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Echoing Trump, Minnesota Republicans push ‘law and order’ election message

Plus: Minnesota movie theaters face tough future; U researcher finds feared invasive weed in Wisconsin; postal workers protest in Eagan; and more.

The Star Tribune’s Patrick Condon writes: “ Positioning Republicans as a force for stability in the aftermath of the protests and riots that followed George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police, Trump is revving up an issue that has worked over the years to the Republicans’ benefit. GOP candidates up and down the ballot are following his example, turning Minneapolis into an electoral test case: a city run by Democrats whom Republicans charge with failing to do enough to prevent the devastation, then moving to cut police budgets and redefine policing.”

Bob Shaw writes in the Pioneer Press: “As of Aug. 21, only half of metro area (movie) theaters had reopened — two months after Gov. Tim Walz lifted the coronavirus restrictions. Fourteen theaters have not announced any plans to re-open. Two metro-area theater chains teetered on the edge of bankruptcy in July, and one 20-plex in Oakdale has closed permanently. Under these conditions, reopening a theater takes guts — but don’t confuse that with optimism. ‘I don’t know how we come back from this, honestly,’ said Woodbury 10 owner Nathan Block, as he sanitized a ticket booth. ‘I just don’t see any bottom to this. Are we all going to be warehouses for Amazon?’”

Also in the Star Tribune, Greg Stanley writes: “Amanda Weise, a botanist with the University of Minnesota, was searching the woods of a Wisconsin state park for rare and endangered plants when instead she stumbled upon a long-feared invasive weed. Weise’s discovery is the first evidence that Japanese stiltgrass, which can change the makeup of forest floors by strangling out native grasses, flowers, young trees and other plants, has made it to the Upper Midwest.”

WCCO-TV’s David Schuman reports: “Twin Cities postal workers and their supporters protested Saturday outside the USPS distribution center in Eagan. They’re calling on U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to resign.…Members of the local postal workers union say the problem with that is no longer having backups in case a machine breaks. They also say it simply lowers the amount of mail that gets through.”

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The AP says: “Black students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison want the school to remove a 70-ton boulder from campus because its nickname is a racial slur. The Wisconsin State Journal reported Saturday that a glacier pulled the rock to Wisconsin from Canada about 12,000 years ago and deposited in the side of a hill that is now part of the state flagship school’s campus. Workers pulled the rock out of the hillside in 1925 and moved it next to the school’s observatory. The boulder was officially named Chamberlin Rock to honor Thomas Chamberlin, a 19th-century geologist and university president.”

For the Forum News Service, Paul John Scott writes: “Minnesota state health officials say the 12 people who were hospitalized with vaping-related lung illness in June and July all had used products containing vitamin E acetate. Five of the 12 cases required ICU care and ventilators, and all are now recovered or recovering. The average age was 18, but patients were as young as 14 and old as 46, according to a news release from the state. Vitamin E acetate is an additive sometimes used as a solvent for bootleg versions of the vaping cartridges containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.”