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“Justice For Terrance Franklin” Protesters Press Demands As Grand Jury Looms

Terrance Franklin, 22, died n a Minneapolis police shooting in May under murky circumstances. Community activists are pressing authorities for a full accounting as a Hennepin County grand jury gets set to conduct an inquiry. Click on photo to watch protesters demand justice for Franklin at last month's Rondo Days parade.

Tensions around the Minneapolis police shooting of Terrance Franklin, a 22-year-old black man and father, continue to rise as community activists demand a full accounting and the Hennepin County attorney gets set to call a grand jury inquiry into the case. Continue Reading →

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Capitol Gun Safety Discussion Begins, Ends In Confusion, Disagreement. Is Paymar Out?

Statye Rep. Michael Paymar, (D-St. Paul), chair of the House Public Safety Committee, discusses a gun safety bill that passed out of his committee last spring with Joe Olson (l), head of s gun owners' group. Click to see video of Wednesday's task force discussion on gun safety in the Capitol.

Story for The UpTake by Kathryn Nelson and Nick Coleman

The Minnesota State Patrol does not always verify that gun owners have valid permits to carry handguns before they are added to a list of gun owners allowed to carry weapons inside the Minnesota Capitol and its complex. That surprising admission was made Wednesday at a tense meeting of the advisory committee on Minnesota Capitol Security that exposed a number of areas of confusion in the state’s gun permitting laws and how they are interpreted at the Capitol and its 14-acre complex of associated buildings. Testimony by State Patrol Maj. Bob Meyerson caused a number of startled looks on the six-member task force, which is headed by Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon. Meyerson told the panel that gun owners are required to have a Minnesota Permit to Carry as well as permission from the Commissioner of Public Safety in order to bring their handguns into the State Capitol. Continue Reading →

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Armed Mercenaries Returning to Wisconsin Woods — Legally, This Time

Heavily armed and camouflaged guard from Bulletproof Securities, Inc., patrols Wisconsin woods in July. The security force was withdrawn because it lacked legal permits. The permits have now been issued by state authorities and the guns are back. Click to see video report.

Mercenary-style guards carrying assault weapons will return to the north woods of WIsconsin after an Arizona-based security firm received proper permits to operate in Wisconsin. Last month, the heavily-armed guards, wearing camouflage and some with face coverings, startled hikers and other forest visitors when they showed up — without permits or the legally required name tags and credentials.
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Minnesota Marriage Marathon: Love Is The Law

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Photo slide show for The UpTake by Judy Griesedieck

After years of struggle for the right to marry, Minnesota’s LGBTQ community partied down and tied the knot — all over the state — as the same-sex marriage law passed last spring took effect at 12:01a.m. on Aug. 1. The UpTake has covered every aspect of this story for years (see below). But here, you can just feast your eyes on the sights and sounds of the historic celebration that began Thursday as the freedom to marry finally has been extended to include all of us. Video for The UpTake by Bill Sorem

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Freedom At Midnight: After Years of Struggle, Same-Sex Marriage Arrives in Minnesota

Finally a Family in the Eyes of the Law: Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke celebrate their new marriage with son, Louie. Photo for The UpTake by Judy Griesedieck

Weddings often begin after the appointed time, but this one was almost too early: If Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke pledged their troth before the big clock on the Minneapolis City Hall tower struck Midnight, it wouldn’t count. Continue Reading →

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Rolling Gun Violence Prevention Campaign Hits Minneapolis

Carlee Soto, in green, watches Wednesday's gun violence prevention rally in Minneapolis. Last December, Soto's sister, a teacher, was among the 26 fatalities in the mass murder at Sandy Hook School in Newtown. Conn.

Political figures, faith leaders, community members and prominent survivors of gun violence came together in Minneapolis Wednesday morning to campaign for tighter gun laws, including background checks for all gun sales. The rally was part of “No More Names: The National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence,” a 100-day bus stop campaign that is visiting 25 states. Continue Reading →

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Milwaukee Kid Killer Gets Life in Prison Without Parole for “Evil Act”

Darius Simmons

John Spooner, the 76-year-old Milwaukee gun collector who shot and killed 13-year-old Darius Simmons in front of his mother last year, was sentenced Monday to life in prison with no chance of parole for the shocking murder — captured by a security video camera — by a judge who called the killing “an evil act.”
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BREAKING: Milwaukee Killer Of 13-Year-Old Black Neighbor Found Sane, Faces Life In Prison

