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ACLU sues after 67% of inmates at federal prison in Waseca test positive for COVID-19

Plus: St. Paul Mayor Carter announces commission to study policing alternatives; Clear Channel rejects George Floyd billboard in downtown Minneapolis; restaurants rumored to plan opening in defiance of Walz orders; and more.

prison cells
That is a lot of COVID. Fox 9 reports: “A lawsuit alleges the Federal Correctional Institution in Waseca, Minnesota failed to protect its vulnerable inmates from the COVID-19 pandemic. … Filed by the ACLU, the lawsuit against Warden M. Starr and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal says the federal prison system has ‘failed to respond in any meaningful way to the pandemic.’ … The ACLU says the prison did not release medically vulnerable people from the prison, which makes social distancing impossible. … Federal Bureau of Prisons data shows 440 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 658 total inmates as of Thursday.

Exploring alternatives to policing. WCCO reports: “In St. Paul, the debate over policing turns to a group of citizens. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced a Community-First Safety Commission on Thursday. … The 48 members cover a broad range of voices from public and private sectors, as well as education and nonprofit groups. … The group will focus on alternatives to police response and approaches for ongoing community involvement. They will also consider whether to create a city-staffed office to drive and integrate the work.”

Acts of violence, indeed. The Star Tribune’s Rochelle Olson reports: “National advertising firm Clear Channel Outdoor canceled a billboard order for downtown Minneapolis on Thursday because it featured an artist’s depiction of George Floyd’s death. … Brooklyn-based artist Don Perlis received an e-mail notice Thursday from Clear Channel account executive Beau Ryan saying the billboard image was rejected because it ‘depicts acts of violence.’ … It depicts a Perlis oil-on-canvas painting titled “Floyd” that the artist created shortly after Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.”

Great way to eighty-six public goodwill. Minneapolis.St.Paul’s Stephanie March reports: “Plenty of people in the industry have heard the rumors going around: That there are a significant number of restaurants that intend to open up their indoor dining again next week, even if Governor Walz extends the current shutdown past its initial end date of Dec. 18. … The Governor had intended on announcing by the end of this week, whether or not he would continue the restrictions, which closed indoor dining at bars and restaurants (and fitness centers, bowling alleys, etc.), but has since moved that announcement to Monday. Given the fear of rising case counts in Minnesota due to Thanksgiving numbers still yet to fully be seen and taxed hospitals, the consensus is that the shutdown will be extended through the new year. At least.”

Related:‘We’re going to leave that to the state’: As Boardwalk opens for second day, East Grand Forks police won’t enforce Walz’s closure order” [Fargo Forum]

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In other news…

Job opening:Humphrey School launches national search for new dean” [Minnesota Daily]

PSA:Robert Street Bridge in St. Paul to close this weekend” [KSTP]

Take the survey:Met Council wants help picking next three fast transit line routes” [MPR]

No duh:Wisconsin State Court Judge Rules Against Trump Lawsuit Seeking To Overturn Biden’s Win” [WCCO]

More testing options:New nasal swab COVID-19 testing site opens in Mall of America parking lot” [KSTP]