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Minnesota lawmakers head back to Capitol for fifth special session

Plus: Wisconsin announces another 2,676 confirmed cases of coronavirus; Minnesota man acquitted of 1991 murder in western Pennsylvania; Vikings lose; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

KSTP-TV reports: “State lawmakers will be back at the capitol Monday as Minnesota’s fifth special session begins. Gov. Tim Walz is looking to extend the state’s peacetime emergency another 30 days. Walz said the coronavirus is unpredictable and the emergency declaration allows the state to respond quickly. Critics say he is abusing his power. Lawmakers may also take up a bonding bill this special session after two failed attempts to pass one in May and July.”

Says Joe Carlson for the Star Tribune, “As a part-time nurse at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Megan Murphy has twice been forced to take a leave from work this summer while waiting to get tested for COVID-19. On both occasions, Murphy had good reason to believe she’d been exposed to the virus and stayed home, as required by hospital policies, to limit spread of the disease. Each time, it took four to five days to line up an appointment and get the results. Both tests came back negative. But a snafu delayed the results of Murphy’s first test and left her without enough paid time off to cover her second leave. As a result, she lost two days’ pay and has no sick time left. … Murphy’s predicament is one many health care workers face as COVID continues to spread. While policies vary depending on the hospital, some workers say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get paid for time off if they feel potential symptoms or have risky exposures.”

The AP reports: “Wisconsin health officials on Sunday confirmed 2,676 new positive tests of the coronavirus, lifting the number of cases over the weekend to more than 5,400 and the overall total to more than 150,000. More than 50,000 new cases have been confirmed in the last three weeks, according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services data. The update shows that about 29,000 of the cases remain active, or more than 19% of total cases. … The state reached a new all-time high in its seven-day average of the percent of positive tests at 18.6%, officials said. Hospitalizations rose by 79 in the last day.”

In the Duluth News Tribune, Matthew Guery says: “Minnesota agricultural officials confirmed last week the discovery of emerald ash borer, an invasive tree-killing species native to Asia, in Carver and Sibley counties. That makes them the 24th and 25th counties in the state where the insect is known for certain to be since 2009. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture announced the discovery six months after the pest was found to have spread to Mower County, the 23rd.”

The Star Tribune editorial board writes, “U.S. Sen. Tina Smith has been in Washington for just two years, but has managed an impressive number of accomplishments in that time, many of them achieved through bipartisanship. Members of the minority party often find their efforts to move legislation stymied. Smith has developed a solid track record for working with fellow Democrats but also Republicans, leading to important wins for Minnesota and the country. … [Republican Jason Lewis] has painted the election as a choice between ‘anarchy and American values’, warning that electing his opponent would somehow bring ‘mob rule’ to the suburbs.”

The AP’s Andrew Demillo writes: “Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have hit their highest points recently throughout the Midwest, where the growth in new cases has been the worst in the nation. But that’s not the message coming from a number of Republican governors in the region, who are working to find silver linings in the ominous health data as outbreaks surge in their states. ‘In South Dakota, we didn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach and the results have been incredible,’ Gov. Kristi Noem told lawmakers in her state, which Johns Hopkins University says ranks second in the country for new cases per capita. Oklahoma’s governor has been effusively upbeat about progress against the virus, despite what figures compiled by public health experts and a White House task force show. North Dakota’s governor has called his state’s test positivity rate an achievement, even though its rate of new cases tops the nation.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Tim Harlow reports: “Drivers going through the construction zone on Interstate 94 between Maple Grove and Rogers are following the vehicles in front of them too closely, and it’s causing havoc. From July 1 to Sept. 30, police responded to more than 100 crashes in the work zone stretching from the I-94/694/494 interchange to Hwy. 101. Drivers ‘following too closely’, also called tailgating, was cited as the main factor by far in the crashes, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. That raises the question: Just how close is too close?”

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Says Steve Cuozzo in The New York post, “Target’s ambitious metro-area expansion is a rare bright spot amid a gloom-fest of store closings and bankruptcies. The mass-market favorite is planting its bull’s-eye at the Cross County Center in Yonkers, where it has signed a lease for a whopping 130,000 square feet, gobbling up the bulk of 200,000 square feet left behind by Sears last year. … The publicly traded Target is on an expansion binge in the city as well, with new stores planned on East 86th and West 125th Street and on Columbus Avenue — although none is nearly as large as the one at Cross County, set to open in 2021.”

Also from the AP: “A Minnesota man has been acquitted in the murder of a 76-year-old woman almost three decades ago in western Pennsylvania. Jurors in Indiana County last week deliberated for more than two hours before finding 67-year-old Charles Cook not guilty of criminal homicide and robbery in the slaying of Myrtle McGill. Cook’s defense lawyer called the verdict “a big relief,” the Indiana Gazette reported. County prosecutors alleged that the suspect fired two shots through a window that killed 76-year-old McGill in the kitchen of her White Township home. Her body was found on Dec. 13, 1991, but authorities believed she died several days earlier.”

The Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomaasson writes: The Vikings gave Russell Wilson another chance. And he took advantage of it. Wilson threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to D.K. Metcalf on fourth down with 15 seconds left to give the Seattle Seahawks a 27-26 win over Minnesota on a rainy Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. With two minutes left in the game and the Vikings (1-4) up 26-21 and facing fourth-and-1 at the Seahawks 6, Minnesota elected to go for it on the first play after the two-minute warning. But Alexander Mattison was stopped for no gain and Seattle drove 94 yards for the winning points.”

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