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Analysis finds black drivers cited disproportionately by St. Anthony police

Plus: Secretary of State Steve Simon targeted by anti-Semitic commenters; metro sheriffs defend decision to send deputies to pipeline protest; Minnesota’s solar industry booms; and more.

From MPR’s Lara Yuen and Riham Feshir: “African-American drivers in Minnesota and across the nation have long complained about being singled out by police for minor violations. The question of who is getting pulled over, whether black, white or another race, hasn’t been widely examined. But a detailed analysis of St. Anthony police traffic stop data shows that officers in that department for years have been ticketing black drivers disproportionately in cases where they had wide discretion to pull someone over.”

Also from MPR, Lorna Benson reports: “Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon was the target of an anti-Semitic online post accusing him of plotting to steal the election from Donald Trump. This comes at a time when anti-discrimination advocates have seen an increase in online hate speech aimed at politicians and journalists. Simon said he stumbled upon the post on Craigslist late Monday night while scanning his news feed for election-related stories. The anonymous commenter referred to Simon with multiple disparaging terms, such as ‘Jew scum’ and ‘Little Jew Fagot (sic),’ and accused him of working to orchestrate a Democratic win for the state.” What are the chances the guy who posted that stuff can spell “rigged”?

Breitbart’s Alex Swoyer reminds local voters, “Voters in Wisconsin and Minnesota have the option to change their minds, as well as their early voting ballots. … The question about whether or not voters can change their early votes arose after the FBI announced on Friday it was renewing its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server — just 12 days before the general election. As of Friday morning, more than 12.6 million Americans were estimated to have already cast their ballots, according to CNN.”

Checking in on solar energy. Frank Jossi for Finance & Commerce writes, “In three rural areas near the Twin Cities, new community solar gardens will be turned on in November, representing another example of what has become a booming market in Minnesota for electricity generated by the sun. The three projects are owned by Roseville-based Innovative Power Systems, one of the state’s pioneering solar firms. To manage not only community solar gardens but also a host of commercial projects, the firm has doubled its workforce to 24 employees over the past 12 months and moved to a more spacious office, according to Eric Pasi, vice president of business development. … IPS’s experience is hardly unique. Martin Morud, owner of Minneapolis-based TruNorth Solar, said his firm has tripled its staff in three years.”

Also in Finance & Commerce, Matt Johnson reports, “The Minnesota manufacturing industry got a positive bump in October as key indicators rose out of a 2016 low from the month before. The state’s manufacturers scored a 48.7 in the month’s Mid-America Business Conditions Index, a monthly Creighton University survey of supply managers that tracks the Midwest’s business climate. That is up 0.3 of a point from September, which saw the worst industry conditions of the year.”

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Says Brandt Williams at MPR, “Sheriffs from three Minnesota counties that responded to a request for help from North Dakota are defending their decisions to send deputies to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart and Washington County Sheriff William Hutton said Tuesday that their decisions were not based on whether the pipeline is a good or bad idea. Stanek says the local sheriff’s office needed help, because it lacked the resources to handle the thousands of protesters gathered there.”

In other pipeline news, Don Davis of the Forum News Service reports, “Minnesota officials on Friday rejected environmentalists’ requests to delay the study of a proposed northern Minnesota oil pipeline project, but a lengthy environmental review must be completed before approval is given to build it. The Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to deny motions by environmental groups. The environmental study will take months. The Line 3 pipeline would replace a nearly 60-year-old one. The new one would run either in the same area of the existing pipeline or along other utility corridors.”

The GleanDon’t hold your breath for those checks. Another Forum story says, “A man convicted in 1995 of cutting underground phone cables in Fargo was recently sentenced to seven years in prison for arson in Dakota County, Minn. Michael Duane Damron, also known as Wade Duane Arvidson, pleaded guilty to first-degree felony arson Oct. 14 and was sentenced Friday, Oct. 28. Damron, 53, of Prior Lake, was arrested in connection with a 2013 fire that damaged the historic Eagan Town Hall. As part of the sentencing, Damron was ordered to pay $21,900 to the Eagan Fire Department and $286,400 to the city of Eagan.”

But here’s better news from our schoolsSolvejg Wastvedt at MPR says, “According to the 2016 survey results, more students say they care about doing well in school most or all of the time, compared to the last time the survey was given in 2013. The state education department says bullying is also down for 8th, 9th and 11th graders. Bullying was up for 5th graders, though, and bullying numbers showed racial gaps. About a quarter of white 5th graders said they’d been physically bullied in the last 30 days, compared to about a third of their black and American Indian peers. Black and Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students were more likely than other racial groups to report bullying over their race, ethnicity, or national origin.”

In case you ever wondered what happens to pigs that die in accidents, Andrew Hazzard of the Forum News Service says, “Hundreds of pigs that died in a farming accident in northern Minnesota were disposed of in a rendering plant, authorities say. Michael Crusan, communications director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, said that 473 pigs died in a farming accident in Roseau County on Oct. 26. … Ultimately it was determined the pigs would go to a rendering plant. ‘A recycling facility where they would render that material and re-purpose it,’ Crusan said, describing the role of rendering plants. On the Board of Animal Health website rendering plants are described as the ‘ultimate recyclers’ and a necessary service for livestock management. Products often made from rendered materials include soap, crayons and antifreeze.”