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Minnesota to become first state to stop separating imprisoned mothers from their newborns

Plus: man wanted in connection with Minneapolis shooting found dead after police chase; COVID-19 situation continues to improve in Minnesota; Minnesota’s ATV trail-building boom; and more.

In the Star Tribune, Briana Bierschbach writes: “Now, thanks to stories like Mason’s and a yearslong push from advocates, in July Minnesota will become the first state in the nation to stop the practice of separating ­mothers in prison from their newborns, instead placing them in a community-based program together for up to a year after birth. Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill into law in May. Roughly 20 inmates each year give birth while incarcerated in Minnesota and are then separated from their babies while they finish their prison sentences. Research shows that the ­experience triggers higher rates of postpartum depression in mothers and severs bonding during a critical period of mental and physical development for newborns.”

WCCO-TV’s Jeff Wagner reports: “A man who was wanted in connection with a shooting in Minneapolis is dead after authorities say he led police on a chase that ended in a crash in Elk River Saturday. The man died of an apparent gunshot wound, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and a handgun was found in his vehicle. No law enforcement officers fired their weapons during the pursuit, the BCA said.

MPR reports: “The COVID-19 situation in Minnesota continues to improve this Memorial Day weekend, as statewide masking mandates and capacity limits on restaurants and other public spaces have been lifted. New daily cases are trending at their lowest level since last July. Active cases have receded to mid-September levels. Hospital admissions and intensive care cases are falling.”

Also in Star Tribune, Tony Kennedy writes: “The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar ATV trail building boom to accommodate the tens of thousands of new off-road machines sold to Minnesotans in recent years. … The spending spree is out of control, environmental advocates say, claiming the state’s latticework of ATV trails destroys fish and wildlife habitat, crowds out hunters, birders and other outdoor enthusiasts, burdens already too-thin ranks of DNR conservation officers and costs too much to maintain.”

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In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes: “At the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, B Kyle avoids words like ‘rebirth’ when describing the gradual, uneven return to normalcy for the city’s business community since the events of May 28, 2020. Despite an outpouring of donations and philanthropic support, of the 270 businesses across St. Paul known to have been touched by some level of vandalism during the riots, at least 35 remain closed. The pandemic hasn’t helped matters, and neither the state of Minnesota nor the Federal Emergency Management Agency have stepped in with direct financial assistance. St. Paul, it seems, is on its own.”

Jennifer Kraus writes for the Forum News Service:A Minnesota county sheriff has restricted a city police department from some county buildings after it was learned during a defamation lawsuit that the police chief had secretly recorded two other officers. Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard restricted access from all sheriff’s office-controlled buildings for Deerwood Police Department personnel.”

Also from WCCO-TV, this from Caroline Cummings: “Some hospitality businesses surveyed by the state’s tourism agency say they expect to rebound to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, which is an improvement over the outlook at the end of the last year. Explore Minnesota in a recent report found six in 10 tourism and hospitality businesses had already met pre-pandemic business levels or expected business to return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of 2021.”