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Walz approves $841 million in COVID-19 relief funds for local governments

Gov. Tim Walz
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Gov. Tim Walz
In the Pioneer Press, Dave Orrick writes: “Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday approved $841 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for local governments throughout Minnesota that have been shackled with costs responding to the pandemic. The plan has widespread support from state lawmakers in both parties and seemed destined for approval more than a week ago until partisan standoffs over other issues derailed it in a weeklong special session of the Legislature. The federal CARES Act essentially gave Walz the power to distribute the funds as he saw fit. He opted for the plan. That left the previously finger-pointing parties to express relief.”

For MPR, Dan Kraker says, “Minnesota utility regulators have once again thrown their support behind Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project. On Thursday, the state Public Utilities Commission voted 4-1 to deny petitions for reconsideration filed by several Ojibwe bands, environmental groups and the state Department of Commerce. The PUC — a five-member panel of state regulators that oversees pipelines and monopoly utilities — rejected arguments from project opponents that they should weigh new evidence that has emerged since they first approved the pipeline two years ago, including a significant drop in oil demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Says Torey Van Oot in the Star Tribune, “Minnesota Senate Republicans on Thursday announced plans to hold oversight hearings on the state and local response to unrest and rioting that rocked the Twin Cities in the days following George Floyd’s death. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said the hearings, set to begin July 1, will focus on the looting and fires that damaged or destroyed more than 1,000 structures across the Twin Cities, including Minneapolis’ Third Police Precinct. … The plan drew backlash from legislative Democrats, who accused Republicans of prioritizing the oversight hearings over addressing racial disparities and police reform.”

In the Duluth News Tribune, John Myers reports, “Climate scientists have noted in recent years how more precipitation is coming in isolated thunderstorms and less in region-wide rain events, and that’s certainly been the case this summer in the Northland. It’s been feast or famine as some areas have been battered by multiple downpours and thunderstorms, while areas 50 miles away suffer drought. Case in point: As of Thursday, Duluth was 6.25 inches below normal for precipitation in 2020, receiving just half the usual moisture we should have by this time. … But Hibbing has had a wet June, with 3.7 inches of rain falling already, and is more than 3 inches above normal for 2020 precipitation.”

A WCCO-TV story says, “A south Minneapolis bakery is apologizing after a customer wearing a face-covering hijab posted a video showing a worker refusing to serve her for not wearing the proper face mask. Zahur Abdiaziz posted the video to her Facebook page on Monday, saying she was discriminated against at Marissa’s Bakery on Eat Street. ‘This lady refused to sell me bakery because I am not wearing the same mask as her’! she wrote. ‘This Type of Racism is called the Corona Type’! In the 30-second video, the worker appears to refuse to serve Abdiaziz, saying that the ownership does not accept hijab face covering as facemasks. The worker walks away as Abdiaziz says: ‘So you’re not going to sell me bread’?”

Says Tim Harlow in the Star Tribune, “Mike McClure mailed his license tab renewal form and fee to the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) in mid-May and expected to have new stickers before his current tabs expired May 31. His check was cashed, but six weeks later, McClure is still waiting for his tabs to arrive. McClure, 48, of Apple Valley, is far from alone. A DVS spokeswoman said the agency is behind on processing mailed-in tab and license plate renewals for thousands of Minnesotans, and is bringing on extra staff to help catch up on the backlog.”

A Reuters story by Sanjana Shivdas says, “Delta Air Lines expects to add about 1,000 flights in August but not many more for the remainder of the year, Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in a memo on Thursday that mentioned a resurgence of COVID-19 in parts of the country. Airlines including Delta have added back some summer capacity after modest improvements in domestic-travel demand in May and June, but analysts said a spike in cases in some states could dampen the recovery.”

KSTP-TV’s Tommy Wiita writes: “Minnesota Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said during a video call on Thursday with reporters that some players in the organization have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past several days. … None of the players were located in Minneapolis or the team’s spring training headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla., but underwent testing after being in the vicinity of another person who tested positive. Falvey did not name the players or give specifics on exact numbers but mentioned at least one is a member of the 60-man roster of players expected to report to Target Field by Wednesday.”

