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Minnesota sees significant drop in number of murders

DownThe Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix writes: “Bucking an overall national two-year trend, Minnesota saw no change in violent crime rates last year and a significant drop in murders. The United States violent crime rate jumped 3 percent from 2015 to 2016, with an 8 percent increase in homicides, according to FBI data released last week. In Minnesota, violent crime remained static statewide, with homicides down about 25 percent from the year before, per 100,000 residents.… Minnesota experienced the third-most dramatic decline nationally in homicide rates from 2015 to 2016, behind North Dakota and Connecticut.”

Was creating anxiety part of the oath? In the Strib, Matt McKinney writes, “A new set of immigration restrictions by the Trump White House set off confusion and anxiety in Minnesota Monday among people whose lives it would most directly affect. … The new measures do not expire, and take full effect Oct. 18. The order’s inclusion of Somalia targets one of Minnesota’s fastest growing immigrant populations, leaving people like St. Cloud resident Suud Olat to fear for people like his half brother, who still lives in a refugee camp and has been attempting to emigrate for six years.” 

For MPR, Riham Feshir reports: “On Monday, immigration attorneys across Minnesota were reviewing their client lists to figure out who will be affected by the new travel ban. One attorney, Marc Prokosch, said 28 of his clients are from affected countries, and the majority of them were in the process of sponsoring family members from Somalia. Under the new travel ban, families won't be able to sponsor relatives from Somalia for green cards. Prokosch said most of his clients won't be able to enter the U.S. before the ban takes effect — the lone exception is an 11-year-old boy who just got his visa and is set to arrive here before Oct. 18.”

In related chaos and anxiety, Rachel Stassen-Berger of the PiPress writes, “Those watching the federal health insurance debate in Washington — the Senate may vote on a bill to repeal the Obama-era health care law and change federal payments for health insurance yet this week — are not the only ones trying to divine the future. ‘There is just so much uncertainty right now,’ said Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation. ‘I think states are in a very difficult position of not knowing the rules going forward.’

Everybody is weighing in. MPR’s Tim Pugmire tells us, “Gov. Mark Dayton says he personally disagrees with professional athletes who protest during the national anthem by sitting or kneeling, but he does not question the players’ constitutional right to do it. … Players have said they’re protesting racial injustice. But Dayton, like the president, sees it as disrespect for the flag. ‘People can disagree with their government, and I do and I have,’ Dayton said. ‘They can disagree with those of us in who are in government. But that flag to me is sacrosanct. It’s something that every Minnesotan and every American who lost her or his life shed their blood for, and I personally believe that it should be respected.’”

How many hours’ profit is $39 million? Says the AP, “North Dakota's bill for policing protests of the Dakota Access pipeline continues to rise. The North Dakota Emergency Commission is set to borrow an additional $5 million Monday to cover law enforcement costs. That will bring the total line of credit from the state-owned bank of North Dakota to $39 million. State Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong says 11 states provided law enforcement help to North Dakota, and some bills are only now arriving.”

Free at last! Says Pat Pheifer in the Strib, “There’s potential good news for motorists in Edina, Minnetonka, Hopkins and other parts of the west metro area: The Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to reopen Hwy. 169 even earlier than planned. Provided rain doesn’t delay workers Monday night or Tuesday, the highway is set to reopen at 5 a.m. Tuesday, said MnDOT spokesman Dave Aeikens. Drivers will find the lanes smooth and resurfaced, with a new causeway over marshland at road level, he said.” 

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