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Last closure order lifted in Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Plus: St. Paul considers sweeping anti-tobacco ordinance; Dari-Ette Drive-In closes; ‘Pandora Papers’ reveal South Dakota now rivals other ‘notoriously opaque’ jurisdictions for financial secrecy; and more.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
MinnPost file photo by Greta Kaul

An AP story says, “The last remaining closure order related to wildfires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has now been lifted, according to Superior National Forest officials. A hot and abnormally dry summer caused extreme fire danger and prompted a complete closure of the popular wilderness in northern Minnesota for a couple of weeks after wildfires broke out. The last remaining closure related to the John Ek and Whelp fires has now been lifted. Cooler conditions and recent rainfall have helped keep the fires in check. … The BWCA received 3 to 6 inches of rain in September, which is about normal for the month.”

Frederick Melo writes in the Pioneer Press: “In an ongoing effort to crack down on tobacco sales to young people and other vulnerable groups, the St. Paul City Council will soon vote on a sweeping anti-tobacco ordinance that would reduce the number of tobacco licenses available in the city, set a $10 minimum price for packs of cigarettes and ban cigarette coupons and price promotions, including vaping coupons. Opponents from the retail industry and anti-tobacco advocates alike agree that the proposal likely would amount to the most aggressive tobacco sales restrictions in the country.”

A Star Tribune story by Jeff Meitrodt, Nicole Norfleet and Adam Belz reports: “Each year, settlement purchasing companies persuade accident victims across the country to give up an estimated $1 billion in future payments in return for a much smaller lump sum of cash. On average, the settlement purchasing companies keep about 60% of the money, according to a Star Tribune analysis of more than 2,400 deals from seven states between 2000 and 2020. In Minnesota alone, these companies have paid $28 million since 2010 for $70 million in future payments, court records show. At the time those deals were struck, the companies valued the payments at $53 million. Typically, payments are worth less the longer someone has to wait for them.

Babs Santos reports for FOX 9: “After seven decades on St. Paul’s eastside, a popular Italian-American restaurant closed its doors for the last time on Saturday. The Dari-Ette Drive-In first opened in 1951 and ever since, one family has been behind all of the success there. With its Italiano Sandwich, popular sauce, and hand-rolled meatballs, the restaurant is right on the mark for Italian-American food in the Twin Cities, between April and October. … And as the last drive-in in St. Paul, the experience is bittersweet too. But after Saturday, Angela Fida is packing up, calling this the right time.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Tim Harlow writes: “Construction season is fast winding down for this year, but plans for future road construction and transit projects roll on. This week we’ll learn a bit more about the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s plan to upgrade Hwy. 252 through Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park and Interstate 94 in north Minneapolis as the agency kicks off a series of virtual and in-person meetings. … Both roads also are deteriorating and need to be repaired, MnDOT said.”

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ICYMI, WCCO-TV reports: “After a tumultuous few months for the Minnesota GOP, the party has a new chair. David Hann won an election Saturday for the job after Jennifer Carnahan was forced out of the role in August. Hann, a former state Senate minority leader from Eden Prairie, won the final vote over businessman Jerry Dettinger.”

MPR reports: “Thousands of runners took part in Sunday’s Twin Cities Marathon and TC 10 Mile race — a welcome return to a fall tradition, after last year’s races were canceled due to the pandemic. Mohamed Hrezi of Philadelphia won the men’s marathon title with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 22 seconds. Naomi Fulton of Hartland, Wis., won the women’s title in 2:45:57.

Also from the AP: “Hundreds of world leaders, powerful politicians, billionaires, celebrities, religious leaders and drug dealers have been hiding their investments in mansions, exclusive beachfront property, yachts and other assets for the past quarter-century, according to a review of nearly 12 million files obtained from 14 firms located around the world. The report released Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists involved 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries. It’s being dubbed the ‘Pandora Papers’ because the findings shed light on previously hidden dealings of the elite and the corrupt, and how they have used offshore accounts to shield assets collectively worth trillions of dollars.”

Related. As part of their reporting on the “Pandora Papers,”  Greg Miller, Debbie Cenziper and Peter Whoriskey write in the Washington Post: “The files provide substantial new evidence, for example, that South Dakota now rivals notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy. Tens of millions of dollars from outside the United States are now sheltered by trust companies in Sioux Falls, some of it tied to people and companies accused of human rights abuses and other wrongdoing. … In 2019, for example, family members of the former vice president of the Dominican Republic, who once led one of the largest sugar producers in the country, finalized several trusts in South Dakota. The trusts held personal wealth and shares of the company, which has stood accused of human rights and labor abuses, including illegally bulldozing houses of impoverished families to expand plantations.”