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Court hears case over Minneapolis police staffing levels

Plus: Kindergarten enrollment plunges across the Twin Cities metro; Twin Cities on track to get 3 to 5 inches of snow; airports commission votes to institute $15 minimum wage for MSP workers; and more.

Minneapolis Police Department, 1st Precinct, downtown Minneapolis
Minneapolis Police Department, 1st Precinct, downtown Minneapolis
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Also at MPR, Brandt Williams says, “A group of Minneapolis residents suing the city over police staffing levels got their day in court Monday.  The plaintiffs, who live on the city’s north side, say the city has allowed the number of officers to dip below the minimum staffing level dictated by the city charter. And they are asking the court to prevent the City Council from further defunding the department and compel the city to hire more officers to fill in for those who’ve left.  … Plaintiff Sondra Samuels said the city has to improve the police department while also providing public safety.”

In the Star Tribune, Erin Golden reports, “Kindergarten enrollment has plunged across the Twin Cities metro, as families have sought alternatives to a first year of school spent at least partly in front of a computer screen during the pandemic. Parents frustrated by online and hybrid lessons have opted for home schooling, private schools offering in-person instruction or even delaying the start of their children’s grade-school education altogether.”

In the Pioneer Press, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “Lawyers for seven homeless people filed a federal lawsuit on Monday claiming Minneapolis and Hennepin County officials violated their clients’ constitutional rights by evicting them from encampments and destroying their belongings. The lawsuit, filed by Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, seeks monetary damages and legal actions to stop the sweeps of homeless encampments.”

For MPR, Nicole Mitchell reports, “ … by Tuesday morning, the entire state can expect snow that persists through the day. Most of the state sees at least 2 inches of snow, and it currently looks like the heaviest corridor will fall somewhere near central Minnesota or just south of there. This includes the potential for the Twin Cities to get 3 to 5 inches of snow or more. For parts of central and southern Minnesota, those totals are likely to set records. For example, the current snowfall record for October 20th in the Twin Cities is 3 inches, which we are expected to exceed.”

Randy Furst writes in the Star Tribune: “The family of a 2-year-old girl who died in 2017 as a result of neglect and injuries she received in foster care filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging the conditions that led to the girl’s death were obvious and should have led to an intervention before she died. The suit, brought by Thomas Hunziker, a grandfather of Arianna Hunziker, names as defendants a Hennepin County social worker and an Allina Health doctor and nurse as well as Allina Health Systems. Also named in the suit are the Brooklyn Park foster parents, Sherrie Dirk, who was sentenced last year to 32 years in prison, and her husband, Bryce Dirk, serving 12½ years in prison, both for second-degree murder.”

Kristi Belcamino writes in the Pioneer Press: “The Metropolitan Airports Commission voted unanimously Monday to pay Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport workers a $15 minimum wage. Workers have been lobbying for the increase for years. Many workers, including Glen Brown, now make $11 an hour, the current minimum wage at the airport. Brown, a wheelchair agent and member of the SEIU Local 26, spoke at a news conference about the increase.… Workers will see their first increase on Jan. 1. By July 1, 2022, workers will make $15. Workers will then receive annual cost of living adjustments every January.”

Says Joe Mazan for KSTP-TV, “After being closed for months, business was booming for hair salons and barbershops across Minnesota once they were allowed to reopen in June. Since then, they’ve seen sales drop as the pandemic continues. Business at Moxie Hair Salon in St. Paul has dropped 30%. The Minnesota Board of Barber Examiners says on average sales have declined 40% to 50%.”

In the Pioneer Press, Deanna Weniger writes: “The Minnesota Nurses Association wants M Health Fairview to give Ramsey County the option to buy Bethesda Hospital, among other demands. A group representing the union stood in the falling snow Monday afternoon in front of St. Paul City Hall sharing their displeasure with hospital owner Fairview, which announced earlier this month it would cut 900 jobs, close several clinics, lease Bethesda Hospital to Ramsey County and eventually close St. Joseph’s Hospital. … The union urged Ramsey County to leverage its proposed lease agreement to keep Fairview accountable. The county board will vote on the $1.2 million lease at its 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday.”

For The Verge, Josh Dzieza writes of Foxconn in Wisconsin, “The renovations never arrived. Neither did the factory, the tech campus, nor the thousands of jobs. Interviews with 19 employees and dozens of others involved with the project, as well as thousands of pages of public documents, reveal a project that has defaulted on almost every promise. The building Foxconn calls an LCD factory — about 1/20th the size of the original plan — is little more than an empty shell.

For The Daily Beast, Olivia Messer writes, “A concert that was canceled for its potential to massively spread COVID-19 in the hot zone of South Dakota has been brought back from the dead with a new featured artist — one who’s already been slammed for playing to packed pandemic crowds. Country singer Chase Rice will perform at Saturday’s event, after the original headliner, Chris Young, dropped out following a Daily Beast report on the potential danger of such a big indoor gathering. … As of Monday, the state had a cumulative total of 33,836 COVID-19 cases, with 567 new diagnosed infections overnight, 304 people currently hospitalized with the virus, and 323 total deaths. The state’s 14-day trend was increasing in daily cases, according to its coronavirus dashboard, which also showed a grave 13 percent positivity rate over the past two weeks in diagnostic test results.”

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