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Minnesota House passes $1.36 billion bonding bill

Plus: Trump says it ‘looks like’ he is ‘going to win Minnesota’; U of M takes leading role in COVID trial; good chance of accumulating snow in northern Minnesota this weekend; and more.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota House passed a $1.36 billion bill to pay for public construction projects across the state.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota House passed a $1.36 billion bill to pay for public construction projects across the state.
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

In the Pioneer Press, Bill Salisbury writes: “After nine months of partisan wrangling over what was presumed to be their main task this year, the Minnesota House on Wednesday finally passed a $1.36 billion bill to pay for public construction projects across the state over the next few years. The House passed the package, known as the bonding bill, on a 100-34 vote after a heated 10-hour debate. It now goes to the Senate, which is expected to approve it Thursday and then adjourn the record fifth special legislative session this year. The bill will fund hundreds of projects ranging from repairs to aging government buildings and fixing roads and bridges to financing sewer and water projects and dozens of other state and local projects.”

In the Star Tribune, Jeremy Olson writes, “The University of Minnesota is coordinating a federally funded COVID-19 trial to find out whether purified virus-fighting antibodies from as many as 10 donors can effectively treat one severe case of the infectious disease. The trial is an extension of the plasma therapies that have received federal emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19 but with uneven results because antibody levels vary in the plasma donated by people who have recovered from the disease. … Better oxygen management and two proven drugs have reduced COVID-19 mortality and the average length of hospital stay, but there is still pressure to come up with improved treatments in the absence of a vaccine and amid a new wave of infections.”

Says Audrey Conklin at Fox News, “During a rally in Sanford, Fla., on Tuesday, President Trump said it ‘looks like’ he is ‘going to win Minnesota’ in the 2020 presidential election despite statewide polling showing him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden. The president has been pushing to win the battleground state that he narrowly lost to then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. In his new bid, he is citing  Democratic leadership’s response to the social unrest and an uptick in violence as his reasoning for a potential victory. … The Real Clear Politics average shows Biden leading the incumbent by 9 percentage points.”

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At Politico Dave Siders says, “Donald Trump has fixated on Minnesota since his narrow loss to Hillary Clinton there four years ago. But with less than a month until the election, his prospects there are dimming. Joe Biden’s polling lead remains solid. … The problem for Trump is that the numbers aren’t breaking for him the way they did in 2016. Four years ago, Trump won Minnesota white voters by 7 percentage points and independents by 2 percentage points. It was a major advantage in a state where 87 percent of voters that year were white. But Biden is now carrying both of those groups — whites by 2 points and independents by 20 percentage points, according to a CBS News/YouGov survey. Even among whites without college degrees, Trump’s most reliable demographic, Biden has cut sharply into Trump’s lead, according to the poll.”

In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes: “Children’s Minnesota Hospitals released new details on Wednesday on plans to move certain ‘destination’ services from their St. Paul to Minneapolis campus. That includes neuro-surgical services, such as neuro-intensive care, and inpatient care for Type 1 diabetics in life-threatening straits. A spokesperson for the nonprofit hospital system told the St. Paul City Council on Wednesday that the goal is to consolidate related services under the same roof, without shutting down either hospital. The St. Paul campus at 345 Smith St., which was largely closed during the early days of the pandemic, had mostly reopened by early fall. It employs 1,350 workers and offers unique care. No other hospital in the city offers a pediatric emergency room with attached inpatient specialty services.”

Chris Riemenschneider writes in the Star Tribune: “When his two-years stint as a truck driver in the U.S. Army ended in the late-1960s, Allan Fingerhut could have easily gone to work for the namesake corporation that made his family one of Minneapolis’ wealthiest. Instead, he took a much rougher and wilder road to create one of Minnesota’s richest cultural landmarks. The original owner and longtime backer of First Avenue nightclub, Fingerhut died Monday at age 76 surrounded by family at his home in Northern California. Daughter Rain Fingerhut said he suffered from Lewy body dementia, the same disease that afflicted actor/comedian Robin Williams.”

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At CNN, Clare Duffey reports, “Wells Fargo has fired more than 100 employees for misrepresenting themselves to obtain money from a relief fund for small businesses, and whose actions may have amounted to defrauding the US Small Business Administration. In a memo to some staff Wednesday, which was obtained by CNN Business, Wells Fargo human resources head David Galloreese wrote that the bank identified employees whom it believes may have ‘defrauded the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) by making false representations in applying for coronavirus relief funds for themselves through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which is administered directly through the SBA.’ Between 100 and 125 Wells Fargo employees were fired as a result, and an internal investigation is ongoing, a person familiar with the situation told CNN Business.”

At MPR, Kirsti Marohn says, “When COVID-19 hit Minnesota last March, students at St. John’s University and its adjacent preparatory school were sent home for the remainder of the academic year. But the more than 100 Catholic Benedictine monks who are members of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville already were home. Suddenly, their close-knit community and collective way of life meant their most vulnerable members would be at risk. … The monks share close quarters. They eat together three times a day and pray together four times a day. And many are still actively involved in teaching and ministry outside the abbey — at the university or in local parishes. … They separated into three groups: according to age, risk factors and how active they are in the outside community. The groups keep apart while eating and praying. Even their daily meetings are now virtual.”

This from Joe Nelson at BringMeTheNews, “Meteorologists Sven Sundgaard and Novak Weather have been talking about the chance for accumulating snow in parts of Minnesota this coming weekend for a few days now, and with every day that passes the chances of snow aren’t disappearing.  As the Duluth office of the National Weather Service notes in its forecast discussion, the weekend storm system ‘continues to look very good at bringing widespread accumulating snow to the Northland.’ How much? More than two inches at this point appears possible, per Duluth forecasters, though predicting totals this far out is difficult and warm soil temps and any mixing with rain would undoubtedly reduce amounts.”