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Suspect arrested in Minneapolis mosque fires facing federal arson charges

Plus: Twin Cities home prices remain flat; Rolling Stone picks up on Minnesota’s marijuana legalization news and as advice for one lawmaker; calls for gender equity in American Birkebeiner; and more.

Minneapolis firefighters battling the fire at the Mercy Center Mosque on April 24, 2023.
Minneapolis firefighters battling the fire at the Mercy Center Mosque on April 24, 2023.

A KSTP-TV story says, “The man arrested for fires started at two Minneapolis mosques is now facing federal charges for arson. A criminal complaint released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office names 36-year-old Jackie Rahm Little, also known as Joel Arthur Tueting, of Plymouth, as the arson suspect in both the fire last Sunday at Masjid Omar Islamic Center and Monday’s fire at Masjid Al Rahma Mosque inside the Mercy Islamic Center.”

An Axios story by Sami Sparber says, “Twin Cities home prices remain flat, as buyer and seller activity is down about 25% from last year, per the latest data from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. What’s happening: A persistent shortage of homes for sale is keeping prices from dropping, Jerry Moscowitz, the Realtors association president, tells Axios.

  • Plus, interest rates remain elevated compared to recent years.

By the numbers: In March, the metro area’s median sales price stood unchanged from a year ago at $355,000.

  • Pending sales were down 28% from last March, as sellers brought 24% fewer new listings online.
  • Also, homes sat on the market more than three weeks longer on average.
  • Sellers got 98.6% of their original asking price, compared to 102.7% a year ago.”

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For Adam Uren writes, “While they weren’t picked up Rounds 1-7, long-serving Minnesota Golden Gophers Tanner Morgan and Mo Ibrahim found themselves teams after the NFL Draft ended.’s Tom Pelissero is reporting that Morgan, the Gophers’ starting quarterback between 2018-22, is signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Meanwhile running back Ibrahim, whose name was mentioned in Heisman conversations in 2022 as he racked up more than 1,600 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, is joining the backfield of the Detroit Lions.”

At NBC News Adam Edelman writes, “Interviews with a dozen federal and state lawmakers in Minnesota, as well as progressive activists in the state and across the country, paint a picture of a state fully controlled by Democrats that has offered protections on key Democratic social issues like abortion and LGBTQ rights while maintaining a robust economy and low crime — two subjects allies say simultaneously help curtail conservative narratives about Democratic-run cities. And unlike in Michigan another swing state where Democrats, also fresh off winning a trifecta, have leveraged that power to advance party priorities like abortion rights and gun safety — the sheer breadth and quantity of policies already, or soon to be, enacted in the Minnesota Legislature present a much more complete sample of Democratic ideals in the current moment, those officials and advocates said.”

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This from Ingrid Harbo in the Grand Forks Herald, “Though Ronnings has been open in northern Minnesota for decades, company-wide changes in the last few years have led to growth in the clothing store, says the company’s owner. ‘This business is 60 years old now, but we’re doing things in the last two to three years that have never been done at the store,’ said Garrett Larson, owner of Ronnings. Larson, 29, who took over the family business in 2020, says his willingness to try new things and the mentality that change is good has helped him find success at a young age. Larson was recently named the 2023 Minnesota Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The award is given to an individual who is the owner and operator of a small business, under the age of 30.”

For Rolling Stone, Nikki McCann Ramirez writes, “ We don’t know what kind of joints Republican Minnesota State Senator Warren Limmer has encountered, but they sound like the fattest j’s in the lower 48. During debate on a proposed bill that would legalize marijuana in the state of Minnesota, Limmer stated that ‘just two ounces is equivalent to three joints’. … Minnesota would join 38 other states, three U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia in legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana. Should the bill pass, we hope someone will take the time to teach Senator Limmer how to properly roll a joint.”

This from Dan Kraker at MPR News, “A well-known cross-country skier and former coach in the Twin Cities is boycotting the American Birkebeiner — the largest Nordic ski race in the country — over concerns of gender equity. Kris Hansen of Afton, Minn., the longtime coach at Stillwater High School, and former coach of Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins, wants Birkie race officials to make changes to how they manage the thousands of skiers who compete. She argues adjustments are needed to ensure that more women who are fit and experienced skiers qualify to start in prime positions earlier in the race.”

In the Strib, Chris Serres writes, “On a frigid evening in 2021, Cynthia Bergeron pulled the limp body of her 3-year-old grandson, Derric Fulks Jr., from his car seat and frantically tried to revive him on the sidewalk in front of her south Minneapolis home. The rest of the evening would be a blur of screams for help, ambulance sirens and police officers walking through Bergeron’s living room. Derric’s four siblings watched in silence from their grandmother’s doorstep as paramedics lifted the boy into an ambulance. … More than a year later, much about the circumstances of Derric’s short life and death remains unknown. An autopsy found the boy died of exposure to fentanyl — a toxic, synthetic opioid that’s mixed into illicit drugs to make them more potent. The Minnesota Department of Human Services and Hennepin County have launched clinical reviews of the child’s death, but the agencies declined to share any details in part because they say their investigations are unfinished. Yet an examination of Derric’s fleeting life, drawn from court records, shows the boy was in peril from the start.