Future of Minneapolis’ Office of Performance and Innovation in limbo

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Pauleen Le of WCCO-TV writes that the Fourth of July celebrations became chaotic in Minneapolis on Monday night. Police were seen searching Boom Island Park for a shooting and then chasing down crowds of people setting off fireworks on the streets. Around 11:30 p.m. things took a different turn as Boom Island Park residents claimed they were enjoying fireworks on the Fourth of July. Soon, the area was crowded with police officers putting up crime tape and strewn with evidence markers.

Susan Du writes the Star Tribune. “Brian Smith, who heads the Minneapolis office that launches teams of mental health professionals in de-escalation of certain conflicts previously handled by police in Germany, was hailed this summer for his work to counter structural injustice. In Minneapolis, however, the future of OPI (Office of Performance and Innovation) is still up in the air. OPI is seen by its supporters to be a key component in the city’s efforts to expand public safety alternatives to police. The City Council members supporting OPI’s mission are pressing Mayor Jacob Frey to clarify how the agency will operate in light of his ongoing restructuring at City Hall. They say they are not satisfied with Frey’s answers.

According to The Pioneer Press: ” A Brooklyn Park firework that exploded in his face left an 18-year old man dead, police reported. Around 1:30 AM, police were dispatched to a park on the 9800 block Fallgold Parkway North. According to a press release by the Brooklyn Park Police Department, the police arrived to find the man, aged 18, with serious injuries to his hands, face and mouth. They said that a friend was performing CPR. The man was saved by crews from North Ambulance Paramedics and Brooklyn Park Fire Department. He was taken to North Memorial Hospital, Robbinsdale where he was declared dead.

Mara H. Gottfried also wrote in the Pioneer Press. There is a lot of grief for three children whose bodies were taken from a Vadnais Heights Lake on Friday and Saturday. Their families and law enforcement are searching for answers. Molly Cheng (23-year-old mother of three children) was also found in Vadnais Lake. According to the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Saturday’s case is being investigated as a possible triple-murder-suicide. These deaths occurred following the suicide of Cheng, Cheng’s husband and father of the children. Maplewood firefighters and police were called to the home of the family in the 1300 block Pearson Drive at 10:30 on Friday. They found Cheng dead.

WCCO-TV’s Reg Chapman reports that Elle Ragin , six years old, is still missing. State investigators and police continue to search for her. She stands approximately three feet six inches tall and has curly brown hair. Police discovered the body of her mother Saturday morning in their Northfield apartment. Investigators believe that she committed suicide. Investigators are trying to put together a timeline that can help them find Elle’s mom Lisa Wade in the last two weeks. They know that Elle and her mom have not been seen since then, so they are concerned that the 6-year-old may be in danger.

Frederick Melo of Pioneer Press writes: ” Members from the St. Paul Bicycle Coalition rally for a bike trail along historic Summit Avenue, and accuse opponents of spreading misinformation as a ploy in order to preserve parking. Many Summit Avenue residents have started to plant ‘S.O.S. ‘lawn signs, asking the city for help to save their street from potential tree loss. This is in response to concerns that the new connections to regional bike trails could cause massive tree removals. Staff at the city are now in a difficult position. They must solicit feedback and input on possible trail designs, while also navigating a heated war of words.

Theo Keith, KMSP-TV says that the Fourth of July weekend saw thousands of Minnesotans hit the roads, while avoiding construction cones at over 200 highway work zones. Minnesota may soon install speed cameras in its work zones if some lawmakers get their way. This is after a year when more people were killed in speed-related accidents than any other year since 2003. According to data from the Minnesota State Patrol, These cameras, which critics claim raise serious legal questions, were included in the spring’s end-of-session negotiations. These talks were much more extensive and ended in a halt, so the effort will be continued next year.

KSTP-TV also has this from Mia Laube. ” Minnesota Attorney-General Keith Ellison tested positive for COVID-19,” according to the official. Ellison tweeted Monday that Ellison is feeling well and has been fully vaccinated.

KARE-TV Eva Anderson states Kerry D’Amato, who has been working in animal welfare for over three decades, says that she’s never seen it so bad . D’Amato is currently the executive director at Pet Haven. This rescue was founded in Minnesota’s first foster-based rescue. It’s now in its 70th anniversary. D’Amato says that the state has experienced a lot of pressure on local shelters over the past two-years. “Due to the ripple effect of COVID there has been an increase in pets being surrendered and pets finding shelters, pets being left in homes or apartments, with evictions,” D’Amato stated …. D’Amato believes the trend is two-pronged. First, pet owners who adopted pets during the pandemic might not have been prepared to care for their furry friends. The problem was exacerbated by record-high inflation.

David Olson wrote for the Forum News Service: “A brand new 188-mile bicycle route, designated U.S. Bike Route 20 connects Moorhead and St. Cloud via a combination of off-road trails as well as carefully chosen roads. The route follows Interstate 94 extensively and makes use of a variety of regional and state trails. More than two-thirds are off-road. … The new route is dubbed U.S. Bike Route 20, but the public is invited to help select a new name by visiting research.net/r/USBikeRoute20name and voting for one of the following options: Glacial Lakes Bicycle Route; Prairie Lakes Bicycle Route; MiddleSota Bicycle Route; Rivers to Prairies Bicycle Route; Towns and Fields Bicycle Route.”

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