Daily Digest: State to fight sex offender release

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, which for the second consecutive day is likely to be the warmest of the year (so far) before the other shoe drops. Here’s the Digest.

1. The state commissioner of human services says she will appeal a decision by a panel of judges to conditionally release a serial rapist from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. Thomas R. Duvall, 62, has spent the past 30 years locked up for a series of violent rapes of teenage girls in the 1970s and 1980s. The panel Monday approved Duvall’s petition for provisional discharge, ruling that his progress in treatment outweighs his “fearful diagnosis” as a sexual sadist. “[Duvall] cannot change his past offense history, but he is committed to change in the present and future,” according to the 42-page ruling by the state Supreme Court appeals panel. (Star Tribune)

2. A case claiming persistent school segregation effectively denies Minnesota children an adequate education went before the Minnesota Supreme Court Tuesday. Seven families with children in Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts and a Minneapolis nonprofit, One Family One Community, filed the lawsuit in 2015. They sued the state, state officials and legislative leaders. Lead plaintiff Alejandro Cruz-Guzman and the other families claimed racially and economically segregated schools have caused academic achievement gaps between children of color and white children, and between metro and suburban students. The suit seeks to force the state to desegregate schools. (MPR News)

3. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has said it’s time for city leaders to stop talking about creating more jobs for people of color and to take action. Some say just by using his bully pulpit Frey can get results. But others say Frey’s promises may hurt him if he’s unable to deliver. Frey will need support from a majority of the 13-member city council to help him pass the kind of ordinances he wants to enact. That includes the affordable housing ideas Frey campaigned on, such as focusing on preserving housing units instead of building new ones. (MPR News)

4. Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin is lauding those she calls “new warriors” who are fighting back against drug abuse, crime and environmental threats. Benjamin spoke to a crowd of several hundred on Tuesday at her annual State of the Band address, which combined ceremonial traditions with tough talk on the serious challenges facing the central Minnesota Ojibwe community. Benjamin called 2017 “a year of warriorism” that was a tough one for the band. Opioid addiction, she said, has gripped the reservation and has been complicated by a legal fight with Mille Lacs County over policing authority. “We faced many challenges but none so heartbreaking as losing so many people to the drug epidemic,” Benjamin said. “This was a year of profound sadness and loss for many families.” (MPR News)

5. A pro-mining group is suing to overturn an order by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton that dealt a blow to the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine near Ely. Dayton last March directed the Department of Natural Resources not to enter into any new access or lease agreements for mining operations on state-owned lands near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, citing the environmental risk to the pristine wilderness. Up North Jobs said Tuesday it filed a lawsuit in St. Louis County District Court last week seeking an injunction to let mineral exploration continue there, saying Dayton’s order violated state statutes. (AP)

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