Members of a special working group try again this afternoon (3pm) to agree on COVID bonuses for Minnesota's front-line workers, over a month past the original target for a special session to distribute 250 million dollars. Stillwater Republican Senator Karin Housley says Democrats propose 670-thousand Minnesotans who couldn't work from home each get 375 dollars -- while Republicans' plan... "Those really, really front-line workers that faced COVID and a high-risk of contracting COVID every single day... giving each one of those one-thousand dollars." House Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler says there's middle ground, but Republicans' issues are "just getting in the [...]
MSP International Airport is gearing up for one of the most popular travel times of the year--the long MEA weekend. After a slower year in 2020 due to COVID, airport spokesman Jeff Lea says... "We'll expect to see a doubling of passenger traffic compared to 2020 for this week on some days." Lea says Thursday will likely be the airport's busiest day. Between now and the end of the week, Lea is urging air travelers to arrive two hours in advance of a domestic flight or three hours in advance of an international flight.
More hours of darkness this time of year can contribute to an increased number of crashes between people driving and walking. Anne Meyer with MnDOT is urging travelers to use caution. "So when you're driving that means watch for people walking, stop for people crossing the road and slow down, speed can make a big difference and when you're walking just remember, be alert for turning vehicles, look in all lanes of traffic before you cross the road." Motor vehicle crashes have killed 45 pedestrians in 2021, which is nine more pedestrian deaths than this time last year.
Early next month an unorthodox traveling museum will make its way to Minnesota. Dr. Samuel West, the museum's curator, says his goal is to showcase how thinking big, even when it leads to failure, can lead to big innovations. One exhibit may hit home with Minnesota sports fans, a look back at the glowing hockey puck used on T-V in the 1990's. "They made all kinds of tacky graphics along with it. It was short lived, it didn't work out, and that’s okay, if they don't continually test new technology or new ways of doing things, there will be no progress." [...]
Brainerd Lakes area Senator Paul Gazelka, Republican running for governor says: "Without a doubt, people do not feel safe right now -- and I blame, and put that blame on, Governor Tim Walz and the mayors of Minneapolis and Saint Paul." G-O-P rival, Ham Lake Senator Michelle Benson says in her travels across the state, she hears from families who "no longer feel safe in their communities and don’t believe the Governor is doing anything to help" and "from law enforcement who feel the Governor doesn’t have their back."
Walz opens re-election campaign at virtual event with supporters, challengers blast his record on COVID, crime
"So I'd ask you all, join us." ...Governor Tim Walz addressing supporters at a virtual campaign rally last night (Tues), as Republican rivals blast his record on crime. Senator Michelle Benson: "We saw him sit on his hands while Minneapolis and Saint Paul burned. The radical left keeps talking about defunding the police." Walz has said he does not support defunding the police, but reiterated last night he'll continue pushing for police reform: "You can hold two thoughts at the same time: We can ask for police reform while also tackling gun violence and crime. That's what our communities are asking [...]
Minnesota House lawmakers are in Pipestone, Luverne, Worthington, Butterfield, Welcome, Fairmont and Mankato today (Wed), hearing pitches for state bonding dollars for public works projects on day two of their sweep through southwest Minnesota. Capital Investment committee chairman, Minneapolis Democrat Fue Lee says the latest budget forecast allows the state to bond for just over 3.3 billion dollars: "I'll be doing my part to push for a robust bonding bill. I am hopeful that we could get to a level similar to what we were able to get done in the October 2020 bonding bill." That was a record 1.9 billion [...]
Governor Tim Walz has received good response to his push for COVID testing programs in Minnesota's public schools, with over 85 percent applying for grants from the state. But his proposal to require testing and vaccinations for teachers and staff is meeting strong resistance from Republicans. Walz's education commissioner, Doctor Heather Mueller says: "The Department of Health and the C-D-C have recommended required layered mitigation strategies that are inclusive of testing and vaccines and masks and quarantine. But as for requiring it from the state level, I know that that's a conversation that the governor is having with the legislature." A [...]
As this year's death toll on the state's roads approaches the highest number since 2007, the Department of Public Safety is urging drivers to slow down and pay attention. "This is horrible and this is unacceptable, we've been pleading with Minnesotans about the traffic fatality crisis that's been taking place since the start of the pandemic last year." Mike Hanson with the Office of Traffic Safety says speeding, in particular, has been a significant problem. There have been at least 124 speed-related deaths through October 14th--a 27-percent increase from this time last year.
State House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler and members of the Walter Mondale family are scheduled to tour several Conservation Legacy spots honoring Mondale along the St. Croix. "Vice President and Senator Walter Mondale led the effort to preserve the St. Croix River Valley for future generations as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act." Winkler was the author of a bill passed and signed into law during the 2019 legislative session naming five areas along the St. Croix in Mondale's honor. The region had great personal significance to Mondale as well. Mondale proposed to his wife-to-be Joan in a [...]