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Fischbach sworn in as lieutenant governor

Plus: Minnesota companies named in Sandy Hook defamation lawsuit; judge rules Minneapolis can’t operate Commons park; sooty geese found near Superior refinery; and more.

Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach

What a relief. The Star Tribune’s Erin Golden and J. Patrick Coolican report: “Republican Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach resigned her state Senate seat Friday and took the oath of office as lieutenant governor in the DFL administration of Gov. Mark Dayton. … While Republican Fischbach has held the lieutenant governor post since January, her unexpected resignation from her St. Cloud-area seat left the state Senate split equally between the two parties — 33 Republicans and 33 DFLers. That means political control of that chamber will depend on the outcome of a special election to replace her. … Dayton immediately set that special election for November 6, same as the general election.”

Local connection in the Alex Jones lawsuit. MPR’s Nina Moini reports: “The families of six people killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting have filed a defamation lawsuit against internet and radio personality Alex Jones. … Two Minnesota companies also are named as defendants, with the plaintiffs claiming the companies syndicated and profited from Jones’ messages about the 2012 school shooting in Connecticut that claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators.”

Illegal parking. The Star Tribune’s Mukhtar M. Ibrahim writes: “A Hennepin County district judge Wednesday ruled that the city of Minneapolis doesn’t have the authority to operate a park, known as the Commons, that sits next to U.S. Bank Stadium. … The ruling is a win for former Minneapolis City Council Member Paul Ostrow and former council candidate John Hayden, who alleged in a lawsuit that the city violated its charter in a complicated agreement that subsidized the Commons park and a nearby parking ramp in downtown Minneapolis using $65 million in bonds.”

Possibly refinery-fire related. The Duluth News Tribune’s John Myers reports: “Sean Haasnoot was at his job at the Hansen-Mueller grain elevator on Superior’s waterfront Wednesday morning when he noticed three Canada geese that didn’t look right. … Instead of the usual black and white feathers, these geese were nearly all black and covered in an oily substance. … ‘It looked like oil, but I’m not sure what it was,’ Haasnoot told the News Tribune.”

In other news…

Frey’s first State of the City:A city ‘poised’ to overcome obstacles” [Southwest Journal]

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Bye, bye, Buy:Best Buy to close Mall of America store in August” [Star Tribune]

Never go outside, number one:3 rescued from Minnehaha Falls spillway during heavy rainfall” [Star Tribune]

Never go outside, number two:Two dogs, three adults, one state park add up to 100 ticks in less than 24 hours” [Star Tribune]