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Nonprofits see worsening hunger crisis in Minnesota

Plus: marchers call for the end of park encampment evictions in Minneapolis; boat parade cruises St. Croix River in support of President Trump; price of lumber skyrockets in Minnesota; and more.

The Star Tribune’s Kelly Smith and Kavita Kumar write: “Five months into the pandemic, the hunger crisis in Minnesota is getting worse. A growing number of Minnesotans have sought help after a $600 federal unemployment bonus ended in July. Food banks report a spike since the beginning of August. Funds from a $300 weekly boost just started going out but appear unlikely to slow demand for food aid. ‘We are in the surge now,’ said Allison O’Toole, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, the state’s largest food bank. Second Harvest predicts the crisis will peak this month to more than 735,000 Minnesotans who are ‘food insecure,’ or don’t have consistent access to enough food. That’s 13% of the state’s population.”

For WCCO-TV, Erin Hassanzadeh reports: Cries for change and accountability. This time, aimed straight at the Minneapolis Park Board and city leadership for the recent evictions of homeless encampments in the city’s parks. Hundreds walked the streets of Minneapolis Saturday afternoon calling for the end of park encampment evictions in the city. The group marched from Bryant Square Park to the home of Park Board Superintendent Al Bangoura to show solidarity with the unhoused people of the city. … The march was about ending encampment evictions. But more than that, the group wants to see real affordable housing solutions for unhoused people in the city.”

KSTP-TV’s Crystal Bui writes: “Hundreds of boats cruised the St. Croix River on Saturday. It was part of a national movement showing support for President Trump. The parade went up the St. Croix River, from Prescott, Wisconsin to Stillwater, Minnesota.From the air, Chopper 5 captured hundreds of boats and more than a thousand in the crowd cheering on those waving campaign flags.”

Also from KSTP: “The Minnesota Renaissance Festival had to cancel its 2020 event due to COVID-19 restrictions but has come up with the next best option: a drive-thru experience. The Minnesota Renaissance Festival on Parade will take place on weekends from Sept. 19 through Oct. 4, plus Friday Oct. 2. The event will include food, entertainment, featured artisans and a chance to support Minnesota’s great Renaissance Tradition from the comfort and safety of your vehicle, the Renaissance Festival said.”

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In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes: “Among leaders of St. Paul city departments, budget woes are becoming a familiar refrain. City officials have called the 2021 budget proposal unveiled by St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter in August little short of austere. In it, multiple departments have been called upon to reduce operations by $1 million or more without layoffs, and all departments have been asked to make fundamental sacrifices. City department leaders are told to nip and tuck their budgets most every year, but the depth of the city’s pandemic-era budget cuts have little precedent.”

In the Star Tribune, Adam Belz and Jim Buchta report: “A do-it-yourself home-improvement and construction boom has sent the price of lumber skyrocketing, as sawmills and strand-board manufacturers, including in Minnesota, scramble to keep up with surging demand. It’s one of the odd business wrinkles of the pandemic. Future prices for random lengths of board are $834 per thousand board feet, triple their April low and about double the typical price in recent years.”