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AG Ellison won’t appeal ruling expected to ease access to abortion in Minnesota

Plus: St. Paul Council to consider exempting new construction from rent control ordinance; Minnesota Orchestra names Thomas Søndergård next music director; Frey, Minneapolis council strike deal on dedicated bus lanes for Hennepin Avenue; and more.

For the Forum News Service, Dana Ferguson writes: “Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Thursday announced that he would not appeal a judge’s ruling deeming several state restrictions on abortion unconstitutional. Ellison’s decision comes two weeks after Ramsey County District Judge Thomas Gilligan blocked a mandatory 24-hour waiting period and a requirement that both parents be notified before a minor can get an abortion. He also eliminated a rule that only physicians can perform abortions, a move expected to eventually ease access to abortion in the state, which has become an island of legal access in the Upper Midwest after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down its 1973 Roe v. Wade precedent late last month.”

Frederick Melo writes in the Pioneer Press: “Alarmed by a slowdown in St. Paul housing construction, St. Paul City Council Member Chris Tolbert will present the council next week with a raft of proposed amendments to the city’s new rent control ordinance, including a 20-year exemption for new construction. … St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter released a brief written statement on Thursday saying he supported the package of changes.”

MPR’s Euan Kerr reports, “The Minnesota Orchestra Thursday named Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård as its 11th music director. Søndergård, 52, currently leads the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and in recent years has guest conducted acclaimed performances by many of the great European and U.S. orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Houston Symphony, London Philharmonic and symphonies of London, Montreal and Toronto.”

Susan Du writes in the Star Tribune: “Loring and East Phillips top the list of most violent Minneapolis parks in any given year, with Loring notching 13 and East Phillips reporting five serious incidents including homicide, rape and aggravated assault in 2021. … This spring, park police shifted their strategy for summer’s inevitable increase in crime. … So far this year, Loring Park has experienced just one serious violent crime, while East Phillips and Stevens Square have had none. Park Police Chief Jason Ohotto said the 2022 park crime rate is on pace to meet its 10-year average of 92 violent crimes per year.”

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Also in the Star Tribune, Tim Harlow writes, “Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the City Council agreed Thursday to allow dedicated bus lanes on the rebuilt Hennepin Avenue, but only for six hours a day. The council’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee approved the deal with a 5-1 vote. The agreement fell short of the 24-hour dedicated lanes sought by transit advocates and some council members but is still expected to boost transit access along the Uptown corridor.”

A quartet of MPR reporters say, “As COVID-19 surged during last year’s December holidays, a private testing company delivered some troubling news to officials at the Minnesota Department of Health: It had a backlog of nearly 28,000 tests. Nebraska-based GS Labs had been behind for weeks as cases of COVID’s omicron variant leaped. Among those delayed results, nearly 2,400 were positive. …The problem was no one-off. A nearly yearlong investigation by journalists from APM Reports found the company struggled to submit COVID test results even as the company allegedly pushed its regional sites to get customers to test more in order to maximize insurance payments and revenue.”

Nick Longworth reports for FOX 9: “An unrelated traffic stop led police to search a home where they discovered components of stolen construction equipment and a hidden compartment in a wall that contained a stash of illegal guns. Lance Lee Rubnik, 56, of Brainerd, faces 10 separate charges after the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office found caches of guns, drugs, scales and ammo in his home. But it all started with a simple traffic stop.”

This from WCCO-TV, “The Mega Millions jackpot is now estimated at more than a billion dollars, so if you haven’t already been playing, now may be the time to buy a ticket. … If you match all five numbers and the Mega Ball, you win the jackpot, currently estimated at $1.02 billion. Your odds of doing so, per the Minnesota Lottery, are 1 in 302,575,350.”