John Spooner, in court. Photo Miliwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Breaking News: The elderly “gun nut” convicted of the murder of a 13-year-old Milwaukee boy was found sane by a Milwaukee jury on Friday. The determination — after brief jury deliberations — that John Spooner was mentally competent when he shot 13-year-old Darius Simmons on May 31, 2012, means Spooner faces a sentence of life in prison. He will be sentenced Monday afternoon. Stay on The UpTake for more. John Spooner, the 76-year-old Milwaukee white man seen shooting his 13-year-old black neighbor to death on a video taken by his own home security camera, has been found guilty of the murder by a jury and now awaits another jury decision as to whether he is mentally competent and should be sentenced for the crime. Continue Reading →

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Milwaukee Jurors See Video of Shooting of 13-year-old youth by White “Gun Nut”

Darius Simmons, 13, was shot by a white neighbor in 2012

A Milwaukee jury was shown dramatic and disturbing video Tuesday of a 13-year-old boy being shot at point-blank range by a 75-year-old neighbor who confronted him in front of the boy’s home while the youth was bringing in garbage bins from the curb. Continue Reading →

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Minneapolis, Milwaukee Protesters March For Trayvon Martin, Local African-American Victims

Milwaukee protesters demand "Justice for Trayvon." Click on photo to see videos of Minneapolis and Milwaukee protests

Protesters demanding justice and demonstrating outrage over the Florida acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer marched in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. In both cities, protesters were motivated by controversial police killings of black youths that have caused outrage in the African-American communities. Continue Reading →

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Remembering With Pride: The St. Paul Red Caps Who Built Rondo

St Pauls Finest: The Red Caps in 1952 on the steps of the Union Depot

Cherished in St. Paul’s African-American community, the Red Caps had nearly been forgotten by the city at large, just as their contributions were overlooked during their life times. Now the Red Caps are being given the recognition they richly deserve. Continue Reading →

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Signs Budget

Gov. Scott Walker signs the $68 Billion Wisconsin budget Sunday.

Story for The UpTake by Tracey Pollock

Pleasant Prairie, Wis. Gov. Scott Walker signed the $68 billion biennial Wisconsin state budget Sunday, visiting a private trade show exhibits manufacturer that recently moved its headquarters to Wisconsin from Illinois, and laying out five goals of the state budget he said benefited “the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin.” But, as critics of Walker’s budget noted, the wealthiest taxpayers will benefit the most. Walker made 57 line-item vetoes before signing the budget, which passed along strict party lines, with only one Republican state senator joining the Democrats in opposition. The last-minute vetoes included removing a provision that would have allowed for a private bail-bonds system in the state, and another that would have kicked the Center for Investigative Journalism off the UW-Madison campus. Continue Reading →

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Old Media Catches On To Livestreaming — And Tries To Catch Up With The UpTake

Sen. Wendy Davis during her filibuster against a Texas bill that would have rolled bback abortion rights. Photo by The Texas Tribune

Keeping You Posted — An OpenLetter from Jason Barnett, Executive Director of The UpTake

The social media buzz sparked by the live-streamed video of Wendy Davis’s 11-hour filibuster in the Texas State Senate is still going strong. The Columbia Journalism Review is practically fainting at the “sexy” power of this whole, new-fangled series of tubes and things we, um, call The Internet. CJR’s headline about the Texas Tribune’s video streaming of the event, which captured online viewers from coast to coast, was, “Making politics and policy news sexy,” with the breathless story focusing on the magic of this whole “live video” thing. To us at The UpTake, it was as if CJR had caught up to the invention of the trans-Atlantic telegraph. What Hath God Wrought, indeed. I have news for CJR and other folks who have just begun to tumble to the fact that delivery of public-interest events like Davis’ brave stand against a punitive anti-abortion proposal has jumped ahead of the 20th Century. Continue Reading →

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Minneapolis Dems Fail to Choose Mayoral Pick; Ranked Choice Voting Comes to Fore

Candidate Betsy Hodges, with support from Gary Schiff's campaign, blocked endorsement for Mark Andrew. Photo courtesy Terry Gydesen, of terrygydesen.com

A contentious, 12-hour convention Saturday failed to endorse a DFL candidate for Mayor of Minneapolis, increasing the significance of the role that Ranked Choice Voting will play in the November 5 election and giving a crowded field of candidates more room for maneuver. Continue Reading →

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