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Police: 125 carjackings in Minneapolis over last two months

Plus: St. Paul police chief reportedly terminates officer involved in recent shooting; former Viking Matt Birk talks about possible run for governor; Trump files lawsuit seeking to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in Wisconsin; and more.

The Star Tribune’s Liz Sawyer reports: “Over the past two months, Minneapolis police have logged more than 125 carjackings in the city, a troubling surge that authorities had largely linked to small groups of marauding teens. But an increasing number of adults have been arrested in recent weeks for the same crime. Within a one-hour period Saturday morning, police reported three separate carjackings in southeast Minneapolis, including one where an elderly woman was struck on the head. Such attacks are up 537% this month when compared with last November. A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured the sound of shots fired as a pair of suspects attempted to carjack a woman in south Minneapolis on Nov. 27. ‘The numbers are staggering,’ said police spokesman John Elder.”

In the Pioneer Press, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “A tense police search for a sexual assault suspect ended with a St. Paul officer shooting the naked and unarmed suspect, the police chief said Tuesday as he released body-camera footage. Police Chief Todd Axtell said Tuesday he’s “taken swift, decisive and serious action to address this incident,” but he said state law prevents him from saying what the action was. A law enforcement source confirmed that Axtell terminated the officer.”

From the Associated Press: “Enbridge Energy began construction on its Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement in Minnesota on Tuesday, a day after state regulators approved the final permit for the $2.6 billion project amid legal challenges from local activist and Indigenous groups. Spokeswoman Juli Kellner said Enbridge began construction in several locations around the state in the morning. Enbridge spent years pursuing permits for the project before the last one, a construction stormwater permit, was granted Monday by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.”

Also from the AP: “President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Wisconsin seeking to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two most Democratic counties, a longshot attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s win in a battleground state he lost by nearly 20,700 votes. Trump filed the day after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission certified Biden as the winner of the state’s 10 Electoral College votes. Trump asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, rather than have it start in a lower court, and order Evers to withdraw the certification.”

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WCCO-TV’s Reg Chapman reports: “Dropping temperatures have officials on both sides of the Mississippi River rushing to find housing for hundreds of people without shelter. Many of them can be seen bonding together at pop-up tent city locations all across the metro. … Three-thousand people each night are homeless in Hennepin County. Eighty-percent are housed, leaving more than 600 people a night sleeping where they can. The county is ready to bring 200 additional beds online.”

Says Joe Nelson at BringMeTheNews, “Former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Matt Birk confirmed during a radio interview Tuesday morning that he’s considering running for governor against Democrat Tim Walz. ‘That’s the rumor of the day? Slow news day. I don’t know, maybe,’ Birk answered when asked about a future gubernatorial campaign by WCCO Radio’s Dave Lee.  ‘I think right now what I’m doing is I’m at a point in my life where I want to try to do something to give back, to serve. I’m just trying to figure out what might be the best way to do that. What are my skills? What are my gifts? What do I feel called to do?’ said Birk.”

In the Star Tribune, Jeremy Olson writes, “Hennepin Healthcare COVID-19 Home Monitoring started in May, but has grown this fall amid a pandemic surge that is filling up hospital beds. The state’s COVID-19 Response Capacity dashboard on Tuesday showed that a record 37% of 1,075 patients in Minnesota hospital ICU beds had COVID-19. Hospital leaders believe home monitoring programs have helped keep some pressure off. Among 1,700 COVID-19 patients in the Hennepin program, only 10% went to ERs during their monitoring and 5% needed inpatient hospital admissions. Home monitoring is ‘making space’ for patients who need hospital beds the most and getting people into ER care faster when needed, said Natalie Ikeman, a physician assistant and coordinator of the Hennepin program.”

Says David Armstrong for ProPublica, “As the number of COVID-19 cases skyrockets nationwide, the extent of the public health response varies from one state — and sometimes one town — to the next. … Nowhere are these regulatory disparities more counterproductive and jarring than in the border areas between restrictive and permissive states; for example, between Washington and Idaho, Minnesota and South Dakota, and Illinois and Iowa. In each pairing, one state has imposed tough and sometimes unpopular restrictions on behavior, only to be confounded by a neighbor’s leniency. Like factories whose emissions boost asthma rates for miles around, a state’s lax public health policies can wreak damage beyond its borders.”

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