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A-Rod, billionaire Marc Lore finalizing deal to by Timberwolves, Lynx

Plus: Will Chauvin testify in his own defense? pandemic leads to a population explosion of feral cats; St. Cloud State loses to UMass in NCAA men’s Frozen Four championship game; and more.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports: “Former major league slugger Alex Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore are finalizing a deal to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx from majority owner Glen Taylor, sources told ESPN on Saturday. The purchase price in the deal is expected to be in the $1.5 billion range, sources said. Taylor will continue to hold full control of both teams for two years, before Rodriguez and Lore take over in 2023. … Taylor has discussed keeping the Timberwolves in Minnesota with new ownership, but Rodriguez’s ties to Seattle and that city’s desire for a return of an NBA franchise could become an issue in the long term.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Chao Xiong writes: “As former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s defense presents its case this week against charges that he murdered George Floyd, a question looms over his trial: Will Chauvin testify in his own defense?.… The issue is likely to arise soon as prosecutors cap off two weeks of testimony in their case early in the week. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, is expected to begin calling witnesses for a few days of testimony before jurors begin deliberations. Nelson has not said whether his client will testify.”

In the Pioneer Press, Bob Shaw writes: “Maia Rumpho wants to wipe out a colony of about 25 cats — in the gentlest way possible. … Rumpho’s nonviolent approach is to sterilize the cats and remove the kittens, so the colony slowly dies off. She said it’s the humane way to deal with a surprising result of the pandemic — a population explosion of tame-turned-wild cats. The pandemic reduced animal-control efforts, exactly when COVID-stressed pet owners began to dump unwanted cats on street corners. The cats bred quickly, moving into back yards and looking for food.”

WCCO-TV’s David Schuman reports: Minnesota’s staring down another surge of COVID-19 that health officials say is different from previous ones during the pandemic. Minnesota has the fourth-most new cases per capita in the country over the last seven days. … ‘It’s likely due to a constellation of different factors,’ said [MDH Spokesperson Doug] Schultz. Schultz says more than half of Minnesota’s positive cases are the B117 variant strain first identified in the UK. … He says other reasons for the surge are likely spring breakers and snowbirds returning home….”

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KSTP-TV’s Crystal Bui says: “Across the country, more than a half-million people have died after contracting COVID-19. The pain and grief for families continue to loom large. But part of the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden last month includes helping offset funeral costs. It’s part of a new federal program starting next week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will offer financial assistance of up to $9,000 per funeral. In Minnesota, about 7,000 families are eligible for funeral aid.”

The Star Tribune’s Randy Johnson writes: “St. Cloud State vanquished two of the top teams from Hockey East, Boston University and Boston College, on its way to the second Frozen Four berth in program history, but it turned out beating a third team from that conference was one task too many for the Huskies. Behind a suffocating defensive effort and a 25-save shutout from goalie Filip Lindberg, Massachusetts defeated St. Cloud State 5-0 on Saturday night in the NCAA men’s Frozen Four championship game at PPG Paints Arena.