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Investigators: Buffalo shooting suspect motivated by anger over being cut off opioids

Plus: storm-related power outages affect parts of Minnesota; COVID drives decline in state’s public school enrollment; U of M regent selection process criticized for being ‘too political’; and more.

Matt Sepic writes for MPR: “Investigators say the man who allegedly shot and killed a nursing assistant and wounded four other people at a clinic in Buffalo, Minn., was angry that physicians had cut off his supply of opioid painkillers. Gregory Ulrich, 67, is charged with murder, attempted murder, using explosives and carrying a gun without a permit in the Feb. 9 attack at the Allina Health clinic.”

In the Star Tribune, Mike Hughlett writes: “A stretch of rural southwest Minnesota and the city of Moorhead in the northwest — unlike most of Minnesota — are part of a regional electrical grid that travels through the Dakotas south to the edges of Texas. As record low temperatures … hit states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, that grid … could not keep up with customers’ needs. Investigations into why that happened are starting, but customers in Tyler, Lake Benton and Ivanhoe in southwest Minnesota and the city of Moorhead at the northwest corner felt the results.”

KSTP-TV’s Callan Gray writes: “The hospitality industry in Minnesota has been hit hard by the pandemic. Statewide, an estimated 116,000 jobs have been lost in bars, restaurants, hotels, event centers and similar businesses, according to Hospitality Minnesota. An ordinance being considered by the Minneapolis City Council aims at helping industry employees get their jobs back. … Minneapolis City Council Member Steve Fletcher has proposed a Right to Recall ordinance. It would give hotel and events center employees priority when their old jobs open up.” 

MPR staff and Elizabeth Shockman reports: “The COVID-19 crisis is driving dramatic changes in Minnesota public school enrollments, including a drop of some 17,000 students in the past year, with families delaying kindergarten and choosing options outside the public system. Overall public school enrollment declined by 2 percent this academic year, driven largely by a 9 percent decrease in kindergarten enrollment, the Minnesota Department of Education said in a report published Friday.

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Ryan Faircloth writes for the Star Tribune: “State lawmakers and members of the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents are raising concerns that the Legislature’s process of electing new regents has become too prone to outside influence. A 24-member council charged with recruiting and recommending qualified regent candidates has become too political, says its chairman, with some members working to ‘push the candidates of their choice’ instead of providing a robust list to the Legislature.”

WCCO-TV says: “Due to higher levels of pollution caused by the stagnant air, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert effective through Sunday at noon. The impacted areas include the Twin Cities metro, St. Cloud, Rochester, Albert Lea, Winona, and the tribal nation of Prairie Island. MPCA says light winds and poor atmospheric mixing will produce a higher level of fine particles starting Friday night and into Saturday morning.”