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Minnesota launches vaccine notification website

Plus: Minneapolis Park Board committee votes to take Hiawatha Golf Course down to 9 holes; Ramsey County’s use of hotels for shelter; Minnesota DVS adds Saturday hours to help with license renewals; and more.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Better vaccine information coming. KSTP reports: “Gov. Tim Walz announced on Thursday the launch of the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, a tool that helps all Minnesotans find out when, where, and how to get their COVID-19 vaccine. … The Vaccine Connector is the next step of the state’s vaccination strategy to meet Minnesotans where they are and connect them to vaccine opportunities, no matter where they live or their personal circumstances. … According to the release, Minnesotans who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged to sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, regardless of their current vaccine eligibility status. There will be no cost and no restricted time period for signing up. … Minnesotans who want to sign up for the Vaccine Connector, click here.”

The good news is your score just got cut in half. The Star Tribune’s Susan Du reports: “A Park Board committee narrowly approved a plan to stabilize the Hiawatha Golf Course, which is plagued by flooding and hemorrhaging money, and create a nine-hole beginner course in place of an 18-hole golf course celebrated as one of the state’s first to allow Black players. … How to protect Hiawatha Golf Course from the elements while adequately honoring history has been a protracted and emotionally charged debate. A citizen advisory committee met for a year and a half. More than 1,100 people responded to the draft concept plan. Most public comments assumed polar opposite views, either insisting on keeping 18 holes at any cost, or removing golf altogether. … Commissioners voted 3-2 on Wednesday, with white members voting in favor and Black members against, to advance the plan to the full board.”

Hotels for shelter. MPR’s Nina Moini reports: “From her St. Paul hotel room overlooking Interstate 94, Colleen Stadt can see a small tent encampment of homeless people down near the highway. … “I think about them constantly,” said the 60-year-old Stadt. “[I think] about where I have come from in this journey, and I am just grateful.” … Stadt, who used to reside in a group shelter, has been staying in a room at the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge hotel since last summer. It is one of two hotels Ramsey County has leased through June to add extra space for homeless residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The county oversees space for 480 people, not including shelters run by community partners. There are 125 people, all of them over 60, living at the Best Western. … Keith Lattimore, director of Ramsey County’s new Housing Stability Department, said the county added the two hotel leases to its short-term housing options to address social distancing requirements that limit shelters to half capacity.

Extra time for license renewals. The Star Tribune’s Tim Harlow reports: “The Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) will temporarily offer Saturday hours to help thousands of people who were granted renewal extensions due to the COVID-19 pandemic complete the task. … Credentials that would have expired over the past year but remained valid as a result of legislation Gov. Tim Walz signed into law last year must be renewed by March 31, DVS announced last month. … Walz’s emergency declarations over the past year allowed DVS to grant extensions for expiring licenses. But under Minnesota law, no more extensions are possible. … About 200,000 Minnesotans still need to renew their driver’s licenses and state identification cards, or will lose their driving privileges.

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In other news…

Nice work:Champlin teen manufactures dog wheelchairs for families in need” [KMSP]

Important recall news:Bloomington-based Toro recalls 6,700 snowblowers due to ‘amputation hazard’” [Star Tribune]

Just in time for spring:Voting begins in MnDOT’s Name a Snowplow contest” [Bemidji Pioneer]

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