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Walz proposes $518 million for infrastructure projects

Plus: St. Paul City Council looks to prohibit certain items at protests; prosecutors say Otter Tail County sheriff’s deputy had fentanyl in system at time of fatal high-speed chase; Wisconsin opens wolf hunt early after hunting group sues; and more.

Gov. Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz
Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS

At MPR, Tim Pugmire reports, “Gov. Tim Walz says he wants the Legislature to pass a package of public construction projects again this year. Walz announced his latest bonding bill proposal Monday at the University of Minnesota. The DFL governor said his plan represents a $518 million investment in infrastructure projects across the state. Walz said nearly half of the plan will pay for repairs and improvements at state agencies and higher education institutions. … There is $150 million in Redevelopment Appropriation Bonds to help rebuild areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul that were damaged by rioting last year.”

In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes: “With an eye toward the upcoming Minneapolis trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, the St. Paul City Council is looking at beefing up its existing regulations around parades, races and public assemblies to expressly prohibit certain items — from shields to softball bats to glass bottles — at large gatherings. The council officially entered the proposal into the record last week for the first of four readings, but changes are likely.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson, “The Minnesota Department of Health on Monday reported social outbreak data showing 39 outbreaks among customers in bars and restaurants in 2021 along with 85 outbreaks involving sports and 23 in fitness clubs and gyms. … Bar outbreaks are reported if they involve at least five people from different households who only visited one establishment in the past month. None of these outbreaks so far in 2021 has involved more than 10 such cases. … The detection of outbreaks in eating establishments and indoor sports and entertainment facilities, following their reopenings last month, comes amid otherwise improving indicators of COVID-19 activity in Minnesota.”

KSTP-TV reports: “Monday, Gov. Tim Walz ordered flags at state and federal buildings in Minnesota be flown at half-staff to honor those who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The proclamation is effective immediately and will last through Friday. Walz issued the proclamation after it was announced the U.S. surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths Monday.”

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For the Forum News Service, Dave Olson writes: “Prosecutors allege that an Otter Tail County sheriff’s deputy had fentanyl in his system at the time of a high-speed chase and fatal crash in downtown Fergus Falls in October. Deputy Kelly Backman was charged in Otter Tail County District Court on Friday with one gross misdemeanor count of misconduct by a public officer/exceeding authority and one misdemeanor count of fourth-degree driving while intoxicated. The latter charge alleges Backman had fentanyl in his system at the time of the Oct. 2 crash, which killed a husband and wife.”

Says Aaron Blake at The Washington Post, “Dominion’s new lawsuit against [Mike] Lindell is not the first to be filed against those who promoted such baseless and debunked theories. But relative to those previously sued by Dominion and another company, Smartmatic, he seems to have waltzed into especially dicey legal territory. Legal experts clearly saw legal liability, but Lindell made a very different calculation, running headlong into the breach. … What’s particularly notable about Dominion’s lawsuit is that it doesn’t just allege defamation by Lindell; it also heavily suggests that he was repeatedly given such platforms because of business ties.

Also in the Star Tribune, Alex Chhith writes: “A judge on Monday allowed a lawsuit brought by a photojournalist who was blinded in one eye while covering the George Floyd protests to proceed. In his decision denying dismissal of the case, U.S. District Chief Judge John Tunheim called the experiences and injuries of journalist Linda Tirado ‘serious and troubling.’ …  In the suit, Tirado said Minneapolis police officers targeted her and fired a foam bullet at her face even though she said and had documentation that she was a member of the news media.”

For KSTP-TV Josh Skluzacek writes, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Minneapolis recently seized more than 9,000 medications. CBP said the shipment arrived from Thailand and was worth more than $6,000. The parcel was addressed to a St. Paul residence and was manifested as Herbal Candy. Officers found 1,000 nitaquin-chloroquine phosphate tablets, 1,200 Vistra B Complex pills, 24 Tiffy Dey Syrup bottles, 12 benda mebendazole capsules, 200 Noxa 20mg piroxicam pills, 200 Tiffy Dey paracetamol tablets, 200 penicillin v500,000 units, 120 amoxy-P amoxicillin capsules, 1,000 folic acid tablets, 200 decolgen prin paracetamol tablets, 4,000 cemol capsules, and 1,000 biovit B6 pyridoxine hydrochloride pills.”

The Associated Press reports: “Wisconsin wildlife officials opened a wolf season Monday after hunting advocates sued to move the start date up from November amid fears that the Biden administration might restore protections for the animals. The hunt will run through Sunday across six management zones. The DNR set the kill limit at 200 animals, with 119 allocated to the state and the other 81 allocated to Wisconsin’s Chippewa tribes as per treaty agreements. However, the Chippewa regard the wolf as sacred and will not hunt it, leaving the working kill limit at 119. … Department officials said Monday that they received 27,151 applications.”

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