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Hundreds gather to march on eve of Chauvin trial

Plus: freight train cars derail along Plymouth rail line; Mankato could be downgraded from ‘metropolitan’ status; M Health Fairview looking to fill open COVID-19 vaccine appointments; and more.

Fences shown in front of the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis.
Fences shown in front of the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis.
MinnPost photo by Lorie Shaull

The Star Tribune’s Kim Hyatt, Mara Klecker, Kim Hyatt and Mara Klecker report, “Carrying bouquets of flowers and Black Lives Matter signs, hundreds of demonstrators marched through downtown Minneapolis on Sunday, demanding justice for George Floyd and other victims of police violence. The crowd gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center, fortified with fencing and concrete barricades….The march came one day before jury selection is set to begin in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing Floyd in south Minneapolis on May 25.”

An MPR story says, “More than 20 cars of a freight train derailed Sunday along a rail line in Plymouth. There were no reports of injuries. The city of Plymouth Public Safety Department reported that the derailment happened at about 1 p.m. along tracks at Northwest Boulevard, north of Schmidt Lake Road and just east of Interstate 494. ‘A total of 22 train cars derailed, which contained molten sulfur, asphalt and lumber’, the department reported in a news release.”

Mike Schneider writes for the AP: “Bye-bye, Bismarck. Move over, Mankato. Those cities in North Dakota and Minnesota are two of 144 that the federal government is proposing to downgrade from the metropolitan statistical area designation, and it could be more than just a matter of semantics. …  Under the new proposal, a metro area would have to have at least 100,000 people in its core city to count as an MSA, double the 50,000-person threshold that has been in place for the past 70 years. Cities formerly designated as metros with core populations between 50,000 and 100,000 people, like Bismarck and Mankato, would be changed to ‘micropolitan’ statistical areas instead.”

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Also at MPR, this from Matt Mikus,As the cross-country ski season winds down, the DNR is reporting that sales of the Great Minnesota Ski Pass are the strongest they’ve been since 2014. Skiers bought more than 17,600 passes this winter, resulting in the DNR collecting more than $510,000. The passes are required to use many trails in the state, and they generate money for cross-country ski clubs to maintain those trails.”

In the Duluth News Tribune, we learn, “Northeastern Minnesota recorded its largest single-day vaccination growth Saturday. Another 8,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to residents in the seven-county region. Prior to Saturday, the single-day record was 4,350 on Feb. 27. The vaccination growth is due to an increase in vaccine supply from the federal government to Minnesota, according to a news release from the governor’s office. More than 81,000 people in the seven-county region have received at least one dose of a vaccine. That’s a quarter of the region’s population.”

WCCO-TV reports: “A Minnesota health care provider is trying to fill a lot of open COVID-19 vaccine appointments. M Health Fairview says they have thousands of vaccines to give to Minnesota seniors. They say they have open appointments for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for people 65 years old and older.”

Tim Harlow in the Star Tribune says, “…the speed limit on the Crosstown Hwy. 62 will rise from 55 mph to 60 mph this summer, said MnDOT spokesman David Aeikens. So will the speed limit on I-394 from Minneapolis through the western suburbs. The speed limit on Hwy. 3 in the east and south metro may be going up, too.”

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