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Downtown Minneapolis businesses weigh preparations for Chauvin trial

Plus: Stauber’s vote against pandemic relief bill gets a reaction; learning in nature; and more.

Downtown Minneapolis
Downtown Minneapolis
MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

How downtown Minneapolis is preparing for the Chauvin trial. The Star Tribune’s Susan Du and Nicole Norfleet report: “There are no boards covering the windows of Kevin Ni’s sushi restaurant on Nicollet Mall. Not for now, at least. … While some of his downtown Minneapolis business neighbors are considering tacking protective plywood to their storefronts and sending staff home in anticipation of protests when former police officer Derek Chauvin stands trial for murder and manslaughter, Ni is planning to stay open as long as he safely can: ‘Hopefully there won’t be riots again. I’m hoping people will calm down and do what they’ve got to do without damaging others. … To board up a business is actually making downtown like a ghost town. We don’t want to paint that picture.’ … As one of the most significant police brutality trials in American history is scheduled to start soon, months after George Floyd’s death, pandemic-squeezed business owners and building managers are torn between putting on a show of confidence by staying open or boarding up in case riots erupt. … Amid conflicting advice from city and neighborhood leaders, many are wondering whether authorities will make good on their promise to quell violence quickly, unlike last summer.”

On Stauber’s vote against pandemic relief. The Duluth News Tribune reports: “U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber and the Minnesota DFL had it out over the weekend over the congressman’s rejection of the latest federal COVID-19 relief effort. … Stauber, R-Hermantown, voted no early Saturday on the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act, calling it bloated and unnecessarily partisan when previous coronavirus relief packages were not. No Republicans supported the bill. … ‘I am hearing from my constituents daily who are fed up with reckless spending that we cannot afford,’ Stauber said in a news release, explaining his vote. ‘Instead, they want Congress to deliver targeted solutions that don’t saddle our children with even more debt.’ … The bill passed the House of Representatives, 219-212, and will next be debated in the Senate. The bill would send $1,400 checks to Americans making under $75,000, and also send hundreds of millions of dollars for vaccination programs, expanded unemployment insurance, and aid to state and local governments.”

Natural learners. At Sahan Journal, Becky Z. Dernbach reports: “A line of first graders in pastel puffy coats, black snow pants, Spiderman hats, and brightly colored face masks emerges from the back door of Eden Lake Elementary School in Eden Prairie. It’s a little before ten o’clock on a Wednesday morning in February. A light snow is falling. Temperatures have just risen above zero for the first time in days. And Maria Villavicencio’s class is bursting with excitement to build snow volcanoes. … Nearly twenty children spread out in the snowy grounds behind the school. Two first graders unfurl a laminated pledge, and Villavicencio, her voice amplified through a microphone, guides the group in reciting it. … ‘We are explorers who learn from the wild,’ they chant. ‘With an open mind and an open heart. We pledge to respect, protect, and learn from our Earth!’ … By now, the children know the words by heart: They come outside every week for Wilderness Wednesdays to explore the wilds around their school grounds: Beyond the playground, a forest on city land descends to a lake—and all of it is theirs to discover. They observe woodpeckers and chickadees in the school’s bird sanctuary, a series of feeders outside the library. In the fall, they watch as the trees change color and shed their leaves; in the spring, they see the bare branches bud and burst with green.”

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In other news…

Could be a real roller coaster year:Valleyfair to hire 1,000 workers for 2021 season, host virtual hiring event March 13” [KSTP]

Next time hold the listeria:Minnesota Distribution Company Issues Nationwide Recall On Taco Products Over Bacteria Concerns” [WCCO]

Following current trends:Polaris’ first full-size electric ATV should be available by early 2022” [Star Tribune]

RIP:Twin Cities radio personality Dan Culhane has died” [BringMeTheNews]

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