Fake hate crime claims bill offered

ST. PAUL (AP) — A Minnesota lawmaker wants tougher penalties for falsely reporting hate crimes in his state after an actor in Chicago was accused of doing so.

Rep. Nick Zerwas’ bill comes after actor Jussie Smollett was charged with falsely telling authorities he was attacked by men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck.

Zerwas, an Elk River Republican, also cites a false report of a racist note that triggered protests and cancelled classes at St. Olaf College in Northfield in 2017.

Zerwas says false reports traumatize communities and force police to waste resources.

Filing a false police report is usually a misdemeanor in Minnesota. His bill would make falsely reporting hate crimes a gross misdemeanor punishable up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.

Snowfall this week set records

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Upper Midwest snowfall is setting records.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the nearly 9 inches of snow Wednesday in the Twin Cities shattered the snowfall record for February, at 31.5 inches. The previous record was 26.5 inches in 1962.

Other parts of Minnesota got as much as a foot of snow, and St. Cloud also set a record for its snowiest February.

The National Weather Service in South Dakota reports that the 7.2 inches of snow that fell Wednesday in Sioux Falls set a city record for the date. The previous record of 7.1 inches was set in 1953.

Composer Argento dead at 91

NEW YORK (AP) — Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento, who wrote musical works inspired by the lives and literature of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Casanova, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Henry James and Virginia Woolf, had died.

Argento, 91, died Wednesday in Minneapolis, according to Carol Ann Cheung, a spokeswoman for his music publisher, Boosey & Hawkes.

Known for composing in styles ranging from melody to dissonance, he earned the Pulitzer in 1975 for “From the Diary of Virginia Woolf,” a composition for voice and piano.

He also won a 2003 Grammy Award for best classical contemporary composition for “Casa Guidi,” recorded by mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and the Minnesota Orchestra.

In 1958, he joined the faculty of the Department of Music at the University of Minnesota, where he taught until 1997 and later held the rank of Professor Emeritus.