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Lauderdale man who shot two Somali-American men claims self-defense

The GleanSelf-defense? At MPR, this from Brandt Williams: “The attorney for a Lauderdale man accused of shooting and wounding two Somali-American men told a Minneapolis court room that his client fired his gun in self-defense. Anthony Sawina’s trial began Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court. One of the victims countered that they were on their way to prayers and had given no reason for anyone to shoot. Sawina faces nine felony counts including attempted premeditated murder. Hussein Gelle, 22, said he and his four friends, Hanad Abdi, Abdulahir Aden, Abdirahman Hassan and Abdullahi Mohamed Yusuf were on their way to early morning prayers last June after playing basketball. Gelle testified that Sawina approached their stopped car. According to Gelle, Sawina, who is white, said some vulgar things about Muslims that Gelle and his friends challenged.”

Pretty much relatedThe AP says, “A Minnesota man who pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for firebombing a Somali restaurant in North Dakota is fighting the amount of money he has been told to repay. Matthew Gust, of East Grand Forks, Minn., filed a motion Monday asking for a court-appointed attorney to help him appeal the nearly $269,000 restitution order for the fire at the Juba Coffee House in neighboring Grand Forks in December 2015. Gust is serving a 15-year prison term. Gust says in a handwritten note that he didn’t know how much he was supposed to pay until receiving notice on April 4. He calls it ‘a very high amount’ of money.” Mr. Gust has a presidential way with words.

After 39 years, I’m still going with, “Yes, dear.” In the Strib, Sharyn Jackson writes, “A Twin Cities area couple is getting a late-in-life dose of stardom. Married almost 75 years, John and Evie Kasper’s mega-long-term-relationship is the subject of a video that’s inspiring viewers around the globe — to the tune of 40 million views. Danni Munro interviewed her grandparents when they hit the 70 years together milestone. In her video, the couple share tips on how they’ve managed to stay together so long. Among them: Never carry a grudge, and always kiss goodnight.” Not leaving your socks all over the house helps, too.

Hard to go wrong ripping Steve Bannon. Al Franken got some licks in Tuesday. For Raw Story, David Edwards writes, “Justice Department attorney was at a loss for words on Tuesday after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) asked him how President Donald Trump’s choice of Steve Bannon as chief strategist impacted hate crimes in the United States. At a Senate hearing on religious hate crimes, Special Counsel For Religious Discrimination Eric Treene argued that there was not enough data to fully address the rise in religious hate crimes. … Sen. Franken wondered what message the White House was sending to perpetrators of hate crimes by placing former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon in Trump’s inner circle. …  ‘I’m curious what message you think it sends to individuals who may engage in that kind of reprehensible behavior when the president selects Steve Bannon as his chief strategist.’”

The GOP Facebook post about Keith Ellison got a lot of attention ‘round the world. At, Alice Salles writes, “The Republican Party has had its share of race-related scandals in the past, but nothing could have prepared us for the latest story coming straight from the Minnesota Republican Party. … While the person responsible for the post “no longer represents our party,” the MNGOP Seventh District Facebook page reported, it’s disheartening to see this happening, especially when the image used on the social media page attacked not only a Muslim lawmaker but also countless others who are struggling to flee war.” 

Troubling. Says Beatrice Dupuy in the Strib, “A Burnsville High School music teacher charged with criminal sexual misconduct with a student turned himself in to authorities Tuesday after he broke the conditions of his release by messaging another teen. Erik Akervik, 29, posted bail on April 13 and was released from jail after he was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old male student and sending nude pictures of himself via Snapchat to a 15-year-old student. Under the conditions of his release, Akervik was prohibited from contacting anyone under the age of 18. Burnsville police learned that on April 26 Akervik used Instagram to message a 15-year-old male he met in his work as a youth choral director for Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Akervik asked the teen to follow him on Instagram, according to the Dakota County attorney’s office.”

They’ll be ramping up Vision jet production. Dan Kraker at MPR reports, “After more than a decade designing and building a first-of-its-kind aircraft, weathering a major recession, and securing $100 million from a Chinese-owned company to jumpstart the project, Cirrus Aircraft has finally won federal certification of its ‘Vision’ jet. That means the Federal Aviation Administration will no longer have to inspect and certify every aircraft that comes off the production line in Duluth. ‘They’ve watched us enough to know that we can safely and smartly replicate the building process’, said Ben Kowalski, the company’s vice president of marketing and communications. Cirrus is banking its future on the success of the jet, the first single-engine, personal jet to hit the market.”

MRP’s Dan Gunderson says: “The federal government says Minnesota is failing to provide adequate dental care to low-income children and risks losing funding. Some dentists say they can’t afford to provide care for patients on government programs. Minnesota is among the states with the lowest reimbursement rates.”

In the PiPress, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “St. Paul police are investigating a report that someone passed bad checks to Girl Scouts, getting away with more than 600 boxes of cookies throughout the Twin Cities. The Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys office in St. Paul contacted police Friday to say they received nine worthless checks — with the same name on them — for Girl Scout cookies in St. Paul, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Shakopee, Brooklyn Park and other locations, according to Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman. The Girl Scouts were scammed of about $2,400, he said.”

And finally, from the PiPress: Cats. “For the first time in about five years, a tiger cub has been born at the Minnesota Zoo. The female Amur cub was born at the Apple Valley zoo at 7:58 p.m. April 26, weighing in at 1.7 pounds.” 

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