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Long-term care residents, workers in Minnesota to begin getting vaccinated

Plus: Trump signs $900 billion COVID relief bill; Minneapolis’ 3rd Avenue bridge to shut down for nearly two years; two people shot near George Floyd memorial; and more.

WCCO-TV’s David Schuman reports: “People living and working in Minnesota’s long-term care facilities will begin getting vaccinated Monday. Two of those people are Carol and Jim Engelking, who live at the St. Therese Senior Community in Woodbury. Living in different sections of the facility and nearly 90 years old, the couple’s only gotten to visit each other sparingly this year. They couldn’t get within six feet of each other to celebrate their 66th anniversary this summer.… Including St. Therese in Woodbury, 599 living facilities in Minnesota will begin receiving vaccinations through CVS Health Monday, for a total of more than 63,000 people.”

For the New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Nelson D. Schwartz and Gillian Friedman write: “President Trump on Sunday abruptly signed a measure providing $900 billion in pandemic aid and funding the government through September, ending last-minute turmoil he himself had created over legislation that will offer an economic lifeline to millions of Americans and avert a government shutdown. The legislative package will provide billions of dollars for the distribution of vaccines, funds for schools, small businesses, hospitals and American families, and money needed to keep the government open for the remainder of the fiscal year. The enactment came less than 48 hours before the government would have shut down and just days before an eviction moratorium and other critical pandemic relief provisions were set to expire.”

In the Star Tribune, Tim Harlow writes: “This will be the last week anybody — by car, bus, bike, scooter or on foot — will be able to cross the 3rd Avenue bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis for nearly two years. The historic structure with its distinctive S-curve just north of St. Anthony Falls is closing to all traffic Jan. 4 as the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) continues with the bridge’s first major repairs in more than 40 years.”

The AP reports: “Gov. Tony Evers’ executive budget could include criminal justice reforms as Wisconsin emerges from a tumultuous year of protests over police brutality and racism, setting up another potential conflict with Republicans who have been reluctant to take any action to address police protocols. Evers told The Associated Press in a year-end interview that he may include criminal justice reforms in the budget that will ‘hopefully’ resolve disparities that exist in the system.”

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Also from WCCO-TV: “Minneapolis police say two people were shot Sunday night near the George Floyd memorial. Police spokesperson John Elder says the victims, both who are believed to be adults, are expected to survive after the shooting near East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. They were taken to an area hospital in private vehicles. The investigation is ongoing.”

The Pioneer Press’ Mara H. Gottfried writes: “A sticker affixed to the back window of a vehicle parked in downtown St. Paul caught a resident’s attention — it was the Three Percenter logo. When Trevor Burns saw a uniformed St. Paul officer head to the pickup, he was even more concerned. The Anti-Defamation League describes Three Percenters as ‘anti-government extremists who are part of the militia movement.’ … [St. Paul Police Chief Todd] Axtell said he’s assigned a member of his administrative team ‘to further explore this issue’ and they’ve talked to the city attorney ‘to ensure that our policies are guided by — and align with — all applicable laws. We’re reviewing our policies to make sure there’s a crystal clear understanding about what is acceptable and what is not.’