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Minneapolis officials outline preparations for security around Chauvin trial

Plus: attorneys for ex-officers charged with killing George Floyd accuse AG’s office of leaking information, call for charges to be dismissed; bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota makes it out of state House committee; Minneapolis’ Burch steakhouse and pizzeria will not reopen; and more.

Derek Chauvin booking photo
Derek Chauvin booking photo
Minnesota Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS

A story from MPR and the AP says: “Minneapolis leaders said Wednesday they are beefing up security plans, preparing to close streets and making sure businesses and residents are well informed as the trial approaches for the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd. Mayor Jacob Frey said safety will be a top priority ‘during this very difficult time in our city’ and that the trial of Derek Chauvin will likely increase trauma for many, especially as a verdict draws near. State and local law enforcement leaders vowed to work together to preserve people’s rights to assemble and protest but also keep the peace.”

In the Pioneer Press, Katrina Pross writes: “In a series of motions filed by defense attorneys this week, three of the former Minneapolis police officers charged in connection with George Floyd’s death say that the prosecution has leaked information and they are calling for charges against them to be dismissed. Defense attorneys for J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — who are all charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter for the May 25 arrest death of Floyd — filed separate motions this week. Thao’s attorney Robert Paule filed a motion in Hennepin County District Court that was made public Tuesday asking for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and prosecutors Matthew Frank and Neal Katyal to be at a hearing and face ‘sanctions against the State for its role – directly or indirectly – in the leaking of highly prejudicial information related to potential plea agreements of codefendants,’ the motion reads.

In the Star Tribune, Briana Bierschbach says, “The battle to legalize recreational marijuana gained new life at the Minnesota Capitol on Wednesday after a measure to permit adult cannabis use survived its first committee test. … The legislation passed out of the House Commerce Committee on a 10-7 party-line vote, with all Democrats supporting the measure and all Republicans opposed. It is the first time in state history that recreational marijuana passed a committee in either chamber of the Legislature, which supporters say signals the sea change on marijuana happening across the country is coming to Minnesota.”

At USA Today, Paul Davidson reports, “Gasoline prices are expected to rise 10 to 20 cents a gallon in the coming days after winter storms knocked out about a dozen refineries in Texas, capping a sharp run-up in prices since Halloween and possibly heralding a move toward $3 by summer as the pandemic eases. Regular unleaded gas averaged $2.54 a gallon nationally Wednesday, up two cents from the previous day, according to AAA. The storm also has disrupted package deliveries to consumers and product shipments to retailers, possibly leading to shortages of some items on shelves. And it has shut hundreds of stores and factories.”

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Cody Matz for FOX 9 says, “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made note of the temperature contrast between Minneapolis and Miami on Sunday morning, when temperatures were at their coldest at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The airport was near -18 degrees when Miami was around 76 degrees. That’s a 94.5-degree difference between the two cities, which is the fourth-highest temperature difference since 1973. That’s a HUGE difference over a relatively short distance. The Twin Cities metro also finished one of the coldest stretches in February history, just behind a super cold stretch in 1936, 1899 and 1875. That means this was likely the coldest stretch of days in the month of February in 85 years.”

Says Hugh Son for CNBC, “Wells Fargo shares popped more than 4% Wednesday after the Federal Reserve reportedly signaled it will accept the bank’s plan to overhaul its governance functions, a key step for releasing the maligned firm from a regulatory restriction. The Fed has privately indicated it would accept the bank’s proposal, Bloomberg News reported. This would bring Wells closer to having limits on its assets removed. Wells’ assets under management have been capped since February 2018.”

Says another FOX 9 story, “Departing planes have been flying a little higher out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport over the last two weeks. According to the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which oversees MSP Airport, the cold air sustained over the last two weeks in the Twin Cities area has increased the lift and altitude gained by airplanes that depart the airport. According to the MAC’s Noise e-newsletter, the colder air is denser, which improves the planes’ acceleration and increases lift as they depart MSP. Data show aircraft were more than 300 feet higher within three miles of the airport during the cold snap this month as compared to the same flights in hotter weather.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Rick Nelson, “The pandemic has ended another Twin Cities four-star restaurant. Burch, the dynamic steakhouse and pizzeria owned by Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre, will not reopen. … The popular restaurant, located at Franklin and Hennepin avenues in Minneapolis’ Lowry Hill neighborhood, opened in 2013 with a dazzling kitchen crew that included Becker, chef Daniel del Prado (now the force behind Martina, Colita and Rosalia and just-announced Josefina and Pizza Fina in Wayzata) and pastry chef Shawn McKenzie, who now owns Café Cerés with del Prado.”

The AP reports: “Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is asking Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to lower the U.S. and Wisconsin flags on state buildings in honor of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who died Wednesday after a battle with cancer.”