- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015
St. Paul officials expect State Fair protest will be orderly

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - St. Paul officials are encouraging people to visit the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday despite a protest planned by Black Lives Matter.

City officials said at a news conference Friday that they plan to post extra police officers and expect the demonstration to unfold orderly.

Black Lives Matter St. Paul plans to lead a march beginning at 11 a.m. at Hamline Park up Snelling Avenue to a rally outside the front gates. The group says the fair has not been supportive of minority vendors and visitors. It also wants to raise awareness of other issues facing communities of color.

St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith says his department has open lines of communications with the protesters.

Because of anticipated congestion on Snelling Avenue, officials urge fairgoers to consider alternative routes.

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No quick answer for UCare in fight to maintain contracts

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - There were no quick answers Friday for UCare or Minnesota officials in the Minneapolis health care provider’s case against the state, as a Minnesota judge said he’ll decide sometime before a key deadline next week whether to give the company more time to win back its public health plan contracts.

UCare sued state officials earlier this month, alleging the state arbitrarily cut the company out during a statewide bidding process for contracts to cover hundreds of thousands of low-income residents on public programs. The company asked to halt the upcoming start of sign-ups, currently scheduled for Sept. 4.

During the case’s first hearing Friday, Ramsey County District Court Judge Robert Awsumb told the two sides he would make a ruling on UCare’s request for an injunction before that date.

Time is ticking for the Minneapolis health care provider and its 370,000 enrollees, who would need to pick a new plan if the state’s contracting plans move ahead. Without that sizable portion of its business, UCare has said it would be forced to cut as much as half of its workforce.

Attorney Larry Espel said the company was given little explanation for why its bid didn’t pass muster, but said the state should have given more weight to recommendations from the dozens of county boards that have voiced a preference for working with UCare. UCare is asking the judge to put it back in line with the state to negotiate contracts in the 55 counties that have passed those recommendations.

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Officers cite 2 men for trying to net fish on Gull Lake

NISSWA, Minn. (AP) - Conservation officers have issued citations to two tribal members who attempted to net fish on Gull Lake in Nisswa on the second day of efforts by activists to assert rights they say they hold under an 1855 treaty.

The confrontation happened just across the highway from Hole-in-the-Day Lake, where other Chippewa Indians harvested wild rice without state licenses Friday.

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reports (http://strib.mn/1IpKv6Thttp://strib.mn/1IpKv6T ) that conservation offers asked the fish-netters to stop as they were paddling to shore. But the two men landed their canoe and left the scene. The DNR later cited them. The officers did not confiscate their canoe and returned their gillnet.

The two sides disagree on whether band members have special off-reservation fishing, gathering and hunting rights under the 1855 treaty.

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New Ulm chief charged in domestic assault

NEW ULM, Minn. (AP) - The police chief of New Ulm is accused of domestic assault and disorderly conduct.

Myron Wieland is expected to appear in court Friday in Faribault County where he has been jailed since Wednesday.

Watonwan County is prosecuting the case. County Attorney Stephen Lindee said Friday Wieland is charged with three misdemeanors. He’s accused of assaulting an unidentified person at his home in New Ulm on Monday evening.

The case is being prosecuted outside Brown County to avoid a conflict of interest. The 54-year-old Wieland has been chief in New Ulm for six years and has been with the department for 28 years. Jail records do not list a defense attorney.

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