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Federal government denies Walz’s request for aid to help rebuild Twin Cities

Plus: Wisconsin sees spike in COVID-19 cases; Walz makes it official, calls another special session; Powderhorn Park encampments smaller than previously estimated; and more.

In the Star Tribune, Ryan Faircloth reports: “The federal government has denied Gov. Tim Walz’s request for aid to help rebuild and repair Twin Cities structures that were damaged in the unrest following George Floyd’s death. Walz asked President Donald Trump to declare a ‘major disaster’ for the state of Minnesota in his request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on July 2. … The governor’s spokesman, Teddy Tschann, confirmed late Friday that the request for federal aid was denied.”

The AP reports: “Wisconsin hit a new high Friday in newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, breaking the record set just the day before. The state Department of Health Services reported 845 new confirmed cases, a day after there were 754 new positives. Cases in Wisconsin, as well as the percentage positive of all those tested, have been increasing since mid-June, mirroring spikes seen in most states.”

For MPR, Brian Bakst reports: “Minnesota lawmakers will be back in St. Paul next week for another special session,which begins on Monday and will include debates over policing, construction projects and coronavirus prevention strategies. Gov. Tim Walz issued the special session proclamation on Friday. It’s the second special session in the past two months.”

For the Forum News Service, Dana Ferguson writes: “Days before Minnesota lawmakers were expected to return to the Capitol for a special legislative session, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party plans to pressure Republican legislators to pass police accountability measures in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.”

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Ryan Faircloth and Libor Jany write in the Star Tribune: “Pleading for an end to the gun violence that has ravaged their city this spring and summer, marchers walked through the heart of north Minneapolis Friday evening, calling on residents to put their ‘guns down’ and their ‘love up.’ … It wasn’t the first such gathering since George Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody unleashed a sea of unrest, followed by a wave of gun violence. … But it might have been one of the most urgent, taking place just hours after Minneapolis’ 32nd homicide of 2020. That’s double what the number was at this time last year.”

KSTP-TV’s Eric Rasmussen reports: “The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has now dropped charges in three cases where Minnesota State Trooper Albert Kuehne was a key witness, but the public defender said prosecutors withheld critical information and still pressed for a guilty plea from one defendant just days before the trooper was formally charged with felony stalking in June. A search warrant filed earlier that month revealed agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were investigating allegations that Kuehne illegally searched a woman’s iPhone during a drunk driving arrest in March and then sent nude photos of the woman to his personal cellphone.”

Miguel Otárola writes for the Star Tribune: “State and Minneapolis officials on Friday said they’re working to reduce the size of two encampments in Powderhorn Park, which they say are already significantly smaller than previously estimated. … A survey conducted by nonprofit Avivo counted 282 campers as of July 2, according to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. By counting tents and not individuals, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board overstated the number of campers, said parks spokeswoman Dawn Sommers.”