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6 days ago
Minneapolis officer hasn’t yet talked to police about fatal crash
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau acknowledged Wednesday that a police vehicle went through a red light on its way to a shooting scene where a man had been killed 30 minutes earlier, colliding with a motorcyclist, killing him and injuring a passenger.
Under questioning during a tense news conference at City Hall, Harteau said the officer who was driving is traumatized and has not given a statement yet, five days after the Friday incident.
That delay seemed wrong to local criminal defense attorney Ryan Pacyga, who said his experience has been that police interview people immediately after an incident, “while the memory is fresh, while they don’t have time to change their story.”
While some of what Harteau revealed Wednesday helped shed light on Friday’s fatal chain of events, she declined to answer more questions about who shot and killed a burglary suspect, saying she’s awaiting test results and a completed investigation.
Read more at: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/207564381.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue
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2 weeks ago
Fourth council member leaves convention without DFL nod
Upstart City Council candidate Jacob Frey handily won the DFL endorsement on Saturday after incumbent Diane Hofstede withdrew from contention, citing irregularities in the caucus process.
Hofstede, who plans to run in the November election, is the fourth council member who has left their local DFL convention without the party's nod in recent weeks. Her ward covers much of the central riverfront, including parts of downtown and northeast.
She announced her withdrawal to an auditorium at DeLaSalle High School filled with red Jacob Frey campaign shirts. Frey campaign staff estimated that more than 70 percent of the delegates were their supporters.
"The process has become flawed," Hofstede told the crowd. "Older residents and our new Americans have been discouraged and sometimes disrespected while trying to participating in the endorsement process."
Hofstede had made several pledges to political groups and media outlets that she would abide by the endorsement, but will now challenge the DFL endorsee. "I will take my campaign to the people and let them decide," she said.
Council Member Robert Lilligren made similar accusations when he withdrew from his DFL convention last week, which was also packed in his challenger's favor.
"This process has been legitimate," Frey told a crowd of cheering supporters. "It has not been flawed in any way."
Two delegate challenges, one from each campaign’s supporters, were filed but never came to the floor because the convention did not get that far, said city DFL chair Dan McConnell.
Following the convention, Hofstede said in an interview that several precincts had “problems communicating the process to people who wanted to be engaged,” particularly members of the city’s East African community. She later added some people were recorded as alternates — a backup delegate — who wanted to be regular delegates.
In one precinct with a large East African population, however, nearly 40 people were elected delegates from one address inhabited largely by East African residents, McConnell said. A reporter in attendance on caucus night witnessed some initial confusion which caused many East Africans to volunteer as alternates, but the process was later repeated. One of the attendees helped translate proceedings into Somali.
About ten of the precinct’s 30 listed alternates appeared to be East African, McConnell said. Mohamed Barre, who was coordinating some of the East Africans in the precinct that night, said there were challenges understanding the process. “We did not want to be alternates as long as we could have more delegates,” Barre said.
Frey spokeswoman Julie Harrison said the Hofstede campaign had "borrowed a page from the playbook of what happened in [Lilligren's ward] last week."
In North Minneapolis on Saturday, council president Barbara Johnson cruised to an early victory on the first ballot of her ward convention. Her challenger was Kris Brogan.
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3 weeks ago
Twin Cities rental demand still strong despite new apartments
Hundreds of new apartments in the Twin Cities have yet to put a dent in the demand for rentals.
The vacancy rate in the metro area continued to slide in the first quarter, falling slightly to 2.8 percent, according to Marquette Advisors. The dip in vacancies comes despite the addition of 620 new apartments — mostly in Minneapolis’ trendiest neighborhoods — and rents that have steadily crept higher in the Twin Cities.
Developers and real estate experts say the robust demand for apartments is happening as the economy improves and job prospects look more promising for area workers who like the convenience that apartment living brings. Brent Wittenberg, vice president of Marquette Advisors, noted that 7,100 jobs were added in the Twin Cities during the first three months of the year, following the addition of 33,000 jobs last year.
“Job growth is the key,” Wittenberg said.
With 76,000 jobs added since December 2010, the region is just 7,000 jobs shy of prerecession employment levels, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. And with the wave of new jobs also comes a growing appetite among Twin Cities residents to be closer to work and city life. While homes sales have also taken off, there are plenty of renters by choice, ranging from young professionals to empty-nesters who like being near shopping, public transit and other amenities.
Real estate experts also point out that many people remain cautious about buying.
“They still don’t really know where prices will go, and people just want to maintain more mobility,” said Mary Bujold of Maxfield Research.
