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Minnesota man among confirmed dead in Las Vegas massacre

REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
A body is covered with a sheet in the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday night.

MPR’s story says, “Steve Berger, a father of three and award-winning financial consultant from Shorewood, Minn., is dead following the Sunday night shootings at a concert in Las Vegas. Berger was in Las Vegas to celebrate his 44th birthday, which was Saturday. He worked for EFS Advisors, a financial services firm based in Cambridge, Minn. … Steve Berger was in Las Vegas with his longtime friend and St. Olaf roommate Josh Decker. During the shootings Sunday, Berger fell and became separated from Decker, according to Berger's parents, and Decker couldn't return to help his friend amid the ensuing chaos.”

28. Says Paul Walsh for the Strib, “A 64-year-old western Minnesota man has been caught for the 28th time driving while intoxicated, according to prosecutors, adding to what likely is a record that state authorities have long attributed to him. Danny Lee Bettcher, of New York Mills, was charged in Otter Tail County District Court last week with felony-level drunken driving and refusing to submit to a preliminary breath test. Bettcher, who had a valid yet restricted driver's license at the time of his arrest, remains jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail ahead of an Oct. 30 court appearance.” Valid? That guy shouldn’t be driving a lawnmower.

This will put a serious dent in some budgets. The AP reports, “County officials in northern Minnesota say they're anxious about a property tax case involving Enbridge Energy that could force them to repay $18 million in tax revenue collected between 2012 and 2014. Enbridge contends the state Department of Revenue began using new methodology in 2012 to determine the value of pipelines in the area .... Many counties could be devastated if they have to repay the tax revenue, said Matt Hilgart, policy analyst at the Association of Minnesota Counties. … Red Lake County could owe as much as $4 million, but the county's annual levy is only about $2.9 million, according to Bob Schmitz, county auditor.”

The rest of the country should follow our lead, so says the Strib editorial board: “Welcome news on Minnesota health insurance costs this week sends a clear message to Congress and the Trump administration: The individual market can be stabilized without repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The consumer-focused improvement to the law that worked here should be rolled out nationally. On Monday, Minnesota officials unveiled premium cost changes for 2018 for those who buy health insurance on their own instead of getting it through an employer or a public program such as Medicare. After hikes of 50 percent or more for 2017, prices for the coming year will hold steady or decrease for many even as other states face much higher increases.” That assumes people in DC want it to survive.

MPD officer on trial. Says Brandt Williams at MPR, “A former Minneapolis police officer is on trial this week for kicking a man in the face during a domestic violence call. Jurors will watch a video of the incident. Officer Christopher Reiter was interviewing the victim at an apartment building on the city's south side. Prosecutors say Reiter learned the man suspected of committing the crime, Mohamed Osman, was in a car nearby. Other officers on the scene had already ordered Osman to get out of the car and drop to his hands and knees. In his opening statement, assistant Hennepin County Attorney Dan Allard said Osman complied with the orders — although not immediately. He said Reiter ‘drew his leg back’ and kicked Osman in the face "as if he's kicking a football.” 

It seemed like a good idea. Kirsti Marohn at MPR reports, “A church in St. Cloud has settled its lawsuit with the city over a tiny house it used to shelter a homeless person. St. John's Episcopal Church had planned to house one homeless person at a time in a 132-square-foot house on wheels until they could get on their feet. But the house didn't meet the city's zoning ordinances or the state building code. … The church sued the city in 2016 under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which gives religious institutions greater rights to use their property free of zoning restrictions. Under the settlement with the city, St. John's agreed to remove the existing house and replace it with a new one almost three times larger.”

Um, ok. Courtney Fiorini of the Mason City Globe Gazette reports, “A St. Paul woman arrested at Diamond Jo Casino was charged with a felony after hiding two vials of drugs in her ‘vaginal area,’ officials say.” 

And finally, a first. Sarah Horner of the PiPress writes, “Michael Weigel’s former partner woke up last December to a stunning email from her ex. 'You will never live in peace. You will live in shame and embarrassment for the rest of your life,'  the email said …. It went on to detail how Weigel had plastered naked pictures of her that the two took while they were still a couple on her new boyfriend’s Facebook page. … The 39-year-old Anoka man was the first person charged in Ramsey County under a new state law that took effect during the summer of 2016 that seeks to hold people accountable for so-called 'revenge porn.' As such, his ex asked Ramsey County District Judge Stephen Smith to set a precedent with Weigel’s case — ignoring his request to avoid further jail time by sentencing him in accordance with the law. Smith ultimately did. He sentenced Weigel to about four months in jail and three years of supervised probation on one count of felony-level nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images."

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Comments (1)

Otter Tail County

This strikes me as the latest example of our societal hypocrisy and nonsensical drug laws. Had Mr. Bettcher been smoking weed or ingesting some other consciousness-altering substance that we deem illegal, he'd never have had an opportunity to be arrested for its use for the 28th time. He'd have been sent to prison a long time ago. Because alcohol is legal, he's had multiple opportunities to endanger his own life and the lives of who knows how many other residents of his area. It makes zero sense that he has a license at all, or is even able to drive, and since he obviously has an addiction problem, why isn't this being treated as a mental (and by now, probably a physical) health issue rather than a criminal one?