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 06/26/2020 - 10:12 am.

    So, is a hijab functionally equivalent to a mask for COVID protective purposes? If not, can a mask be worn under a hijab? Perhaps the employee was impolite in her speech (I didn’t watch the video), but perhaps it’s correct that the customer, though wearing hijab, was not properly masked and should have been. It would be nice if news reports, time after time, didn’t ignore the obvious questions raised.

    • Submitted by Tom Quinn on 06/26/2020 - 12:45 pm.

      If you were to watch the video you’d see the face covering was perfectly adequate and the refusal to serve her inappropriate.

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 06/26/2020 - 01:04 pm.

      “is a hijab functionally equivalent to a mask for COVID protective purposes”. There is NO standard for what non-medical staff. A face covering is what is expected. What she was wearing meets that standard.

      I’ve seen lots of people wearing less, even with their noses sticking out, and nobody says a thing to them. They aren’t “properly masked” in my opinion.

      Why should Muslims be held to a non-existent standard no one else is held to?

      • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 06/26/2020 - 06:35 pm.

        Well of course there’s a standard. There’s a standard to use common sense in order to be considerate of others, that rests on a basic understanding of what the mask is intended to do. If it’s not covering your mouth and nose, if it doesn’t have some measure of tension around the edges, if it isn’t of a material that will reasonably trap the liquid and moisture in what you exhale, it isn’t adequate. Hijab may or may not meet this standard, that was my question.

        Of course all kinds of people are being inconsiderate of others and, also, violating what, within Mpls boundaries, is some form of legal mandate. The fact that a whole bunch of folks are being inconsiderate doesn’t mean that the concept of being inconsiderate has ceased to exist. Muslim or not Muslim, obviously, has nothing to do with it.

        • Submitted by Marc Post on 06/29/2020 - 10:19 am.

          If we apply your “common sense standard” (you’re not citing any sources but lets just go with what you’re making up), I think a hijab meets that standard in every way. Do you have a credible source (CDC? WHO?) that states a hijab is not an acceptable face covering? Please state how you think a hijab does not meet the standard.

          It’s clear to me that she was targeted as a Muslim. Even her employer saw that and apologized. If you can’t see she’s being singled out, well, then that’s on you.

  2. Submitted by Eric House on 06/26/2020 - 11:03 am.

    Sen. Gazelka again misses the obvious with pushing for hearings into the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. It sure would be nice if these hearings were about the motivations of the white arsonists from Gazelka’s neck of the woods, or into police use of tear gas, rubber bullets and arrests of press personnel.

    Somehow I have a feeling we’ll end up clutching our pearls about how the citizens of Minneapolis, and especially Black people should continue to be patient and not rock the boat, no matter the provocation.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/26/2020 - 01:10 pm.

      I have the feeling that the hearings will amount to little more than an extended “blame Jacob Frey” session, featuring a lengthy appearance by Bob Kroll.

      And for the record, I’m not crazy about Mayor Frey’s performance lately, but the problems in my home city go deeper than his administration.

  3. Submitted by BK Anderson on 06/26/2020 - 01:10 pm.

    Doesn’t the legislature have to be in session for a chamber to hold hearings? Who’s lined up to testify, Boss Kroll? More disaffected Mpls coppers?

    It appears this is intended as some sort of Repub exercise in second-guessing Walz’s timing on calling out the Guard and State Patrol, while of course giving the cat-o-nine tails to Mpls whipping boys Frey and Arradondo. It’s what outstate Repub voters want to see, so of course Gazelka is happy to comply. It also diverts attention from the Repubs’ refusal to entertain any statewide reform of police practices, which is always good for a Do-Nothing party!

    But it will be interesting to see how Gazelka will thread the needle of blaming Walz for manifest Commander-in-chief incompetence, while blowing kisses to the adjutant general of the Guard, whom I will predict will affirm Walz’s orders/decisions at every step of the crisis.

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