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Man charged in downtown Minneapolis phone theft ring will spend years in prison

Plus: Documents show former Hennepin Sheriff Dave Hutchinson’s command staff feared for safety; governor signs executive order on gender-affirming care; Minneapolis City Council may ask legislators to take action after disruptions, threats; and more.

At KSTP-TV Krystal Frasier reports, “A St. Paul man charged with one count of racketeering will spend multiple years behind bars for his role in a phone theft ring that operated in downtown Minneapolis. Court records show 26-year-old Aaron Tracey Johnson entered a guilty plea last week to the charge and was sentenced Tuesday to serve 94 months (nearly eight years) in the St. Cloud prison. In addition, he will get 173 days of credit for time previously served.”

A Tom Lyden story at KMSP-TV says, “Newly released notes and text messages from Hennepin County’s investigation into former Sheriff David Hutchinson show members of his senior command staff feared for their safety because of his escalating erratic and volatile behavior. The material is now part of Metro Transit’s internal affairs investigation into whether Hutchinson’s conduct while sheriff should prevent him from returning to his previous job as a sergeant in the Metro Transit Police Department, sources have confirmed for FOX 9.”

At MPR, Dana Ferguson says, “Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Wednesday ensuring people who seek and receive gender-affirming care in the state have protection under the law. The move comes after seven states — Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah — banned gender-affirming care for transgender youth and several more have taken up bills that would do the same or ban the care for transgender people of any age.”

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This also from KSTP. Says Renee Cooper, “The Minneapolis City Council is considering asking state lawmakers to take action following a recent increase in disruptions and threats. Over the course of an hour in a committee meeting Tuesday, council members one after the other mentioned incidents where they said they’ve been threatened or harassed by members of the public over the last couple of years. Council Vice President Linea Palmisano recalled protestors disrupting a meeting to the point of sending it into recess two weeks ago. Attendees displeased with several council votes, shouted profanities at members, some while within reach of members.”

For Korin Miller says, “… a new study published in Nature Communications aims to shed at least some light on common long COVID symptoms. The study analyzed data from 154,068 people in the Veterans Health Administration system who had COVID-19 and compared it to about 5.6 million people with similar characteristics who did not have the virus. The researchers discovered that people who had COVID-19 were 36% more likely to develop long-term gastrointestinal issues they didn’t have before they got the virus. More than 9,600 of those patients who had COVID-19 developed issues with their digestion, intestines, pancreas, or liver. Of those, the most common issues were gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and peptic ulcer disease, but some experienced GI symptoms like constipation, stomach pain, and diarrhea.”

For the Strib, Jose Albertson-Grove says, “As the regular high school basketball season draws to a close, some players and families in Eden Prairie want the school district to do more to address a coach’s use of a racial slur in December. Boys basketball coach David Flom was suspended from coaching for a month in December over his reading of the slur as he talked to players about social media. Since his reinstatement in January, some players of color have quit the team. Their families have hired a lawyer who is alleging Flom’s language made the basketball team hostile to Black players. The former players and their families plan to demonstrate their frustrations ahead of Wednesday’s game against Prior Lake. … Flom was talking to players in a classroom session about social media, and read the slur as he read from a social media post. Camren Riggins-Brown, a Black 10th-grader who quit the team, said last week the problem was bigger than one slur, saying he did not think Black players received the same coaching and support as other players.”