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Minneapolis City Council votes to spend $6.4 million on new police officers

Plus: Feds investigating a massive counterfeit N95 mask operation; Minnesota mom uses Instagram to dispute QAnon conspiracies; parkland versus parking in northeast Minneapolis; Moorhead to start collecting on unpaid utility bills; and more.

Minneapolis police officers shown gathered around the Third Precinct during a protest on May 27.
Minneapolis police officers shown gathered around the Third Precinct during a protest on May 27.
REUTERS/Adam Bettcher

Update on defunding. The Star Tribune’s Liv Navratil reports:Minneapolis will hire dozens more police officers after City Council on Friday agreed to release $6.4 million to bring on additional recruits. The unanimous vote came eight days after Minneapolis police requested the funding, saying they were down 200 police officers from recent years. The additional funding comes at a time when some City Council members and activist groups are pushing to replace the Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death.”

Disgusting. AP’s Colleen Long reports:Federal authorities are investigating a massive counterfeit N95 mask operation in which fake 3M masks were sold in at least five states to hospitals, medical facilities and government agencies. The foreign-made knockoffs are becoming increasingly difficult to spot and could put health care workers at grave risk for the coronavirus.”

Hop to it. KSTP’s Tommy Wiita reports: “On Thursday, Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, announced a proposal called ‘#FreeTheGrowler,’ which would remove the growler sales cap that Minnesota breweries have to deal with. It’s an issue that has received bipartisan support. Once a brewery hits 20,000 barrels sold in a year, current Minnesota law dictates it can no longer sell growlers, crowlers and other off-sale bottles in its taproom. Minnesota is the only state in the country where craft breweries are not able to sell beer to-go.”

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Parkland versus parking. The Star Tribune’s Susan Du reports: “The Masjid Salaam Cultural Center in northeast Minneapolis hosts daily prayers, Sunday school and the occasional food drive. But members say the mosque has one major flaw — it has no designated parking. … The mosque has tried for years to persuade the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to build parking stalls by paving over green space along St. Anthony Parkway. The conflict pits assertions of religious liberty against the sanctity of public parkland, and it’s coming to a head after the Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota (CAIR-Minnesota) gave the Park Board a deadline this month to avoid a lawsuit.”

That’s cold. MPR’s Dan Gunderson reports: “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on many people’s personal finances, most utilities have not disconnected customers for about a year, despite unpaid bills. But the city of Moorhead, which runs a utility that distributes electricity and water to city residents, is about to launch into a plan to start collecting the mounting customer debt — starting Friday.”

In other news…

Power plants: “Study: Minnesota, Wisconsin could plant millions of acres of trees to soak up carbon dioxide” [Duluth News Tribune]

Millions more to go: “Minnesota mom fights QAnon conspiracies, one Instagram story at a time” [CNN]

Kudos: “KSMQ Public Television series to air nationwide” [Austin Daily Herald]

Cold hands, warm hearts: “Watch the New Standards’ special Valentine’s Day performance of ‘Love Is the Law’” [Current]

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