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ATF aiding St. Paul hotel fire investigation

Plus: 30 sick with COVID-19 after attending funeral in Lake Park; home deconstructions on the rise in the Twin Cities; Voyageurs Park pleads with visitors not to leave trash; and more.

Burning questions. The Star Tribune’s Tim Harlow reports: “A team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrived in St. Paul Thursday to help local officials determine what sparked a fire that destroyed a Marriott hotel and apartment complex that was under construction. … The early Tuesday blaze broke out at the site of the $69 million Seven Corners Gateway project on W. 7th Street across from the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul and sent flames and smoke shooting high into the air that could be seen from miles away. … The St. Paul Fire Department requested the help from the ATF’s National Response Team because of the large amount of damage, the intensity of the fire, and the number of investigative agencies involved.

What a sad story. The West Central Tribune’s Tracy Briggs reports: “Losing a parent is hard, but for Stephanie Schindler, the most devastating part is what’s happening now, three weeks after she buried her father. … ‘We’re having such guilt and heaviness about everything,’ she said. ‘Knowing that everyone got sick is harder than losing my dad.’ … Schindler says an estimated 30 people who attended her father’s July 13 funeral in Lake Park have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are currently symptomatic. She says five of her close family members have been hospitalized.”

Green remodeling. KSTP reports:Home deconstructions are on the rise in the Twin Cities. … The process involves dismantling a building instead of simply demolishing it, so crews can salvage reusable materials. … In February, 5 EYEWITNESS News reported Hennepin County was one of the first counties in the country to offer ‘green grants’ for deconstruction.”

Ruining it for the rest of us. The Star Tribune’s Paul Walsh reports: “Operators of Voyageurs National Park in far northern Minnesota are pleading with visitors to stop leaving trash behind by the bag full. … Park officials posted photos on their Facebook page this week showing food containers, beer cans, rolls of toilet paper, plastic bottles and other garbage where people camped or made day trips.”

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In other news…

Bees vs. bikers:Minnetonka faces federal lawsuit over mountain bike trail through rare bumblebee haven” [Star Tribune]

Spreading everywhere:After taking tough measures, Fond du Lac band has first COVID-19 cases” [MPR]

But you have to live in South Dakota:South Dakota Governor Uses COVID-19 Restrictions Elsewhere, Including Minnesota, To Lure Businesses” [WCCO]

More funds recovered:Victims of Petters ponzi scheme to receive $22 million” [KARE]

It takes two:Stuck cat rescued by Bloomington police and fire” [KARE]