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Garofalo seeks to ban public spending on Rochester to Twin Cities rail line

Plus: Residents disappointed at long Northern Metal closure timeline; St. Paul council questions Greater MSP participation; Dorothy Day Center hosts its last guests; and more.

Rep. Pat Garofalo
Copyright Minnesota House of Representatives

No train for you! The Rochester Post Bulletin’s Heather J. Carlson reports: “A state lawmaker is once again seeking to ban all public funding for a high-speed rail line from Rochester to the Twin Cities. … Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, introduced a bill Wednesday to block taxpayer dollars from being spent on the rail line. It is similar to a bill he introduced two years ago. … ‘Before we’re putting money into planning a new train, we should be making U.S. Highway 52 more safe for existing road travelers,’ Garofalo said.”

Hard when it’s in your backyard. MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar reports: “An outline of a settlement that could keep Northern Metal Recycling open in north Minneapolis for more than two years — even after it was found in violation of its permit — angered some to the point of walking out of a meeting Wednesday with state and local officials. … State and city health officials say the ZIP code that covers much of north Minneapolis has the highest hospitalization rates for asthma in the state and the highest rates of lead poisoning among children in the city. The vast majority of people living in the area are people of color, and the median household income for the area is less than $35,000 a year.”

Greater scrutiny for Greater MSP. The Star Tribune’s Jessie Van Berkel reports: “The city of St. Paul gives Greater MSP $125,000 each year to work on regional economic development. But when the City Council heard Wednesday what that has paid for, some members questioned whether the city had been getting its money’s worth. … Greater MSP, a public- private partnership, says it has been involved in the creation of 70 new jobs in the city over the past five years, and has helped retain 1,030 jobs. … Council Member Rebecca Noecker called the new job numbers ‘shockingly low,’ noting it equates to $9,000 contributed for each job added.”

End of an era. The Pioneer Press’ Tory Cooney reports: “Two hundred and forty people shifted their plastic chairs from one side of the Dorothy Day Center to the other Wednesday night, dragging along the mismatched luggage, backpacks and trash bags that contained their belongings. … Usually, they would wait outside during the squat building’s conversion from a service hub to an overnight shelter, but the temperature had dropped to 6 degrees, so the crowd was allowed indoors. … It was a routine everyone knew well. And it will change completely Thursday with the opening of Higher Ground St. Paul: a five-story building near the original Dorothy Day site, one intended to provide safe, dignified housing for 450 people. … ‘This is our last night here!’ advocate coordinator Terrie Green called into the crowd.”

In other news…

Just protesting: “Riot charges thrown out against Castile protesters on I-94 in July” [Star Tribune]

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It’s OK though because everybody loves your dog: “Has your dog been illegally entering Minneapolis’ coffee shops and taprooms?” [City Pages]

As if ticks weren’t bad enough already: “Tick-triggered allergy surfaces in northern Minnesota” [MPR]

Should’ve just rebranded them selfie studios: “Target Will Close Its Remaining Portrait Studios” [Fortune]

Back Vonn top: “Lindsey Vonn to return to World Cup racing this weekend” [KARE]

In the mood for a melody? “Twins confirm July 28 concert with Billy Joel at Target Field” [Star Tribune]