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The Minnesota News Network is your source for information across the state.

Smith, Lewis square off over China trade during FarmFest virtual debate

By |2020-08-05T07:38:26-05:00August 5th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

Republican U-S Senate candidate Jason Lewis said in Tuesday's "virtual" FarmFest debate that the U-S should move to the "next phase" of trade with China because it's an important market, especially for corn and soybeans: "We're starting to see really, really good results from getting tough on China on phase one just this last couple of weeks: record corn purchases." Democratic U-S Senator Tina Smith responded it's good there's a "phase one" agreement with China, but the U-S still doesn't know whether that nation will live up to it: "The erratic, chaotic approach to the negotiations with China I think have [...]

HealthParnters Dr. offers back-to-school advice amid COVID-19

By |2020-08-05T07:20:06-05:00August 5th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

Parents, students and teachers around the state are prepping for a back-to-school season unlike any other in recent memory. School districts are deciding how best to best proceed amid COVID-19--with guidance from the state. Some schools will likely require distance learning--which HealthPartners pediatrician Dr. Andrea Singh says has its pros and cons... "As a pediatrician I kind of cringe when I think about the amount of time this spring that my kids spent on their computers, but at the same time, they were learning and they were connecting with their friends, all of which are important for their mental well-being and [...]

Suicide rates up across Minnesota

By |2020-08-05T07:03:52-05:00August 5th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

In Minnesota, the suicide rate increased by 48% compared to the national average of 37% from 2000-2018. Although Minnesota’s suicide rate is the 12th lowest among the states, it had the 18th highest rate of increase: "The largest increase in suicide death rates that we found since 2000 was children ages 10-to-14 and their suicide death rate was the lowest of all the groups we looked at it nearly doubled." Colin Planalp is a senior research fellow at the U of M's State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) and lead author of the report.

US Senate candidates debate at “virtual” FarmFest

By |2020-08-05T07:24:59-05:00August 5th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

How to diversify Minnesota's rural economy -- the question for U-S Senate candidates during the debate at the "virtual" FarmFest 2020. Democratic Senator Tina Smith: "We need to make sure there's good access to capital. We need to make sure that we protect rural hospitals, which are gonna make it more likely that people are gonna live in those communities.   And we need to lift up the good ideas that are happening in those communities. Republican challenger, former Congressman Jason Lewis says: "It starts with a good business climate, and it doesn't help when Minnesota has the fifth-highest taxes in the [...]

Voters group sues Walz over mask mandate, says it contradicts state law

By |2020-08-05T07:22:20-05:00August 5th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

A group called the Minnesota Voters Alliance is suing Governor Tim Walz in federal court over his mask mandate -- saying voters who wear face coverings to the polls for next Tuesday's primary election will violate a 1963 Minnesota law that makes it illegal to wear a mask in public. Republican state Representative Tim Miller from Prinsburg: "What the governor is doing, both here and with the emergency powers, is either unconstitutional or certainly against the laws of the State of Minnesota." Attorney General Keith Ellison says he stands behind the legality and constitutionality of the governor's executive order. He says [...]

State to close prisons in Willow River, Togo

By |2020-08-04T06:55:52-05:00August 4th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

State officials for budget reasons are closing Minnesota's two smallest prisons, in Willow River and Togo, and will move inmates to two other facilities -- either Stillwater, Faribault, Lino Lakes or Red Wing.   And what about COVID concerns, we asked Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell: "We will increase the density but we will manage this. We're able to manage this a little bit better because our (prison) population is as low as it is.   And we are really mindful and careful about how we do this." The American Civil Liberties Union plans to appeal after a judge threw out a [...]

MDH renews call for plasma donations amid COVID-19

By |2020-08-04T06:52:25-05:00August 4th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

State health officials have renewed a call for plasma donors amid COVID-19. "The reasons these donations are important is that people who have had COVID-19 develop antibodies to attack the virus that can be found in their plasma." The state Health Department's Kris Ehresmann says the plasma is being evaluated by researchers as a potential treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID infections.

Next push at MN Legislature for bonding bill likely delayed until September

By |2020-08-04T06:54:22-05:00August 4th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

Don't expect state lawmakers to try a fourth time to pass a bonding bill for state public works projects, when the legislature likely has another special session around the middle of this month. House Speaker, Democrat Melissa Hortman says because the state is selling previously-authorized bonds in August, that special session will be "a very quick in-and-out" with *no* action on a bonding bill: "If we were to disrupt the state's financial situation, that would make it more difficult to sell our bonds. It might even violate S-E-C regulations. Hortman says the "do-or-die" time for a bonding bill will be in [...]

MDH officials concerned about Sturgis rally in neighboring S Dakota

By |2020-08-04T06:00:27-05:00August 4th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

Local health officials say they'll be keeping a close watch on what happens at South Dakota's annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally-which is expected to bring thousands of visitors--even as COVID-19 continues. Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm: "We are concerned with any large gathering, sustained contact of that nature is sort of a recipe for something to happen." Malcolm says we could see cases here in Minnesota--in late August or early September--as a result of the Sturgis gathering. So far, there has been no discussion of quarantining travelers from Sturgis, South Dakota to Minnesota.

Extra enforcement to crackdown on distracted driving

By |2020-08-04T06:50:21-05:00August 4th, 2020|Categories: Covid-19 City Updates, Featured, Latest Headlines, Local News, News|

As a week-long distracted driving enforcement campaign continues in Minnesota, Mike Hanson with the state Office of Traffic Safety says... "The most simple, most basic, and the easiest and the safest thing to do is is to put that phone in the glove compartment, or turn on your do not disturb... just do not interact with that electronic device while you're driving at all." Hanson says that in the past 11 months, just over 19-thousand people were cited in Minnesota for violating the hands-free law. The extra enforcement runs through Saturday.