MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training has rejected Gov. Mark Dayton’s recommendation to name a new $12 million police training fund after Philando Castile.

The board voted 8-2 on Thursday to retain the original name of the fund — the Peace Officer Training Assistance Fund — rather than name it after Castile, who was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer last year. The eight board members who voted to keep the original name are law enforcement officers, elected officials or representatives of educational institutions. The two others who voted no are the board’s two public members; one of them is Clarence Castile, Philando’s uncle.

Castile was the only POST board member to speak on the issue at Thursday’s meeting. He said naming the fund for his nephew would show community members that police are working to repair relationships that have been strained by recent police shootings.

“It bridges the gap, it renews, it reinstates relationships,” he said. “It’s that olive branch being extended by law enforcement and government saying we want to try to start to rebuild.”

A handful of speakers, including Philando Castile’s mother, Valerie, echoed Clarence Castile’s comments. Some asked the board to delay its vote to ensure that more community members could weigh in on the issue.

Dayton released a short statement after the board’s vote.

“I stand by my recommendation to name the fund after Philando Castile,” he said, “but I have always known the decision was the POST Board’s to make.”

The POST board is responsible for outlining how local police departments will use the $12 million training fund, which was approved by the state Legislature this year.

—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)


Professor’s lawyer: Car keying was a ‘misunderstanding’

PITTSBURGH — The lawyer for Duquesne University professor Audrey Guskey, who is accused of keying multiple vehicles, issued a statement calling the incidents a “misunderstanding.”

“My client like most folks have disputes with their neighbors from time to time and we are hopeful this can be resolved at the preliminary hearing and collectively all grow stronger from this misunderstanding,” attorney Phil DiLucente said in a written statement on Thursday.

Police charged Guskey, 62, of Bridgeville, with three counts of criminal mischief after her neighbor video recorded her keying multiple vehicles in June.

The neighbor, Zachary McGill, told police he had been “having trouble” with Guskey and that she “gets upset when vehicles are parked in front of her residence.”

The criminal complaint, filed July 18, states that Guskey admitted to damaging four vehicles multiple times.

Guskey, a marketing and consumer behavior expert, teaches at Duquesne’s Palumbo Donahue School of Business. She has appeared as an expert in numerous print outlets and on cable and network television news programs.

A university representative issued a written statement on Wednesday saying that the school is “troubled and deeply disheartened by the events.”

“The allegations, if true, would not reflect the University’s mission in any fashion. We will await further facts as this matter proceeds through the justice system,” Tammy Ewin, of the university’s marketing and communications office, wrote.

Guskey’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21.

—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


New NC island was expected to eventually disappear, but not like this

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina’s new island may not be an island much longer.

The 50-yard channel that separated Shelly Island from Hatteras Island is filling in so quickly with sand that it’s now only inches deep at low tide, and getting more shallow by the day, federal officials say.

Just a few weeks ago, visitors had to swim to the island in waters that got more than 6 feet deep at high tide. In the past week, they’ve begun walking and not getting their ankles wet.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent Dave Hallac said Hatteras Island and Shelly Island are now connected at low tide, and he said it’s possible the once swiftly flowing channel of water will fill in completely.

That’s not to say the mile-long island — or sandbar, as sticklers prefer — is here to stay, he said. A really big storm could still wash it away.

Meanwhile, Hallac is looking into who would have official ownership of Shelly Island once it’s connected to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The island is currently under the control of Dare County.

NASA photos released this month show the mile-long slip of land began forming last November and came to the world’s attention in April. It was originally considered dangerous to visit the island, because the channel separating it from Hatteras Island was filled with swift waters, sharks and stingrays.

Even more disconcerting, a World War II training device resembling a torpedo washed up on shore, causing an evacuation on July 14.

—The Charlotte Observer


Qatar seeks UN help as dispute with Saudi-led alliance drags on

NEW YORK — Qatar wants the United Nations to have a greater role in resolving its standoff with a Saudi-led alliance after U.S. and U.K. efforts to find a solution among the parties reached an impasse, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.

After meeting U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Sheikh Mohammed blamed “the stubbornness” of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt for the continuation of tensions. The dispute broke out in June after the four countries accused Qatar of backing extremism and imposed sanctions against Doha.

“It’s all about violation of international law and infringing the sovereignty of the state of Qatar,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters at the UN on Thursday. “This is the right place where we have to start to seek our options” to find a legal solution, he added.

The remarks highlight that the gap between the two sides isn’t narrowing despite diplomatic efforts by the U.S. and the U.K. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited the region earlier this month but failed to secure a breakthrough, while U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has also pressed for a diplomatic solution. “The dispute is at a standstill,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in Washington Thursday.

Both Qatari and Saudi diplomats have been privately lobbying U.N. Security Council members for support.

Under pressure from the U.S. to spell out specific grievances, Saudi Arabia presented a list of 13 demands for the Qatari government to meet to resolve the crisis, a move that was rejected. Later, the bloc offered six broad principles that it said Doha had to accept, including combating terrorism, and denying financing and shelter to terrorist groups.

Qatar denies supporting terrorism, and says the moves against it were an attempt by Saudi Arabia to impose its will on smaller nations in the Gulf.

—Bloomberg News

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