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Impending rail strike affects Empire Builder service

Plus: University of Minnesota gets highest ranking in over a decade from U.S. News and World Report; Twin Cities man sentenced to life for 11 overdose deaths; U.S. Rep. Angie Craig proposes ride-a-longs for members of Congress to learn challenges of policing; and more.

A view from the lounge car of the Empire Builder out of St. Paul.
A view from the lounge car of the Empire Builder out of St. Paul.
MinnPost photo by Bill Lindeke

A Washington Post story by Ian Duncan and Luz Lazo says, “A possible strike by freight rail workers began to disrupt the nation’s passenger rail Monday, while potentially rattling commutes and cross-country travel for thousands of Americans if a strike isn’t averted. Amtrak announced Monday that interruptions will begin Tuesday on its national network. The passenger railroad said it is pulling trains on three long-distance routes ‘to avoid possible passenger disruptions while on route’. … Amtrak Monday announced cancellations on trains with Tuesday departures on the Empire Builder, the California Zephyr and the Southwest Chief routes.”

At KARE-TV Era Atre says, “U.S News and World Report ranked the University of Minnesota Twin Cities at 23rd nationwide” among public schools in its latest survey. “Among the over 400 public and private institutions considered for the National Universities category, the Twin Cities campus improved six places from last year’s ranking, which places the university among the top 15% in the country according to a press release.”

MPR News’ Matt Sepic reports, “A federal judge sentenced a Twin Cities man Monday to life in prison for sending lethal doses of fentanyl through the mail. In 2016, eleven people in ten states died of overdoses after buying drugs from Aaron R. Broussard’s website. A jury in March convicted Broussard of all 17 counts in the government’s indictment, including importation of fentanyl resulting in death. At trial, prosecutors laid out in detail how Broussard, 31, bought drugs in bulk from “sketchy labs in China” and mailed them to customers across the United States. In early 2016, more than a dozen people ordered what they thought was the drug 4-FA, a stimulant. Though Broussard’s supplier had warned of a mixup, Broussard paid no heed, and sent out two-gram packets of the powerful painkiller, prosecutors said.

Stribber Nancy Ngo writes, “After growing up in homes designed by architects, Peter Gesell became something of an architecture buff. So it was game over when he and his partner Liz Flink found a midcentury modern home suspended over a creek flowing into Lake Superior. ‘It’s unique, one of a kind,’ said Gesell of the Duluth home. ‘The fact that it’s built over a creek – you could never do that again.’ … Gesell and Flink owned the unique home for 17 years, enjoying not only its architecture, but its 2,450 square feet of space. Now that their children are grown, they’ve listed the three-bedroom home, which features three en suite bathrooms and an indoor pool. Listing agent Karen Rue described the house as an engineering feat. ‘It’s one of a kind because it’s kind of like we’re selling a steel bridge that happens to have a house on top,’ she said. ‘Therein lies the uniqueness of the property and really the value of the property that’s unprecedented.’ The price, $750,000, factors in the size of the home, its design and engineering while also leaving room for a homeowner who may want to make cosmetic updates, Rue said.”

Another Washington Post story, this by Lauren Gurly says, “About 15,000 nurses in Minnesota walked off the job Monday to protest understaffing and overwork — marking the largest strike of private-sector nurses in U.S. history. … The union has proposed new mechanisms for nurses to have a stronger say in how wards are staffed, including a committee made up of nurses and management at each hospital that would determine appropriate staffing levels. It has also proposed protections against retaliation for nurses who report understaffing. Striking nurses at some hospitals said their shifts are often short five to 10 nurses, forcing nurses to take on more patients than they can handle.”

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A FoxNews story by Peter Kasperowicz says, “A House Democrat from Minnesota, where support for the ‘defund the police’ movement surged after the 2020 death of George Floyd, is asking House members to participate in a police ride-along so they can better understand the dangers law enforcement officers face every day. Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., introduced a resolution last week that says every newly elected member of the House must attend at least one ride-along within the first year of taking office.”

Stribber Chris Hine reports, “An NBA source said the league is looking into potential discipline for Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards after Edwards posted a video using homophobic language to his Instagram account over the weekend. The source told the Star Tribune the league is reviewing the incident. In the past, the league has usually fined players for similar comments. In 2018, when it fined Denver center Nikola Jokic $25,000 for a homophobic remark he made, and it fined Brooklyn forward Kevin Durant $50,000 in 2021 for homophobic comments.”

At MPR Jeffrey Yelverton says, “Jorja Fleezanis, Minnesota Orchestra’s longest-serving concertmaster and the second woman to serve as concertmaster in a major U.S. orchestra at the time of her appointment in 1989, has died in her home in northern Michigan at 70. … During her tenure at the Minnesota Orchestra, Fleezanis had two pieces commissioned for her by the orchestra. The first was the John Adams Violin Concerto, which she debuted in 1994 with Edo de Waart conducting, and the second was Ikon of Eros, composed by John Tavener.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct that the University of Minnesota ranked 23rd among public schools rather than both public and private institutions overall. It ranks 62nd in the National Universities category.

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