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More lawmakers call for audit of Southwest Light Rail after announcement of latest delay, cost overruns

Plus: tentative contract agreement avoids strike by Hennepin County workers; Project for Pride in Living to build $50 million, 110-unit affordable housing complex along Minneapolis’ Lake Street; Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards gives the ultimate Anthony Edwards interview; and more.

Kenilworth Bridge rendering
Kenilworth Bridge rendering
Metropolitan Council

FOX 9’s Theo Keith reports: ”A bipartisan and growing list of state lawmakers are calling for an audit of Southwest Light Rail after the project’s troubles pushed its estimated cost to $2.75 billion and its opening date to 2027. Senate Transportation Chairman Scott Newman said Thursday that the Senate will vote to audit the project. Democratic House Transportation Chairman Frank Hornstein and state Sen. Scott Dibble, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation committee, have been seeking an audit for months.”

For the AP, Amy Forliti, Steve Karnowski and Tammy Webber write: ”Three officers on trial for allegedly violating George Floyd’s civil rights were trained to use the least amount force necessary and had a duty to intervene against inappropriate force, the commander of the Minneapolis police training division at the time of Floyd’s killing testified Thursday. Inspector Katie Blackwell said officers are required to try to de-escalate a situation and, if force is used, to stop once the person is no longer resisting, then render any necessary medical aid they’re trained to provide. While she didn’t mention the officers specifically, she went through department policy and the training required of all officers.”

The AP’s Dave Kolpack writes: ”Seven Indian nationals accused of illegally entering the United States in an alleged human smuggling case that left four dead have been released pending deportation hearings in front of an immigration judge, federal authorities said Thursday. … The seven migrants were part of a group of 11 people attempting to cross into the U.S. near the Minnesota-North Dakota border last week during a blizzard. The frozen bodies of four family members who became separated from the others were found just inside the Canadian border near Emerson, Manitoba, according to court documents.”

KSTP-TV’s Kyle Brown: ”Hennepin County and workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) reached a tentative agreement on a new contract Thursday, avoiding a potential strike. Five of the seven bargaining units affiliated with AFSCME Council 5 ratified the county’s last and best offer in December, which included annual 2.5% wage increases over the course of the three-year deal, cash bonuses, expanded bereavement leave and 51 wage classification adjustments.”

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Susan Du of the Star Tribune reports: Former Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham may have violated the city’s ethics code when he deleted an official Facebook post in August. The original post discussed a Fourth Ward auto body shop allegedly violating its business license, and critical comments flooded in. … Testifying before the city’s Ethical Practices Board on Tuesday, Cunningham said he deleted the post when he believed the forum had become volatile and a potential liability for the city. Cunningham, who was elected to the Fourth Ward seat in 2017, left the council at the end of 2021 after losing the November election.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Neal St. Anthony in the Strib, “Nonprofit Project for Pride in Living will break ground in the fall on a $50 million, 110-unit affordable housing complex and small business center along Lake Street after receiving aid from the city of Minneapolis. Mayor Jacob Frey on Thursday announced that the City Council approved $15.7 million in loans and grants from the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund for 10 projects, including the Project for Pride in Living (PPL) complex at the site of a former Wells Fargo branch at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue destroyed in the riots following the police killing of George Floyd.”

The Forum News Service reports: “The University of Minnesota is requesting funding to design and build a new academic health care center affiliated with its Duluth campus and located in downtown’s burgeoning medical district. The University of Minnesota said in a news release that it’s collaborating with Essentia Health and St. Luke’s to provide a larger health care workforce to ‘address the needs of Duluth, Greater Minnesota and local Indigenous populations.’ As a part of the university’s 2022 comprehensive legislative request, it is asking for $12 million for the design phase.”

Jace Frederick writes in the Pioneer Press: “Fresh off his 40-point performance against Portland on Tuesday, Anthony Edwards was called to talk Timberwolves and himself on ESPN’s daily program, NBA Today with host Malika Andrews and former player Kendrick Perkins.… Edwards was asked who the player was who he felt was the hardest to guard in the NBA. His response: Anthony Edwards. ‘Because I’m unstoppable,’ he said. Asked what his favorite nickname for himself is, he went with ‘Black Jesus,’ which was the most recent name he coined for himself after the win over Portland.”

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