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Authorities evict Dakota Access pipeline protesters

Plus: U of M researchers come up with better soap molecule; “Downton Abbey” exhibit coming to Mall of America; Louisiana Pacific to announce plant expansion in northern Minnesota; and more.

Protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline stand-off with police on Thursday in this aerial photo of Highway 1806 and County Road 134 near the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Morton County Sheriff's Office/Handout

The hammer has come down in North Dakota. The AP story says, “Law enforcement officers dressed in riot gear and firing bean bags and pepper spray evicted protesters Thursday from private land in the path of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, dramatically escalating a months-long dispute over Native American rights and the project’s environmental impact. In an operation that took nearly six hours, hundreds of armed state and local police and National Guard — some on foot and others in trucks, military Humvees and buses — pushed past burning barricades to slowly envelop the camp.”

Tim Nelson and Brandt Williams at MPR report, “The family of a man shot by Burnsville police in March is suing the city. Map Kong, 38, was in the middle of a mental breakdown as he sat in his car in a McDonald’s restaurant parking lot, according to the suit. Police were responding to reports of suspicious behavior at the McDonald’s and found him rocking violently in his car, waving a knife. Police broke a window in Kong’s car and used a stun gun on him when he didn’t respond to commands to put down the knife and get out of the car. He subsequently got out and ran. Police shot him, explaining later that they feared he would try to attack people stopped in traffic on nearby Minnesota Highway 13.”

Jon Collins of MPR has this story. “Major insurance companies offering plans in Minnesota have agreed to a policy change that will mean patients can more quickly get medication to treat opioid withdrawal. About 30,000 Americans now die each year from overdoses of either prescription opioid painkillers or heroin, which is also an opioid. An increasingly common treatment involves the medication buprenorphine, also known by its brand name Suboxone. It reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms, reduces cravings and can block other opioids from taking effect.” We should all be grateful that insurance companies are allowing people to have medicine.

Some hype from the U of M News. “A team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has invented a new soap molecule made from renewable sources that could dramatically reduce the number of chemicals in cleaning products and their impact on the environment. The soap molecules also worked better than some conventional soaps in challenging conditions such as cold water and hard water. The technology has been patented by the University of Minnesota and is licensed to the new Minnesota-based startup company Sironix Renewables.” Does it clean eight-year-old boys without them even touching it?

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WCCO-TV says, “A Minnesota terrorist, who recruited friends to fight for ISIS, says online videos made him feel special. Abdirizak Warsame, 21, recently sat down to speak with CBS Evening News anchor and ‘60 Minutes’ correspondent Scott Pelley. In the exclusive interview — set to air this Sunday — the young Eagan man opened up about his motivations, and what he still thinks about every day.”

We’ll survive. The Forum News Service reports, “Average retail gasoline prices in Minnesota have fallen 2.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.11/gallon yesterday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 2,856 gas outlets in Minnesota. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.21/gallon, according to gasoline price website Including the change in gas prices in Minnesota during the past week, prices yesterday were 21.6 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 2.2 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.”

I suppose there’ll never be a “Breaking Bad” costume tour. But Jessica Armbruster at City Pages tells us, “Some watched Downton Abbey for the extreme melodrama. Others watched for the clothes. If you’re in the latter category, and you’ve always wanted a close-up and in-person look at the beautiful threads featured on the BBC show, you’ll have a chance to do so this fall. ‘Downton Abbey’ fashions have previously been showcased at the Museum of Modern Art, the Biltmore Estate, and other museums worldwide. Now, selected looks will be coming to the Mall of America.”

Another reason why more women in ministry is a good idea. MPR’s Emma Sapong says, “A pastor of a Cottage Grove church is under arrest on suspicion of child porn possession, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Thursday. BCA agents arrested the 47-year-old Pine City man after executing search warrants. He’s being held in Pine County Jail. The state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force searched the man’s home with the help of the Pine County Sheriff’s Office. They also searched the Cottage Grove Lutheran church he serves.”

The AP’s Kyle Potter has a new story on the Eighth District race. “Rep. Rick Nolan is on his heels again in a race against Republican challenger Stewart Mills, whom Nolan narrowly defeated in 2014. Fueled by more than $12 million in attack ads from outside groups, it’s become the second-most expensive congressional race in the country. On paper, it should be an easier election for Nolan with a presidential turnout surge favoring Democrats. But in a district that’s grown more conservative through redistricting — as evidenced by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s strong showing in March caucuses — nothing is guaranteed anymore. With presidential politics focused elsewhere, Vice President Joe Biden is set to host a Duluth rally Friday.”

Related: MPR’s Mark Zdechlik has what should be good news for Nolan. “Louisiana Pacific has chosen northern Minnesota for a plant expansion that will mean hundreds of new jobs, according to U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan. Nolan, the DFLer who represents Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, says details are being finalized but that the new siding manufacturing plant will likely be built in Cook. Louisiana Pacific officials could not be reached for comment. The company already operates a siding plant in Two Harbors. Nolan says the new facility will bring more than 400 jobs.”