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Two Illinois men accused of bombing Bloomington mosque to be tried in Minnesota

Plus: bad air to linger in central Minnesota through Thursday;  at least six Gophers football players disciplined; jury convicts snowmobiler who struck and killed 8-year-old on Chisago Lake; and more. 

Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center
Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center

Says Stephen Montemayor for the Star Tribune: “The federal cases against two of the three members of a rural Illinois militia accused of bombing a Bloomington mosque last year will be tried in Minnesota. Michael Hari, Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris have been in federal custody since March on charges out of both Illinois and Minnesota, which were consolidated Tuesday and will be overseen by Senior U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in St. Paul. … The three men — who each lived in the small, rural town of Clarence, Ill. — allegedly carried out their Aug. 7, 2017, attack under the banner of a militia they called the ‘White Rabbits 3 Percent Illinois Patriot Freedom Fighters.’

Says a FOX9 story, “An Air quality alert has been issued for much of central Minnesota due to fine particles. The alert is in effect from 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 through 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13. The affected area includes the Twin Cities metro, Willmar, Hutchinson and the Tribal Nations of Prairie Island and Upper Sioux. … According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, ‘light winds, clear skies and a strong inversion have resulted in poor dispersion, trapping air pollutants near the ground.’”

The Star Tribune’s Joe Christensen and Randy Johnson report:  “At least six Gophers football players have been disciplined and have not been allowed to practice recently in preparation for the Quick Lane Bowl for violating team rules, multiple sources told the Star Tribune. … The alleged team rule violations reported from the sources do not involve assault or violence. … This marks the second time in three years that the Gophers are expected to be without several players for their bowl game because of disciplinary reasons.”

For USA Today Dawn Gilbertson says, “Delta Air Lines is shaking up its boarding process, ditching zone boarding for boarding by ticket type. The Atlanta based carrier is renaming, and even color coding, its boarding groups, and increasing the number per flight from six to seven or eight depending on the aircraft. The goal: a smoother, more clear-cut boarding process.”

For MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar reports, “The U.S. Senate approved the farm bill Tuesday afternoon, and the House is expected to vote on it this week. … Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) This program accounts for about 80 percent of farm bill spending. The final version of the bill does not include additional work requirements House GOP leaders had wanted, but there are some provisions aimed at preventing fraud. House Republicans had also wanted to reduce funding for SNAP, but the compromise language maintains funding. Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper said she’s pleased the bill doesn’t make getting nutrition assistance more difficult.”

The Forum News Service says, “Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson on Tuesday, Dec. 11 brought a lawsuit against a Virginia-based tax settlement company, alleging the group broke state consumer protection laws. The company, Wall and Associates, Inc., didn’t register in the state and collected from customers before fully delivering services, the lawsuit alleges. Minnesota law requires tax debt settlement groups to file with the state and to fully deliver services before collecting payment.”

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Says an AP story, “A Minnesota jury has convicted a snowmobiler who struck and killed an 8-year-old boy on Chisago Lake. Jurors on Tuesday convicted Eric Coleman, of Chisago City, of third-degree murder, drunken driving, criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation. Coleman’s attorneys conceded he was guilty of the other charges, but not murder. The crash last January killed second-grader Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. and injured his father, Alan Geisenkoetter Sr. The family was going ice-fishing when the boy was struck.”

In the PiPress, Tad Vezner reports, “With little additional debate, Ramsey County’s board approved their budget for next year during their regular meeting this week. One member — outgoing commissioner Janice Rettman — voted against the budget, saying it was ‘too much.’ ‘It’s tough times out there,’ Rettman said. But board president Jim McDonough said that while ‘the pain was real.’ he believed that on the whole, county residents acknowledged the need for increased funding.”