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MPCA-Northern Metal court showdown delayed as exceedances up

The air quality monitors bracketing the Northern Metal scrapyard in Minneapolis continue to record particle levels that exceed state standards even as a legal showdown between the state and the company has been pushed off another five weeks.

The company and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency were scheduled to meet in court last Friday to argue summary judgment motions over the company's contention that pollution regulators are picking on it. But that was delayed to Oct. 5 because the parties agreed to a court suggestion that their cross-dispositive motions be consolidated, attorney Jack Perry said

The monitors near the company have notched an additional four instances where either the human health standard or the environmental standard set by the state ewere exceeded for the total number of microscopic particles in the air. The monitors are located across the street from the north and south ends of the riverfront yard.

The most recent violation was recorded on Aug. 10, according to the agency's web site.

All four instances are in addition to multiple violations the agency alleged in July were caused or contributed to by the firm. The state made those allegations in responding to a company request that a court bar the monitoring, which it alleged exceeded the state's authority. The state asked Ramsey County District Court to bar further violations, even if that means reducing or ending operations, and to order the firm to pay for violations.

The dispute is another chapter of the city's longest-running environmental battle. The company applied for a permit to install a metal shredder in 1989 in a bid to increase the market value of scrap metal it recycles. After a long fight that reached the courts and the Legislature, the company prevailed and the firm began running it in 2009. But it soon fell out of compliance with state air standards, which led the agency to loosen its permit limits in 2012.

The state said at the time that it expected the shredder to contribute only a small part of the area's pollutants.

The MPCA then installed monitors at the start of 2013.  Although the area met the standard for the most dangerous and smallest particles, there have been repeated violations since for the total number of particles collected by monitors.

Police investigate 'suspicious' shooting death

A man who was found shot over the weekend in the Jordan neighborhood of north Minneapolis has succumbed to his injuries, police officials and community activists said on Monday.

The shooting, the latest in a series of violent incidents in the area in recent weeks, prompted police to beef up patrols in the neighborhood.

Police were summoned to the 2600 block of Irving Avenue North about 3:25 p.m. Sunday by someone who reported a shooting, department spokesman John Elder said. Later, officers learned that the victim of the shooting had been taken to North Memorial Medical Center "by private vehicle," according to Elder.

There, the victim, whose identity hasn't been released by police, died of his injuries early Monday, Elder said. The death is being treated as "suspicious," he said.

"The circumstances surrounding this shooting are unclear at this time and are being investigated by the Minneapolis Police Department Homicide Unit," Elder said in a news release. When reached Monday, Elder declined to provide specific personnel numbers, but said the additional manpower deployed in the area would include both "marked and unmarked patrols."

On Monday, Lt. Mike Friestleben, inspector of the Fourth Precinct, which covers most of north Minneapolis, ordered extra patrols to cruise the area near where the shooting happened "in an effort to prevent future acts of violent crime," police said.