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Hennepin County attorney designates more prosecutors to handle carjacking cases

Plus: more than 300 Edina residents turned out for a community crime prevention meeting; Minnesota to see very weird weather Wednesday; St. Paul and Ramsey County to spend $74.5 million on ‘deeply’ affordable housing; and more.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman
REUTERS/Eric Miller
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman
Kim Hyatt writes for the Star Tribune: “As carjackings in Minneapolis and the suburbs continue to surge, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says it is assigning more prosecutors to handle the influx of cases. County Attorney Mike Freeman said Tuesday that his office plans to ‘ramp-up’ prosecution of carjackings by dedicating one prosecutor to adult cases and another to juvenile cases. An advocate is also being designated to help carjacking victims. As of Monday, 138 carjacking cases were referred to Hennepin County for possible charges, with the majority — 94 — involving juveniles.”

Related: KSTP-TV reports: “More than 300 Edina residents turned out for a community crime prevention meeting Tuesday night. They asked police to do all they could to arrest violent criminals and urge prosecutors in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office to seek the toughest possible prison, or jail, sentences.”

Says FOX 9: “It will be a very active weather day Wednesday with almost all types of weather as a large storm tracks across the Upper Midwest. The day will start on the warm and gray side with temperatures in the upper 30s along with area fog and drizzle. The winds will pick up mid-morning with gusts from the south at 20-30 mph. The strong south winds will bring exceptionally warm and humid air into the region with temperatures reaching into the 50s by mid-afternoon. Those would be record high temperatures for Dec. 15. … The Storm Prediction Center has also issued a slight risk of severe thunderstorms from the south metro into northern Iowa with the best chance of thunderstorms from 5-9 p.m.”

MPR’s Peter Cox writes: “The city of St. Paul and Ramsey County are plunging tens of millions of federal Rescue Plan dollars into affordable housing for a group hurt by Minnesota’s continuing shortage of the sought-after homes. The local governments want to spend $74.5 million to provide more housing options for people making 30 percent of the area median income, or about $31,500 a year for a family of four. … The city and county each will set aside around $37 million for projects both within the city limits and elsewhere in the county. The money comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The funding is expected to help build about 1,000 units in the county, mostly in St. Paul.”

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Kim Hyatt of the Star Tribune writes: “An investigation into a racist video targeting a Black teenager at Prior Lake High School has been forwarded to the Scott County Attorney’s Office for potential criminal charges. The Savage Police Department announced Tuesday that detectives ‘completed a thorough investigation on the harassment report related to the racist video posted to social media’ on Nov. 10. In the video, two students repeatedly used a racial slur targeting 14-year-old freshman Nya Sigin. The teenager has since seen an outpouring of support and was recently surprised by Minnesota Vikings owner Mark Wilf and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with two Super Bowl LVI tickets.

Tom Hauser reports for KSTP-TV: “With the state of Minnesota now projecting a $7.7 billion budget surplus, supporters of pandemic front-line worker bonus pay say the initial amount of $250 million can grow substantially. ‘Things have changed materially and substantially given this historic surplus, says Sen. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul. Murphy and Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, say the amount of money should be quadrupled to more than $1 billion and the pool of recipients expanded. … Murphy and Frazier propose $1,500 bonus checks to 667,000 frontline workers, including workers in health care, nursing homes, retail, maintenance, child care and others.”

Also at FOX 9, Theo Keith reports, “Turns out, the $300 million restoration of the Minnesota State Capitol wasn’t the end of the repairs. Five years after the renovation ended, the state is now spending $1.3 million to fix decorative paint and plaster throughout the building. State officials cited a series of reasons for the issues and say humidity in the building may be worsening the problem.”

The AP’s Stephen Groves reports: “South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s daughter received unusual treatment in an application for her real estate appraiser license, including an extra opportunity to obtain it after failing to meet federal requirements, the former director of a state appraiser agency told lawmakers Tuesday. Sherry Bren’s testimony before a legislative panel was the first time that she has spoken in depth in public about Kassidy Peters’ application and about a meeting that her mother called last year to discuss the appraisal process.”

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