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MPCA finds contamination from ‘forever chemicals’ at landfills throughout Minnesota

Plus: Chauvin trial judge expected to rule Friday on motions to delay, change venue; video captures clash between Minneapolis police and encampment residents; Minnesota likely to extend state tax filing deadline; and more.

For MPR, Kirsti Marohn writes, “The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says contamination from PFAS — so-called “forever chemicals” — has been detected in groundwater at nearly 60 closed landfills, at amounts higher than the state’s acceptable levels for safe drinking water. Fifteen of the closed, mostly unlined landfills have PFAS contamination at least 10 times higher than the state’s health-based advisory values. One — Gofer Landfill near Fairmont in Martin County — is more than 1,300 times higher.”

In the Pioneer Press, Katrina Pross writes: “With jury selection nearly complete, the judge in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd is expected to rule Friday on defense motions to delay the proceedings or change their venue as well as whether evidence about Floyd’s previous arrest can be admitted. With three jurors selected Thursday, there are now 12 seated: five men and seven women, with ages ranging from 20s to 60s. Six of the 12 identify as people of color.  … Judge Peter Cahill of Hennepin County District Court has said he would rule Friday on both defense matters. But, with the 12 jurors already seated, legal experts said it was unlikely he would delay the proceedings or move the case to another jurisdiction.”

For the Star Tribune, Susan Du and Nicole Norfleet report, “An attempt by the city of Minneapolis to clear a homeless encampment Thursday morning led to a violent clash between police and civilians guarding the camp. Five people were arrested and five officers suffered minor injuries, according to police. More than 100 people showed up at the encampment at 205 N. Girard Av. in response to several activists’ social media accounts warning that the city of Minneapolis planned to clear the empty lot where about 20 people live in tents.… A scuffle broke out between officers and civilians who shoved back and forth, some of which is captured on a social media video, before officers pepper-sprayed a line of people and forcibly arrested a few.”

Says Theo Keith for KMSP-TV, “Minnesota revenue officials are likely to delay the state’s tax filing deadline to match the new May 17 federal deadline, a key lawmaker said Thursday. State Rep. Paul Marquart, the House Tax committee chairman, said he had a ‘strong, strong, strong presumption’ that the Minnesota Revenue Department would make the change. The announcement could happen as soon as Friday, said Marquart, DFL-Dilworth.”

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Also in the Star Tribune, Alex Chhith writes: “A police standoff with a man firing a gun over Interstate 494 in Bloomington ended Thursday evening when the gunman took his own life. The brief but dramatic incident began at 6:15 p.m. when Bloomington and Richfield police were called to the area of E. 78th Street and S. 2nd Avenue on a report of a man walking around with a gun. As they arrived, police said in a news release, the man moved onto the nearby pedestrian overpass and began firing his gun. It was not clear if he targeted or hit cars on the freeway below.”

A KSTP-TV story says, “The Minnesota Department of Health reported Thursday that a fifth school staff member has died from COVID-19 linked to their work at school. The cumulative number of COVID-19 infections associated with Minnesota schools has surged to over 16,000. ‘The news that two school staff members have died of COVID-19 in two weeks is a tragic reminder that this pandemic isn’t over,’ said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota.”

Another FOX 9 story says, “More than one in four Minnesota families pay more than they can afford for housing, according to a new report. The Minnesota Housing Partnership released the 80-page State of the State’s Housing 2021 report Thursday.  The report found there is a critical need for low-income housing for those making under 30% of the area median income. More than 169,000 households in Minnesota fall into that category, according to the report, but the state only has around 64,000 affordable and available units for low-income renters.”

Says Chris Riemenschneider for the Star Tribune, “While most other blues musicians relish the chance to tour Europe and meet the high demand for classic American roots music overseas, Big George Jackson was hesitant to leave the comforts of home in Minnesota. And it literally was a comfort issue. … At 6½ feet, Jackson loomed large literally and figuratively in the Twin Cities blues scene for five decades, singing and playing harmonica with a deep voice and gritty groove that was equal parts Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. He died unexpectedly in his sleep of natural causes Tuesday at his Brooklyn Park home.”

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