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Latest effort to pare down Minneapolis 2040 plan defeated

Plus: trial starts in Title IX suit against St. Cloud State; Minneapolis City Council committee approves municipal ID plan; U of M scientist leading international effort on microbial dark matter; and more.

In the Star Tribune, Andy Mannix says: A last-ditch effort to scale back the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan went down to defeat on the City Council Monday, but many other details of the development blueprint are still at play. City Council Member Linea Palmisano, a vocal critic of how the plan seeks to increase density, proposed allowing duplexes, instead of triplexes, in areas now restricted to single-family homes. It would be a further departure from the 2040 density guidelines, which were scaled back by planners earlier this year from fourplexes to triplexes citywide.”

The St. Cloud Times reports: “A bench trial in a Title IX case against St. Cloud State University began Monday at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis, according to court documents. Five members of the St. Cloud State  women’s tennis team sued the university in 2016 after the university announced its intent to cut six athletic programs. The lawsuit alleges that the result meant the university has offered more athletic opportunities for men than for women.”

KSTP-TV reports: “A plan to create a program to issue municipal ID cards to Minneapolis residents regardless of immigration status was approved by a Minneapolis city council committee Monday. Supporters say the program would not only benefit immigrants, but also the homeless, teenage foster children and low-income individuals.”

Mukhtar Ibrahim of the Strib says, “One by one, Minneapolis residents came forward to say how they live without documentation. Banks charge them more when they cash checks. Landlords won’t rent to them. A lack of identification complicates visits to the emergency room. Some don’t call 911 for fear of revealing their immigration status. Speaking in Spanish, with an interpreter translating, they urged the Minneapolis City Council on Monday to move forward with a plan to create a municipal identification card available to all residents. It’s a step cities across the country have taken to support undocumented residents during the federal government’s immigration crackdown.”

At MPR, Kirsti Marohn reports, “For years, a bacteria known as Clostridium difficile that can cause intestinal infections, crippling diarrhea and even death was thought to be a problem confined to hospitals and care facilities. But some evidence suggests that more cases of C. diff, as it’s more commonly known, are occurring outside of hospital settings, posing a challenge for health care professionals working to prevent its spread. In Minnesota, it’s not a new trend. Community-acquired cases actually made up the majority of C. diff cases in five Minnesota counties where it was tracked in 2016 and 2017, according to data from the state Department of Health.”

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Also from MPR, this from Dan Gunderson: “There is life — tiny, microbial, can’t-see-it-with-the-naked-eye life — teeming in the dirt under our feet. It’s a complex, largely unexplored world — and thanks to the efforts of a Minnesota scientist, is becoming one of the newest frontiers of farming and science. ‘Many scientists refer to microbial dark matter, just like we think of dark matter out in the universe, which is the unknown’, said University of Minnesota professor Linda Kinkel, who’s leading international research efforts to learn more about the microbes that live in soil. … Billions of microbes can live in a teaspoon of soil, but scientists don’t know much about how — or why — they’re there.”

Also, Cathy Wurzer of MPR says, “After nearly 40 years, photographer and astronomy blogger Bob King is retiring from the Duluth News Tribune. King, better known as ‘Astro Bob,’ shares regular news and insights about outer space that are tailored to his audience in northeastern Minnesota. He’d alert readers to upcoming meteor showers and times to see the northern lights as well as explain new scientific findings. When he’s not pointing his camera at the night sky, King covers the news in and around Duluth.”