Home explosion in Hopkins leaves two dead

At MPR, Tim Nelson and Andrew Krueger write, “Two people were killed Wednesday in an apparent gas explosion at a home in Hopkins. Fire and rescue crews from across the southwest metro responded at around 10:15 a.m. to the 200 block of 21st Avenue North on reports of a blast that rattled the neighborhood. When firefighters arrived, they found the house engulfed in flames, with debris strewn around. Hopkins Fire Chief Dale Specken said investigators are still trying to determine the cause.”

Kim Hyatt writes in the Star Tribune: “The co-owner of a popular Minnetonka food truck serving up fried chicken throughout the Twin Cities this week sued two sisters for defamation after they accused the business of ties to a cult and it lost business. Soulaire Allerai, co-owner of Bad Rooster, seeks more than $200,000 in damages for the claims made this month on Facebook by Angela Marie Hummelgard of Cottage Grove and Kelly Ring Abedi, of Reisterstown, Md. The lawsuit claims the sisters also called breweries and other establishments, which then canceled planned dates to host the food truck.”

In the Pioneer Press, Dave Orrick writes: “Republican candidate for Minnesota attorney general Doug Wardlow on Wednesday attempted to frame his primary battle against GOP-endorsed candidate Jim Schultz as a battle about abortion. Schultz’s anti-abortion credentials are well-established, but Wardlow accused him of being not zealous enough. Schultz has said he wouldn’t use the office of attorney general to push for stricter abortion laws — even though he supports some — while Wardlow on Wednesday said he would do exactly that, pledging to ‘wage war’ on Minnesota’s state constitutional right to an abortion. Wardlow’s actions Wednesday — summoning the political press corps to the Capitol for what his campaign billed as a ‘very important announcement’ — amount to a counter-trend to most Republican candidates, who have treaded lightly on abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Related. The AP reports: “A North Dakota judge on Wednesday put on hold the state’s trigger law banning abortion while a lawsuit moves forward that argues it violates the state constitution. Burleigh County District Judge Bruce Romanick ruled in a lawsuit brought by the state’s only abortion clinic, Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, that Attorney General Drew Wrigley “prematurely attempted to execute” the trigger language, which was improper until the U.S. Supreme Court issued its certified judgment on Tuesday. The ban had been set to take effect on Thursday.”

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Eder Campuzano of the Star Tribune writes: “Minnesota teachers aren’t entitled to a refund of so-called ‘fair-share’ fees they paid to unions in the years leading up to a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring those fees unconstitutional. That was an appeals court’s ruling this week in a federal lawsuit that is part of a broader national effort to force public-sector employee unions to retroactively refund millions to nonmembers. Minnesota unions had for decades collected those fees to pay for collective bargaining efforts. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Education Minnesota, the statewide teachers union, and a trio of public school districts in its ruling.

Diane Sandberg reports for KARE 11: “Three men were shot in Minneapolis early Thursday morning, leaving one dead and two others hospitalized, one in life-threatening condition.  According to Minneapolis police, officers were called to the area around 1st Avenue North and 4th Street North just after 1:30 a.m. Thursday for a report of a fight. As police arrived in the area, the fight escalated into a gun battle, according to officials. Police said the gunfire came from fully automatic weapons.”

Frederick Melo writes in the Pioneer Press: “The St. Paul City Council voted 6-0 on Wednesday to convene a legislative advisory committee that will take a deep dive on the question of how to craft and fund an early education and child care initiative aimed at the city’s lowest-income families. … To fund grants to child care and pre-K providers, the seven-member city council had been poised Wednesday to vote on whether to put a special property tax assessment on the Nov. 8 ballot this year. But the St. Paul All Ready for Kindergarten (SPARK) coalition, led in part by council member Rebecca Noecker, recognized they had not lined up the five requisite council votes.”

The Forum News Service’s Dana Ferguson writes: “Gov. Tim Walz and several members of his Cabinet on Wednesday announced their sweeping 10-year plan to boost the state’s economy by building out access to child care, health care, housing, transportation and broadband infrastructure, and adding job training programs. Walz charged a 15-member Council on Economic Expansion with creating a roadmap for the state’s economic advancement last year.… Their broad proposal would: Boost teacher pay in the state … Boost funding to police groups and add accountability measures … Aim to increase the number of businesses owned by people of color in Minnesota Ú Market the state as a great place to live and work.”

A Star Tribune story by Michael Agnew says, “Minnesota cidermakers are gaining an international reputation. At the recent Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, seven cideries from around the state took home 38 medals, including two best-in-class awards. Known as GLINTCAP, it is the biggest and most recognized cider competition in North America and is held annually in Grand Rapids, Mich. More than 70 cidermakers and certified pommeliers came from across the globe to judge the more than 1,100 entries in the commercial division.”

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