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Law enforcement outnumbers pro-Trump demonstrators at Minnesota Capitol

Plus: re-opened elementary schools in Minnesota to use first-of-its-kind testing program; home-care worker union members to vote on a tentative contract agreement; Minneapolis venture-capital firm to focus on Black, Latino and Native entrepreneurs; and more.

Only credentialed lawmakers, staff and news media can currently enter the Minnesota Capitol via adjacent buildings.
Only credentialed lawmakers, staff and news media can currently enter the Minnesota Capitol via adjacent buildings.
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Tim Nelson and the MPR staff report: “Protests to support President Donald Trump at the Minnesota Capitol on Saturday and Sunday drew only a handful of people. They came as authorities in state capitals across the country are on alert for possible violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Dozens of state troopers and conservation officers in riot gear ringed the Capitol building in St. Paul both days. … There were no speeches or banners, just a few handheld signs expressing doubt about the presidential election and government integrity. The crowd mostly talked among themselves, ringed by dozens of cameras, microphones and journalists — vastly outnumbering the demonstrators.”

For the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “Hundreds of elementary schools across Minnesota will reopen this week with added precautions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, including a first-of-its-kind testing regime for school employees. As part of a major update to the state’s Safe Learning Plan that Gov. Tim Walz announced last month, any school providing full- or part-time in-person instruction is required to make saliva tests available to on-site staff one day every two weeks. The Minnesota Department of Education says no other state has implemented such a testing program in its schools.”

For BringMeTheNews, Joe Nelson says, “A week after announcing plans to retire from his position as president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, Minneapolis Police Department Lt. Bob Kroll was a guest on WCCO Radio Sunday morning. … The City of Minneapolis confirmed to Bring Me The News last week that it is investigation allegations of two city employees attending the pro-Trump rally and insurrection in D.C. Kroll noted that he does not believe President Trump incited the violence at the Capitol, saying Trump twice said ‘come peacefully.’ You can read a transcript of Trump’s entire speech at the Jan. 6 rally here … .”

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For MPR, Dan Gunderson says, “Home care workers in Minnesota who are members of the Service Employees International Union will vote on a tentative contract agreement that increases base pay by $2 per hour, increases paid time off and provides funding for worker training. Union officials said the agreement was struck early Saturday after a marathon 18-hour bargaining session with state officials.”

KSTP-TV reports: “A group of University of St. Thomas students filed a report saying they were victims of an armed robbery early Saturday morning near the school’s St. Paul campus. According to an alert from the university’s Department of Public Safety, the incident happened around 3 a.m. on Cretin Avenue between Selby and Dayton avenues. The students told St. Paul police officers they were walking westbound on Selby Avenue from Finn Street when they notice a male in a black ski mask was following them. As they approached the alley between Selby and Dayton, a vehicle pulled up next to them, and three suspects in ski masks got out, one of whom was showing a gun.”

The Star Tribune’s Kavita Kumar says, “As they researched the funding gaps that communities of color face, Paul Campbell and Chris Brooks kept coming back to the same troubling fact. Less than 3% of venture-capital dollars in the U.S. go to startups with Black or Latino founders. ‘We were like, ‘We need to solve that,’  Brooks said. That’s what they are aiming to do with Minneapolis-based Brown Venture Group. It’s not only unusual for a venture-capital firm in that its founders are Black, but it’s also Minnesota’s first venture-capital firm that is focused exclusively on investing in Black, Latino and Native American entrepreneurs.”

Says an AP story, “Authorities say the actions of an intoxicated man who drove his vehicle up the stairs of the Wisconsin Capitol grounds Saturday night did not appear to be politically motivated. Police said Willie Burks, 44, of Madison, drove up the exterior steps on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and around the exterior of statehouse just before 9:30 p.m. He then left the capitol grounds and drove against traffic before parking his vehicle. Burks was arrested for his third drunken driving offense and taken to the Dane County Jail.”

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