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Delta imposes monthly insurance fee on unvaccinated workers

Plus: Brooklyn Park and Woodbury monitoring citizens’ social media posts and comments; local Catholic leaders denying vaccination exemptions for parishioners; the Greenwood Fire continues to grow; and more.

A Delta Air Line passenger plane shown taking off from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Getting stuck … with the bill. The Star Tribune’s Kristen Leigh Painter reports:Delta Air Lines said Wednesday it will impose a $200 monthly surcharge in its health plan to employees who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this week, the Atlanta-based airline is now taking a more hard-line approach to vaccinations among its employees. It’s the latest corporation to impose stricter COVID-19 personnel policies given the legal protections offered by the FDA’s full approval of a vaccine.”

Your tax dollars at work. WCCO’s David Schuman reports: “Nearly 200 cities across the country, including six in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, are using a tech tool to keep an eye on what you say online. Brooklyn Park and Woodbury have contracts with the company Zencity, which, according to its website, uses artificial intelligence to aggregate social media posts and comments about things happening in the community. … The company says everything it gathers is public. It then produces reports for its clients that analyze the discourse on a given topic. No one is individually identified in the reports.”

God helps those who help themselves. KSTP’s Joe Mazan reports: “As the list of companies mandating employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine grows, so does the number of people claiming religious exemptions. Over the last few weeks, several churches in the Twin Cities have received requests from people asking for a religious exemption to not get the COVID-19 vaccine. Parishes we spoke with tell us they are not granting the request.”

More closures up North. KARE’s Dana Thiede reports:The U.S. Forest Service announced that the Superior National Forest is closing National Forest lands and roads along the upper section of the Gunflint trail. The closure includes all forest lands and roads along Cook County 12/Gunflint Trail beginning at the Cook County 92 intersection to the end of the Gunflint Trail. Impacted recreational facilities include the Trails End and Iron Lake campgrounds, and all lands, waters, trails, portages, campsite, canoe routes, and Wilderness entry points in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.”

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In other news…

Godspeed: “1,100 Minnesotans deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Allies Refuge” [Pioneer Press]

PSA:How you can help Afghan refugees in Minnesota, right now” [Sahan Journal]

40th anniversary: “Jim Walsh: The Replacements’ debut album is ‘the best American punk rock record of all time’” [Current]

Great Minnesota Get-ups: “Family launches company selling apparel featuring popular State Fair food vendors” [Bring Me the News]

Well?: “Why Can’t Minneapolis Have a Public Sex Forest?” [Racket]