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Minnesota reports first U.S. case of highly transmissible Brazil coronavirus variant

Plus: Twitter permanently bans MyPillow CEO Lindell; Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo finalist for San Jose job; Walz unveils ‘Due North’ education plan; and more.

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm
MinnPost photo by Greta Kaul
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm

In the Star Tribune, Jeremy Olson writes: “Minnesota has identified the nation’s first-known COVID-19 infection that involves a more contagious Brazilian coronavirus strain. Genomic sequencing of lab samples from COVID-19 patients identified the Brazil P.1 variant in a Minnesota resident who recently traveled to Brazil, the Minnesota Department of Health reported on Monday. State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the discovery underscores the need for continued mask-wearing and social-distancing practices to limit transmission of COVID-19, which is spread by a coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.”

MPR reports: “Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo is under consideration to be the police chief in San Jose, Calif. San Jose City Manager David Sykes chose Arradondo as one of seven finalists from a pool of 18 people, but one candidate withdrew. A memo dated Monday said the remaining six candidates will be part of a candidate forum on Saturday and community meetings later. Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder said a recruiter sent the chief’s resume to officials in California, but the chief has not had formal discussions with San Jose leaders. … Arradondo joined the Minneapolis force in 1989 as a patrol officer. He became the city’s first Black police chief in 2017.”

Politico reports: “Twitter has pulled the plug on the account of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. A spokesperson for Twitter said, ‘This account was suspended for repeated violations of our civic integrity policy.’ Twitter confirmed late Monday that the ban on the entrepreneur from Minnesota is a permanent one. The ban is the latest in a series of disciplinary actions taken by Twitter that include, most notably, the banning of former President Donald Trump in an effort to reduce the spread of blatant political lies and punish those who incited violence, particularly in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.”

MPR’s Riham Feshir writes: “Exactly eight months after the killing of George Floyd, a new Minnesota legislative committee is urging lawmakers to consider a number of measures designed to close gaps across race in education, housing and public health and the criminal justice system. A final report presented Monday by the House Select Committee on Racial Justice digs into Minnesota’s persistent racial disparities and underlying causes, which include policies and practices that have caused barriers for people of color and Indigenous communities.”

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For the Forum News Service, Matthew Guerry writes: “A board of state officials on Monday granted a pardon to a Minnesota woman who had been faced with removal from the country despite living in the U.S. for decades. The pardon will allow Maria Elizondo, of Ada, Minn., to apply for the cancellation of her removal and other forms of immigration relief that her convictions previously barred her from seeking. She is the first person in 35 years to receive a full and absolute pardon in Minnesota, according to the State Board of Pardons.”

A WCCO-TV story says, “Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced a new education plan, dubbed ‘Due North,’ on Monday for schools in the state, ahead of the release of his state budget proposal for the next fiscal year. While state officials did not give specifics on cost, the plan included a number of proposals that would expand services to children in the state’s public schools. The plan’s priorities include efforts to grow and support the state’s corps of teachers, establish an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Center at the Minnesota Department of Education, expand the academic and educational offerings to students, increase funding for education, improve academic standards and ensure every student learns in a safe and nurturing environment.”

At KSTP-TV, Charlie Wiese says, “More than $550,000 worth of knock-off designer apparel was seized by U.S. Customs and Border officers in Minneapolis on Jan. 22.  According to a release by CBP, on Jan. 22, officers in Minneapolis seized two shipments arriving from Laos. The shipments were destined for a residence in Minneapolis and Superior, Wi. The shipments contained apparel CBP officers determined was in violation of CBP trademark and copyright code. Officers seized various handbags, wallets, fanny packs and phone cases with logos from designers like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel, among others.”

For BringMeTheNews Melissa Turtinen says, “The curling community is coming together to support a 72-year-old man who was shot during an attempted robbery in Minneapolis. According to a Go Fund Me page, Dale Olsen was shot ‘several times’ outside a business on the 2900 block of Franklin Avenue East in Minneapolis the morning of Jan. 18. He is hospitalized at Hennepin County Medical Center where he is on a ‘long road of recovery.’ Olsen is a longtime curler with the Cambridge Curling Club and the Twin Cities Curling Association … .”

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