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Minnesota Court of Appeals orders MPCA to revisit Polymet permit

Plus: Walz calls again for Rep. John Thompson to resign over abuse allegations; charges allege St. Paul man’s body thrown into Lake Superior after being shot, dismembered; Twin Cities faces growing pigeon problem; and more.

The Associated Press reports: “​​The proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota encountered a setback Monday when the state Court of Appeals ordered regulators to revisit a critical air emissions permit given to the project. The court ruled that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency hadn’t sufficiently justified granting the permit after opponents raised allegations that PolyMet was planning a much larger mine. Environmental groups and a Native American tribe pointed to a report that PolyMet filed with Canadian regulators that suggested PolyMet was considering expanding the mine to four times the size that the air permit would allow.”

Stephen Montemayor writes in the Star Tribune: “Gov. Tim Walz on Monday again insisted that state Rep. John Thompson resign over reports of multiple domestic violence accusations as House DFL leaders considered what to do about the lawmaker’s refusal to step down. Police reports from three departments detail five domestic assault cases, some that took place in front of children, from 2003-11. Walz said the allegations have rendered the freshman DFL lawmaker from St. Paul no longer fit to serve.

In the Pioneer Press, Nick Woltman writes: “A St. Paul man who disappeared nearly a month ago was shot to death and dismembered before being thrown into Lake Superior from a fishing boat, according to charges filed late last week. The remains of 34-year-old Richard Anthony Balsimo were discovered Thursday and Friday off the shore of Grand Portage by divers working with investigators, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Monday in a news release. A Duluth man has been arrested and charged in the case, but the BCA said further charges are anticipated.”

Alexandra Simon reports for KARE 11: “Leneal Frazier, the man killed after a Minneapolis police officer crashed into his car while chasing another vehicle, was eulogized during a service at Shiloh Temple International Ministries Monday afternoon. … Following the early morning crash on July 6, Minneapolis Police spokesperson John Elder told reporters that the Minneapolis officer was pursuing an armed robbery and carjacking suspect on Lyndale Avenue when the police cruiser entered the intersection at 41st Street and hit a car driving westbound. … The driver of the westbound vehicle, later identified by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner as 40-year-old Leneal Frazier, was killed.”

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Also in the Star Tribune, Alex Chhith writes: “Heavy smoke from wildfires in Canada will adversely affect the air quality in northern Minnesota until Wednesday morning. Northerly winds behind a front moving into the northern parts of the state will carry the smoke with it, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said in a news release Monday evening. The air quality alert was issued for most of northern Minnesota including Hibbing, International Falls, Bemidji, Roseau, East Grand Forks, Leech Lake and Red Lake.”

WCCO-TV reports:Minneapolis families had the opportunity to take their safety concerns directly to the chief of police Monday evening. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo and Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson took part in a community conversation at the North Community YMCA. … Chief Arradondo says staffing shortages are forcing them to work differently, but the department is focusing on hiring more officers. The department is also enlisting help from the sheriff’s office and community groups. There have been 50 homicides so far this year in Minneapolis, which is close to the amount that had accumulated by the summer of 1995 — the year the city was given the nickname “Murderapolis.” There were 97 total murders that year.”

Says Danny Spewak for KARE-TV, “School districts across Minnesota are still deciding how to handle the upcoming fall semester, with Monday bringing another wrinkle as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended universal masking for all kids older than two. Due to the uncertainty of variants and vaccine accessibility for some age groups, the AAP says students should wear masks in school buildings even if they’re fully vaccinated. According to state data, only 34% of kids 12 through 15 have completed their vaccine series; for kids under 12, the FDA has indicated vaccines might not be available until winter.”

Also from WCCO-TV: “Annoying, messy, and sneaky. That’s how a certain flying animal is being described. Pigeons are multiplying at a rapid rate in the Twin Cities, and it turns out the birds are truly ruffling feathers. … Bird and bat specialist Keith Markun owns Beast Wildlife Solutions in south Minneapolis. ‘A pigeon nest is primarily droppings, a couple sticks and a few feathers and that’s it,’ Markun said. ‘So yes, they are quite gross!’ … ‘The problem’s growing in exponential numbers,’ Markun said. He says Minneapolis has a growing problem, and St. Paul is even worse.”