Brent Webb, managing director of leasing for Greco Real Estate Development, said 50 to 60 percent of new renters at a handful of newly opened buildings downtown are new to the Twin Cities.
“That shows that companies are hiring,” said Webb, who spoke at a housing conference in Golden Valley on Wednesday morning,
Webb and other downtown experts, including Joe Grunnet of the Downtown Resource Group and Cindy Froid of Keller Williams, say the rental market is also getting a boost from a shortage of for-sale condominiums. In downtown, there is less than a three-month supply of condos on the market and only one new condo project under construction. That’s a stark contrast to last year when “we were all crying in our Cheerios,” said Froid, referring to concerns about the health of the market. “The pendulum has swung so far and virtually overnight.”
But today there is growing concern that the apartment market is facing a bubble.
At the end of April, there were 2,055 apartments under construction in downtown alone with another 1,500 that have been approved. Most of them are in the central business district and in the North Loop neighborhood.
In downtown Minneapolis, there’s evidence the building boom is starting to make a dent in the market. The average vacancy rate went from 1.9 in the first quarter of 2012 to 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013. While the market is still far from the double-digit vacancy rates before the housing crash, experts agree the market could end up with too much supply. The big test will be what happens when three large apartment towers and several low-rise projects with several hundred high-end units become available next year.
“There’s so much new product being brought into the market,” said Lisa Moe, president and CEO of StuartCo. “I’m putting on my seat belt for 2014.”
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1 month ago
Minneapolis standoff ends when robot subdues holed-up suspect
A seven-hour standoff ended Sunday after police sent a robot into a north Minneapolis residence to subdue the suspect with a chemical irritant, authorities said.
The 29-year-old man was then arrested by SWAT officers and taken to a hospital for a routine examination. He was booked on false imprisonment and reckless discharges of a firearm.
Police had said they believed the man had a weapon, but they wouldn’t say whether one was found after making the arrest.
The incident began about 4:40 a.m. when a woman flagged down a squad car on the street and told police there was a domestic disturbance involving two men, a woman and a child, said Sgt. Stephen McCarty.
One man, the woman and the child were able to escape from the residence in the 3500 block of Newton Avenue N.
The other man saw officers arriving, and he holed up in the home. Officers tried several times to make contact with the man.
McCarty said nearby residents were told to stay in their homes and away from windows.
Chris Havens and DAVID CHANEN
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2 months ago
Minnesota’s largest synagogue vandalized with graffiti
Temple Israel, Minnesota’s largest synagogue, was plastered with graffiti Tuesday night, though Jewish religious leaders say the vandalism doesn’t immediately appear to be hate-related.
Purple spray-painted letters were left on all sides of the historic stone structure, including the synagogue’s large stately columns which front Hennepin Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis. The vandalism comes amid the celebration of Passover, a holy period for Jews which began Monday evening and ends on April 2.
“The timing of this does not go unnoticed for the Jewish community, whether or not that was the intent of the person who vandalized our building,” said Temple Israel senior rabbi Marcia Zimmerman. “It jogs the historic memory of vandalism throughout the world in the Jewish community…So I think that’s the piece we take notice of without even knowing the intent of the person who did this.”
Security cameras are located throughout the synagogue property and show a man vandalizing the temple sometime before midnight, said Zimmerman. Minneapolis police were called Wednesday to investigate the incident, she said. The synagogue planned to clean off the graffiti by the end of Wednesday.
Zimmerman said it’s particularly upsetting to see the synagogue’s grand columns marred with spray paint. Built in 1928, the synagogue is among the first in the Twin Cities and has close to 6,000 attendees — considered the largest Jewish temple in the state, Zimmerman said.
“It’s in purple and across the front pillars… which is our historic entrance,” said Zimmerman, adding that near the doors there’s a quote from Isaiah welcoming all to worship at the temple: “May this house be a house of prayer for all peoples.”
“There’s nothing obvious (hate-related),” she said. “There are letters, and it’s unclear exactly what they mean…Nothing like a swastika or anything that’s obviously anti-Semitic at this point.”
The temple has been the target of graffiti vandalism in the past along with other nearby structures in the neighborhood. And at that time, it did not appear to be hate-related, Zimmerman said.
The synagogue, which has already held two large traditional Seder meal ceremonies to mark Passover this year, does not intend to deviate from its plan to celebrate the remaining days of the Jewish holy period, with Shabbat services to be held Friday.
“We stand strong in our Jewish traditions, our Jewish beliefs and our Jewish work for social justice,” Zimmerman said.
“To arrive this morning, during this festival of Passover and to see the vandalism is, at the least, upsetting. We want to get to the bottom of it.”
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