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Officials concerned over continued calls for armed personnel to ‘protect’ Minnesota election sites

Plus: Walz signs bonding bill; more wintry weather on the way; WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler announces retirement; U of M study finds hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work; and more.

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

This from the Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor, “Calls for armed military veterans combined with a volunteer ‘Army for Trump’ to descend on Minnesota polling places have created fresh anxieties for state law enforcement and elections officials already preparing for a major election in the COVID-19 pandemic. Cybersecurity and the coronavirus pandemic dominated preparations for the vote this year, but state and federal officials are now closely monitoring new reports of private security contractors advertising jobs that would — illegally — dispatch armed guards at Minnesota polling places. Adding to those concerns, the Trump campaign has vowed to raise a 50,000-plus army of volunteer observers across an array of battleground states to monitor the voting.”

MPR’s Brian Bakst writes: “Gov. Tim Walz signed a massive public works bill into law Wednesday that he said will improve Minnesota’s infrastructure and ensure construction crews are kept busy as the economy digs out from a recession. Surrounded by representatives of the construction trades at an ironworkers’ training center, Walz delivered the $1.9 billion plan the final approval it needed after the Legislature sent him last week. It will take hundreds of projects from conception to reality across the state.”

In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes: “Already rejected as a treatment for COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work as preventive medicine either, according to new findings from the University of Minnesota Medical School. The randomized, double-blind trial began April 6 and enrolled 1,483 health care workers and first responders from across the U.S. and Canada. Participants were tracked for four to 12 weeks to see who contracted the coronavirus. By the end of the study, 5.9 percent of workers who took the anti-malaria drug had been infected with the coronavirus, compared to 7.9 percent who took a placebo. Researchers said that difference is not statistically significant.”

MPR’s Paul Huttner tells us, “Lather, rinse, repeat. An active jet stream over Minnesota is dealing wintry storms our way every two to three days this week. Our next wintry-weather-maker arrives Thursday. This one focuses on central Minnesota. This time the favored winter storm zone lays out across central and northeast Minnesota north and west of the Twin Cities.”

From WCCO-TV: “WCCO-TV has announced long-time political reporter Pat Kessler will retire following the 2020 election. Kessler dedicated 36 years to covering Minnesota politics and local government here. Kessler has reported on the administrations of eight Minnesota governors, dozens of legislative sessions and political conventions, and chronicled the presidential bids of Minnesota’s own, including Walter Mondale, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Amy Klobuchar. He was there for Minnesota’s political earthquakes such as the death of Hubert Humphrey, the upset victory of celebrity wrestler-turned-governor Jesse Ventura, and the plane crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone.”

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Dave Orrick writes in the Pioneer Press: “In his full-throated style, former Minnesota Gov. and nominal presidential candidate Jesse Ventura came to White Bear Lake Wednesday and went off. On all kinds of stuff. Ventura, whose name is appearing on the Alaska ballot, railed on President Donald Trump, maskless Americans, and other politicians in general, while espousing the virtues of third parties and urging everyone to vote. …The small assemblage of media had been summoned to a slushy parking lot by the campaign of Brock Pierce. Pierce, a St. Louis Park native and former child actor of ‘Mighty Ducks’ and sequel ‘D2: The Mighty Ducks’ renown, is a wealthy entrepreneur whose name appears on the Minnesota ballot for president.”

For the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Sophie Carson and Meg Jones say, “Gov. Tony Evers implored residents to take action to turn around the weeks-long surge in coronavirus cases in Wisconsin or else the economic consequences on businesses would be dire. ‘If we continue to make excuses for not doing this, we will have more deaths, we will have more people with COVID-19, and frankly, we will have a lot less economic activity in the state of Wisconsin. This is a critical time, folks,’ Evers said in a news conference Tuesday. … As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 1,192 coronavirus patients in hospital care across Wisconsin, including 315 people in intensive care units. Both numbers were record-highs.”

The Star Tribune’s Jean Hopfensperger says, “Trinity School at River Ridge stands on the outskirts of Eagan, one of just three schools in the nation launched by People of Praise, the little-known religious community that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has been part of since childhood. … Minnesota is home to the largest branch of People of Praise in the nation. More than 440 of its 1,700 members live in the Twin Cities, a group launched in the 1980s that still benefits from its early popularity.”

Again today, for The Verge, Josh Dzieza reports, “A state report on Foxconn’s Wisconsin factory depicts a project gone far off course. The report, issued this month by Wisconsin’s Division of Executive Budget and Finance and obtained through a records request, confirms that the company has not built the enormous Gen 10.5 LCD factory specified in its contract. It also says that the building the company claims is a smaller Gen 6 LCD factory shows no signs of manufacturing LCDs in the foreseeable future and ‘may be better suited for demonstration purposes.’”