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More than 1 million Minnesota kids to benefit from stimulus bill’s expanded child tax credit

Plus: two dead following what St. Paul police are calling a murder-suicide; marchers demand justice for the victims of Atlanta shootings; Minnesota church leaders wrestle with racial justice issues; and more.

Jessie Van Berkel writes in the Star Tribune: “Brianna Roan has clipped coupons and relied on free meals from her three sons’ schools to feed them while distance learning at home. Then there are the constant expenses, like special $70 shoes for her 15-month-old daughter with spina bifida. Normally, it would take the Fridley mom up to a month to afford to fix the flat tire she got the other week. But her stimulus payment arrived just in time. And as soon as July, Roan could start getting monthly checks for her four children. They’re among an estimated 1.126 million Minnesota kids to benefit from an expanded child tax credit in the recent $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package. The benefit marks a monumental policy shift, inching the country closer to a guaranteed universal income — at least temporarily.

In the Pioneer Press Deanna Weniger writes: “A man and woman are dead following what St. Paul police believe was a murder/suicide Saturday morning on St. Paul’s Greater East Side. Police were called to 1920 E. Montana Ave. about 8:30 a.m. on a report of a shooting and found the two outside the house suffering from gunshot wounds.… Officers secured the scene and began to render aid. St. Paul Fire Department medics arrived shortly after and pronounced the man dead at the scene. The woman was transported to Regions Hospital, where she died.”

In the Star Tribune, Mara Klecker writes: “Minnesota students will once again be taking standardized tests this spring after a one-year hiatus. But the logistics of administering the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, or MCAs, during the pandemic have raised new questions about the results and how they might be used. … Still, advocates of the tests say they offer a chance to identify the learning loss that students experienced over the last year, even without the direct comparison from 2020.”

The Associated Press reports: “A diverse crowd gathered Saturday in a park across from the Georgia Capitol to demand justice for the victims of shootings at massage businesses days earlier and to denounce racism, xenophobia and misogyny. The hundreds of people of all ages and varied racial and ethnic backgrounds who gathered in Liberty Plaza in Atlanta waved signs and cheered for speakers.”

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MPR’s Elizabeth Shockman reports: “A group of Asian American children and their families were targeted with racist threats in St. Paul on Friday. Tsong Vang, 66, said he was standing at a bus stop in the vicinity of Lake Phalen, helping his 5-year-old grandson get on the bus to preschool, when a young woman driving past in an SUV pointed at him and began yelling racist threats at him. He saw her yell similar racist threats to other families waiting farther along the bus route. … Vang said he was especially worried after a gunman killed eight people, many of them Asian women, earlier this week in Atlanta.”

Jean Hopfensperger writes in the Star Tribune: “Colonial Church of Edina, whose name and architecture reflect its roots in 17th-century New England, has long celebrated its religious ties to the early Pilgrim settlers. Church founders never imagined that the term ‘Colonial’ might one day be associated with white oppression, or that some members might want to throw out the church’s name for that reason. But that’s just what has happened. … The controversy at Colonial reflects the broader challenges facing religious congregations across Minnesota as they strive to deal with racial justice issues following the death of George Floyd. Faith leaders are grappling with how far to go, how fast to move and what steps to take as they try to balance tradition and change without alienating members.”