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Bill creates felonies for Minnesota parents in female genital mutilation cases

Plus: Minnesota man gets citation for driving with chicken in his lap; U of M basketball coach Richard Pitino gets contract extension; Minneapolis Mayor Hodges and Police Chief Harteau meet — in person; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

That was fast. MPR’s Tim Pugmire reports, “A Minnesota House committee held an initial hearing Wednesday on a bill that creates a new felony crime for a parent or guardian who knowingly allows a child to undergo female genital mutilation, an illegal procedure to which some cultures still cling. Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, introduced the bill after recent news reports about the genital mutilation of two 7-year-old Minnesota girls. The Detroit-area doctor who allegedly performed the illegal procedure was charged. But the parents who took the girls to Michigan were not.”

Lots of ticketsFrom the Star Tribune’s Tim Harlow: “Teens reading text messages sent by their parents, motorists shopping for cars and drivers making picks for their fantasy sports teams while behind the wheel. They are among behaviors law enforcement witnessed as they cited more than 1,000 motorists for texting and illegally using their phones while driving during a two-week distracted driving crackdown in April. … Police handed out more citations to drivers who were not wearing seat belts — 1,517 — than to drivers using their phones or distracted in other ways, such as the 52-year-old man in St. Paul holding a chicken in his lap. Charz Sang Xiong, of Rush City, Minn., failed to stop for three pedestrians in a crosswalk with his feathered friend with him behind the wheel.”

The old days of not even getting an invitation to the NIT are over for good. The story at The Daily Gopher says, “At this time last year there was serious internet discussion around whether Richard Pitino would even be the coach of the Minnesota Gophers in 2016-17 after a horrific year, which culminated in single-digit wins and left our heads spinning. Fast forward to today where the University announced it has extended Pitino’s contract by one year, placing him under contract through the 2021-22 season. The extension comes after Pitino oversaw the greatest single-season turnaround of any Division I men’s basketball program last season, improved the Gophers’ win total by 16, made a return to the NCAA Tournament and was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.”

Yes, you might want to talk it over next time. Says Adam Belz in the Strib, “Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janeé Harteau met Tuesday for the first time since Thursday of last week to discuss the selection of a new police inspector for the Fourth Precinct after Hodges rejected Harteau’s appointment of Lt. John Delmonico. The two city leaders met at 10 a.m. in the mayor’s office for about an hour, and, according to a spokesman for Hodges, discussed ‘a process that will ensure that the mayor is informed and consulted well ahead of any selection the chief makes.’” So no more “Your call”?

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Perhaps on that iceberg off the coast of Greenland? MPR’s Riham Feshir says, “Attorneys for police officer Jeronimo Yanez filed a petition Wednesday asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to issue a ruling on a change of venue request that was denied by two lower courts. Yanez is set to go on trial on May 30 for fatally shooting Philando Castile at a traffic stop last July in Falcon Heights. … Yanez’s attorneys have been asking for a change of venue for the past two months, arguing it’s not possible for the officer to get a fair trial in Ramsey County. Both the district court and court of appeals have denied requests to move the trial.”

Only six more approvals to go. The Star Tribune’s Faiza Mahamud says: “The Minneapolis Park Board on Wednesday voted unanimously to change the name of the city’s landmark lake to Bde Maka Ska, its original Dakota name, in a nod to American Indians who lived near the lake and a repudiation of lake namesake John C. Calhoun, a vice president who was an ardent supporter of slavery.… The push for Bde Maka Ska (“White Earth Lake”) — which won’t be official until it wins approval at the county, state and federal level — is a switch for the Park Board and comes after years of debate.”

Torii says he got the Adam Jones treatment. In the PiPress, Chad Graff writes, “Torii Hunter had coins and batteries thrown at him when he was the Twins’ centerfielder in the early 2000s, and was occasionally targeted with racist epithets in visiting ballparks, he said Wednesday. Hunter, now a Twins special assistant, said Wednesday he wasn’t surprised by this week’s comments from African-American baseball players Adam Jones and C.C. Sabathia, who said they have been called the N-word by some fans at Boston’s Fenway Park.”