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Minnesota poised to break 146-year-old record for cold

Plus: Iowa county sheriff arrested in Minnesota; nearly 12 percent of Minnesota residents now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine; Minnesota scientists working to detect new strains of COVID via wastewater; and more.

MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig

Say the Star Tribune’s Anthony Lonetree and Paul Walsh: A long-running cold snap is on its way out, but not before possibly setting a record with extremely cold weather on Monday morning. The record of 25 below dates back 146 years to 1875. Nick Carletta, meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Chanhassen, said the area has a good chance of breaking the record low on Monday. … For perspective, Carletta said that the coldest day in Twin Cities history was in 1888, when the temperature dropped to 41 below. … In Duluth, the record low for Feb. 14 was pushed even lower Sunday morning when the temperature dropped to 26 below zero, according to the NWS.”

Says an AP story, “The Martin County, Minnesota, Sheriff’s office said Armstrong, Iowa, Police Chief Craig Merrill was arrested Saturday just over the border from the town where he was employed. Armstrong’s mayor and the current and former city clerks were all arrested Friday and charged with several felonies and misdemeanors after a long investigation uncovered embezzlement and other offenses. The Iowa Attorney General’s office filed charges against the Armstrong officials alleging ‘misappropriation of city funds, the presentation of fraudulent public records, deploying a TASER against a civilian in exchange for cash, and falsification of ledgers to conceal embezzlement.’”

Says MPR, “Nearly 12 percent of Minnesota residents have now received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as the pace of vaccinations in the state has ticked upward in recent days. State health officials on Sunday reported nearly 39,000 more vaccine doses administered — the fourth-biggest single-day total on record. It was a drop from Saturday’s total — but slightly ahead of what was reported last Sunday.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Joe Carlson reports: “Some of the best evidence for detecting early signs of new COVID strains in Minnesota is being flushed right down the toilet. But scientists at the Metropolitan Council and the University of Minnesota’s Genomics Center have started work to detect new strains of COVID in the wastewater flowing into the Twin Cities’ primary sewage treatment plant in St. Paul. The project is an outgrowth of ongoing epidemiological work with Minnesota’s wastewater. Genetic traces of the virus that causes COVID are detectable in wastewater, which is why researchers are analyzing it for early warnings about COVID hot spots.”

MPR’s Peter Cox reports: “Southside Community Clinic and Sabathani Community Center in south Minneapolis joined together to vaccinate seniors at particular risk of COVID-19. ‘We jumped at the opportunity, because we knew that we had the ability to reach out to seniors, and we had the facilities — and if they could bring the vaccine, we know it would be a perfect partnership,’ said Tanessa Greene, Sabathani’s executive director. She said they gave the COVID-19 vaccine to 83 seniors, a majority of whom were African American. … Minnesota is trying to bridge two issues at once — getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, while also making sure racial and ethnic communities hardest hit by the virus have access to vaccines. … Demographics suggest that priorities for who got the vaccine left people of color behind.

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Another AP story says, “One patient threatened to shoot Dr. Terry Hunt if physical therapy didn’t relieve his pain as effectively as opioids did. Another harassed his staff, then roamed a hospital searching for Hunt after being told he would be weaned off painkillers he had used inappropriately. … So when he heard about Tuesday’s attack at a medical clinic in Buffalo, Minn., that left one person dead and four injured, ‘the first thing I assumed is that it was something to do with pain medication,said Hunt, who now works for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a Mayo Clinic Health System facility in Red Wing.  Doctors who treat pain say threats of violence escalated markedly in recent years as mounting legal and regulatory pressure stemming from the deadly opioid epidemic led many to prescribe alternatives and taper their patients off addictive painkillers.”

At BringMeTheNews, Joe Nelson reports, “A 29-year-old Minneapolis man survived after being ejected from the Honda Accord he was driving and ending up approximately 180 feet from the car the came to a rest on Interstate 94 in Brooklyn Center. The State Patrol crash report says the man was driving the Honda northbound on the I-94 ramp to westbound I-694 at a high rate of speed when he lost control, veered right, hit a guardrail and rolled. The 29-year-old suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to North Memorial Hospital for treatment.”

KARE 11’s Lou Raguse writes: “On Sunday afternoon, Jan. 31, word began to spread – Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis had extra COVID-19 vaccine doses, and they needed eligible people willing to take them before the doses spoiled. …  Children’s was hosting a vaccination clinic for health care professionals – home care nurses, dentists and blood bank workers – and turnout was lower than expected. … Children’s vaccinated 1,400 people that day without wasting a dose. Two of those people were Maura Caldwell’s parents. ‘I was so thankful to the friend who thought to tell me about this opportunity,’ Maura said. That inspired Maura to help other Minnesota seniors and teachers who’ve struggled to get an appointment. She started a Facebook group and became the Minneapolis Vaccine Hunter. ‘My page also has organically morphed from extra doses to just helping people navigate the system,’ Maura said.”

The AP Reports: “The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said it will propose a hunting season quota of 200 wolves when the group’s policy board meets Monday to discuss launching a wolf hunt immediately. The agency said the department staff arrived at the number after considering several factors, including the most recent population estimate, the public response to earlier harvests, the current management plan, scientific literature and population model projections, the Journal Sentinel reported.”

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