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Police report 163 drug overdoses in Minnesota over last two weeks

Plus: Omar to pay penalties for campaign finance violations; Noor to be sentenced; Detroit Lakes man learns garage sale chair is worth $25,000; and more.

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In the Pioneer Press, Ryan Faircloth, Nick Ferraro and Katrina Pross say, “A recent cluster of drug overdoses across the Twin Cities metro has authorities scrambling to find the source of any potent drug and to prevent others from suffering the same fate. Minneapolis police said Thursday they have responded to 65 overdoses in the past nine days. The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension notes in the past two weeks there have been 163 drug overdoses — 14 of them fatal — among the 87 Minnesota police agencies who take part of the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program.”

Stribbers J. Patrick Coolican and Torey Van Oot report, “Andrew Zimmern, the Minnesotan famous for eating giraffe beetles, sauteed bumblebees and other insects on TV, has been paid more than $57,000 to promote Minnesota as a tourism destination in the past year, according to a review of state records. Zimmern’s contract, which ends this month, required two posts per month to reach his more than 1 million Twitter and other social media followers, while also appearing at and promoting a State Fair cooking contest.”

For MPR, Briana Bierschbach reports: “U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar violated state rules when she used thousands of dollars of campaign funds to pay for personal out-of-state travel and help on her tax returns, according to a ruling from the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board on Thursday. Omar, who was a first-term state representative at the time of the violations, must reimburse her former campaign committee $3,469 to cover those travel and legal costs. She must also pay the state a $500 civil penalty for using campaign cash to travel to Florida, where she accepted an honorarium.

For the AP, Steve Karnowski writes: “Attorneys for a former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in the fatal shooting of an unarmed woman who had called 911 are asking a judge not to send him to prison, proposing instead that he report to jail for a week each year on the woman’s birthday and the anniversary of her death. State guidelines call for a 12½-year prison term, but Mohamed Noor’s attorneys argued in a court filing ahead of Friday’s sentencing that being incarcerated would keep Noor from making amends for killing Justine Ruszczyk Damond by doing good works in the community.”

MPR’s Bierschbach also reports: “An industrial hemp farmer from southern Minnesota says state officials are trying to destroy his multimillion-dollar business without due process or clear rules for the budding industry. Luis Hummel is suing the state in federal court, alleging the Minnesota Department of Agriculture violated his constitutional rights after they sent him a letter informing him his license was revoked and his crop would be destroyed. It’s not clear, though, what happened, or if the state followed its own rules.

KSTP-TV reports: “The City of Minneapolis owns more than 125 empty lots. Most of them are residential, all are on the north side, and the city has a new plan to fill them. The Minneapolis City Council will vote on the pilot program Friday. It’s called ‘Missing Middle.’ The program would fill vacant lots with multi-family housing, up to 20 units. City leaders say the goal is to add more affordable housing for individuals and families to buy or to rent.”

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A Forum News Service story says, “It’s every bargain shopper’s dream: spend a few bucks at a rummage sale only to find out later that what you bought is worth thousands of dollars. For one Detroit Lakes man, that dream just came true. David Hiney, an insurance agent at the local Farmers Insurance office, learned on Saturday that he’s been literally sitting on a small fortune. An old lounge chair he bought for $40 at a rummage sale in town back in 1982 — a chair that’s just been sitting in his basement ever since — is valued at $25,000.”

Says Sarah Horner for the PiPress, “Eleven years ago, a woman struck and killed a law enforcement officer’s wife while driving drunk in Mounds View. Last week, she was busted drinking and driving again, this time with her 10-year-old daughter in the car, authorities say. Police arrested Elizabeth Renee Jacobson on May 29 after someone from Trappers Bar & Grill in Lino Lakes called to report the 34-year-old arrived at the restaurant drunk with her daughter in tow, according to a criminal complaint filed in Anoka County District Court. The caller went on to say Jacobson’s estimated blood-alcohol concentration registered at 0.2 on a handheld Breathalyzer.”