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Sons want to start ‘Tina’s Helping Home’ in honor of their mom who was killed in St. Paul

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Sons want to start ‘Tina’s Helping Home’ in honor of their mom who was killed in St. Paul

Tina Marie Fells-McCombs had big dreams.

Her sons saw her overcome trauma and battles through her life, and she wanted to help other Black women so they wouldn’t have to do it alone.

Tina Fells-McCombs (Courtesy of the family)

Since the 47-year-old was fatally stabbed Jan. 9 in St. Paul, the first homicide in the city this year, her sons are now taking on her cause.

They want to start Tina’s Healing Home as a place to support women who “are fighting life’s obstacles of being survivors of domestic abuse or experiencing mental health issues … or substance abuse or stability for housing,” Fells-McCombs’ son, Lewis McCaleb, said Thursday.

We saw “our mother transform her trauma into triumph … and we had these dreams, we wanted to accomplish this together,” said McCaleb, who is also known as Lewiee Blaze. “… We’re viewing this is as an opportunity to take our deep pain and turn it into power, and to immortalize her name and do something that is bigger than us.”

A 38-year-old man is charged with kicking in an apartment door and stabbing Fells-McCombs on a Sunday afternoon in the North End.  Her family is still searching for answers and “there is still no clear explanation to the cause of this tragedy,” the family wrote on a fundraising page.

Police arrested Maurice Angelo McClinton Smith soon after.  An investigator asked Smith why he was at the apartment at 180 W. Larpenteur Ave. and he said “to get some tea and crumpets,” the criminal complaint said. “… When asked why he went to see (McCombs), Smith said, ‘To kill her.’ Smith said he was a simple prophet.”

NEED FOR MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS

Toshira Garraway, who founded Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence and who supported McCaleb when he spoke publicly Thursday, said they’re asking that Smith be held accountable.

They’re also emphasizing “that prior to someone being murdered in our community, a Black woman being murdered in our community, that if someone is experiencing mental health symptoms and express those symptoms, that they’re given the adequate help that they need, Garraway said.

A judge has ordered Smith undergo a mental health evaluation for competency to proceed with the case. Smith’s attorney had no comment on Thursday.

Lack of true investments in communities needs to be fixed, said Rep. John Thompson, who represents St. Paul’s East Side.

Those under-investments “ultimately created the monster who showed up to his mother’s door and killed his mother,” he said as he stood by McCaleb. He and two other men who spoke Thursday said they know McCaleb’s pain because they still miss their mothers who’ve passed away.

MOTHER TO SONS AND THE COMMUNITY

Fells-McCombs was the mother of six sons, ages 3, 12, 17, 20, 24 and 28. McCaleb’s father died 11 years ago.

“I’ve seen her have to navigate these systems and navigate this community and do the best that she could to provide for” her boys, McCaleb said. He remembered her as nurturing, selfless and fearless, “a mother of the community” who never turned someone down when they needed a place to stay.

Lewis McCaleb, who is also known as Lewiee Blaze, shows a photo of his mother on his T-shirt after he spoke about her in St. Paul on Jan. 27, 2022. Tina Fells-McCombs was fatally stabbed in St. Paul on Jan. 9, 2022. (Mara H. Gottfried / Pioneer Press)
Lewis McCaleb, who is also known as Lewiee Blaze, shows a photo of his mother on his T-shirt after he spoke about her in St. Paul on Jan. 27, 2022. (Mara H. Gottfried / Pioneer Press)

Now, McCaleb said they are trying to provide financial stability for their family, including having all his brothers in one home together.

“It would also give us a chance to breathe and have the mental capacity to fulfill the vision of opening what we call the Tina’s Healing Home,” said McCaleb, 24, who is a St. Paul musical artist, entrepreneur and activist who works as a Ramsey County violence prevention coordinator.

People have been telling McCaleb it’s OK to cry and he said he has been.

“I’ve been breaking down since I got that phone call,” he said. “… Some days, I really wish I could just wake up and it was just a long … nightmare.”


HOW TO HELP

Contributions to the Tina Fells-McCombs Memorial Fund can be made at gofund.me/67adb397 or North Star Bank, 1820 N. Lexington Ave., Roseville, MN 55113.

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2 killed in Anoka crash that following police pursuit

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2 killed in Anoka crash that following police pursuit

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — Two men died after fleeing from an attempted traffic stop and later crashing into a pickup truck in Anoka County, sheriff’s officials said.

Police in Coon Rapids tried to make the traffic stop shortly before midnight Tuesday. The driver took off and police pursued the car, but broke off the chase once the vehicle crossed into Anoka.

Officials said the car and pickup collided about a mile away. The force of the crash took down at least three light poles, according to witnesses.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. His passenger died at a nearby hospital. The driver of the pickup was treated for minor injuries. The victims have not been identified.

