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Rain isn’t helping as many Minnesota rivers near expected flood crests

Plus: SCOTUS sides with Mall of America owners; Minnesota House votes to ban recreational wolf hunting/trapping; Minnesota’s 16th storm in 19 weeks; and more.

photo of st paul sky line
St. Paul, Minnesota

For the Strib, Tim Harlow, Jessie Van Berkel and Josie Albertson-Grove report, “Weather forecasters, public works crews, property owners and local leaders across Minnesota kept a careful eye on rivers Wednesday as water levels continued to rise. Heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday will only exacerbate spring flooding, said Paige Marten, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. With an inch or two of precipitation possible over 24 hours, river crests may be higher than originally forecast and the high, rushing water could stick around longer.

For KSTP-TV Brittney Ermon says, “Minneapolis officials are reworking part of a construction project in south Minneapolis because they say the original design has flaws. Construction is underway in the heart of south Minneapolis to start phase two of the Bryant Avenue South reconstruction project, stretching from 42nd Street to Lake Street. Public Works completed Phase 1, from 42nd Street to 50th Street, in the fall of 2022, but officials said there were flaws in the design.”

For Patch William Bornhoft says, “The Minnesota Department of Health is telling homeowners with private water wells that if floodwater reaches their property to assume the well has been contaminated. Water from your well should not be used for drinking, cooking, or brushing your teeth until the floodwater recedes and the well has been cleaned, the MDH said in a news release Wednesday. The warning comes as significant spring flooding increases across the state, including at the Mississippi River and St. Croix River.”

Stribbers Burl Gilyard and Jim Buchta say, “The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the owners of the Mall of America in a complex, long-running legal battle about the vacant retail space that once housed a Sears store. The 9-0 ruling allows mall owners to continue to challenge a holding company’s $10-a-year lease for the empty space. The unanimous opinion vacates a judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Second Circuit and sends it back to lower courts for further proceedings. … Paul Vaaler, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and Carlson School of Management, noted it’s not common to see a unanimous decision from the Supreme Court, which conflicting political philosophies often split. As the legal fight continues, the opinion gives Mall of America leverage to argue any future tenant for the space needs to be in line with its previous use as a retail store.”

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For KMSP-TV Mary McGuire says, “By day, Sienna Dhariwal is a normal high school sophomore, focused on hanging out with friends and cramming for her next exam. But by night, things look a little different. The 15-year-old is filling orders and dreaming up the latest creations for Bikini Blend, an online swimwear company she launched when she was in middle school.”

And … MPR’s Paul Huttner says, “Welcome to the 16th storm in about 19 weeks Minnesota. That’s how incessantly active our weather pattern has been for the past four-plus months going back to Dec. 1. Our latest storm brings mostly rain to central and southern Minnesota, but it will produce another blast of April ice and heavy snow across northern Minnesota. Yes, it’s spring. But the weather maps don’t seem to observe our made-up seasons. … The Twin Cities picked up three-tenths (.3) of an inch of rainfall with Wednesday morning’s first storm wave. We’re getting a break with just scattered showers between low-pressure waves for most of the day, but another wave of rain arrives Wednesday night into Thursday.”

For the Independent Bevan Hurley says, “While the Fox News case attracted most of the headlines, Dominion filed a swathe of defamation suits against right-wing networks, lawyers and media personalities in the months after the 2020 election. … [Mike] Lindell has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but his efforts to have the civil action dismissed have been unsuccessful. In a ruling in the District of Columbia District Court in August 2021, Judge Carl Nicholas wrote: ‘In addition to alleging that Lindell’s claims are inherently improbable, that his sources are unreliable, and that he has failed to acknowledge the validity of countervailing evidence, Dominion has alleged numerous instances in which Lindell told audiences to purchase MyPillow products after making his claims of election fraud and providing MyPillow promotional codes related to those theories’. Then in October 2022, Mr Lindell’s appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court. Mr Lindell appears completely undeterred by the legal setbacks.”

At MPR, Dan Kraker says, “The Minnesota House of Representatives voted this week to ban the recreational hunting and trapping of wolves in the state, should the animal be removed from federal endangered species protection. The proposal was not initially included in the omnibus environment bill. DFL Rep. Peter Fischer of Maplewood introduced the ban as an amendment during floor debate Monday. The last time wolves were hunted in Minnesota, from 2012-2014, after they were removed from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes region, more than 900 were killed.”