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70% of Minnesotans age 16 and older have at least first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Plus: St. Paul mayor unveils budget proposal; drought deepens; Minneapolis’ Bryant Ave. re-do plan advances; Minnesota’s teacher of the year; and more.

Teenagers receiving the coronavirus disease vaccine at a high school gym in Philadelphia.
Teenagers receiving the coronavirus disease vaccine at a high school gym in Philadelphia.
REUTERS/Hannah Beier

Better late than never? The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson reports: “Roughly 70% of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, more than a month after Gov. Tim Walz’s initial July 1 goal but still before the peak of a fourth pandemic wave in the state. … Walz thanked Minnesotans for getting shots and reducing the threat of viral spread in the state and urged others to get vaccinated as soon as possible. A fast-spreading delta coronavirus variant has caused an uptick in COVID-19 levels in Minnesota, where the positivity rate of diagnostic testing has risen from 1.1% to 5.1% over the past month and the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has increased from 90 to 377.”

St. Paul budget proposal. The Pioneer Press’ Frederick Melo reports: “Faced with both a heavy infusion of federal relief dollars and a city budget still buffeted by the fiscal impact of the pandemic, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter on Thursday unveiled a budget proposal that promotes new housing and career-readiness programs while also creating a new city office to better coordinate the city’s alternative public safety strategies. … The budget plan calls for a 6.9 percent increase to the city’s property tax levy, equivalent to a $127 increase to a median-value St. Paul home.

Not the good kind of exceptional. KARE’s Dana Thiede reports: “While parts of the state received some desperately needed rain in recent days, other parts have not, pushing some Minnesota counties into an exceptional drought situation. … The numbers released by the U.S. Drought Monitor Thursday show that 7.37% of the state is now experiencing ‘exceptional’ drought conditions, while last week that number was zero. Among the counties in the exceptional drought category are Beltrami, Clearwater, Koochaching, Lake of the Woods, Norman, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake, all in far northwest Minnesota.”

Just putting this here:Climate change likely to boost North Dakota, Minnesota average temperature by 3.6 degrees, report predicts” [Fargo Forum]

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Big changes coming for Bryant. The Star Tribune’s Susan Du reports: “A $20 million proposal to reconstruct dilapidated Bryant Avenue in south Minneapolis passed the city’s transportation committee unanimously Wednesday despite vocal opposition from some residents and small businesses. … The plan spans 2.5 miles of Bryant between Lake and 50th streets. It would reconfigure Bryant into a one-way thoroughfare for vehicular traffic, transplant its bus routes onto Lyndale Avenue, cut on-street parking by 48%, add 3.3 acres of green space and construct a two-way bike trail.

Congratulations to Minnesota’s new teacher of the year! At Sahan Journal, Becky Z. Dernbach writes:Natalia Benjamin’s love of learning languages started early. Growing up in Guatemala City, the native Spanish speaker attended a French school. English became her third language when she started learning it in middle school. … Now, Benjamin teaches English language learners and ethnic studies at Rochester’s Century High School. And on Wednesday night, in a ceremony under a white canopy on the lawn of the State Capitol, she was named Minnesota’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. She is the first teacher of Latin American heritage to win the prestigious honor.”

In other news…

Oh, you want proof?Mike Lindell’s Own Cybersecurity Expert Admits There’s No Proof of Election Fraud” [The Wrap]

Polarizing topic:KARE 11 Investigates: Once-banned magnets sending kids to ER” [KARE]

No fair:State Fair food prices rise due to supply cost spike” [KSTP]

Sad news:Minneapolis’ MayDay Parade puppets lose their home, warehouse to downsizing” [Star Tribune]

Minnesota runner with a thoughtful video essay:I’m a Trans Athlete. I Only Want to Win If It’s Fair.” [New York Times]