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First Minnesotans begin to get COVID-19 vaccine

Plus: Line 3 construction has begun; attorney for Derek Chauvin wants start of trial delayed; talking to a Minnesota elector; and more.

Gov. Tim Walz lifting the just-delivered box of 2,925 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday morning.
Gov. Tim Walz lifting the just-delivered box of 2,925 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday morning.
Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune/Pool

Vaccination begins. The Bemidji Pioneer’s Annalise Braught reports: “Applause, smiles and tears abounded in a conference room at the Cass Lake Hospital on Monday as 10 health care workers were among the first in the state to receive initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. … White Earth descendant Danielle Whalen, a licensed practical nurse at Indian Health Services in Cass Lake, was one of the first to receive her vaccination. … ‘I’m excited, I’m thankful,’ Whalen said as she wiped happy tears from her eyes. ‘I’m excited to see my mom. I really wanted to do this for the people in my community, my elders, my patients, my family. So I was very motivated, but I’m mostly very excited because I haven’t hugged my mom since March, so I’m looking forward to that. This makes a world of difference for me.’ … More staff and frontline workers will be vaccinated throughout the week as the rollout continues. Each person vaccinated will also receive a second dose 21 days from the date of their initial dose.”

Line 3 construction is under way. MPR’s Dan Kraker reports: “In northern Minnesota’s Aitkin County, just north of the tiny town of Palisade, construction workers are clear-cutting a wide path through the forest near the Mississippi River, heavy equipment rumbling, to make way for the new Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project. … And Tania Aubid, a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, is there to try to stop them. … Aubid has come to this place every day for more than a week, part of a group of people who call themselves water protectors — there to speak out against the pipeline and, in some cases, put their bodies in the way of construction.”

Seeking delay. WCCO reports:A new request from the attorney of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, asks the court for more time to prepare for next year’s trial. … In a filing Monday, attorney Erik Nelson blasted the state for the way it’s presenting the evidence, saying it’s been unorganized and delayed. Nelson asked Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill to push back the start of the trial. Last week, the attorney for former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao, who is also charged in the case, made a similar argument.”

Meet a Minnesota elector. At Sahan Journal, Becky Z. Dernbach reports: “In most presidential election years, the convening of the Electoral College—that is, the people who formally cast each state’s electoral votes—is a behind-the-scenes affair. A formality, really. This year, with an incumbent president pretending the race he lost is not yet over, more eyes than ever tuned in to follow the process. … Some of those eyes watched a livestream of Minnesota elector Nausheena Hussain. She ran for her elector position so she could understand the process better—and make it more accessible to others, too. … Nausheena never really thought about the Electoral College, one of the stranger aspects of the American presidential elections, until 2016, when Hillary Clinton lost the election despite winning nearly 3 million votes more than Donald J. Trump. This year, when the opportunity opened up, she decided to pursue it to learn more about the process. Winning the spot required a miniature online campaign. She shot a video explaining her work mobilizing Muslim voters and her investment in making government work for everyone. ”

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In other news…

War on golf continues:City pulls back COVID relief money for golf course clubhouse after community backlash and 5 INVESTIGATES report” [KSTP]

What, not even a little?Wisconsin health department says avoid raw meat this holiday” [KARE]

Co-anchors with benefits:WCCO viewers keep asking why Frank and Amelia aren’t social distancing” [BringMeTheNews]

Who cares:St. Paul Is More ‘Caring’ Than Minneapolis, Study Finds” [Patch]

It was fun while it lasted:Attention shoppers: ‘World’s Smallest Target’ has been demolished” [KXAN]

Fallen arches:Dinkytown McDonald’s closes after 57 years of business” [Minnesota Daily]