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Minnesota State Fair sees big drop in first-day attendance

Plus: standoff between Line 3 protesters and Minnesota State Patrol ends peacefully; 72% of Metro Transit customers say safety concerns affect how and when they ride; cow spotted going through drive-through in Wisconsin; and more.

The AP reports:First-day attendance at the Minnesota State Fair was down by roughly half as the fair returned after missing last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. With simmering concern over the delta variant, and fair officials declining to require masks or proof of vaccinations, Thursday’s attendance was 61,983. That’s less than half of the 2019 record of about 133,000. Almost 123,000 people attended the first day of the fair in 2018. Thursday’s light turnout was also likely affected by violent thunderstorms that moved through the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in the afternoon.”

Shannon Prather writes in the Star Tribune: “A standoff between more than 100 people protesting Enbridge Energy’s new Line 3 oil pipeline and the Minnesota State Patrol ended soon after it began Friday on the Capitol grounds after days of demonstrations against the nearly completed project. It was ultimately a quiet end to a week of peaceful demonstrations during which thousands of people made a late-stage plea to elected officials to halt construction on the controversial pipeline, which will carry oil from Canada to Superior, Wis. After arresting several protesters Friday afternoon, state troopers agreed to leave so a religious ceremony could take place.”

Frederick Melo writes for the Pioneer Press: “A three-train crash by the freight yards near Warner and Childs Road in St. Paul on Wednesday spilled approximately 1,200 gallons of diesel fuel, leading Canadian Pacific Railway workers to dig protective trenches and deploy containment booms on the Mississippi River. The booms were placed as a precaution, and crews did not observe any fuel on the waterway, said Canadian Pacific spokesman Andy Cummings in an email.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Janet Moore writes: “About 72% of Metro Transit customers say safety concerns have affected how and when they ride the metro area’s buses and trains. That fact, gleaned from 782 surveys returned by transit passengers this summer, speaks to the mission of a new Metropolitan Council work group formed to bolster safety onboard public transportation. The Metro Transit Police Work Group’s inaugural meeting Friday followed Metro Transit’s announcement in July that it will add 15 police officers and 50 community service officers to provide passengers with a sense of security.”

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KARE-TV’s Heidi Wigdahl reports: “Twin Cities artists are creating what will be the longest mural in Minnesota. The mural is located along 30th Avenue South and American Boulevard in the South Loop neighborhood of Bloomington, about a mile away from the Mall of America. ‘We were tasked with representing the past, present, future of Bloomington and this area. So we selected artists that we felt evoked diversity and the growing diversity of the area and also representing the history of this being Indigenous land,’ explained Christina Vang, one of the co-founders of Ua Si Creative. Ua Si Creative is a Hmong, womxn-owned artist collective started by Ka Oskar Ly, Vang and Teeko Yang. “

Also from the AP: “Spotted in a car at a McDonald’s drive-through in Wisconsin: A cow — all of it. Jessica Nelson of Mosinee pulled into the drive-through at a McDonald’s in Marshfield on Thursday and said she looked up to see a cow in the backseat of a Buick sedan three cars ahead of her. ‘I thought it was fake at first. Who puts a cow in a Buick?’ she told The Associated Press on Friday. ‘Then its whole head moved.’”