Frey, Frey again. The Star Tribune’s Liz Navratil reports: “Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Thursday announced plans to run for reelection, following a tumultuous year in which the city grappled with the coronavirus pandemic, George Floyd’s death, and riots that devastated some parts of the city. … ‘Over the last four years, we’ve confronted opportunity and hardship together,’ Frey said in a news release. ‘We’ve also faced unprecedented challenges and calls for necessary structural change. I look forward to continuing to serve Minneapolis as we move into a new era with a shared commitment to build a more vibrant and just city.’ … Frey, in his first term after serving on the City Council, found himself under scrutiny from around the world after Floyd’s death. Questions about how to change the police department and public safety are likely to be front and center in this year’s races, as the mayor’s office and all 13 City Council seats come up in the November election.”
Latest jobs report. WCCO reports: “State officials say Minnesota’s unemployment rate dropped slightly last month as more Minnesotans left the workforce and the state shed nearly 50,000 jobs amid the weeks-long period of tightened COVID-19 restrictions. … The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced Thursday that December’s seasonably adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.4%, down a tenth of a percentage point from November. The drop reflects Gov. Tim Walz’s tightened COVID-19 restrictions from late November through the holidays, when bars and restaurants were closed to indoor dining and social gatherings were limited. Those restrictions have since been lifted.”
Trial continues as planned. Also from WCCO: “Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill has denied a motion to re-join the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who held his knee to the neck of the late George Floyd for minutes, with three other former officers accused in his death. … Cahill also ruled that Chauvin’s trial will begin in March as planned, following a request to push his trial to early summer, which is when the other three officers involved — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — are scheduled to be tried. … Chavin’s trial is scheduled to begin March 8. … Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed face down on the street. Police were investigating whether Floyd used a counterfeit bill at a nearby store. In a video widely seen on social media, Floyd could be heard pleading with officers for air, saying he couldn’t breathe.”
Minnesota women reflect on the inauguration of Vice President Harris. MPR’s Matt Sepic reports: “For many women and girls, the inauguration of Kamala Harris was a moment of triumph. Harris is not only the first woman elected vice president, she also breaks ground as the first Black woman and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the position. Minnesota women celebrated the moment. … Raj Chaudhary moved to the United States from India in 1967 — three years after Harris was born in California. Harris’ late mother was from India; her father is from Jamaica. … Chaudhary founded the Minneapolis nonprofit Asian Indian Family Wellness. Work at the office paused Wednesday so staff could watch the inauguration. … Seeing Harris raise her right hand on the Capitol steps affirmed for Chaudhary the American ideal that gender and ethnicity should never be barriers to success.”
See also: “Barrier-breaking VP Harris brings hope to Josie Johnson” [KARE]
In other news…
Cool venue: “A specialty beer, three bands, swag: Locals look to save Sacred Heart” [Duluth News Tribune]
Hot study: “UMN researchers partner with Latinx farmers to explore chile pepper viability in MN” [Minnesota Daily]
Wirth visiting: “A caveman encased in a block of ice? The story behind this viral Minneapolis park sculpture” [Star Tribune]
Today on MinnPost
- You may have seen allegations that Minnesota is vaccinating against COVID-19 more slowly than other states and that it’s sitting on vaccine. Here’s what’s behind the state’s vaccination strategy.
- The good news: Minneapolis’ Upper Harbor Terminal plans are moving forward. The bad? Residents of the surrounding neighborhoods aren’t too chuffed.
- Yurts, igloos and pop-up domes: How safe is ‘outside’ restaurant dining this winter?
- Artscape: Ordway launches two streaming series; MNspin Virtual Fest at the Hook Do NOT miss the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
- Community Voices commentary by Amy Hewitt: “Human rights depend on democracy: Protect it”
- Eric Black: “Voter turnout in 2020 set a record. Will it continue to be high?”
- Also from Black: “Was Trump our worst president ever? This scholar thinks so.”
- Community Voices commentary by Darrell Downs: “Poli Sci 101: The course Trumpers didn’t take”