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Noor walks after paying bond

Plus: MNLARS compromise reached; Twin Cities population growth; USDA invests in rural MN electric projects; and more.

Officer Mohamed Noor
City of Minneapolis
Officer Mohamed Noor

Noor out on bail. The Star Tribune’s Libor Jany reports: “The former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder and manslaughter in the July shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond made his first court appearance Wednesday, where his bail was set at $400,000. … During the hearing, Mohamed Noor said his first public words since the incident in south Minneapolis, spelling his name and confirming his address to Judge Kathryn Quaintance. Noor, slight and soft-spoken, said nothing else during the 15-minute hearing at the Public Safety Facility in downtown Minneapolis. … Noor paid the $400,000 conditional bond and left the Hennepin County jail late Wednesday in the company of his attorney.”

MNLARS deal. The Pioneer Press’ Dave Orrick reports: “Minnesota lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton appear to have reached a compromise on emergency funding for MNLARS — the state’s troubled computer system that handles vehicles titles and license plates. … Thursday morning, a joint House-Senate committee unanimously approved a nearly $10 million emergency funding plan that allows work on fixing the system to continue. … The plan was slated for votes by the full House and Senate later in the day, and senior state officials indicated Dayton is prepared to sign the bill. … The presumed passage and signing of the compromise will free up the state’s pursestrings to continue to work on the problem. It will also put an end to the political drama surrounding it — for now.”

Growing, but slowly. The Star Tribune’s Eric Roper writes: “A surge in people moving from elsewhere in the country to the Twin Cities last year contributed to the metro area’s population growth, which added a quarter-million residents since 2010, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. … The 43,000 new residents last year also marked the largest year-over-year growth for the Twin Cities in recent history, according to a demographer with the Brookings Institution. The additional residents since 2010 bring the metro area’s population to just over 3.6 million, holding steady as the 16th-largest metro in the country. … The Twin Cities’ growth lags that of its rival metros, such as Seattle, Portland and Denver, and it’s well behind by the population boom in Florida and Texas cities. But those who analyze the data are optimistic about the impact on the local economy.”

Feds investing in green rural electricity. A report from KXRA reads: “United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad announced today nearly $43 million will be invested in rural electric infrastructure to improve system efficiency and reliability throughout Minnesota. … ‘Solid infrastructure is essential to the growth and success of rural communities,’ Finstad said. ‘According to the Minnesota Rural Electric Association, Minnesota’s electric cooperatives currently serve about 1.7 million of the state’s 5.1 million residents. These investments will help ensure that rural communities continue to be a part of that number and that service is affordable, reliable and efficient.’”

In other news…

A certain Minnesota senator figures prominently:The ‘Worst Bosses’ in Congress?” [Politico]

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Will there be police snowmobiles for enforcement?House panel approves DUI bill to eliminate snowmobile ‘loophole’” [Pioneer Press]

On Target:Half of Target’s 1,8000 stores led by women” [Yahoo]

March is Saturday:Minneapolis students heading to Washington, D.C. March for Our Lives” [MPR]

It’s over:80-year-old Minnesota State Fair fixture has served its last pancake” [Star Tribune]