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Walz announces disaster declaration for farmers

Plus: One-third of Salvation Army conference attendees get COVID-19; Rep. Omar plays Among Us online with AOC; changes come to the St. Paul Winter Carnival; an Anoka pumpkin weighs in at 2,350 pounds; and more.

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Relief for Minnesota farmers. WCCO reports: “Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated agricultural disasters in parts of Minnesota due to extreme drought conditions during the 2020 growing season. … Farmers in Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, and Rock counties are now eligible to apply for emergency loans through the USDA Farm Service Agency.”

For whom the bell tolls. Bring Me the News’ Adam Uren reports:An outbreak of COVID-19 at a conference for Salvation Army staff members has infected almost a third of those in attendance. … The conference was held Oct. 6-8 at a camp near Finlayson, between the Twin Cities and Duluth, with around half of those invited attending in person – with 62 attending in total – with the others joining virtually. In a statement to BMTN, Salvation Army Twin Cities spokesman Dan Furry said: “The Salvation Army has employed strict protocols that closely follow CDC and state guidelines in order to maintain the health and safety of its officers and staff.”

Gaming the system. The New York Times’s Mike Ives reports: “To help spur voters to the polls, most politicians conduct in-person canvassing or send mass emails. But Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took a novel approach: She asked her nine million Twitter followers to watch her play a video game. ‘Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote?’ Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, tweeted on Monday afternoon, referring to the popular livestreaming platform. … Her fellow gamers included Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, who suggested in several tweets she was enjoying herself.

Max It Pawn body identified. KSTP reports: “Tuesday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man whose body was found inside of a burned south Minneapolis pawn shop as 30-year-old Oscar Lee Stewart Jr. Stewart’s body was found inside the wreckage of Max It Pawn on East Lake Street on July 20. The medical examiner’s report says Stewart died from ‘probable inhalation of products of combustion and thermal injury from an intentional building fire.’ His death is considered a homicide.

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Your move, Weisman. The Minnesota Daily’s Becca Most reports:The Mimbres Collection at the Weisman Art Museum has a long and complicated past. First excavated by anthropology professors and students in the 1920s, the collection of human remains and burial belongings was housed at the University of Minnesota before being transferred to the Weisman, where it remains today. … Despite repeated attempts by affiliated tribes to return the collection to New Mexico, the funerary objects remain at the Weisman.

What Ragnar is up to these days. The Duluth News Tribune’s Brady Slater reports: “Instead of harping on Trump’s support for the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine near town, [Ely Mayor Chuck] Novak introduced Razor Edge Systems — a manufacturer tucked into the northwest corner of town that specializes in blade-sharpening products. “They’re innovative as hell,” Novak said. “It’s a treasure in the city of Ely. It’s unknown; it’s not on Main Street; people drive by here and they have no clue what happens in this facility.” The company employs about 20 people and is co-owned by Joe Juranitch, who is better known as the former Minnesota Vikings mascot, Ragnar.”

In other news…

Face-covering still the norm: “St. Paul Winter Carnival making changes to next ‘Coolest Celebration on Earth’” [Star Tribune]

Good grief: “How to watch Peanuts TV holidays specials for free on Apple TV+” [KARE]

Senior VP: “Another MPR executive announces his departure” [Star Tribune]

Smashing pumpkin records: “Anoka man wins World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off” [KARE]

Kudos: “St. Paul poet Michael Kleber-Diggs wins national poetry prize” [Star Tribune]