. Bremer Trust said in a statement that millions of Prince fans will get the chance to tour the 65,000-square-foot complex in Chanhassen, where Prince died of a painkiller overdose in April. … The plan submitted to the city of Chanhassen says the tours will include studios where Prince recorded, produced and mixed most of his biggest hits. Also featured will be thousands of artifacts from his personal archives. Tickets go on sale online at 2 p.m. Friday.”

Another AP story says, “A Sun Prairie, Wis., man has been ordered to have no unsupervised contact with his infant daughter after he was accused of leaving her in the car while he visited a tavern. A Town of Madison police officer discovered the 4-month-old in the parking lot of Pitcher’s Pub last weekend and broke a car window to remove the baby, who was not hurt. … .” The good news here is that our Wisconsin friends actually have laws against this sort of thing.

We’re not No. 1! In the Strib Anthony Lonetree writes, “Minnesota no longer leads the nation when it comes to its ACT college entrance exam scores, according to data released Wednesday. But the reason for the drop also was cause for celebration at Minnesota Department of Education headquarters. That is because…  nearly all of its 2016 graduates took the exam — and the greater the participation, the greater the likelihood that the composite average score would fall.” Yeah, but for the sake of bragging rights, couldn’t we get the dumb kids to take a different test?

Says Chao Xiong in the Strib, “The City of St. Anthony has placed the officer who fatally shot Philando Castile back on administrative leave ‘after reviewing concerns and other feedback from the community’ about his reinstatement last week. Officer Jeronimo Yanez returned to duty Aug. 17, a decision that drew widespread outcry and protest outside the Police Department’s headquarters. The city issued a statement Wednesday on its website noting that the move has been reversed.”

Today in high finance we have this from Paul Walsh in the Strib: “Former Gophers basketball star and NBA player Sam Jacobson and his wife are charged with felonies involving the sale of his Apple Valley home. Sam and Traci Jacobson were charged in Dakota County District Court last week with theft by false representation and theft by swindle in connection with the August 2011 sale to Traci Jacobson, who was Traci Quam and his live-in girlfriend at the time.” Now that is a story that needs some extra unwinding.

Here’s a thing of true genius. Beatrice Dupuy of the Strib reports, “Jacob Leverenz’s order from the drive-through window came with an unexpected twist — a license plate. Leverenz drove from his parents’ home in Eden Prairie to renew his tabs Monday at Carver County’s service center in Chanhassen. … Service centers are now offering drive-through services for tabs across the suburbs to save time, ease lobby congestion and keep customers out of the cold.” This does of course mean a lot less (too) close inspection of some of the funkiest tattoos on the planet.

If you’re thinking of buying a house, don’t even think about San Francisco. At The Huffington Post Kate Abbey-Lambertz informs us that while you only need a family income of about $51,000 to make a down payment around these parts, “In most of the U.S., a household income of $150,000 means you’re doing pretty well. In San Francisco, it’s probably not enough to buy a home. A report released Monday by mortgage and loan site HSH.com looks at what salary families in 27 metro areas would need to afford the local median home price, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance. The report assumes a buyer’s down payment is 20 percent and uses the lending standard that a monthly home payment shouldn’t be more than 28 percent of income. It relies on the National Association of Realtors’ quarterly data for single family home prices, and excludes condos and co-ops.” Even if you lived in your car, parking in SF would set you back at least $1,000 a month.

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