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Explosion causes injuries, building collapse at Minnehaha Academy in south Minneapolis

Plus: 2018 health insurance enrollment deadline extended in Minnesota; riot charges dropped against Philando Castile cousin; the St. Paul John Wayne Gacy victim; and more.

Emergency vehicles shown outside the collapsed building at Minnehaha Academy on Wednesday morning.
Steven Appelget/via REUTERS

Major explosion in South Minneapolis. The Star Tribune’s Paul Walsh and Libor Jany report: “A natural gas explosion late Wednesday morning rocked Minnehaha Academy’s upper school in Minneapolis, causing a partial building collapse and leaving two people unaccounted for and injuring five others, fire and school officials said. … A third person believed to be missing was found uninjured at about noon. All of the injured people were adults. One is in critical condition. … The building near E. Lake Street in the 3100 block of West River Parkway has collapsed to some degree, and fire crews are on the scene extinguishing the blaze and looking to remove any people who might be trapped, officials added.”

… and all the health insurance enrollment periods are above average. The Pioneer Press’ David Montgomery reports: “Most Americans will have from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 this year to get 2018 health insurance on the individual market. Minnesotans will get an extra four weeks. … The new Jan. 14 deadline was announced Tuesday by MNsure, Minnesota’s state-run health insurance exchange. Because Minnesota hasn’t turned its health insurance exchange over to the federal government, it has the ability to extend enrollment periods.”

Charges dropped. The AP reports (via MPR): “Felony riot charges have been dropped against a man who participated in protests after a police officer shot and killed Philando Castile. … The Carver County Attorney’s Office says there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges against Louis Hunter. … Hunter is a cousin of Castile, the motorist shot by St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a July 2016 traffic stop. 

If you found those odd reports of a St. Paul victim of John Wayne Gacy a little confusing last month, the New York Times has a fuller story for you. Julie Bosman writes: “It was a painful mystery that had simmered just below the surface for about 40 years, and last month, the family of James Byron Haakenson finally got their answer. As had been long feared, the funny, good-natured 16-year-old they called Jimmy had been a victim of John Wayne Gacy, one of the country’s most notorious serial killers. … The story of Jimmy’s identification, decades after his death, is a remarkable quest that spanned the country. It took a curious nephew in Texas with a knack for digging around online, siblings in Minnesota and South Dakota who had never stopped wondering what had happened to their brother, and a sheriff-detective team in Illinois determined to close cold cases.”

In other news…

Are you going? “Ribbon cutting today for milelong St. Croix River Crossing bridge” [Star Tribune]

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Stellar: “Planetarium construction at the new Bell Museum begins” [Minnesota Daily]

End of an era: “Loring Pasta Bar purchased by longtime managers; will relaunch as LRx” [City Pages]

Reports of death of malls exaggerated: “Galleria announces more tenants as expansion nears completion” [Star Tribune]

Someone was going to go there: “In Minneapolis, response to police shooting of white woman by Somali officer has been different” [Washington Post]

Build the … trail? “Border-spanning adventure trail in the works for northern Minn.” [MPR]

No pulling the wool over these young riders’ eyes: “Mutton Bustin’” [Duluth News Tribune]