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Worthington pork plant workers on conditions that led to COVID-19 outbreak

Plus: Sen. Housley calls on Gov. Walz to test more in long-term care facilities; Izzy’s closes its St. Paul shop; Minnesota Book Award winners announced; Best Buy to re-open hundreds of stores for appointment shopping; and more.

JBS pork processing plant in Worthington.
JBS pork processing plant in Worthington.
Employees of the JBS pork processing plant in Worthington talk job conditions prior to its closure. Sahan Journal’s Joey Peters reports: “Social distancing is even difficult during lunch breaks, according to another male worker who spoke Spanish through an interpreter. … Another male worker, speaking in Spanish, said that JBS gave employees large plastic sheets to hang between them while they ate lunch. But he explained that the company didn’t provide these sheets until two days before announcing it would close the plant temporarily.”

Related: “Workers walk out of Pilgrim’s Pride in Cold Spring over COVID-19 concerns” [St. Cloud Times]

Open for business. The Star Tribune’s Kavita Kumar reports:Best Buy will reopen 200 of its stores next month for customers who make an appointment to visit. … The Richfield-based retailer has already resumed making in-home installations and repairs, with its employees entering homes wearing face shields and face masks and taking other steps to reduce the chance of catching or spreading COVID-19.”

The cost of COVID-19 on the U. The Minnesota Daily’s Mohamed Ibrahim reports: “University President Joan Gabel briefed lawmakers Tuesday on the financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic — which could cost the University $324 million — and the measures the University has taken to offset its impact. … Recent actions include a systemwide tuition freeze for the next academic year, suspension of hiring, salary increases and bonuses, and suspension of nonessential University-funded travel through May 31.”

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Testing at Minnesota’s long-term care facilities. KSTP’s Beth McDonough reports: “Sen. [Karen] Housley said right now only residents showing symptoms are tested for COVID-19. She called on Gov. Walz to expand the guidelines and require mandatory, uniform testing for patients, plus employee’s who often work at multiple sites. … ‘I think it’s a good place to put resources when you’re talking about we know where the hot spots are, we have data, so now it needs to be all hands on deck,’ Sen. Housley said.”

Fire dispersal. KARE’s Dana Thiede reports:The Canadian National Railway company and Wisconsin Central LTD will collectively pay $1.25 million to settle a pending lawsuit stemming from a 2016 fire in northeastern Minnesota that burned nearly 1,000 acres of land. … Federal prosecutors alleged in their legal filing that the May 6 fire, known as the Skibo fire due to the community near where it started, was caused by mechanical failure on a locomotive operated by Canadian National Railway company and Wisconsin Central LTD.”

In other news…

A comeback story: “MN musician Nachito Herrera survives COVID-19 with ECMO” [KARE]

Kudos: “Marlon James, Kao Kalia Yang among Minnesota Book Award winners” [Star Tribune]

Plugging in: “Minnesota to pilot electric school bus program” [KSTP]

Booth review: “State resolves voting rights lawsuit sparked by St. Paul City Council member” [Pioneer Press]

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Under our feet: “Every Tunnel Tells a Story: the Underground Passageways of Saint Paul and Minneapolis” []

Rocky road: “After 20 Years in St. Paul, Izzy’s Ice Cream Will Close Scoop Shop” [Eater]

Would expect nothing less, of course: “USS Minnesota recognized as best ship in Atlantic Fleet” [Brainerd Dispatch]

Ballpark figure: “Wanna buy Paul Molitor’s mansion in Edina, Minnesota?” [City Pages]