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Homeless camps remain in at least three Minneapolis parks

Plus: former Gov. Mark Dayton gets remarried; deal would restore nearly 12,000 acres of Leech Lake Reservation land; St. Paul City Council to consider changing longstanding city liquor law; and more.

Hiawatha homeless encampment
MinnPost photo by Jessica Lee
Homeless encampments remain in at least three parks in Minneapolis.
For the Star Tribune, Miguel Otárola writes: “Homeless encampments remained in at least three parks in Minneapolis as of last week, despite the Park Board’s repeated intentions to disband them when freezing weather returned. Park Board officials are worried that the number of tents in the parks are rising once again after a steady decline in the fall. … The encampments are at Minnehaha Regional Park, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and the Mall, a park along the Midtown Greenway in Uptown. The three encampments account for 53 tents, up from the 37 that were counted on Nov. 18, Bangoura said.”

From KSTP: “Former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced on Sunday he has married former campaign aide Ana Orke. ‘I am delighted to reach out to you in these challenging times with some very happy news: After twenty years of bachelorhood, I am now a married man!’ he wrote in a social media post. … Ana Orke — now Ana Dayton — worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008 before working for Dayton during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Dayton said the two started dating after they reconnected a couple of years ago.”

In the Star Tribune, Briana Bierschbach writes: “It was a surreal confluence of events for Faron Jackson Sr. Stuck inside his home on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota with COVID-19, the tribal chairman watched as Congress voted to expand the boundaries of the reservation by 11,760 acres. His small quarantined world would soon be expanding, spilling out onto forest land dotted with lakes, streams and towering pine trees that the government illegally seized from his tribe more than 70 years ago. … Jackson said the recent unanimous passage of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act by the House and Senate is a first step in reversing more than 100 years of injustices against Native Americans in his community and across the nation.… The legislation is now on its way to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.”

KSTP-TV also reports: “The St. Paul City Council is one step away from changing a liquor law provision that has been part of city code for decades. Right now, liquor stores, including wine shops, have to be at least a half-mile apart. The owners of Yoerg Brewery, 378 Maria Avenue, would like to open a new wine store on an adjacent property to the brewery, but it would be within that half-mile restriction. The brewery, along with St. Paul City Council members Jane Prince and Dai Thao, would like to change that half-mile restriction to a quarter-mile for wine store licenses only. … The St. Paul City Council takes a final vote on the measure Wednesday.”

Hannah Flood reports for FOX 9: At a city council meeting on Monday, the mayor of Hudson, Wisconsin will recommend adopting a 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants where many Minnesotans have been visiting since the latest COVID restrictions from Governor Walz. … At about 1 a.m. Sunday morning, three people were stabbed in downtown Hudson, where many bars and restaurants’ late night bar scene has been busy with Minnesotans visiting from across the border. A 26-year-old was killed in that stabbing. Mayor O’Connor says he hopes a curfew could prevent the kind of crime that comes with late-night bar crowds.”

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Says Kirsti Marohn for MPR, “Large ice fishing contests — a beloved tradition of Minnesota winters for outdoor enthusiasts — are expected to be on hold or look completely different this winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of restrictions on large social gatherings aimed at preventing the virus’ spread, organizers of many ice fishing events are considering whether to cancel their contests — or even make them virtual events. Tournaments with more than 150 anglers require a permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In a typical winter, the DNR issues about 100 permits. DNR fisheries program consultant Jon Hansen said the agency has told tournament organizers that COVID-19 restrictions will make issuing those permits difficult.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Paul Walsh, “A motorist has admitted in court to drinking 11 shots of liquor in the hours leading up to when he ran over and killed a woman … according to authorities. Matt W. Hastreiter, 42, of Lexington, pleaded guilty in Anoka County District Court last week with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the death on Dec. 6, 2019, of 52-year-old Sheryl Ann Miller, of Blaine. The plea agreement between the defense and prosecutors calls for a stay of execution of any prison time and for Hastreiter to serve his sentence in jail, the County Attorney’s Office said Friday. The amount of time will be left to Judge Thomas Fitzpatrick at sentencing scheduled for Feb. 5.”

For BringMeTheNews, Joe Nelson says, “A storm system is brewing in the Pacific Ocean and it could serve as the mechanism that busts Minnesota out of a weather lull in the coming days. Don’t place your bets just yet – the National Weather Service says confidence is very low about what will happen five to six days from now – but meteorologist Sven Sundgaard says a ‘panhandle hooker’ system could churn northward into the Midwest and deliver a punch.”

For Newsweek, Alexandra Garrett writes, “South Dakota’s three major hospitals—Avera McKennan, Sanford USD Medical Center, and Monument Health Rapid City Hospital—are reportedly struggling to find space for their critically ill COVID-19 patients. Both Sanford USD Medical Center and Monument Health Rapid City Hospital reported their intensive care units are out of space. Avera McKennan reported only 6.7 percent of its ICU beds are available on December 2. As a result, some South Dakotans are being flown out of state for treatment.  … . Meanwhile, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem mocked President-elect Joe Biden’s message reassuring Americans struggling during the pandemic on Twitter last week.”

At the New York Times, Frank Bruni writes, “Deep into the coronavirus pandemic, when there was no doubt about the damage that Covid-19 could do, the Dakotas scaled their morbid heights, propelled by denial and defiance. … The Dakotas are a horror story that didn’t have to be, a theater of American disgrace. Want to understand the tendencies — pathologies might be the better word — that made America’s dance with the coronavirus so deadly? Visit the Dakotas.”