Southwest Light Rail opening delayed until 2027, price tag rises to $ 2.75 billion

Theo Keith reports for FOX 9: “Southwest Light Rail will not open until 2027 and carry a final cost around $ 2.75 billion, Metropolitan Council officials said Wednesday, ending months of speculation about the impact of ballooning cost overruns and delays. The new projected opening date is four years behind the original schedule. Almost a decade will have elapsed between the ceremonial groundbreaking and the time a passenger boards the 14.5-mile line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, the largest public works project in state history. ”

Faiza Mahamud and Liz Navratil write: “An attorney for seven bar and restaurant owners argued in court Wednesday that a judge should toss Minneapolis’ new vaccine-or-testing requirements, while the city vehemently defended its new policy. The case is raising questions about how much authority the city – and specifically Frey – has to enact emergency measures during the pandemic.

Says the AP, “Health care workers in about half the states including Minnesota face a Thursday deadline to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine under a Biden administration mandate that will be rolled out across the rest of the country in the coming weeks. While the requirement is welcomed by some, others fear it will worsen already serious staff shortages if employees quit rather than comply. ”

Also from FOX 9: “Governor Tim Walz is calling on lawmakers to pass legislation to legalize marijuana use in Minnesota, as he proposes funds from his budget plan to launch a state authority to oversee a recreational marijuana program. Speaking Wednesday, Governor Walz says his budget would set aside $ 25 million to create the new ‘Cannabis Management Office.’ The office would oversee the ‘safe and responsible legalization of cannabis for adult use in Minnesota,’ according to Walz. The office would be tasked with developing a framework for legal cannabis in Minnesota. ”

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For the AP, Amy Forliti, Steve Karnowski and Tammy Webber write: A Minneapolis firefighter who witnessed police officers holding George Floyd facedown on a city street testified Wednesday that the three officers on federal trial for allegedly violating Floyd’s civil rights ignored her pleas to help administer medical aid to the unresponsive Black man. Genevieve Hansen was off duty on May 25, 2020, but said she identified herself as a Minneapolis firefighter when saw Floyd on the ground. She testified at the trial of former Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao that she could see Floyd’s head being pressed onto the street under the knee of former Officer Derek Chauvin, while other officers helped hold him down. ”

Brian Bakst writes for MPR: “For the first time, the Minnesota DFL Party will allow people without the right to vote to participate in precinct caucuses. Party Chair Ken Martin announced Wednesday that felons whose voting rights have not been fully restored and immigrants who aren’t US citizens can caucus and become convention delegates. He said the change was approved unanimously by the party’s executive committee. Martin described the move as overdue. ”

In the Star Tribune, Erica Pearson writes: Rabbi Michael Adam Latz, a prominent Twin Cities social justice leader, has resigned from south Minneapolis synagogue Shir Tikvah, the synagogue’s board of trustees said in an email to members Wednesday. The departure comes after ‘long-standing, significant issues with his interactions with staff,’ were revealed in a ‘months-long process’ that included external consultants, according to the e-mail. … In a farewell letter included below the e-mail announcement, Latz wrote, ‘… my family and I have decided that it is time for me to enter the next chapter of my rabbinic career.’ ”

Duluth’s WDIO-TV reports: The Duluth Police Department says 21 people have been charged for being part of a Drug Trafficking Organization that brought heroin and fentanyl from Chicago to Duluth and the larger region. The drugs were allegedly sold in Duluth, Cloquet, and throughout St. Louis. Louis and Carlton counties, along with the Fond du Lac and Bad River reservations. They made their way into Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The Lake Superior Drug & Violent Crime Task Force has been investigating this particular trafficking organization since June 2021, according to a press release. ”

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