MFIP PROGRAM INCREASING

As of February 1st, the maximum cash grant for the Minnesota Family Investment Program increased for the first time since 1986. MFIP provides temporary income support and employment services to families with children experiencing poverty. The increase which was approved by the 2019 Minnesota Legislature, is aimed at helping these families as they move toward work, stability and self-sufficiency. MFIP serves more than 29,000 families per month, and 72% of individuals accessing the program are children. More than 50% of families are able to leave the program in less than a year. Most families accessing MFIP will begin seeing an increase in their cash assistance beginning this month. The maximum increase is $100 per month.

Terry Hunt Passes Away

Leaders of the Lumbee Tribe and the Fairmont community are mourning the death of longtime Robeson County law enforcement officer, Terry Hunt, who died this past weekend in Kenya while on tribal business. Hun previously served as Fairmont’s chief of police and on the Lumbee Tribal Council. He died while in the African nation in his capacity as president of Lumbee Tribe Enterprises LLC last Sunday, after being hospitalized for an undisclosed illness.

Blackfoot Suit

Three members of the Blackfeet Nation have filed a civil lawsuit against the Indian Health Service and are seeking $9 million in damages, alleging the organization violated their treaty rights by failing to prevent a former IHS doctor from sexually abusing them. The lawsuit refers to Stanley Patrick Weber, who was convicted of sexually assaulting boys while working for the IHS on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana and the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Ottertail Award

Fergus Falls Wetland Management District, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently honored Otter Tail County of Chapter Pheasants Forever and Jason Swelstad with their first-time Conservation Partner of the Year award. The award celebrates individual and organizational efforts in promoting and providing conservation through effective partnership efforts with the District. Recipients must have made significant and visible contributions to conservation within the five-county jurisdiction in western Minnesota of the Fergus Falls Wetland Management District. Swelstad protected his land in perpetuity through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grassland easement that keeps the land in grass and wetlands, but still allows grazing.

MAN HOSPITALIZED AFTER SHOOTING

A man is hospitalized in critical condition after being shot several times during an apparent attempted robbery in St. Paul. Police say it happened last Thursday around 7:45pm in North Frogtown. When officers arrived, they found the victim in his car, suffering from gunshot wounds to the chest and arm. He was taken to Regions Hospital, where at last report, he remains in critical condition.

SCHOOL STUDENT HIT BY VEHICLE

An Edina High School student was hit by a vehicle while boarding a school bus last Thursday morning and police today, are still looking for the driver who fled the scene. Police are now investigating it as a hit and run. The student suffered serious but non life threatening injuries.

FORMER PROBATION OFFICER FACING MORE ISSUES IN PRISON

A former Hennepin County probation officer charged with luring a Minneapolis real estate agent to her death on New Year’s Eve is being hit with a lot of questions about the case from fellow inmates according to her attorney, who has now asked a judge to relocate 28 year old Elsa Segura of Fridley, to a separate area in the county jail where she is being held, because of the unusual amount of interest she has attracted. Fridley is implicated in the kidnapping and killing of 28 year old Monique Baugh. Prosecutors say she called Baugh and requested a showing of a home, from which two male accomplices kidnapped her in a U-Haul rental truck.

RED LAKE MAN SENT TO PRISON FOR ASSAULT

A Red Lake man was sentenced to 52 months in prison for assaulting three people with a firearm and violating his supervised release conditions. 21 year old DILLON TAYLOR pleaded guilty in October. The case against him came about as a result of an investigation conducted by the Red Lake Tribal Police Department and the FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force. Taylor will have to serve another three years of supervised release following his time behind bars.

BELTRAMI BOARD MEETING MORE SUBDUED

The Beltrami County Board meeting Tuesday was held under somewhat calmer conditions than it was two weeks ago when the subject of refugees came up, but it was no less passionate. BAck on January 7th, County Commissioners voted to opt out of the United States Refugee Resettlement Program. That decision set off a firestorm of events, that gathered national media attention from both sides of the issue.

SUIT SAYS BEMIDJI ADMINISTRATORS FAILED TO PROTECT STUDENTS

According to a federal lawsuit filed last week, Bemidji school administrators failed to protect students from an assistant principal who abused his position to solicit sexually explicit photos from underage students. 37 year old Brandon Bjerknes is serving a 25-year prison sentence for his part in a scheme that targeted more than 50 young people. Two victims and their parents… whose names have not been released in court documents… say Bemidji Area Schools should also be held accountable. They claim the school could have done more to stop him.