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20 mph speed limit taking effect in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Plus: no evidence of COVID-19 in Minnesota groundwater; inadequate jail-death investigations in Minnesota; early voting registration difficult for those with limited English language skills; and more.

20 is plentySlow down. The Pioneer Press’ Frederick Melo writes: “Drivers will need to cool their engines as they travel through St. Paul and Minneapolis. New 20 mile-per-hour speed limit signs are going up at the city borders this month announcing slower and presumably safer driving speeds through both cities. … The first 20 mph ‘gateway’ sign was recently posted on the St. Paul-Minneapolis border of Franklin and Emerald avenues, and about 150 will follow between now and the end of the year.”

Well that’s a relief. The Star Tribune’s Greg Stanley reports: “Researchers found no evidence that the novel coronavirus has been seeping into wells or Minnesota’s groundwater during a quick, emergency sampling project this summer. … The early findings are hopeful, but a much more thorough study is needed to determine any risk the virus may pose to drinking water, said Raymond Hozalski and Timothy LaPara, microbiologists with the University of Minnesota who are leading the project.”

Minnesota jail death investigations found to be lacking. KARE’s Brandon Stahl, A.J. Lagoe and Steve Eckert report: “Since 2015, 56 inmates have died in 30 Minnesota county jails which house defendants either awaiting trial or serving short sentences of less than a year. … A KARE 11 review of court, police, and medical records, along with interviews and surveys of every county where an inmate has died shows: Of the counties that responded to our surveys, only Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka said they follow the best practice standards for reviewing a jail death.

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Barrier to early voting. For MPR, Kathryn Styer Martinez reports: “Registering online to vote and get an absentee ballot is easy in Minnesota — as long as English is your dominant language. If not, that online process can be a frustrating experience, one that advocates fear is keeping eligible Minnesotans from voting this fall. … Registering at the Minnesota Secretary of State website in a language other than English requires access to a home office, tech savvy and English skills. Voters will need these things to print a PDF file or to convert it into a Microsoft Word document and then return the form by email, fax or mail, hurdles that people who can register in English don’t face.”

Not exactly flying high. The AP’s David Koenig reports (via the Star Tribune): “The summer travel season was even worse than expected for Delta Air Lines, which said Tuesday that it lost $5.4 billion in the third quarter as people hunkered down at home during the pandemic. … Delta officials pushed back their timetable for breaking even, from year-end to next spring, as their previous expectation that COVID-19 would be contained proved too rosy. The airline’s shares slipped in afternoon trading. … However, executives said passengers are starting to return and bookings for Thanksgiving and Christmas are looking up.”