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Corrections officers union demands state hire more staff

Plus: statewide 911 outage resolved; man arrested for allegedly pushing 8-year-old off water slide in Apple Valley; autism and obstructive sleep apnea now qualify for Minnesota’s medical marijuana program; and more.

The GleanMPR reports: “The union representing corrections officers in Minnesota prisons demanded the state hire more staff to address what it calls unsafe conditions. The AFSCME Council 5 Correctional Policy Committee said Wednesday in a news conference with reporters the conditions that led to the death of Officer Joseph Gomm last month continue. … The correctional officers who make up the policy committee within AFSCME said in a statement that ‘assaults on staff have skyrocketed since January.’ …  John Hillyard, with AFSCME, said ‘stay tuned’ for possible job actions if prison guard demands not met. But as essential employees, ‘we do not strike.’”

This seems like a problemThe Pioneer Press’ Nick Woltman says.A statewide 911 outage prevented Minnesotans from using the number to place emergency calls Wednesday afternoon, officials said. The outage, which affected the entire Twin Cities metro and several counties across the state, was resolved by 5:30 p.m., according to a tweet posted by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Emergency Communications Network. The outage lasted about 45 minutes in Ramsey County, said Scott Williams, deputy county manager for safety and justice. … CenturyLink, which provides 911 service to all of Minnesota, is investigating the cause of the outage, said Bruce Gordon, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.”

Classy. Also from the AP: Police have arrested an 18-year-old man accused of pushing an 8-year-old boy off a slide at a water park. Authorities say the boy fell 31 feet to the ground Tuesday. Police say he was conscious and breathing when officers arrived, and is hospitalized in stable condition. The incident happened at the Apple Valley Aquatic Center. Police say the man and the boy did not know each other and were waiting in line to ride down the water slide when the man allegedly picked up the boy at the top of the slide platform and pushed him over the railing.

Stribber Neal St. Anthony reminds that there are new financial fraud protections for seniors. “Minnesota seniors have more defenses against financial fraud, thanks to a law that took effect Wednesday that was proposed by the Minnesota Commerce Department and supported by senior advocacy groups as well as financial service providers. The Safe Seniors Financial Protection Act equips financial professionals with new tools to protect senior and vulnerable adult clients by working with the Commerce Department to prevent and stop suspected fraud.”

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Slightly less restrictive. Says the AP, “Minnesota residents with autism or obstructive sleep apnea can now qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program. Those additions are effective Wednesday, marking the latest expansion of the program that launched in 2015. Minnesota lawmakers passed one of the nation’s most restrictive medical marijuana laws in 2014, banning the plant form and restricting its use to patients with just a handful of serious conditions. Patients with intractable pain were added to the fold in 2016.”

KMSP-TV says, “A driver going 99 mph in a 65 mph zone ‘trying to make it to Taco Bell before it closed,’ and a driver excited to get home to start baking with a borrowed cake pan were among the speeders cited by Minnesota troopers and local police during a July speed enforcement campaign. More than 300 law enforcement agencies in Minnesota participated in the extra speed enforcement campaign from July 6 to July 22. Troopers, sheriff’s deputies and local police officers issued 14,661 speeding citations and 1,625 seat belt citations. Those numbers are down from last year.”

Goober Watch. Says Stephen Montemayor in the Strib, “The leader of a rural Illinois militia whose members face federal hate crime charges in the bombing of a Minnesota mosque allegedly used an encrypted messaging service to correspond with other militias and to take orders from ‘higher-ups,’ according to newly unsealed court papers. … Two weeks after his arrest in March, an agent said, [Joe] Morris, 22, told authorities that Hari used the ProtonMail account to talk to members of roughly 13 militia groups ‘similar to the White Rabbits’ and to ‘the ‘higher ups’ from whom they would receive their missions.’”