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Court of Appeals denies latest challenge to PolyMet project

Plus: arson investigation in St. Paul over series of weekend fires; Klobuchar won’t apologize to McCain family; sexual assault victim calls for boycott of Children’s Theater after company indicates it may ask her to pay legal fees; and more.

Minnesota Court of Appeals
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

For MPR, Dan Kraker reports, “The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected arguments from three conservation groups that claim state regulators should conduct additional environmental review of the PolyMet copper-nickel mine proposed for northeastern Minnesota. The groups — the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and WaterLegacy — alleged in appeals filed last summer that PolyMet intends to build a much larger mine than what was originally proposed to the state, and argued that therefore the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources should conduct a supplemental analysis to weigh additional environmental risks from a larger project.”

The Pioneer Press’ Mara Gottfried writes: “St. Paul firefighters responded to one fire after another early on Memorial Day — all caused by arson. There were a dozen intentionally set fires in a six-hour span on Sunday night and early Monday, and the fire department is looking into whether 10 of them are connected. Garbage or recycling bins, along with a shed, were set ablaze in the Macalester-Groveland, Merriam Park, Summit-University and other neighborhoods. … The pattern, time and proximity of the fires possibly indicate an individual or group of people were responsible, according to the fire department.”

For Fox News Joseph Wulfsohn says, “Minnesota senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar is not apologizing for invoking the late-Sen. John McCain in an attack aimed at President Trump despite the wishes of his daughter, Meghan McCain. The feud began on Saturday during a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, where Klobuchar echoed her late colleague’s remarks he told her during Trump’s inauguration. … In a statement made to CNN, the Klobuchar campaign, however, did not offer any apology to the McCain family.”

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MPR’s Tim Nelson and Evan Frost write: “The sounds of excavators rang out Tuesday around Bde Maka Ska as the roof and walls of its historic lakeside pavilion came down. The nearly 90-year-old building by the lake also known as Calhoun was heavily damaged in a May 16 fire. Minneapolis arson investigators probing the fire say a man caught on surveillance video outside the pavilion when the fire started is a suspect. The damaged building was home to Lola on the Lake restaurant. City officials haven’t said what will replace it.”

At MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar writes, “Today, half of the electricity produced in the state comes from burning coal and natural gas — those greenhouse-gas emitting, climate-change-exacerbating fossil fuels. But the makeup of Minnesota’s energy pie is changing: Xcel Energy last week announced plans to close all of its remaining coal-fired power plants in the state by 2030 and to increase its solar capacity in the Upper Midwest by 1,400 percent. As the state’s largest electric utility, the move is likely to dramatically change the way Minnesotans get their electricity.”

KSTP reports: “A lawsuit that found Children’s Theatre Company negligent for the sexual assault of a former student has now led to a boycott. The woman who filed the suit, Laura Stearns, called for the boycott over the weekend after she says the theatre’s attorneys indicated they may ask her to pay for their fees. In late January, a jury found Children’s Theater Company ‘generally negligent in the time period before’ Stearns was sexually assaulted by a former CTC teacher in 1983. However, jurors stopped short of finding CTC liable for damages because it did not directly cause the assault of Laura Stearns. … At a hearing last Friday, lawyers for the theater asked a judge to determine the proper costs which the theater says it can request as the “prevailing party” under Minnesota law. … According to a document filed prior to Friday’s hearing, the costs identified by Children’s Theater Company come close to $300,000, which Stearns would be responsible for paying.”

Says Ben Lane for, “Both Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are in the middle of digital revolutions of their respective mortgage businesses. And apparently Wells Fargo liked Chase’s approach so much that the company is hiring away one of the leaders of Chase’s mortgage tech transformation. Wells Fargo announced Monday that it is hiring Steve Hagerman to serve as the company’s head of consumer lending technology. Previously, Hagerman was chief technology officer, managing director and head of home lending originations technology for JPMorgan Chase. … At Wells Fargo, Hagerman will be ‘responsible for supporting Wells Fargo’s new and emerging technology platforms, allowing the consumer lines of business to evolve and grow their product sets,’ the company said in a release.”