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Major storm damage in central Minnesota

Plus: Who instigated violence at St. Paul protests?; off-duty cops working Lynx game walk off over player comments; Essar Steel says lease termination is ‘invalid’; and more.

Major damageSays the Star Tribune’s Pat Pheifer: “Severe storms, including two confirmed tornadoes and massive amounts of rain swept across north-central Minnesota Monday afternoon, toppling trees and tombstones in Litchfield and causing 50 residents of an assisted living center in Watkins to flee to other facilities. Shortly after 10:30 p.m., the National Weather Service in Duluth issued a “flash flood emergency” for southern Aitkin County and Pine County.”

As for who and what started the violence Saturday night in St. Paul, Tim Nelson of MPR reports, “Darryl Spence, a founding member of the God Squad, a group of pastors that serve as intermediaries in and for St. Paul’s black community, was there. He said St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell called him Saturday night and asked for help. … He’d been down earlier to meet with Black Lives Matter leaders, but not this time. ‘I did not see the normal Black Lives Matter people. I saw people with masks on. They were ready for combat,’ Spence said.”

What does this guy know about our precious Second Amendment rights and protecting our castle from violent intruders? For Reuters, Ernest Scheyder says, “The Dallas police chief said on Monday that Texas state laws allowing civilians to carry firearms openly, as some did during the protest where five officers were fatally shot, presented a rising challenge to law enforcement, as he stepped into America’s fierce debate over gun rights. … A shooting incident in Michigan on Monday underscored the prevalence of gun violence in America and the danger faced by law enforcement, even as activists protest fatal police shootings of two black men last week in Louisiana and Minnesota.” If only every good guy and gal carried an assault rifle … .  

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Walk off. Closer to home, the Star Tribune’s Randy Furst writes: “Four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working the Minnesota Lynx game at Target Center on Saturday night walked off the job after the players held a news conference denouncing racial profiling, then wore Black Lives Matter pregame warm-up jerseys.”

What? Where’s Skynyrd? At City Pages, Jay Boller assures music fans searching for new sounds and faces that, “It was announced Monday that Alabama’s Southern Drawl Tour will hit the fair September 1. Tickets — $40-$50 — go on sale 10 a.m. July 15 via the fair box office or The addition of the longtime country stars thus completes the 2016 grandstand lineup, which you can view here. Formed in 1969, Alabama scored their biggest hits … in the ’80s. The two-time Grammy winners went on hiatus in 2004, but returned to recording and touring in 2011.”

Speaking of jazz-like drumming, Sam Cook of the Duluth News Tribune reports, “Ruffed grouse drumming counts increased 18 percent statewide this spring, according to a survey by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Counts were up 16 percent in Northeastern Minnesota and 9 percent in northwestern Minnesota, said Charlotte Roy, DNR grouse project leader. Results this year followed a year of no change from 2014 to 2015. The ruffed grouse population in Minnesota tends to rise and fall in a 10-year cycle. The last peak in that cycle occurred in 2009, Roy said.”

The Glean

Can I get a dozen eggs while I’m here? For the Forum News Service’s Mike Longaecker says, “A Wisconsin woman is accused of neglecting her children, who authorities say were left behind while she slipped outside to prostitute herself inside a modified chicken coop. Sarah M. Bradehoft, 27, of Star Prairie, was charged June 23 in Polk County Circuit Court with two felonies — child neglect causing bodily harm and second-degree recklessly endangering safety — and three misdemeanor counts of prostitution.” Pretty soon our friends across the river are going to out-Florida Florida.

WDIO-TV up in Duluth says, “A statement from Essar Steel Minnesota on Monday morning indicates the company plans to continue their pursuit of the mining project in Nashwauk. The company clarified that they plan on fighting the pending termination of the mineral leases, which was a decision announced Friday by Governor Mark Dayton. The release said that the filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is ‘a further step in the Company’s ongoing effort to complete its 7 million ton per year iron ore mining and pellet making facility.’” If The Donald can do it in Atlantic City, they can do it on The Range.

In the Strib though, Dee DePass says, “Essar said in a statement it views Gov. Mark Dayton’s decision to terminate the company’s mineral leases as ‘invalid,’ adding it plans ‘to continue efforts to complete [a] state-of-the-art steel plant in Minnesota.’ Essar’s apparent intent to revive long abandoned plans to build a steel mill in addition to its taconite facility added intrigue to a project at a crossroads after months of missed deadlines and Essar’s failure to make payments to the state and its contractors.”

Also up North. Dan Kraker of MPR says, “PolyMet Mining has submitted its first three major state permit applications, which it’s calling ‘another important milestone’ in its bid to open the first ever copper-nickel mine in Minnesota. The company submitted a nearly 1,900 page application with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for its water quality permit. It also applied to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for a water use permit and a dam safety permit for the tailings basin where the company would deposit mine waste left over from processing.”

Damn spending-crazed liberals! Says Brian Bakst at MPR: “Minnesota state government finished its last budget year with an estimated $230 million more in the bank than finance officials expected. The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget released a report Monday that provided the update on fiscal year 2016 tax revenues. The budget year ended on June 30 with the extra money, which is about 1 percent more than forecast. Individual income taxes and corporate taxes outpaced projections, but general sales taxes lagged a bit.” I knew it! Crippling the job creators!

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Dang, nice plane. Says Tom Olsen in the Grand Forks Herald, “Two people escaped injury when their antique biplane crash-landed in east-central Minnesota after leaving the Duluth Airshow on Saturday. The retired U.S. Navy biplane went down in an empty field in Stanchfield Township, about 10 miles west of Rush City, just before 7 p.m., according to the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office. …  The pilot stated that he attempted to make an emergency landing in a soybean field, but was carrying too much speed and had to proceed under some power lines and across a road before the plane made a hard landing in an unplanted field. The landing gear was crushed, and the plane came to rest on its belly.”