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Ramsey County readies transformation of 911 emergency call system

Plus: house explosion in Cambridge leaves five injured; Metro Transit trains start running every 12 minutes instead of every 10; Lutsen plans major expansion; and more.

Shannon Prather reports in the Star Tribune: “Ramsey County 911 operators could soon dispatch social and mental health workers, child welfare staff and even nonprofit employees to crisis calls, in one of the most dramatic transformations of the emergency call system since its inception half a century ago. At a time when communities across the country are rethinking traditional models of policing, Minnesota’s second-largest county is trying a fresh approach in which teams of responders, including law enforcement, are trained to help people in crisis, said Scott Williams, Ramsey County’s deputy county manager of safety and justice.”

FOX 9 TV reports: “Authorities are investigating a house explosion that left five people injured early Saturday morning in Cambridge, Minnesota. According to the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office, at 5:31 a.m., dispatch received numerous calls reporting a possible house explosion on the 33000 block of Hilary Circle NE in Cambridge Township. When they arrived, authorities found four people walking around the house. All four were suffering from non-life threatening injuries and were transported to the hospital. Officials learned another man was in the house and it was believed that he was in the basement at the time of the explosion. … He was then transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”

Ren Clayton reports for WCCO-TV: “Metro Transit is making some changes to its light rail schedule. Starting first thing Saturday morning, trains will operate every 12 minutes instead of every 10, on both Blue and Green line trains. … Metro Transit’s worker shortage was only amplified by the pandemic, a contributor to cancelations and delays. … With the change from 10 to 12 minutes between trains, they hope it brings more consistency.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Brooks Johnson reports: “Minnesota’s largest ski resort wants to attract more families with more runs, more amenities and more lifts — an expansion that Lutsen Mountains says will lift Cook County and the North Shore along with it. … But the proposal has provoked a backlash from some locals and others who say the family-owned ski area should do more with less and keep operations off the Superior National Forest, where the expansion has been proposed.”

John Myers of the Forum News Service reports: “The American hunting ammunition shortage that started during the early months of pandemic in 2020 is showing no signs of letting up, and hunters who don’t have ammo for their favorite deer rifle by now may be out of luck for the upcoming season. An informal Duluth News Tribune survey of both brick-and-mortar and online sporting goods stores found almost no popular loads in 12-gauge shotgun shells or .30-caliber rifle cartridges, either for birds or big game.”

WCCO-TV reports:A crime alert has been pushed out for Minneapolis after multiple rideshare drivers have been assaulted and robbed at gunpoint. … Police say since mid-August, more than 40 Uber and Lyft drives have been robbed or carjacked with 12 in just the last seven days. Police say many of these instances have happened in north Minneapolis. While officers have arrested some suspects, the trend continues.”

For KSTP-TV, Brittney Ermon says: “The new St. Paul vaccine mandate requiring all city employees to receive their COVID-19 vaccine shots by the end of the year is causing concern for some departments. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced the requirement Thursday, but the new mandate could cause some St. Paul police officers to walk off the job. The St. Paul Police Federation President Mark Ross said the department is already dealing with staffing issues because it’s down about 80 officers. He said the mandate is putting officers who aren’t vaccinated in a tough spot and could push them to leave the force.”

KARE 11’s Danny Spewak reports: “Regional carrier SkyWest canceled hundreds of flights nationwide on Thursday and Friday, causing a ripple effect felt at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. SkyWest has blamed the problem on a technical issue, which it claims is now fixed. However, the airline — which partners with Delta, United, American and Alaska Airlines — still had dozens of flights listed as canceled at MSP on Friday evening.”

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In the Star Tribune, Stephen Montemayor writes: “Minnesota secretary of state candidate Phillip Parrish — who disavowed the Minnesota GOP earlier this month after failing to become its chair — is now leaving the race. Parrish, a former U.S. naval intelligence officer from Kenyon, Minn., said Friday that he was withdrawing from the race based on the toll his campaign has taken on his family and his differences with the state Republican Party’s endorsement process.”

Chris Hrapsky also reports for KARE 11: “The Sunday bulletin of St. Mary of Czestochowa Catholic Church [in Delano] offered the usual mass schedule, upcoming events, and budget items, but this edition also included an anti-vaccination message from the pastor. In a five-paragraph op-ed condemning the COVID-19 vaccines, Father Paul Kubista cites many popular misleading stats about vaccine side effects and deaths, gene therapy, and the power of natural immunity over vaccination. The article quotes experts who disagree with the vast consensus of medical experts on COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy. One quote states ‘the media and government are corrupted.’”

For the AP, Todd Richmond writes: “A judge on Friday halted Wisconsin’s fall wolf season two weeks before hunters were set to take to the woods, siding with wildlife advocacy groups who argued that holding the hunt would be unconstitutional. Dane County Circuit Judge Jacob Frost issued a temporary injunction halting the season, which was set to begin Nov. 6. The order comes as part of a lawsuit that a coalition of wildlife advocacy groups filed in August seeking to stop the hunt and invalidate a state law authorizing annual seasons.”