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Records allege DOC official lobbied for husband’s nonprofit, leaked private data

Plus: group of DFL lawmakers break with colleagues, voice support for copper-nickel mining; how Trump’s comments are affecting Omar’s standing in CD5; driver crashes into St. Paul school; and more.

For MPR, Briana Bierschbach, Brian Bakst and Nina Moini write: “A top Minnesota prison official who resigned last week had been under investigation for weeks for allegedly lobbying on behalf of her husband’s nonprofit and for leaking private, internal data, according to records released Thursday night. The redacted investigative documents were released by the Department of Corrections less than a week after former Deputy Commissioner Sarah Walker suddenly departed from her post to seek ‘unique opportunities’ at the local and national level.”

For the Forum papers, Dana Ferguson writes: “A handful of Democratic state lawmakers on Thursday, July 25, split with their peers in the Legislature, voicing their support for Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mining project. … The comments came as a rebuke to 18 Democratic lawmakers predominantly from the Twin Cities who wrote a letter to Gov. Tim Walz a day earlier asking him to drop all permits for the project following recent reports that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency failed to address concerns from the EPA about the mine.

For BuzzFeed, Molly Hensly-Clancy says of Fifth Congressional District Rep. Ilhan Omar: Omar is a symbol of everything Minneapolis’s progressives want to project — and now that she’s in office, battered by the president and his party, Omar has been boosted by the fact that she has become a symbol of everything Trump hates. Omar is the only member of ‘the Squad,’ the group of four Democratic women of color targeted by Trump, to represent a district that is mostly white — just under two-thirds. That still makes the 5th District the most diverse district in Minnesota, a heavily white state with some of the country’s worst racial disparities and a stubbornly persistent wealth gap.”

For The Guardian, Jon Swaine reports, “A pro-Trump Republican candidate for Congress who is aiming to unseat Ilhan Omar in Minnesota has been charged with a felony after allegedly stealing from stores. Danielle Stella was arrested twice this year in Minneapolis suburbs over allegations that she shoplifted items worth more than $2,300 from a Target and goods valued at $40 from a grocery store. She said she denied the allegations. Stella, a 31-year-old special education teacher, was reported this week to be a supporter of the baseless ‘QAnon’ conspiracy theory about Donald Trump battling a global cabal of elite liberal paedophiles. This week Stella also described Minneapolis as ‘the crime capital of our country.’”

In the Pioneer Press, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “A driver crashed into a St. Paul school on Thursday, narrowly missing staff members inside the lobby, a witness said. No one was injured, but the Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning is expected to be closed until Monday. Stephen Hunt, a substitute who teaches English as a Second Language, was signing in for the day ‘and before I knew it, a car had landed in the lobby,” he said. “It sounded like a large bookcase had fallen and I was quite startled.”

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For MPR Jon Collins and Riham Feshir report, “In two separate but similar incidents this month, federal immigration officials in Minneapolis and Kansas City, Mo., broke out car windows to arrest undocumented immigrants who had reentered the country after being deported. The incidents raise questions about whether agents with the U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement are adopting new and more aggressive tactics, as some immigrant advocates suggest, or whether some immigrants mistakenly believe they’re safe from arrest while inside their cars.”

In the Star Tribune, J. Patrick Coolican writes, “Republican lawmakers ramped up the pressure on DFL Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday, demanding answers about the recent leadership shake-up at the Department of Human Services. The massive social service agency has seen the resignations of two top officials — since rescinded — and ultimately the departure of Commissioner Tony Lourey and his chief of staff.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Marissa Evans writes: “St. Paul city officials are thinking about letting more overnight homeless shelters operate closer to the center of downtown, a move that advocates say could ease the strain on packed shelters in the area. … The St. Paul Planning Commission is seeking community feedback about the proposed zoning change at a hearing Friday. The hearing comes as St. Paul and Ramsey County officials as well as homeless advocates grapple with a growing unsheltered population in need of housing and other services.”

In the West Central Tribune, Shelby Lindrud reports: “The Paynesville woman who died Tuesday in a fire allegedly set by her father could be heard screaming from the back of the home when a Paynesville police officer arrived. Court documents in the murder case against her father state that Jamey Marie Newport, 22, called police and said her father was going to start her home on fire. While on the phone, she started screaming and yelling for help, saying she could not get out of the house.”

At MPR, Tim Nelson says, “A pair of Edina boys have a fish story of a lifetime after they lassoed a 6-foot sturgeon and hauled it out of Minnehaha Creek this week. Mac Hoekstra, 12, and his friend Owen Sanderson, 14, were tubing down the creek near 56th Street when they spotted the monster lurking in the stream. ‘I looked down and there’s this massive black fish. It was just crazy,’ said Owen.”