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Midnight in Minneapolis: “It’s the Wild, Wild West”

They say nothing good happens after midnight. Apparently the adage particularly applies to downtown Minneapolis, where WCCO-TV documented more violence over the weekend. Once again, weekend nightlife in downtown Minneapolis was unnervingly interrupted by gunfire in the heart of the city’s crowded entertainment district. The latest shooting led to a hectic scene as officers helped tend to the victim, search for a shooter, and control the anxious crowds that had just been let out of several bars and clubs. Business owners told WCCO-TV their patrons increasingly fear for their safety. “By midnight the place is almost empty because people are trying to get out...

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McCollum Takes Aim at St. Paul PD’s Grant Request on Gun Violence

Perhaps U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN) needs to get back to her home district in St. Paul more often. The longtime congresswoman recently took umbrage at the way St. Paul Police depicted the dangers on some city streets in an effort aimed at making the case for a $750,000 federal grant to crack down on gun play, according to the Star Tribune. But the city's bid has raised concerns from U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, one of several members of the Minnesota congressional delegation asked to support the grant last month by a lobbyist employed by ShotSpotter, a company that sells gunfire...

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How Do You Feel Strolling on Hennepin Avenue?  Dining on Nicollet Mall?

The Star Tribune recently ran a short piece (July 19) about how Haskell’s Wine Bar on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis closed last month for several reasons, one being how, “Panhandlers would approach outdoor diners on the wine bar’s patio [owner Jack Farrell said] and customers would ‘get up and leave.’” Anti-panhandling laws and ordinances can be tricky, but I was under the impression the practice generally wasn’t allowed within sidewalk cafes.  I appreciate how Minneapolis police can’t be everywhere every moment, but it’s this kind of disorder, and often much worse (like murder), that perpetually plagues key portions of downtown. This causes...

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Senate GOP takes action on Child Care Fraud: Calls for DHS Inspector General Ham to Step Down

In response to the legislative audit revealing wide-spread welfare fraud and other illegal activity connected to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) summarized here, the Senate GOP Leadership sent out this news release last night: Senate Republicans heard legislation yesterday to address the shocking revelations of the Legislative Auditor’s report on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).  Four bills in the Human Services Reform Committee focused on increasing oversight and maintaining the integrity of the funding. Senator John Jasinski (R- Faribault) presented two bills to address CCAP fraud. “When the man in charge of investigating CCAP says that fraud could be at least 50% of the entire...

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