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State Senate Republicans oust Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley

Plus: 73 high school athletes reported to have tested positive for COVID-19; Ramsey County Attorney John Choi resigns from presidential criminal justice commission; members of well-known Ely family charged with violating fish-and-game law; and more.

For the Star Tribune, Briana Bierschbach writes: “Senate Republicans ousted Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley on Friday, the second agency head in two months to get the boot in an intensifying power struggle between GOP leaders and Gov. Tim Walz during a series of pandemic-triggered special sessions. … Taken together, the two moves represent an ­extraordinary use of the Legislature’s power to confirm or reject the governor’s cabinet appointments, now being wielded as a weapon during the continuing standoff over the governor’s use of emergency powers to combat the spread of COVID-19.”

For the Associated Press, Amy Forliti and Steve Karnoki write:A white police officer accused in the death of George Floyd had used neck or head and upper body restraints seven times before, including four incidents in which prosecutors say he went too far, according to prosecution documents released Friday in the case against four former Minneapolis officers charged in Floyd’s death.”

In the Pioneer Press, Jace Frederick writes: “Voluntary data submitted by 348 member schools to the Minnesota State High School League reported 73 high school athletes tested positive for COVID-19 over a two-week period ending Sept. 4, while 735 athletes were within close contact of a positive case. Of the 1,248 programs to report, 16 percent were affected by either a positive case or close contact. Forty teams across all current fall sports had to miss games, while 141 practices were cancelled.”

The Star Tribune’s Rochelle Olson reports: “When three former Minneapolis police officers emerged from a hearing in a downtown courthouse Friday afternoon, hundreds of protesters, who minutes earlier had been line dancing in the street, instantly transformed into an aggressive mob, screaming “Murderer!” as they followed two of the men to their parked vehicle. The protesters swarmed around a truck as former officer Thomas Lane got into the front passenger seat and his one-time partner, J. Alexander Kueng, sat behind the driver, his attorney, Thomas Plunkett.”

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For MPR, Dan Kraker writes: “Anyone who’s spent the night in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness already knows that the night sky overhead is spectacular. … Now, the whole world will know what tens of thousands of paddlers have already discovered. Late last month the Boundary Waters was named a dark sky sanctuary by the International Dark Sky Association, a nonprofit that works around the world to reduce light pollution and protect night skies. It’s one of just 13 such designations in the world.”

The Pioneer Press’ Mara H. Gottfried writes: “Ramsey County Attorney John Choi submitted a letter of resignation from a presidential criminal justice commission, saying it became obvious the process ‘was intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past, furthering failed tough-on-crime policies that led to our current mass incarceration crisis.’”

From the Forum News Service, John Myers writes: “Three members of a well-known Ely outfitting and resort family have been charged in U.S. District Court with violating a federal fish-and-game law by netting ciscoes illegally in Canada and then selling them in the U.S.”