Sam's Top 5 Things to Know for Thursday

1. Manchester bomber Salman Abedi's father and brothers arrested, linked to ISIS, Al Qaeda

Fox News: Manchester bomber Salman Abedi apparently wasn’t the only member of his family to harbor extremist views, as Libyan officials arrested the suicide bomber’s father and two brothers and uncovered what investigators called a plot for a new attack.

Hashim Abedi, who was born in 1997, was arrested in Tripoli on yesterday evening by a Libyan counter-terrorism force on suspicion of links to the Islamic State, and was planning a new attack on the Libyan capital.

The father of the bomber was arrested in Tripoli on Wednesday, a Libyan security spokesman told The Associated Press. The father, Ramadan Abedi, had said another brother of the bomber, Ismail, was arrested on Tuesday.

Two U.S. defense officials confirmed to Fox News that Salman Abedi spent three weeks in Libya prior to the Manchester bombing, returning to England just days before the Ariana Grande concert Monday, when he launched his attack at the concert venue.

2. Special Session Will Continue Thursday

Kstp: Republican Legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton are searching for a way out of an impasse, after their plan for a brief special session went off the rails with plenty of work yet to be done on massive $46 billion budget.

The two sides agreed in principle late Monday on a special session with a self-imposed deadline of 7 a.m. Wednesday, but the deadline came and went and the special session will continue today. Both the Senate and House recessed for the day yesterday night. Both bodies are in recess until noon today.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said they will come back and try to finish remaining bills in marathon session.


3. Shoppers and businesses are preparing for a plastic bag ban in Minneapolis

Star Tribune: The refrain at the end of the grocery store checkout line may change next week in Minneapolis, unless the state Legislature gets its way.

A year after the City Council approved a citywide ban on plastic bags, the Legislature has approved a budget bill with a provision blocking it. If Gov. Mark Dayton signs that bill, the ban — expected to go into effect on June 1 — will be moot.

But, for now, stores and consumers are moving forward as if the ban is going to happen. At the entrance to the Target store in downtown Minneapolis, a sign asks customers “Are you reusable bag ready?” and explains that they’ll get a 5-cent discount for shopping with their own bag when the ban starts. At Lunds & Byerlys, plastic bags are being moved from downtown and Northeast locations to stores outside the city.

4. School Bus Driver Arrested For Driving While Impaired After Dropping Off Students

Kstp: A school bus driver who had just dropped off seven students was stopped and arrested yesterday morning on suspicion of driving while impaired by drugs.

The State Patrol reports that a 66-year-old woman from Hopkins was stopped by two state troopers on Interstate 394 West at Hopkins Crossroad after those troopers witnessed the bus crossing the fog line and driving on the shoulder.

The driver and bus left the school, according to the report, and a dispatcher located the bus on a traffic management camera after someone called 911 and reported it for erratic driving. When the bus was stopped, the troopers allegedly observed indications of impairment and the woman completed the field sobriety tests.

She was then arrested and booked into Hennepin County Jail, though jail records show she was released later in the day.

In other bus news… A school bus trip to Dairy Queen drew complaints from a Minnesota mom

Pioneer press: A Minnesota mother thought her third-grader would be home by 1:30 last Tuesday afternoon, the last day of school. By 1:40, Jackie Marks started getting nervous and drove down to the bus stop. Another mom told her some buses take the kids to Dairy Queen on the last day of school, but Marks was unaware of that. She had not been notified by the school, South Point Elementary, or asked to sign a permission slip.

She headed to Dairy Queen, where one bus was pulling out and her daughter’s bus was still parked and picked up her child. She said, “I was pretty upset.”

She said when she told the driver she had been unaware of the trip, he said he had an issue with that last year, too.

It appears some parents did know about the trip, which has happened in years past.  Marks said, “I’m concerned that this was a field trip with no chaperones.”

Superintendent Mike Kolness said communication about the trip had taken place between the drivers and students and that the schools had not made direct contact with the parents. The superintendent,in his first year with East Grand Forks, said he understood it to be somewhat of a tradition among some bus drivers in the district to bring the students to Dairy Queen on the last day.

“The driver was trying to do a nice thing,” he said.

He said the district has received no other complaints regarding the incident.

But Marks said the district is not taking the issue as seriously as she would like. She believes loose policies on unsanctioned field trips set a poor example for children who might think it is OK to go anywhere with an adult.

5. Minneapolis has best park system in U.S., St. Paul a close second

KMSP: Minneapolis has best park system in the United States, with St. Paul coming in a close second, according to a new ranking from the Trust for Public Land.

Minneapolis took the top spot in the nonprofit’s ParkScore index for the second year in a row. The index ranks park systems in the 100 most populous U.S. cities on park access, size, facilities, spending and the availability of popular park amenities.

In Minneapolis, 97 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park and 15 percent of city area is dedicated to parks.

San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Va. rounded out the top five best park systems, while Mesa, Ariz., Louisville, Charlotte, Fort Wayne, Ind. and Indianapolis had the five worst.


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