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Minneapolis sees significant decline in arrests

Plus: Legislature looks for ways to help Minnesotans who can’t pay parking tickets; U taking new look at hemp; another DFLer decides to run for governor; and more.

Way down. Libor Jany at the Star Tribune reports: “Arrests are on the decline again in Minneapolis, with police statistics showing the city is on pace to record its lowest arrest rate in 17 years. The number of arrests fell nearly 9 percent through March 20 — the last day for which reliable data are available — compared with the same period last year, department statistics show. … If the trend holds true for the full year, it would be the fewest number of arrests since at least 2000.”

Seems oddly rational. The Pioneer Press’ Bill Salisbury writes: “Now [Rep Nick]  Zerwas and a bipartisan group of other state lawmakers want to help more Minnesotans struggling with unpaid tickets to get provisional licenses so they can drive to work. Zerwas is chief sponsor of a bill to make the driver-diversion program statewide and permanent. Poor people are disproportionately affected by driver’s license suspensions, he said. ‘We’re criminalizing poverty.’”

Further proof the Sixties are returning. Says Tom Meersman in the Strib, “Sharp-eyed students at the University of Minnesota might do double-takes this summer if they spot what looks like marijuana plants growing on the agricultural testing fields at the St. Paul campus. But the dark green foliage with jagged leaves will actually be industrial hemp, a close look-alike and cousin to marijuana that’s useless for getting high, but potentially valuable for certain foods, cosmetics and oil. Signs will be posted to indicate that the plants are a hemp experiment and not a drug.” With a little effort, I bet we can create an absurdly convoluted bureaucracy around this, too.

The fight has just begun. An AP story by Larry Page says, “The best women’s hockey players in the U.S. can now make a living playing the sport they love thanks to a landmark agreement with USA Hockey reached after a threat to boycott the world championship. The deal will likely help their counterparts north of the border make more money in their next Olympic agreement with Hockey Canada. Even those who will benefit, though, acknowledge the off-ice fight isn’t over. At every level of female hockey, from pre-teen girls to college to post-graduate players, there are obstacles.”

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I blame our well-known cruelty to millionaires. Says Stribber Eric Roper, “The Twin Cities metro is growing slower than other major U.S. cities, particularly areas like Denver and Seattle, new U.S. Census population estimates show. The metro area has grown about 6 percent since 2010 — adding 200,000 new people — placing it 17th for growth among the country’s 25 largest cities. Denver, by comparison, grew twice as fast. The Twin Cities remains the 16th largest metro area in the country with 3.5 million people, however, and its growth is outpacing the average across all U.S. cities.

In other words, they currently do not get this training? Kelly Smith of the Strib reports, “All Minnesota law enforcement officers soon could be required to learn how to deal with people with mental illness and safely de-escalate crises, marking a shift in policing away from using force and toward less lethal ways to intervene. A bill before the Legislature to boost police training by $7 million, which has bipartisan support, includes mandatory training in crisis intervention, conflict management and cultural issues for the state’s 10,500 officers.”

Oh, what the hell. I’ll run, too. The AP says, “Another Democrat is joining the race to replace Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. State Rep. Tina Liebling (LEEB’-ling) of Rochester announced her candidacy Sunday in Rochester’s Peace Plaza. Liebling says Minnesotans ‘need a governor they can trust to be on their side’.”

Been there so long they could’ve bronzed it and called it a monument. Julio Ojeda-Zapata of the PiPress writes, “The infamously long-lived garbage heap at 10th and Wacouta streets is, at last, no more. Fed-up citizens took matters into their own hands Sunday after months of waiting for officials to act. The group documented on social media how they cleared the trash and stuffed it into garbage bags in just a few hours.”

Today in quality role models. Says Will Ashenmacher of the PiPress, “A 27-year-old St. Paul woman has been arrested on suspicion of driving drunk with four children in her vehicle. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, Deonna M. Presbury was stopped for speeding shortly after 11:45 a.m. Saturday. She had been traveling westbound on Interstate 94 near County Highway B in Dunn County. A news release from the state patrol said there were four children ranging in age from 16 months to 11 years old … .”

And finally, if you were in any way concerned about the free exercise precious Second Amendment rights, we have this story from Matt Sepic at MPR, “A woman is hospitalized in critical condition after a shooting early Sunday at the Hell’s Lovers Motorcycle Club in north Minneapolis. Officers heard gunshots just before 1:30 a.m. and went to the club at Golden Valley Road and Upton Avenue North. They found a woman who’d been shot in the head, and a man suffering a non-life threatening stab wound to his abdomen. A third victim who’d been shot in the ankle arrived later at North Memorial Medical Center. … Police say they found handguns on each of the suspects.”