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Some Twin Cities teachers left waiting after invites for vaccine event exceed supply

Plus: vote on Minneapolis’ Upper Harbor Terminal delayed over environmental concerns; Minnesota Senate Republicans renew push for voter ID;  La Velle E. Neal III to be new Star Tribune columnist; and more.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
The Pioneer Press’ Josh Verges writes: “Many metro teachers who were supposed to be prioritized for vaccines were placed on wait list after schools sent out far more invites than a mass vaccination event will be able to fill and some recipients shared the sign-up information with colleagues. Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday that 15,000 doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine would be made available to metro school staff and child care providers over five days, starting Thursday at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown St. Paul. But the Minnesota Department of Education instructed metro school leaders to send out a combined 26,145 invitations. And, unlike last week’s trial run, schools were not guaranteed that their employees would be able to secure a certain number of vaccinations.”

In the Star Tribune Faiza Mohammed writes: “A plan to move forward with a major redevelopment of Minneapolis’ Upper Harbor Terminal, a 48-acre site formerly home to a barge terminal, has been postponed after environmentalists raised concerns about its effect on the Mississippi River. Community Members for Environmental Justice (CMEJ) and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) sent a letter to the City Council earlier this month demanding an environmental review before any action on the plan. City leaders announced at a planning committee meeting Wednesday evening that the City Council will not vote on the project in February, as originally planned, to allow an environmental review, a decision made on the advice of city attorneys and environmental advocates.”

For MPR, Tim Pugmire reports, “Republicans in the Minnesota Senate have renewed their push for a requirement that people show a photo ID in order to vote.  Members of the Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee held a hearing Wednesday on legislation that would establish a requirement that voters provide valid photo identification when casting a ballot in-person or absentee. The bill would also provide voter ID cards to those who need them. Those unable to produce photo identification would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.”

Also in the Pioneer Press, Nick Ferraro writes: “In recent months, a mystery national grocer has come forward with plans to redevelop and occupy vacant stores in Eagan and Burnsville. Now, after the Burnsville plan came to light this week, city officials and food industry insiders are speculating that e-commerce giant Amazon.com could be the retailer behind the shroud of secrecy in both cities — a move that would mark its first foray into the crowded Twin Cities grocery market.”

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Says Jeremiah Jacobsen for KARE-TV,Minnesotans who have been putting off driver’s license and ID card renewals due to the pandemic will need to take action soon, as the state’s expiration extension will be ending in the coming weeks. Last year, Gov. Tim Walz signed a law that granted an extension for nearly 300,000 Minnesotans with driver’s licenses and ID cards scheduled to expire between March 13, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021.”

A KSTP-TV story by Tommy Wilta says, “State lawmakers and meatpacking workers from Worthington, St. Cloud and Austin announced new proposed legislation on Wednesday to improve safety on the job for the workers employed by meatpacking and food processing plants. The proposal would provide paid leave to all meat and poultry processing workers to recuperate from an illness, injury or to care for an ill family member. … This proposal creates a brand new ‘Workers’ Rights Coordinator’ position housed within the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) dedicated to enforcement and compliance.”

At MPR, Paul Huttner says, “Lake Superior will have to play catch-up to get close to average ice-cover. Our mild winter so far has produced only around 4 percent ice-cover on the big lake so far. … That’s well below the average of around 20 percent by late January. Ice-cover on the Great Lakes as a whole is running near historical lows.

Says Chris Carr in the Star Tribune, “After 23 years of covering the Minnesota Twins and Major League Baseball for the Star Tribune, La Velle E. Neal III is taking on a new challenge. Neal will become a sports columnist for Star Tribune, beginning next month. … The Star Tribune will replace Neal on the Twins beat and find a new reporter to pair with Phil Miller, who has covered the team since 2013.”

For WISN-TV in Wisconsin, Kent Wainscott reports, “A final vote to stop Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency health order could come Thursday. Businesses will still be able to require masks and so will local communities, but the statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since last summer, is in jeopardy after a showdown in the state Capitol. … the Republican-led state Senate voted 18-13 Tuesday to end the mask mandate in place since August, saying Gov. Tony Evers doesn’t have the authority to issue an emergency order beyond 60 days.”

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