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Minnesota AG’s office sues defiant restaurants, bars

Plus: Gazelka threatens Ellison’s budget over bar crackdown; Emmer refuses to call Joe Biden the president-elect; Minnesota’s largest school districts plan on in-person instruction for elementary students next month; and more.

Attorney General Keith Ellison
Attorney General Keith Ellison
REUTERS/Eric Miller

Says James Walsh for the Star Tribune, “A day after Alibi Drinkery co-owner Lisa Monet Zarza opened her business in defiance of state orders for bars and restaurants to remain closed to dine-in business, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is taking her to court. On Thursday, Ellison’s office announced that he has filed lawsuits against the Lakeville restaurant and Neighbors on the Rum in Princeton. Later in the day, he filed for a temporary restraining order to force Alibi to close. Both businesses opened to in-person dining in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota.”

Dave Orrick writes for the Pioneer Press: “Minnesota’s top Republican Thursday threatened the budget of Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison after Ellison sought to crackdown on two bars that openly defied coronavirus restrictions. The threat of the purse string from Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, came as tensions over COVID restrictions on bars and restaurants seemed to reach new levels.”

MPR reports: “Three days after the Electoral College affirmed the election outcome, Minnesota Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer still refuses to call Joe Biden the president-elect. Emmer was pressed on the point Thursday during a forum convened by the Economic Club of Minnesota. He acknowledged the Electoral College has certified Biden’s win over President Donald Trump but added that the process is not over.”

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In the Star Tribune, Erin Golden writes: “Several of Minnesota’s largest school districts intend to bring their youngest students back for in-person instruction next month, following Gov. Tim Walz’s announcement that elementary schools could reopen as soon as Jan. 18. Anoka-Hennepin, the state’s largest district, told families that it plans to start shifting elementary students from distance to full-time, in-person instruction starting Jan. 19. Similar messages went out from school leaders in the Elk River, Osseo and Robbinsdale districts.”

An AP story says, “Eight nuns living at a suburban Milwaukee convent have died of COVID-19 in the last week, according to the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province. A statement from the congregation says there are other confirmed cases of the coronavirus among the 88 sisters living at the Notre Dame of Elm Grove. The deaths of the eight nuns occurred since Dec. 9.”

In the Pioneer Press, Mara H. Gottfried writes: “The family of a 55-year-old man who died after he was shot while driving in St. Paul is reeling from his loss and believes it was a random incident. Jeff Mintz was supposed to be out for the last time Wednesday night before quarantining as a precaution for his daughter’s small wedding in two weeks, said his son, Lee Mintz. He drove for a food delivery service, but it wasn’t known if he was working at the time. Mintz, of St. Paul, called 911 after he was shot Wednesday about 10 p.m. while driving on Snelling Avenue near University Avenue. He died approximately two hours later, early Thursday, at Regions Hospital.”

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The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson writes, “A University of Minnesota study of COVID-19 in grocery store workers could help solve vexing questions about the true spread of the infectious disease and guide state strategies to slow it down before the vaccine is broadly available. Public health professor Craig Hedberg is recruiting 1,000 grocers from across Minnesota to mail self-collected blood samples to see if they contain antibodies in response to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Patterns in the positive results by worker type and geographic location will offer important clues, he said. … If correct, that means 800,000 to 1.2 million Minnesotans have been infected.”

WCCO-TV reports: “Following a record-breaking October, Minnesota has only added about a half inch of snow this December. The drought has us on track to tie the least snowy December ever.”

At BringMeTheNews, Joe Nelson reports, “The Minnesota Department of Transportation is listening to Minnesotans who have requested they take Scotland’s lead and start naming snowplows.  In Scotland and parts of the United Kingdom, pun-tastic snowplow names have become extremely popular. Now it’s Minnesota’s turn to try and compete with the names they’ve come up with overseas, which include: Spready Mercury … Snowbegone Kenobi … David Plowie … Roger Spreaderer.”