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State confirms 194 cases of COVID-19 at Cold Spring poultry plant

Plus: Wisconsin governor allows nearly all nonessential retail stores to reopen; three teenagers face charges for attack on woman at a Green Line station; Minneapolis Public Schools Board set to vote on controversial school plan; and more.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The Star Tribune’s James Walsh and Mike Hughlett write: “The plight of meat processors across the nation boiled over Monday in Cold Spring, where workers protested what they say are dangerous working conditions that leave them with two choices — continue to risk contracting a potentially deadly disease or be fired. As of Monday, state health workers had confirmed 194 COVID-19 cases among workers at the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry processing plant — more than double the 83 cases just four days ago.”

For the AP, Scott Bauer says, “[Wisconsin] Gov. Tony Evers on Monday allowed nearly all nonessential retail stores to reopen as long as they serve no more than five customers at a time, partially lifting the restriction that has kept them closed for weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The latest order, which took effect immediately, addresses criticism from smaller stores and Republican lawmakers that it was unfair to allow essential businesses such as grocery stores to remain open while nonessential ones such as flower shops had to close under Evers’ ‘safer at home’ order.”

In the Pioneer Press, Sarah Horner writes: “Three teenage boys are charged with harassment and low-level assault in connection with a recent attack on a woman on a light-rail platform in St. Paul. The incident was captured on video and circulated via social media. Ramsey County prosecutors charged three 15-year-olds with aiding and abetting both gross misdemeanor-level harassment with intent to injure and fifth-degree assault.”

Says Catharine Richert for MPR, “From the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, ‘test, trace and isolate’ was a mantra coming from the highest ranks of Minnesota’s government. … while testing has increased to nearly 5,000 COVID-19 tests daily, case investigation and contact tracing — the practice of contacting someone who has tested positive and then tracking down other people they may have come in contact with while they were contagious — has been slower to ramp up. State Health Department officials said they are short-staffed and it’s now taking several days to launch case investigations once they learn of a positive test result.”

The Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix reports: “ Hackers claim to have stolen 73.2 million user records from 10 businesses, including 1 million from the Star Tribune, and are now attempting to sell the records on the dark web. The hackers didn’t access subscribers’ credit card or other forms of financial information, and Star Tribune leadership is still working to confirm whether a hack took place, said Steve Yaeger, vice president and chief marketing officer for the newspaper. … On Monday, the Star Tribune sent an e-mail to subscribers alerting them of the alleged hack.”

At CNBC, Contessa Brewer reports, “For weeks, the burning question facing casino operators nationwide has been: ‘If you open, will they come’? If Deadwood, South Dakota is any indication, the answer is yes. This weekend 11 casinos in the historic destination town, which was the last in the nation to close its commercial gaming establishments, became the first to reopen. ‘We were about 15% or 20% higher than a typical weekend business, which is significant,’ said Caleb Arceneaux, CEO of Liv Hospitality … .”

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The Star Tribune’s Greg Stanley says, “Supporters of a plan to turn a decommissioned river lock in downtown Minneapolis into an unusual public space say the project is moving forward. Leaders of Friends of the Falls, a community group, believe they are close to getting the federal and congressional support they need to transform a bolted-up, out-of-use navigation lock into a riverfront attraction. … A proposal has also been floated this year to the Hennepin County Board to build a mile-long promenade over the river just above the falls. ”

MPR’s Riham Feshir reports, “The Minneapolis Public Schools Board is set to vote Tuesday on a controversial proposal that would force nearly a sixth of students in the district to attend different schools. Officials say the plan would help close the achievement gap between students of color and white students. But many families say the possible changes are adding to already high levels of anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. District officials are proposing to centralize magnet programs like dual immersion, arts and technology to give more access to students from other parts of the city.”

Also in the Star Tribune, this from Paul Walsh, “A Minnesota-based website was listing just the sweet ride the Illinois farmer wanted: a ‘like new’ Mercedes-Benz to replace the well-worn one from his younger days. Now Dave Wolken is out more than $10,000 trying to buy a 1979 Mercedes 240D that was never for sale in the first place. Wolken is one of roughly 460 people who have contacted the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) in recent weeks with their suspicions that seven fake auto dealer and shipping websites in the state have been scheming to dupe would-be buyers out of thousands of dollars.