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Klobuchar calls Coney Barrett confirmation hearing a ‘sham’

Plus: survey finds 73 percent of Minnesota teachers feel overwhelmed; 17 more St. Paul police employees test positive for coronavirus; Wisconsin judge upholds state’s mask mandate; and more.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaking during the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaking during the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill.
Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS

For Fox News, Ronn Blitzer writes, “Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett a ‘sham’ while using most of her opening statement at the hearing to blast her Republican colleagues and President Trump. … The Minnesota Democrat admitted that it is highly unlikely that this week’s hearing will keep Barrett off the bench, but she called on the public to show Republicans that ‘enough is enough’ by voting them out of office.”

For KARE-TV Emily Haavik says, “A survey conducted by Minnesota’s teachers union found that thousands of educators are considering leaving the profession. The survey asked the more than 9,700 members of Education Minnesota how they are feeling about their work as an educator, and gave them several response options. Overall, 79% of teachers who responded reported feeling stressed, and 73% said they feel overwhelmed. Only 8% are feeling inspired. When asked about whether they are thinking of quitting or retiring, 29% said they are.”

The Star Tribune’s Rochelle Olson says, “Prosecutors further explained Monday in a formal court filing why four former Minneapolis police officers should face longer sentences if they are convicted in the May 25 killing of George Floyd. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill told prosecutors at a hearing last month that he wanted additional detail on the grounds for what is known as ‘upward departures’ in their sentences. Cahill asked whether two criteria applied: the position of trust the officers held, and Floyd’s vulnerability. In a five-page memo filed by Matthew Frank from Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office, prosecutors said that both grounds could be used to justify longer sentences for the officers ….”

The Pioneer Press’ Mara H. Gottfried writes: “An additional 17 St. Paul police employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total who are out of work to 27. The police department says the uptick hasn’t affected officers’ ability to respond to calls. … As of last Monday, there were 10 people in the department of 619 officers who were quarantined due to having COVID-19. That number had increased to 27 people, including officers and civilians, as of Monday. They are staying home and recovering, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman.”

An AP story says, “A Wisconsin judge on Monday upheld Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate in the face of a conservative challenge. Conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty argued in a lawsuit that Evers overstepped his authority by issuing multiple emergency orders to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Evers defended the mask order, saying it was within his power to impose the requirement and that he followed the recommendations of public health experts.”

The Pioneer Press reports: “Minnesota has joined 50 other states and territories in a legal settlement with the largest generic opioid manufacturer in the United States. New Jersey-based drug maker Mallinckrodt on Monday announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of the settlement agreement, which will set aside $1.6 billion to pay claims against the company for its opioid marketing and distribution practices. The details of how much money each state will receive and how it will be distributed are still being negotiated, according to a news release by the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, which was investigating the company.”

MPR’s Paul Huttner writes: “Here we go. The atmosphere takes a sharp turn for the colder later this week across Minnesota. Widespread freezing temperatures cover most of Minnesota by early Friday morning. That means the atmosphere will be cold enough for the season’s first snowflakes if any precipitation falls. A couple of forecast models suggest the atmosphere could squeeze out a little rain or a few snowflakes this weekend. The European and Canadian models seem to latch onto a low-pressure area across northern Minnesota by Saturday. This could bring a mix of rain and snowflakes.”

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Says Josh Dzieza for The Verge, “Through the many twists and turns of Foxconn’s troubled Wisconsin project, one thing has long been clear: the company is not building the promised 20 million-square-foot Gen 10.5 LCD factory specified in its contract with the state. … Documents obtained by The Verge show that attempts to renegotiate that contract have so far failed, and today, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which oversees the deal, rejected Foxconn’s application for tax subsidies on the grounds that Foxconn had not carried out the Gen 10.5 LCD factory project described in its original contract. WEDC also noted that even if whatever Foxconn is currently doing had been eligible under the contract, it had failed to employ the minimum number of people needed to get subsidies.”

For the Duluth News Tribune, Peter Passi writes, “The Duluth City Council may decide today to give back the give-back many of its employees offered earlier this year in the face of grim budget projections arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. If passed, a resolution headed to the council today would result in the city forgoing about $3.7 million in savings. … While the city’s finances remain far from the picture of health, they’re not in as rough of shape as previously feared.”

For MPR, Myah Christenson reports, “Charlie Bernstrom grows giant pumpkins by the ton, or almost. On Saturday, Bernstrom, of Lancaster, Minn. broke the Minnesota state record for largest pumpkin with a 1,990.5 pound pumpkin at the 15th Annual Stillwater Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off. ‘It was estimated at 1,970 so I was hoping it wasn’t gonna go light,’ says Bernstrom.  Only 9.5 pounds short of the 2,000-pound mark, Bernstrom is hoping to beat a ton next fall. ‘They’ll grow 30, 40, 50 pounds a day. So, once they start growing it’s pretty fun to watch.’”