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Tensions flare as Minneapolis Council considers plan to address officer shortage with outside law enforcement

Plus: coronavirus surge leads Itasca County to suspend contact tracing; riot-damaged Target store reopens; Minnesota delivers second-most number of Kanye votes; and more.

MinnPost file photo by Jessica Lee
Minneapolis City Council
Says Liz Navratil for the Star Tribune, “Tensions between the Minneapolis City Council and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo spiked Tuesday as they debated whether to bring in outside law enforcement to help address a shortage of officers amid a wave of violent crime. With dozens of people dead and roughly 500 wounded by gunfire so far in 2020 — the highest tally in at least 15 years — residents have been begging city leaders for a strategy to stem the violence.  … The proposal will likely come up for a final council vote Friday. It passed out of the council’s Policy & Government Oversight Committee on a 7-6 vote Tuesday.”

For The Mesabi Tribune, Jerry Burnes and Eric Killelea report, “The coronavirus is surging in northeastern Minnesota to the point that Itasca County has suspended individual contact tracing, citing a record high rate of infections through community transmission. …In shedding contact tracing, public health officials will now focus their efforts on protecting high-risk settings such as schools, long-term care facilities, childcare settings, workplaces, sports teams and places of worship. It’s unclear as of Tuesday afternoon what tracing is done by the county and the Minnesota Department of Health.”

Also in the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “St. Paul Public Schools is exploring new ways to support students during distance learning as the number of failing grades has doubled in its high schools. Midway through the first quarter this fall, students were failing 39 percent of their high school classes, up from 19 percent last fall. The district is one of the few in Minnesota that has not reopened its schools — except for a few hundred special-education students — since closing in March because of a teachers strike and the coronavirus pandemic.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Dee DePass, “The Target Store on Lake Street in Minneapolis reopens Wednesday for the first time since shutting down in May following riots that destroyed the business and many others along the normally bustling commercial corridor. The multimillion-dollar reopening restores some normalcy to a community hard hit by the civil unrest that broke out all along Lake Street in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police.”

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The AP says, “The reelection defeat of U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson in Minnesota and some key retirements mean a shakeup is coming for the industry on Capitol Hill, with power likely to shift from the Midwest to the South and the coasts. Both the House and Senate agriculture committees will get new chairs, and there will be a new top Republican on the House panel. Observers say the most likely replacements are expected to prioritize Southern crops such as peanuts, rice and cotton over traditional Midwest concerns of corn, soybeans, sugar beets and dairy. That could mean a new emphasis on nutrition programs that serve the poor.”

The Star Tribune’s Katie Galioto writes, “The [Duluth] police department is switching to an emergency staffing schedule after roughly a quarter of employees were forced to quarantine due to COVID-19. Duluth Police Spokesperson Ingrid Hornibrook said as of Tuesday afternoon, 17 staff members were at home because they tested positive for the virus. Another 31 employees, including Police Chief Mike Tusken, were in quarantine due to contact tracing.

At Fox News, Sam Dorman and Peter Hasson write, “Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has paid nearly $2.8 million to her husband’s political consulting firm so far in the 2019-2020 election cycle, including nearly 70% of her third-quarter disbursements. Federal Election Commission data shows that Omar’s campaign sent $1.6 million to E Street Group LLC, which is owned by her husband Tim Mynett, from the start of 2019 through Jul. 22, 2020. After that, she reported an additional $1.1 million in the third quarter and $27,000 in the following weeks. That $1.1 million constituted nearly 70% of the $1.6 million that Omar’s campaign spent that quarter. The expenses covered a range of services, including cable advertising, ‘digital consulting,’ video production and editing.”

Also in the Strib: Zoe Jackson reports, “Rapper Kanye West’s campaign website says ‘our future is waiting on us’, but even with a big nudge from voters in Minnesota, it might have to wait until 2024. The musical artist folded his 2020 presidential campaign with some 60,000 votes across the nation, at least 7,654 of them coming from Minnesota, a state with a tradition of backing third-party insurgencies like that of former Gov. Jesse Ventura. Minnesota gave West his second-largest statewide vote total after Tennessee, where more than 10,200 fans voted for the first-time candidate.”

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