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Advocates fear overdose spike amid coronavirus isolation

Plus: AG Ellison’s office cracks down on profiteering company; Ramadan begins with broadcast call-to-prayer; black business owners face challenges getting coronavirus-related relief; and more.

A dangerous combination. The Star Tribune’s Libor Jany reports: “With the novel coronavirus continuing its spread, Minneapolis-area drug and addiction experts say they fear that overdose rates will skyrocket as people become more isolated and the country’s public health system nears capacity.

Pretty capitalist move for a company called “Red Star.” The Pioneer Press reports: “A St. Paul-based online retailer has agreed to stop selling scarce items at inflated prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office. … Red Star Trader buys food and household items wholesale and resells them on eBay at a markup, Ellison’s office said in a news release. When these items became scarce in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Red Star Trader raised its prices significantly.”

Ramadan has started. The Sahan Journal reports:For the first time in the history of Minnesota, the adhan was broadcast Thursday evening over an outdoor speaker placed over the rooftop of Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. … The call to prayer will be broadcast five times a day throughout the month of Ramadan, which began Thursday evening.”

Related:No, Facebook guys, Minnesota mosques aren’t open during quarantine” [City Pages]

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A piece in Mother Jones about challenges for black-owned Minnesota businesses seeking coronavirus relief. Kara Voght writes: “K.B. Brown hasn’t opened the doors of his North Minneapolis print shop since March 27, the day Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued stay-at-home orders that forced non-essential businesses to close. … Like other small business owners, Brown hoped to take advantage of provisions in the CARES Act, the $2 trillion pandemic relief package Congress passed last month. He asked Wells Fargo—a banking behemoth he’s done business with for years—about applying for a Small Business Administration disaster loan or the Paycheck Protection Program, a pot of money meant to help small businesses cover payroll and other expenses during the coronavirus crisis. … Brown says Wells Fargo provided no helpful details, and he hasn’t applied for the financing. ‘For a lot of the SBA stuff and other loans, you have to be “bankable,”’ Brown tells me. ‘So if you couldn’t get a loan from the bank before, you’re just screwed. And many of us are in that position.’”

In other news…

Not taking this lying down:Furniture stores including HOM, Slumberland starting to reopen, mostly by appointment only” [Star Tribune]

Warms the heart:A thread of hope: Community quilters make personal protective masks” [Fergus Falls Journal]

After a brief paws:Animal Humane Society slowly starts opening back up pet adoption process” [KMSP]

Pork spending:Hormel announces over $7M in second round of special cash bonuses for plant production team members” [Austin Daily Herald]

RIP:The Marsh founder and philanthropist Ruth Stricker dies at 85” [Star Tribune]

Not a lot of room for social distancing in there:Visit Minnesota’s Smallest Museum” [New Ulm Journal]