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As much as a third of Minneapolis police force could leave by end of year, say officials

Plus: St. Paul school board postpones vote on distance learning; Minnesota Children’s Museum reopens; Buzz, the Como Zoo’s polar bear, dies at 24; and more. 

In the Star Tribune, Libor Jany writes: “Minneapolis police are down at least 100 officers since the killing of George Floyd — more than 10% of the force — straining department resources amid a wave of violence and adding extra urgency to the political debate over its future. … MPD officials not authorized to speak publicly estimate the department, which is budgeted for 888 officers this year, could lose as much as a third of its workforce by the end of the year.”

Josh Verges writes in the Pioneer Press: “The St. Paul school board on Saturday postponed a decision on how to start the school year during the coronavirus pandemic. Superintendent Joe Gothard on Thursday recommended all students start the year learning from home, saying the schools aren’t ready to reopen safely. … Board members, though, have concerns about the wide latitude the resolution would give the superintendent and the fact that his special authority would run through the end of the school year. They postponed a vote on the matter till Wednesday night, when they’ll hear a more detailed report on the district’s distance learning plans.”

For KSTP-TV, Crystal Bui reports: “After months of being closed, the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul reopened Saturday. … In preparation for the opening, museum staff have, among other measures, removed soft props and costumes to make sure they can sanitize everything. There are also new, upgraded air filters to also help monitor air flow. And there will be ‘wellness checks’ on staff, every day.”

For MPR, Mark Zdechlik says: “A week after Minnesota’s face mask mandate took effect, opponents gathered on the grounds of the State Capitol on Saturday to criticize Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order. A few hundred people turned out for the rally, with some carrying signs, others American flags, and a few with firearms visible. In announcing the rally, organizers said they’re not opposed to people wearing masks — just any statewide rule or law requiring it.

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Says the Pioneer Press: “Buzz, the Como Zoo’s popular polar bear, has died. ‘Buzz’s health declined due to suspected neurological issues,’ the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory said on Facebook on Saturday. ‘After all treatment options were exhausted with the animal care and veterinary team, the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the 24 year old bear was made.’ Buzz, and twin brother Neil, were born in December 1995 at the Louisville Zoo and came to Como Zoo in 2001 from San Diego. They were named for the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.”