The crash remains under investigation by the Anoka Police Department, Coon Rapids Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.

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Ramesh Ponnuru: Republicans can extend their midterm inflation advantage

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Ramesh Ponnuru: Republicans can extend their midterm inflation advantage

Inflation is likely to be the most powerful issue working for Republicans in this year’s congressional elections. Public concern over it has been rising fast. Republicans can plausibly blame the administration of President Joe Biden for making the problem worse by spending too much money on a pandemic stimulus program he pushed through Congress last year, and for not taking it seriously as it emerged.

But there isn’t much that Congress can do to affect the course of inflation in the short term. The Federal Reserve is in charge of monetary policy. Congress can (in principle!) pass legislation to make the economy more productive, but any changes would generally take awhile to have an effect.

That’s only a small political inconvenience for Republicans. Voters are more likely to want to register their anger over inflation than pore over any candidate’s plans to address it. (Elections are a blunt instrument for public control of the government.)

There are also ways that Republicans can contribute to bringing inflation down. If they did, they could both perform a useful service for the country and increase their political advantage on the issue, at least a little.

The first is simply to support monetary tightening. A large portion of recent inflation has been caused by excessive spending throughout the US economy. During the expansion prior to the arrival of Covid-19 two years ago, spending had grown by a bit less than 4% a year. Over the past year it has risen more than 10%.

Even after the Federal Reserve’s mid-March hike in interest rates, spending has been rising fast enough to keep the gap growing between actual spending levels and the pre-Covid trend. By that measure, the Fed has not yet, in effect, tightened at all.

It should be encouraged to tighten money both by raising interest rates further and, maybe more important, by announcing that its goal is to bring spending levels back to the trajectory they were on before the burst of inflation.

Central bankers are sure to face pressure to ease off, especially if tightening leads to higher unemployment. Republicans should exert countervailing pressure, pointing out that getting inflation under control is the only way to achieve sustainable high employment. The Fed has made the eventual tightening more painful by delaying it, and should not delay further. Republicans could also explore legislation to make the stabilization of spending a statutory goal of the Federal Reserve, giving that goal more credibility.

And while no one should oversell how much or how fast policy changes can address inflation by expanding supply, some such changes are worth pursuing. Former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum never made much sense as either a national-security or job-protecting measure, and his tariffs on China have largely failed to achieve their objectives. Abandoning them would, as the Peterson Institute for International Economics puts it, “provide a temporary downward shock to prices.” (It’s worth noting, however, that lifting the tariffs on China would require mounting an argument to win over skeptics.)

Congress could also remove barriers to energy production — something Republicans are already calling for — and to the automation of ports. Senator Mike Lee, the Utah Republican, has a bill that applies deregulation to transportation-sector logjams, and another one to increase housing supply. These measures would probably make the economy a bit more productive even if inflation subsides. They would also provide a way for Congress to show that it is working to bring prices down.

Finally, Republicans should block proposals that would make inflation worse. Many economists think widespread student-debt relief would have this effect, and that the Democrats’ “Build Back Better” spending legislation would as well.

Congress could also consider delaying the spending of some of the money it is devoting to infrastructure projects so that more of it happens after labor shortages and supply disruptions ease. That would produce more infrastructure improvement per dollar spent.

This is hardly an exhaustive list. The point is that when Republicans face the question, “What are you going to do about inflation?” they can offer many partial answers. Democrats would be wise to go along with some of these ideas, too, and even to propose them first. But some of them, such as the ones that involve taking on unions, are a more natural fit for Republicans.

All of these political considerations are meaningful, however, only on the margins. No matter what politicians in either party do, the cost of living is going to be front of mind for voters this fall. They’re going to take out their frustrations on the party in power.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the editor of National Review and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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WCHA Final Faceoff returning for Ridder in 2023, 2024

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WCHA Final Faceoff returning for Ridder in 2023, 2024

Minnesota will play host to the next two WCHA Final Faceoff championship tournaments, the school announced Wednesday. The 2023 event is scheduled for March 3-4, 2023, at Ridder Arena.

The Gophers won the regular-season WCHA championship last season before being edged by eventual national champion Ohio State in the conference tournament final at Ridder.

The 2025 NCAA Frozen Four is scheduled to be played at Ridder Arena, as well.

GOALIES TO USA CAMP

Gophers junior Makayla Pahl and freshman Skylar Vetter have been selected to attend the 2022 USA Hockey National Goaltending Camp in Plymouth, Mich. They will join 27 other men’s and women’s goaltenders for the May 19-22 camp at USA Hockey Arena.

Pahl recently completed her best season at the U, posting a 9-1-0 record with a 1.70 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in 15 games. Lakeville’s Vetter appeared in 11 games in her first collegiate season, going 6-2-0 record with a 1.57 GAA and a .926 save percentage.

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