As lawmakers take up forfeiture reform, local police say current safeguards are enough | News

As police reform continues to be a hot button issue, State Auditor Julie Blaha took to the Capitol this week to discuss the “big story in the small numbers” with legislators: forfeitures.

“In 2019, the average size of a forfeiture under $1,500 was $473,” Blaha said. “While having a minimal financial benefit to the public safety system, to a Minnesotan this could mean the difference between making rent and experiencing homelessness.”

Blaha argued at legislative hearings this week that forfeitures do not seem to be disrupting crime, but local law enforcement in Rice and Steele counties disagree with Blaha’s stance.

“Forfeitures impact the community more than the Police Department,” said Owatonna Police Capt. Eric Rethemeier. “When we make a vehicle seizure from a DWI or a drug offense, the seizing of the vehicle is a result of a threat to public safety. These are typically high-level DWIs or multi-time offenders

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Local entrepreneurs earn $10,500 in Knoxville Area Urban League business pitch contest

Local entrepreneurs earn $10,500 in Knoxville Area Urban League business pitch contest

Five winners of the Knoxville Area Urban League’s business pitch contest have received checks totaling $10,500 for enterprises ranging from health care to art classes.

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Mark Isom, the founder and president of Premiere Building Maintenance Corporation, presented the entrepreneurs with checks during Impact Week, a virtual fundraiser held in late 2020 for the Knoxville Area Urban League’s community initiatives, including the 10-week CO.STARTERS training program for entrepreneurs.

Isom provides funding for the program, along with Randy Boyd, founder and executive chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, and his wife, Jenny Boyd.

“I want to congratulate the five entrepreneurs for having the vision to start a business and the commitment to pursue it,” said Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “The CO.STARTERS program is a key part of our mission to bring

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