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Rise in COVID cases already causing school building closures across Minnesota

Plus: Pence and Ivanka Trump make visit to north Minneapolis; Minneapolis police face off with protesters in downtown Minneapolis; Wisconsin’s daily COVID-19 case count hits second-highest total ever; and more.

Elizabeth Shockman reports for MPR: “Three weeks into the new academic year, COVID-19 cases are already causing some K-12 districts across Minnesota to close their school buildings and send teachers and students into quarantine. More than 350 of the more than 2,000 schools across the state have already had an instance of at least one student or staff member contract the virus. In some instances, there have been multiple cases at those schools.”

Meanwhile, Josh Verges writes for the Pioneer Press: “Students in several large Minnesota school districts are heading back to class after starting the year learning from home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Nine of the state’s 50 largest districts began the school year with every grade in distance learning, according to a Pioneer Press review of plans posted online. Two of those districts — Mounds View and North St. Paul – Maplewood – Oakdale — since have invited some or all of their students back part-time. Osseo Area and St. Louis Park will join them next week with part-time in-person instruction. And Roseville Area and Robbinsdale have plans to start reopening school buildings next month.”

The Star Tribune’s Libor Jany says, “U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and a top White House adviser, made a surprise visit to north Minneapolis Thursday as part of a Midwest tour to highlight what Republicans say is growing lawlessness in Democratic-controlled cities. …  Thursday’s event featured the testimony of one law enforcement officer, Matt Hagen, a Hennepin County sheriff’s deputy and president of the state Fraternal Order of Police. Hagen said that police were feeling besieged and that calls in Minneapolis to cut their funding would only undercut law enforcement’s ability to fight crime.”

WCCO-TV also reports: “Some people trying to get a flu shot this week are being turned away. With COVID-19 concerns and regular flu season warnings, health care providers say they’re seeing an unprecedented demand for flu vaccines.”

Aaron Lavinsky and Erin Adler write for the Star Tribune: “Minneapolis police faced off with about 100 people gathered Thursday night in downtown Minneapolis to protest local and national issues. The demonstrators began their rally near the federal courthouse and then marched to several sites around downtown.  Among their grievances were the lack of charges in Breonna Taylor’s March shooting death by police in Louisville, Ky., as well as Thursday morning’s clearing of a homeless encampment in Peavey Park, in south Minneapolis.”

The AP’s Scott Bauer reports: “Wisconsin’s daily count of COVID-19 cases hit its second-highest total to date on Thursday, while the seven-day average topped 1,900 for the first time. To date, Wisconsin has seen more than 108,000 positive cases of the coronavirus and 1,265 deaths, the state Department of Health Services reported. The 2,392 new cases reported Thursday  was second only to 2,533 new cases reported less than a week ago on Sept. 18. The seven-day average was 1,939. That was nearly three times the seven-day average of 665 a month ago.”

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Audrey Conklin of Fox News reports, “Two Minnesota Republicans have filed a lawsuit against the state over its decision to count ballots that are received a week after the Nov. 3 presidential election. Secretary of State Steve Simon signed a consent decree in August that agreed to allow Minnesota to count ballots ‘validly cast and postmarked on or before Election Day but received by 8 p.m. within [five] business days of Election Day (i.e., seven calendar days, or one week).’ State Rep. Eric Lucero and GOP elector James Carson argue in their lawsuit filed Tuesday that Simon’s decree ‘threatens the integrity of the upcoming election, will result in widespread and severe vote dilution, will (at a minimum) create substantial uncertainty and delay over Minnesota’s ability to certify its results.’”

The Star Tribune’s Jean Hopfensperger reports, “A Twin Cities priest who had preached that COVID-19 was a man-made scam has been told by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to refrain from talking about such matters from the pulpit. The Rev. Robert Altier had delivered a 20-minute sermon Sept. 6, claiming COVID-19 was concocted in laboratories in the United States and China and that it was a ‘lie’ that tens of thousands of people are dying from it. A YouTube version of the sermon has been viewed more than 412,000 times.”

At City Pages Hannah Jones writes, “Republican Jeff Dotseth wants to unseat Democrat Mike Sundin to represent District 11A in the Minnesota House of Representatives this November, and he used Facebook to announce a get-out-the-vote event in Cloquet Wednesday evening. The topics of discussion to be tackled by keynote speakers—Dotseth himself and State Sen. Jason Rarick (R-Brook Park)—started out fairly standard. ‘Do you know your rights when it comes to voting’? (Important!) ‘Do you know that you can become an election judge and make sure your polling place is open to the public’? (Sure!) From there it takes a turn. ‘Let’s discuss BLM [Black Lives Matter]’. (Okay…) ‘Are you prepared for when they come to our city’? (Wait, what?)

A story at WCCO-TV says, “WalletHub has ranked the best coffee cities in the U.S. Researchers compared 100 of the largest cities in America for their report. … They found that Seattle was at the top of the list in this country when it comes to coffee, followed by San Francisco and then Portland, Oregon. Miami and Tampa rounded out the top 10. Minneapolis placed just outside of the top 10, coming in 11th, just behind Atlanta. St. Paul, meanwhile, placed 41st.”

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