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Rep. John Thompson ‘challenges the authenticity’ of police reports alleging domestic abuse

Plus: Rangers clear parts of BWCA closed to visitors due to wildfire threat; longtime Minnesota state senator reveals ALS diagnosis; federal jury in Wisconsin delivers $125 million verdict against Walmart; and more. 

In the Pioneer Press, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “State Rep. John Thompson ‘challenges the authenticity of the police reports that have been circulated to the press’ about past domestic assault allegations against him, his attorney said Sunday, the day after the state’s top Democrats called on him to resign. Thompson’s wife, who he’s been in a relationship with for 20 years, ‘does not recall and does not believe she ever made such allegations,’ according to attorney Jordan Kushner, who said he spoke with both Thompson and his wife. …Thompson, a DFLer representing St. Paul’s East Side, has been in the news since a July 4 traffic stop. He said the stop was racial profiling.”

Related. FOX 9 reports: “In his statement, Kushner further claims law enforcement groups provided the police reports to media members. However, FOX 9 found the reports while making efforts to verify Thompson’s residency status — which came into question this month after Thompson was pulled over in St. Paul. Furthermore, the FOX 9 Investigative Reporter Tom Lyden obtained the reports from police departments using standard data practice requests.”

Andrew Krueger reports for MPR: “​​Rangers worked through the weekend to reach campers spread across a vast swath of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness that’s now closed to visitors amid a growing threat from wildfires. Superior National Forest officials late Saturday temporarily closed 12 more BWCA entry points and the lakes, campsites, portages and trails they serve north and northwest of Ely. …The area is being cleared of canoeists and hikers as a precaution as wildfires continue to burn unchecked just north of the border, in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park. The fires were active over the weekend and the ongoing drought is making fire conditions more volatile — adding to the risk the Quetico fires may cross into the BWCA.

KSTP-TV’s Gracie Stockton writes: “The Hennepin County Medical Examiner identified the 20-year-old who was shot Saturday in downtown Minneapolis. Mohamed Hussein Hassan suffered a gunshot wound to the torso at Sixth Street North and Hennepin Avenue shortly before 3 a.m. Friday. … Police took a suspect into custody Saturday. The preliminary investigation revealed that the victim and suspect got into a dispute which erupted into gunfire, according to John Elder, the public information officer for Minneapolis Police.”

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KARE 11’s John Croman reports: “Minnesota Sen. David Tomassoni of Chisholm informed his constituents he’s been living with a diagnosis of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis during the 2021 legislative sessions. In a letter published in several Iron Range newspapers, Sen. Tomassoni pledged to continue working hard for them and spoke of people who have survived for many years while living with ALS. ‘There is no sugar coating it—this is a tough disease, and I will feel the effects of it in my speech, my movement, and my life,’ Tomassoni wrote.  … Tomassoni has spent 29 years in the legislature.”

In the Star Tribune, Jim Buchta writes: “During June there were 6,738 pending sales or signed purchase agreements in the metro area, a slight decline compared with the previous month and 2.5% fewer than last year, according to the Minneapolis Area Realtors (MAR). It is the first annual decline in monthly pending sales in more than a year. Michael Lane, president of Chicago-based ShowingTime, which tracks house showings throughout the country, said that while there’s no evidence of a housing crash in the offing, rising prices and dizzying competition might finally be cooling sales at a time when higher home prices are drawing more listings into the market.

Kirsti Marohn of MPR writes, “A century-old brick stormwater tunnel in St. Cloud will be restored to provide critical habitat for bats facing population declines due to a deadly fungal disease. The city received a $2.3 million hazard mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the project. Its main goal is to stabilize a 40-foot-deep ravine that cuts through urban St. Cloud.”

Brooks Johnson of the Star Tribune says: “A 32-unit development on a rocky outcropping between downtown Duluth and Lincoln Park is bringing the city much-needed housing in a nontraditional package. Known as the Point of Rocks Cottage Home Neighborhood, the collection of tiny homes is the largest such development proposed in the area and could break ground next spring. … The one-bedroom units will be larger than a typical tiny home at 400 to 500 square feet and will share a community room, picnic area, fire pit and sweeping views of the harbor and Lake Superior. … At about $200,000 each, the homes will be priced below Duluth’s median sale price.”

For NBC News Jane C. Tim writes, “A coalition of more than 20 prominent progressive groups and unions is launching an ad campaign slamming Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., for his response to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and his vote against federal voting rights legislation. The groups are spending $800,000 on a 30-second television spot and print ad campaign, which kicked off Sunday. … It contrasts images of rioters smashing windows at the Capitol with a brief clip of Johnson saying, ‘By and large it was a peaceful protest.’”

The New York Times’ Michael Levenson writes: “On Thursday, a jury in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Green Bay found that Walmart had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which bans discrimination based on an employee’s disability, and awarded [Marlo] Spaeth $125 million in punitive damages and $150,000 in compensatory damages. The jury, which deliberated for three hours after a four-day trial, found that Walmart had failed to provide Spaeth with a reasonable accommodation, even though she needed one because she has Down syndrome and it would not have posed a hardship to the company.”