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Metro Gang Strike Force Payouts

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According to Minnesota Public Radio, , a court-appointed overseer said there have been over 200 claims filed against the Metro Gang Strike Force, and close to $840,000 should be paid in the case. Over 200 claims have been filed against the Force, but authorities have not filed any criminal charges.

According to the Star Tribune, over 600 pages of documents were released in the law suit last week, and there are 96 victims in the case.

Attorneys said the recent payouts validate the complaints of the victims, and show the out of control nature of the Force.

Among the payouts, $6,000 was given for a toddler under the age of 2 who was kicked in the head by a Force officer during a drug raid that did not produce expected results. In other raids various personal possessions of great value, including a LIncoln Navigator SUV have been seized by the Force.

Calhoun Square Gets Stylish New Tennant

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The trendy retailer H&M will occupy retail space this fall in the Minneapolis shopping center Calhoun Square, according to the Star Tribune. H&M will take up 10 percent of the center's retail space.

Calhoun Square is located in "Uptown's downtown", and the new addition will inject a dash of optimism in the stagnant retail economy. The shopping center has suffered economically during the recession, and major stores in the area have relocated in recent years.

Despite the advantages it can bring to the local economy, some retailers in the area have said they wish the space would be used by an independent company.

According to Kare 11, the new Uptown edition will be H&M's fifth location in Minnesota.

Minnesota State Park Closed

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Damage from heavy flooding to the Jay Cooke State Park in Duluth has forced its closure, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Flooding wiped out a large stretch of forest,wiped out the highway in several places, and caused major damage to Park's swinging bridge. The Department of Natural Resources has decided to close the Park until at least October.

The DNR must refund over 3,000 nights of reserved camping, and consider the closure a loss to the tourism industry in northeast Minnesota.

According to the Pioneer Press, the agency will lose between $175 and $200 thousand in revenue. Of Minnesota's 75 state parks and recreation areas, Jay Cook is the ninth most visited.

The Park's trail system branches across 50 miles, and was also damaged significantly by the flooding. Most employees of the Park will continue working throughout the summer to help repair damage.

Protection of Unused Elementary School Granted

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The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission granted up to 18 months of protection to the closed Shingle Creek Elementary school in north Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune. Despite opposition from the public school district and some local residents, the Commission decided the school may have historical significance due to its 1950s style, and place in a postwar neighborhood.

Other residents describe the school as significant as well, one resident said it is "the centerpiece of the neighborhood." Classrooms are organized into pods, which is consistent with the architectural style of the historical time period it was built in.

However, Minneapolis Public School officials intend to appeal the ruling to the Minneapolis City Council, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Although it is a notable location, and was even chosen to film a 1960s era scene in the movie "A Serious Man", district officials argue that it is a costly site to maintain.

Vandals and break-ins are common, and the district spends between $35 and $50 thousand each year to repair the damage.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, a Twitter account created by Worthington High School students was shut down by police due to its offensive nature.

The students may face academic discipline or even criminal charges. The superintendent said the incident was a case of bullying, and intends to use this site as an example of inappropriate use of social media.

According to the Pioneer Press, the site was set up to spread gossip about other students, and included content that was derogatory and sexually explicit.

Light Rail Contract Reconsidered

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The Metropolitan Council is reconsidering awarding a light-rail engineering contract that will connect Minneapolis and Eden Prarie to a company connected to the Sabo Bridge failure, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Upon reviewing the recent Sabo Bridge failure report, the council announced Friday it plans to cancel its contract awarding full funding for the proposed Southwest Corridor project the San Francisco based URS corporation.

Metropolitan Council will recommend multiple engineering contracts for the line, and will also propose an independent peer review contract. The council said that AECOM, an original bidder on the contract will now be considered equally.

According to the Star Tribune, this decision followed the breakdown of a Minneapolis bicycle and pedestrian bridge designed by URS. Governor Mark Dayton also criticized URS in a meeting with the Metropolitan Council chair this spring.

Ultimately, both corporations will bid on the now two separate contracts, but the council has emphasized the importance of independent peer review for public confidence and support.

According to the Star Tribune, a Minnesota police officer could face charges after he allegedly provided marijuana to protesters in the Occupy Minneapolis movement.

The officer was involved in the Drug Recognition Evaluator Program. The case has been received by the Hennepin County attorney's office, and is currently under review.

The report was filed by another officer in a different law enforcement agency who allegedly witnessed the officer providing marijuana to a potential subject, according to Fox News.

Sewage Pipe Breaks Near St. Cloud

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A sewer pipe in Sauk Rapids broke Wednesday, allowing up to 700,000 gallons of sewage to spill into the Mississippi River, according to MPR.

The incident did not result in any fines, and the pipe was fixed the same day. The sewage is not expected to cause any threats to public health or safety.

The City of St. Cloud has added treatment to the water and is doing additional monitoring as a precaution, according to the sctimes.

Alan Chambers, leader of Exodus International, gave public statements retracting his claim that homosexuality can be cured through counceling and prayer, according to the New York times.

Exodus International is a network of ministries that has claimed for over three decades that same sex attraction is caused by childhood scars, and that sexual orientation can be permanently altered with prayer and psychotherapy. The movement was thrown into a very unstable condition when Chambers said publically that he thinks same sex attraction cannot be eliminated permanently, and that he no longer condones this kind of therapy.

The group's annual conference was held in Minnesota this year, and Chambers told the Associated Press that he hopes to lead the group in a new direction. Chambers also said that the timing of the conference was not meant to influence Minnesota voters on the upcoming gay marriage amendment ballot, according to the Huffington Post.

City of St. Paul Opposed to Photo ID Amendment

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A decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court June 15 will allow numerous groups to be involved in a lawsuit challenging an amendment to the constitution requiring voters to show a photo ID, the Star Tribune reported.

The Republican controlled Legislature brought the bill to the ballot, and a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters and groups opposed to the policy contended that the wording of the amendment does not accurately reflect the changes that would take if passed.

The Supreme Court ruling allowed for the House and Senate, as well as other groups and organizations to take part in the lawsuit and oral arguments.

The City of St. Paul has stepped in as an opposing party, and claimed that the amendment is unconstitutional. The City of St. Paul also claimed that the Legislature is not legally able to put the amendment on the ballot, because Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed the part of the bill designating the amendment a title and ballot question.

According to the Department of Vehicle Services, 140,000 Minnesotans who are registered and eligible to vote do not have state issued photo ID, the Echo Press reported.

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