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Walz says major expansion of vaccine eligibility expected by April 1

Plus: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspends PolyMet wetlands permit; first Minnesota charged in connection to U.S. Capitol assault; tanker truck spills animal blood on I-494 in Bloomington; and more.

KSTP-TV’s Tom Hauser reports: “Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says a major expansion of vaccine eligibility is expected in the state no later than April 1 and possibly sooner because the federal government will soon increase the current weekly doses of vaccine to about 145,000. ‘And in a very short time that number is going to dramatically increase, and by the end of the month we’ll maybe triple what the state is getting,’ the governor said during an interview recorded for ‘At Issue’ that will air in its entirety at 10 a.m. Sunday.”

Jimmy Lovrien of the Forum News Service reports: “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended a wetlands permit for PolyMet, the company trying to open Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine, as the Environmental Protection Agency reviews whether the proposed project ‘may affect’ the downstream Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. … A suspension was in the public interest, Col. Karl D. Jansen, district engineer for the Army Corps, wrote in the letter.  Groups opposed to PolyMet welcomed news of the permit suspension.

The Star Tribune’s Briana Bierschbach writes: “Federal authorities charged a 31-year-old Minnesota man Friday with breaking into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, one of the latest arrests in a major federal investigation into those responsible for the violent insurrection in Washington. Jordan K. Stotts, of Moorhead, is the first Minnesotan to face charges following the riots, which left five dead, including a Capitol police officer. Stotts was arrested on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, both federal mis­demeanors, by agents from the FBI’s Minneapolis field office.”

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Also in the Star Tribune, Rochelle Olson and Chiao Xiong write: “Two weeks of jury selection wrapped up Friday needing two more insurance jurors for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd last May. Jury selection will resume Monday morning with Judge Peter Cahill saying he wants to have at least 15 jurors ready to go for the start of the trial March 29. Fourteen jurors, including two alternates, will hear the case. Cahill wants the 15th in case a juror drops out before the start. … Thirteen jurors had been chosen by the end of the day Friday.”

KSTP-TV reports: “The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning Saturday in portions of east-central and northeast Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Carlton, Pine and St. Louis county all have been issued a Red Flag Warning due to the extreme fire risk weather conditions. A Red Flag Warning means the area is experiencing critical weather conditions that are ideal for wildfire, including strong winds and low humidity.”

FOX 9 reports: “Blood leaking from a tanker truck shut down a 494 ramp in Bloomington, Minnesota Friday afternoon as firefighters worked to clean up the mess, according to the Bloomington Fire Department. Fire officials, however, were quick to confirm the blood was not human, but rather from animals. The tanker was carrying blood from an animal rendering company, which processes waste animal tissue.”