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Walz calls for more schools to take advantage of state’s free rapid COVID test program

Plus: PTSD cases driving Minneapolis workers’ comp claims; St. Paul looks to pass tough new tobacco restrictions; breaking down all the Minnesotans who have stars on First Avenue’s wall; and more.

Gov. Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Dave Orrick writes for the Pioneer Press: “Minnesota schools that want free rapid coronavirus tests — results in as little as 15 minutes — need only to ask the state. But the vast majority of schools haven’t yet, and on Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz and other state leaders called for more schools to take advantage of the offer. …. The surge in cases, especially in unvaccinated students, from the delta variant has led to a spike in demand for rapid tests, which are sold without a prescription in stores for as little as $10 — but often more — and have been near-impossible to find, as they’ve all been snatched up. However, the state, with the aid of federal funds, has free tests available for schools — and has for some time.”

Jon Collins writes for MPR: “Post-traumatic stress disorder claims by Minneapolis police are putting pressure on the city’s self-insurance fund and driving workers’ compensation claims to the highest number in at least a decade. Workers’ compensation spending in the city jumped to over $14 million in 2020, with a sharp increase after George Floyd’s killing. That number was about twice as large as previous years. Minneapolis police officers accounted for most workers’ compensation claims, according to a staff presentation to a Minneapolis City Council committee on Wednesday.

Liz Navratil writes in the Star Tribune: “Minneapolis is moving forward with a system to identify police officers with the potential for misconduct and head off problems with early intervention. To pay for the effort, Mayor Jacob Frey wants to tap a $700,000 grant from the Pohlad Family Foundations, which would also help cover the costs of getting new mental health response teams up and running. During a committee meeting Wednesday, City Council members raised concerns about the grant, saying it had bypassed normal city procedures and that they had rejected a similar proposal in the past.”

WCCO-TV reports: “A trial date has been set for Nicholas Kraus, the man charged with murder for allegedly plowing his SUV into a group of protesters in Minneapolis earlier this year, killing one woman and injuring three others. According to Hennepin County court documents, Kraus, 35, will stand trial for the killing of Deona Knajdek beginning on March 21. He is facing one count of second-degree intentional murder in the June 13 death of the 31-year-old activist and mother of two. He also faces two charges of second-degree assault stemming from other injuries in the crash.”

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Tim Nelson at MPR reports: “St. Paul is poised to enact some of the toughest tobacco restrictions in the nation. The City Council on Wednesday will introduce a new ordinance that would set a $10 minimum price on a pack of cigarettes and ban coupons and other discounts at retail outlets, among other things.”

For MarketWatch Tonya Garcia says, “With supply chain channels snarled by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, major retailers like Target Corp. and Home Depot Inc. are taking matters into their own hands, chartering ships to deliver goods in time for the important holiday season.  … Major retailers with deep pockets are putting their sizeable financial resources to use to avoid a holiday season supply chain disaster — but it comes at a cost. ‘This is a very expensive thing,’ said Michael Zimmerman, partner at global consulting firm Kearney, who says leasing ships is a solution for now. ‘If you’re a mid-size retailer or emerging fashion brand, you can’t rent your own ship.’”

Mara H. Gottfried writes for the Pioneer Press: “A 31-year-old woman told police she drove after a man and struck him with her vehicle after he stole from her and her boyfriend in St. Paul, according to a murder charge filed Wednesday. Al Rakip J. Zaidi, 21, of St. Paul, was found early Tuesday at 10th and Broadway streets, which is near Interstate 35E, St. Paul police headquarters and Regions Hospital. Zaidi sustained severe head trauma and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Police arrested Landis Rachel Hill and Christopher Dwayne Grayson, 31, on Tuesday evening on suspicion of murder. The Ramsey County attorney’s office charged Hill on Wednesday with unintentional second-degree murder and criminal vehicular homicide.”

For The Current, Caleb Brennan writes, “In honor of Minnesota’s 162nd birthday, we’re breaking down the 77 Minnesotans that have stars on First Avenue’s wall. Much like the music scene they all came from, these artists represent a variety of genres and subcultures. Some have international fame, others are local gems. In total, 18% of the stars are Minnesota locals. “

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