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Black workers in Minnesota hit hardest by economic impact of pandemic

Plus: giant Black Lives Matter mural painted on Minneapolis’ Plymouth Avenue; state health officials warn against complacency in fight against COVID-19; judge orders Brainerd to reinstate firefighters union; and more.

The Star Tribune’s Kavita Kumar writes: “While the pandemic has led to widespread job losses at levels not seen since the Great Depression, in Minnesota, it has hit Black workers the hardest. Nearly 1 in 2 Black workers in Minnesota have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March. For white workers, it is about 1 in 4, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Some have returned to work as businesses have reopened, but a wide racial imbalance remains among those who are still jobless.”

MPR News reports: “Dozens of artists and community members gathered along Plymouth Avenue in north Minneapolis on Saturday to paint a giant Black Lives Matter mural on the pavement. The 24-foot-high letters cover a 250-foot stretch of the street. Each of the 16 letters was designed by a different local artist. Melodee Strong helped organize the endeavor and is among the artists. Ahead of Saturday’s mural creation, she said the participation of Black and Latinx artists from the community is empowering.”

Christopher Magan writes in the Pioneer Press: “Minnesota’s coronavirus cases are back on the rise, but hospitalized patients and deaths remain low, for now, leaving state health officials cautiously optimistic they can handle a possible coming surge of cases. … Despite those positive signs, state health officials say it is not the time for Minnesotans to become complacent in the fight against COVID-19. ‘That can change in a heartbeat,’ said Dr. Rahul Koranne, president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association, of the current rate of serious and fatal cases. To illustrate Koranne’s point, one only has to look to states in the Sunbelt where infections are setting daily records.”

KSTP-TV reports: “Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday directed all flags at state and federal buildings in Minnesota to be flown at half-staff, effective immediately, until sunset to honor Representative John Lewis, who passed away on Friday. … Individuals, businesses, and other organizations also are encouraged to join in lowering their flags to honor Lewis, who was a valiant stalwart of the Civil Rights movement.”

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The Brainerd Dispatch’s Jennifer Kraus writes: “A Crow Wing County District Court judge granted a motion ordering the city of Brainerd to reinstate the Firefighters Union Local 4725, representing the former Brainerd full-time equipment operators. … The lawsuit comes back to a Brainerd courtroom after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Oct. 9, 2019, the city violated state labor laws by restructuring the paid fire department and dissolving the union, resulting in five full-time equipment operators losing their jobs.”

Says WCCO-TV: “Minnesota and parts of western Wisconsin were dealt another night of severe weather Saturday. This comes after a round of severe thunderstorms Friday night into Saturday morning, which left wind damage throughout northern Minnesota, and thousands of people without power.”

Also for KSTP-TV, Ben Henry says: “In their grand reopening, the Midtown Global Market welcomed back a community that’s still working to rebuild their neighborhood. With live cultural music, fresh food and smells, and hundreds of dollars in gift certificates, organizers wanted the spirit of the market to be felt by all who attended. … Featuring more than 30 restaurants, grocery stores, gift shops and other retailers with items from all over the world, the market has become a staple in the south Minneapolis and East Lake Street neighborhood.”