For MPR, Riham Feshir and Mukhtar M. Ibrahim write: “Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told a group of union members Wednesday that he does not have enough evidence to decide yet whether he’ll file charges against Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, and he blamed ‘investigators’ for not doing their jobs. Noor fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk from the passenger seat of his squad car through the driver’s side window after he and his partner, officer Matthew Harrity, responded to a 911 call on July 15. … Freeman’s remarks came after one of the activists asked him why he hadn’t yet announced charges in the case against Noor. ‘I’ve got to have the evidence and I don’t have it yet. And let me just say, it’s not my fault,’ Freeman said in the video. ‘So if it isn’t my fault, who didn’t do their jobs? … Investigators, and they don’t work for me. And they haven’t done their job.’”
No more McNally. Also for MPR, Solvejg Wastvedt says: “McNally Smith College of Music is shutting down due to a lack of funds. Board chair Jack McNally delivered the news Thursday night in an email to staff. … He went on to say that the college does not have enough money to make payroll on December 15. The St. Paul school’s owners have stated they are ‘committed to making good on the wages owed’ to the staff and would do so as soon as possible, McNally wrote. ‘But our employment has ended and the college is being closed at the end of the semester on Wednesday, December 20,’ wrote College President Harry Chalmiers in a different email to staff.”
Calamity (probably) avoided. Eric Roper writes for the Star Tribune: “Leaders of the Twin Cities bus drivers union that threatened to strike during the Super Bowl recommended Thursday that their members approve a contract offer from the Metropolitan Council. If approved, the deal would avert a potentially calamitous disruption during one of the largest events in recent Twin Cities history. The 2,500 members, which include bus drivers, mechanics and other Metro Transit staff, will vote on Sunday and Monday. Drivers pushed hard for more safety protections after years of assaults by passengers ….”
An upgrade over the usual fowl. The AP says, “Wildlife experts say they are treating more injured snowy owls than usual this year in Minnesota. The owls have flown thousands of miles from the Arctic and are being spotted in higher numbers in parts of the northern U.S., including around the Great Lakes, to the delight of local bird watchers. But that also translates into an uptick in the number of injured birds … .”
Well, there’s certainly demand. Mark Zdechlik at MPR says, “Minnesota Health Department researchers say efforts to better coordinate care for diabetes likely fueled a sharp 22 percent drop in hospitalizations for the condition. They traced the decline between 2006 and 2014 to fewer hospital admissions for diabetes-related health problems other than extremely high or low blood sugar levels. … [epidemiologist Renee] Kidney said counties with higher percentages of residents with lower income and education levels tend to have higher rates of diabetes-related hospitalizations.”
Steep. In the Strib, Maura Lerner reports, “The University of Minnesota is moving ahead with a 15 percent tuition hike for most out-of-state students despite concerns that it may scare away potential recruits. The proposal, which would boost the sticker price for nonresidents by more than $3,700 a year, was approved Thursday by a committee of the Board of Regents. The new tuition rate, $28,734 a year, is expected to be finalized by the board Friday. It would be the second double-digit increase in a row for out-of-state undergraduates, who saw tuition rise by 12.5 percent this fall.” Now, of course, if you can play a little ball.
More great PR for Wells Fargo! At The Huffington Post, Hayley Miller says: “The Navajo Nation slapped Wells Fargo with a federal lawsuit this week, accusing the bank of targeting some of the tribe’s most vulnerable members as part of a massive and notorious sales scam. The 55-page lawsuit, filed in the U.S. district court in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday, contends that Wells Fargo employed predatory practices against Navajo minors and elders during an aggressive sales campaign run by the bank between at least 2011 and 2016. … According to the lawsuit, Wells Fargo employees lied to Navajo elders who did not speak English by telling them the bank could only cash their checks if they opened savings accounts that they ‘neither needed nor understood.’”