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Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies returning from Standing Rock protest

Plus: Cirrus Aircraft gets approval for new personal jet; federal study of police-community relations goes statewide; Ramsey County deputy who beat canine partner keeps his job; and more.

Drummers lead hundreds of peaceful protesters back to the Oceti Sakowin campground after a prayerful demonstration near the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site on Saturday.
REUTERS/Josh Morgan

Yeah, there’s plenty to do back home. Brandt Williams of MPR reports, “Hundreds of people protested last week, calling on the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office to bring back its staff and equipment from the Standing Rock pipeline protest. Now, the sheriff’s deputies and equipment are on their way back to Minnesota from the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest in North Dakota. Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Rob Keller says all Minnesota law enforcement officers have been released as of Monday.”

Order yours now. Brooks Johnson of the Duluth News Tribune reports, “Hailing it as the start of a “new era in personal transportation,” Duluth’s Cirrus Aircraft on Monday announced the government approved its new jet for sale. .. With the Federal Aviation Administration certification, the Vision SF50, the first single-engine jet built for personal use, can start going out to customers by the end of the year. The jets retail for nearly $2 million — well above the comparatively affordable propellor-driven models that range from roughly $370,000 to $835,000.” Think of it as an investment.

Kind of like “unrest in the Middle East.” The headline reads, “Minnesota health plan shoppers brace for turbulence,” and Stribber Christopher Snowbeck says, “People who buy their own health insurance already are lining up for a fast and furious start to this year’s shopping season. Open enrollment starts Tuesday for about 250,000 state residents in the state’s individual market … . Shopping promises to be stressful given big premium hikes and tight rules on the doctors and hospitals that subscribers can visit.”

Directly related, Ricardo Lopez of the Strib says, “Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday will meet with Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt to discuss how the state should address rising health insurance premiums for Minnesotans who purchase coverage on the individual market.”

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For MPR, Brian Bakst says, “Problems with the individual health insurance market have taken center stage in the battle for control of the Minnesota Legislature. Appearing together on MPR News on Monday, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt and DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen debated who was at fault and what can be done to address sharp increases in premiums.” Do you feel like they’re getting somewhere?

For the Forum News Service, Don Davis writes, “A federal study of relations between Minnesota police and their communities has expanded from Hennepin County to statewide. A Minnesota advisory committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Monday, Oct. 31, decided the discussion should not be limited to the state’s largest county.”

A shorter mega. Says David Peterson for the Strib, “The master developer of a 427-acre megaproject in Arden Hills is offering a slightly less dramatic departure from the suburban landscape in the area. … After behind-the-scenes negotiations with council skeptics in recent weeks, Alatus LLC on Monday night talked of bringing the maximum height of any building in the newly created town center at Rice Creek Commons down to 10 stories, or 130 feet.”

Not exactly a record sturgeon. The Forum folks also report, “Angler Kanchic Yang of St. Paul has caught the state record by weight white bass — and he didn’t have to travel to lake country. Yang was fishing with a minnow and 8-pound test line on Oct. 10 at Vadnais Lake in Ramsey County when he hooked the new record white bass. The fish weighed 4 pounds, 8 ounces, was 20 inches long and had a girth of 16 inches. The previous record of 4 pounds, 2 ounces stood since 2004.”

This may be another reason why they hate us. Says Kelly Smith of the Strib, “A proposed luxury car condo building would be the second of its kind in Minnesota if it wins approval from the Medina City Council. … The garage ‘condominiums’ have been likened to a country club for fancy cars, with 160 to 170 units for car collectors to stash and show their prized autos.” My chipped ‘78 Yugo GT will look dang good there.

Simone Pathe of Roll Call takes a look at Collin Peterson, our bona fide “blue dog.” “Collin C. Peterson is the last thing keeping Minnesota’s 7th District blue. Democrats are always worried that the 13-term congressman is going to retire. Because if he does, his heavily agricultural district will almost certainly send a Republican to Congress. But Peterson, one of the original and last surviving Blue Dog Democrats in the House, is giving no hints of slowing down. In fact, the 72-year-old says he’s enjoying Congress more these days, which likely comes as good news to Democrats already looking to minimize House losses in the 2018 midterms.”

Who doesn’t like trees? MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar writes, “Trees are well-known shade providers and pollution fighters, but cities could see big returns on their investments in planting more trees, especially as they look for ways to adapt to climate change. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis by the nonprofit Nature Conservancy, which analyzed the tree canopies of 245 cities around the world and tried to measure the benefits of planting trees as a return on investment. … Minneapolis was among 16 North American cities where the study found a return on investment for trees providing both a cooling effect and reducing air pollution.”

This guy wouldn’t get within a mile of any dog of mine. Jamie Delage and Mara Gottfried of the PiPress say, “A Ramsey County deputy who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after beating his canine partner during an out-of-town event will keep his job despite the sheriff’s office’s attempt to fire him. Deputy Brett Arthur Berry was fired April 8, a few months after a Carlton County, Minn., judge sentenced him to a year of unsupervised probation for the June 2015 incident at Black Bear Casino. Berry admitted that he got drunk while at the casino for a canine officers’ certification event and beat his K-9 partner, Boone, out of frustration when he had a hard time putting the German shepherd back on the leash after taking him outside for a walk.”

Still a mystery. Says Andrew Hazzard of the Forum News Service, “On Oct. 26, 1996, Veronica ‘Voni’ Safranski left Mick’s Bar in Warren, in northwest Minnesota. She never came home. Twenty years later, culverts have been searched, hundreds of acres of forests walked by law enforcement and volunteers, and psychics debunked, but no one is any closer to knowing what happened that night. … [Daughter Angie] Pence said the worst part is feeling that somebody knows something about the case and won’t come forward. She feels the man who left Mick’s Bar with her mother 20 years ago is that person. There was a Halloween party at Mick’s Bar that night. Safranski was dressed in a Native American costume. She left with a man in his 1977 black Dodge Power Wagon, according to authorities. That man was not charged in her disappearance. No one ever has been.”