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Twin Cities teachers unions push to delay return to in-person instruction

Plus: Walz gets pushback after DEED asks business groups to send pre-written letters of support for mask mandate; gun violence up in Minneapolis amid debate about future of police; Twins win opening game of COVID-shortened season; and more.

Emma Harville writes in the Pioneer Press: “Twin Cities educators on Friday called on Gov. Tim Walz to delay a return to in-person instruction in the fall, saying the risks of reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic are too great. The St. Paul and Minneapolis teachers unions organized a march from J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School to the governor’s residence.”

In the Star Tribune, Torey Van Oot writes: “Just as Gov. Tim Walz announced a statewide mask mandate this week, his top economic development commissioner fired off an e-mail to business and industry groups urging them to submit pre-written letters supporting the policy to newspapers and other organizations. …  The push sparked protests Friday from Senate GOP leaders accusing the DFL governor of using state resources for what they called a “taxpayer-funded PR campaign” in support of a mandate that many Republicans oppose as an overreach of his emergency powers to curb the spread of COVID-19.”

Emma Harville writes in the Pioneer Press: “Twin Cities educators on Friday called on Gov. Tim Walz to delay a return to in-person instruction in the fall, saying the risks of reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic are too great. The St. Paul and Minneapolis teachers unions organized a march from J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School to the governor’s residence.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Libor Jany writes: “At least 275 people have been victims of gunfire in Minneapolis so far this year, eclipsing the entire annual totals of all but two of the past 10 years, according to Police Department records. …The recent upswing in violence has factored into a fierce debate over the future of policing in Minneapolis, as elsewhere, sparked by Floyd’s death and the ensuing riots: Some law enforcement groups and their supporters have cited the spiking gun violence as reminiscent of the “Murderapolis” era of the mid-90s, while activists argue that the recent bloodshed is proof that the existing public safety system isn’t working.”

The Associated Press reports: “The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to shift police media duties away from the Police Department to city communications staff, in what one of the proposal’s authors called a small move designed to improve trust following the May 25 killing of George Floyd. The move was approved 9-3, over objections of some council members who wanted to table it for further discussion. Local journalists also sought more discussion on the issue, raising concerns it would decrease access to timely information.”

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For MPR, Jon Collins writes: “Residents filed a record number of complaints about Minneapolis police in recent months, including the time since the killing of George Floyd on May 25. Almost 700 complaints have been entered into the city’s system since April, with the majority of complaints tied to officers in south Minneapolis’ 3rd Precinct. The level of complaints in the second quarter of the year was almost five times higher than usual, according to city records.”

In the Pioneer Press, Betsy Helfand writes: “Max Kepler’s leadoff home run on the very first pitch of the Twins’ 2020 season helped set the stage for the Twins’ 10-5 win over the White Sox on Friday night in Guaranteed Rate Field. Kepler’s lead-off home run came on the first pitch of the Twins’ pandemic-delayed (and shortened) season and made a loud pronouncement: The Bomba Squad is back. Maybe some things are normal after all.”