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State Capitol marchers denounce mask mandates, state of emergency

Plus: Big Ten presidents reportedly set to reconsider fall football season; COVID-19 infections growing faster in the Dakotas than anywhere else in the nation; Minnesota lab directors defend coronavirus diagnostic tests amid criticism; and more.

In the Star Tribune, Katy Read writes: “A couple hundred people — waving American flags, singing patriotic tunes, wearing pro-Donald Trump T-shirts and eschewing face masks — gathered in front of the Minnesota State Capitol on Saturday for an event billed as United We Stand & Patriots March for America. Speakers drew applause with familiar conservative arguments: that mask mandates infringe on citizens’ rights, that the dangers of COVID-19 have been exaggerated, that Trump should be re-elected.”

The AP reports: “Big Ten football might be making a comeback. Big Ten university presidents will meet Sunday to hear a presentation about playing a fall football season after all — maybe as soon as mid-October — amid pressure to kick off from parents, players, coaches and even the president.”

The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson reports: “Minnesota lab directors are defending their COVID-19 diagnostic tests amid criticism that they are too broad and find insignificant viral material in nasal and saliva samples from some people who aren’t infectious. Critics have questioned how all positive results can be treated the same when some require more rounds, called cycles, of testing and the amplifying of millions more copies of DNA to find genetic proof of the COVID-19 virus.”

Also from the AP: “Coronavirus infections in the Dakotas are growing faster than anywhere else in the nation, fueling impassioned debates over masks and personal freedom after months in which the two states avoided the worst of the pandemic. … North Dakota and South Dakota lead the country in new cases per capita over the last two weeks, ranking first and second respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.”

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In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes: “For years, charter schools eager for construction financing have turned to the city of St. Paul for conduit revenue bonds — a type of public borrowing that leaves the schools, not the city, on the hook to pay back cash to bondholders. … That process could soon be put on hold. Alarmed by the rapid expansion of tax-exempt charter schools within the city’s borders and the subsequent loss of industrial space, the St. Paul City Council met Wednesday as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority and began discussing a potential timeout of sorts.”

The Star Tribune’s Dee DeePass writes: “After three long years, the former Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis is ready to reveal itself as the stunningly converted Dayton’s Project office tower. But there’s a hitch. The gleaming redo — with proud nods to the site’s longtime use as the Dayton’s Department Store, is all dressed up with nowhere to go. … ‘There are no signed tenants. When you talk to people in real estate, nobody is signing anything right now,’ said Brian Whiting, CEO of Chicago-based Telos Group, the partner of the Dayton’s development that led the planning and execution.