A study session held in St. Louis Park City Council chambers on Monday exploded into confrontation, as protesters took aim at council members for voting last month to remove the Pledge of Allegiance from the start of council meetings. The crowd, which included some military veterans, constituents and the chair of the Minnesota GOP, chanted USA and loudly recited the Pledge of Allegiance at least three times during a council discussion that lasted for the better part of an hour. Although council members took no votes on Monday – it was not a regular board meeting -- they did acknowledge publicly they may have rushed into the decision to remove the pledge and began charting a path to gather community input about the topic. Mayor Jake Spano said that, as of now, the current no-pledge policy at the start of meetings remains in effect. However, following more discussion of the issue, Spano believes it is possible another vote could happen as early as August.
People eager to soak up some sun could be allowed back on three Minneapolis beaches this week. Tuesday afternoon, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is scheduled to receive the latest test results of bacteria levels on three beaches: Lake Hiawatha Beach and the 32nd Street and Thomas Beaches along Bde Maka Ska. According to the board, the high bacteria levels were likely due to heavy rainfall that brought large amounts of storm water into the lakes. Debra Pilger, the Director of Environmental Management for the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board said that every Monday during swimming season, staff tests the lakes for bacteria. As far as closures go, it's not uncommon, but it's unusual to have three beaches closed at once. She said that the drier the season, the fewer closures happen. Pilger said the Board doesn't know of any illnesses related to bacteria in these lakes.
Hennepin County Public Health is investigating reports of illness possibly related with the "Big Island" area of Lake Minnetonka over the Fourth of July holiday. Hennepin County officials are working with the Minnesota Department of Health to determine the type of illness. Officials have not yet identified a source. People who are ill are reporting symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting. If you have experienced recent vomiting and/or diarrhea and were the that area around July 4, call the disease investigation phone number at 612-543-5230 to report symptoms