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Line 3 project moves forward with approval of several key permits by Minnesota regulators

Plus: MDH wants all Minnesotans between the ages of 18 and 35 to get tested for COVID-19; Dollar General store concept coming to Nicollet Mall; township election decided by a coin flip; and more.

Enbridge Line 3, Public Utilities Commission designated route
Enbridge Line 3, Public Utilities Commission designated route
State of Minnesota

MPR’s Dan Kraker writes: “State environmental regulators issued several key permits Thursday that move Enbridge Energy closer to building its controversial Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency both approved permits for the Line 3 project. Now, Enbridge just needs a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an additional permit that’s expected from the MPCA in the next month.”

In the Star Tribune, Matt DeLong writes: “Are you a Minnesotan between the ages of 18 and 35? If so, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has a message for you: Please get tested for COVID-19. With new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths skyrocketing, Gov. Tim Walz rolled out new measures this week to reduce the spread of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that are specifically aimed at younger adults. Health officials say the virus is being disproportionately spread by 18- to 35-year-olds, many of whom may be asymptomatic and unaware they are infected and contagious. So they are encouraging all Minnesotans in that age group to get tested as soon as possible.”

At KSTP-TV Alex Jokich reports, “Nearly 200 chief medical officers and nursing leaders from across Minnesota put out a joint letter Thursday expressing ‘growing concern’ about the increasing demand for hospital care as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. … There are already capacity concerns due to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. This week, the state reported ICUs in the metro were at 97% capacity. ‘Even when we have the beds, the physical spaces in our hospitals, our main concern and our urgent concern right now is the availability to staff those beds so we can continue to care for Minnesotans in our hospitals,’ Koranne said.”

The Forum News Service’s Karen Tolkkinen writes: “COVID-19 has swept through two residential buildings at the Galeon Senior Living center [in Osakis], claiming seven lives and infecting three-quarters of nursing home residents since getting its first case in October, its administrator confirmed Wednesday. … Located in Osakis — about 11 miles directly east of Alexandria — Galeon had successfully warded off the virus until late October…. But in a few short weeks, it has infected 75 percent of its 40 nursing home residents and 50-75 percent of its 19 assisted living residents.

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For The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Nick Halter reports, “A relatively new Dollar General store concept meant for city centers will fill a long-vacant Nicollet Mall storefront in downtown Minneapolis. Called DGX, the 6,000-square-foot store will anchor the corner of Nicollet Mall and Fifth Street, in The Andrus building. That building recently underwent a $3.5 million renovation. The DGX store will open in early 2021, according to a Dollar General spokesperson. It will have fresh fruits and vegetables, refrigerated and frozen food, an expanded health and beauty section, pet supplies, candies and snacks, paper products and home cleaning supplies. It will also have home decor, electronics and season offerings, according to Dollar General.”

The Star Tribune’s Kim Hyatt writes: “Minnesota state Sen. David Senjem, R-Rochester, tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend and is in quarantine at his home in Rochester, a GOP caucus spokeswoman said late Thursday. Spokeswoman Rachel Aplikowski confirmed that Senjem, 77, was tested Sunday in Winona and got the news that he had tested positive Monday night. She did not say why that news wasn’t shared until Thursday evening. Days before Senjem’s saliva test Sunday, he attended Thursday’s GOP caucus meeting in the Senate Building in St. Paul, which is now closed to the public and admits only Senate members.”

Another KSTP-TV story says, “At-home saliva tests are now available to all Minnesotans. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), at-home saliva tests are now available to all Minnesotans following a trial run in 24 counties that began last month. MDH says that any person who wants to get tested, with or without symptoms, can have tests sent to their home at no cost. Officials are asking that everyone who wants to get tested do so, however, they are particularly urging people in the 18-35-year-old age group to get tested.”

In the Star Tribune, Matt McKinney writes: “The election came down to a coin flip Thursday night in Grey Cloud Island Township, where Richard Polta and Raymond L. Kaiser each vied for a town supervisor seat after garnering identical vote totals — 84 each — on Nov. 3. … So on Thursday night, Town Board Chairman Dick Adams pulled out a 1967 Kennedy half-dollar for the decisive flip. Polta and Town Clerk Cheryl McColley witnessed the toss in person at the Grey Cloud Island Township Town Hall while Kaiser, traveling for work, watched via a video feed. Kaiser called tails. It came up heads. Polta’s third bid for the seat turned out to be the charm.”