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Sections of seven Twin Cities highways to be closed over the weekend

Plus: Minnesota Senate passes bill to distribute $300 million in opioid settlement money; high in the 90s possible next week; Twins’ Rocco Baldelli, Luis Arraez and Dylan Bundy all test positive for COVID; and more.

Road construction
Minnesota Department of Transportation

Tim Harlow writes in the Star Tribune: “If you are planning on driving around the north, south or east metro this weekend be prepared to take a detour or rely on a favorite back route. The Minnesota Department of Transportation doesn’t normally close portions of seven major highways on the same weekend. But projects delayed two weeks by April’s cold and soggy weather stacked on top of construction already underway are combining to create the motoring misery.…  Closures in effect from Friday night to Monday morning will affect drivers on Hwy. 10 in Anoka and Elk River, Hwy. 36 in Lake Elmo, Interstate 494 and Hwy. 55 in Inver Grove Heights and Mendota Heights, and I-35W in south Minneapolis.”

An AP story says, “The Minnesota Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to create a framework for distributing about $300 million that the state is receiving as part of a settlement with opioid distributors and manufacturers. Counties and cities across Minnesota will be receiving a portion of the settlement, including more than $42 million to Hennepin County, $10 million to the city of Minneapolis and $8 million to St. Paul. About a quarter will go to the state’s Opioid Response Advisory Council while the rest of the funds — about $222 million — are meant to flow to cities and counties for treatment and prevention against the addictive painkillers, which have claimed the lives of more than 5,400 Minnesotans since 2000.”

Says Peter Cox for MPR, “Around 40 workers for subcontractors who did work at the Viking Lakes development, owned by the family that owns the Minnesota Vikings, say they were the victims of wage theft. The workers claim they weren’t paid at rates that the subcontractors said they would pay or weren’t paid for all hours they worked. Workers came forward from Absolute Drywall and Property Maintenance and Construction, or PMC. MV Ventures, which is owned by the Wilf family who also own the Vikings, hired the two companies to help with construction of the 200-acre Viking Lakes residential project. Construction began in 2020 and has since been completed. Organizers estimate the wage theft at more than $100,000.”

Says Paul Walsh for the Star Tribune, “An Orono man was sentenced Thursday to a 7 1⁄2-year term for killing his two passengers in a crash last summer when he drove nearly 100 miles an hour while drunk on a winding Lake Minnetonka road. The sentencing in Hennepin County District Court of James D. Blue, 52, abided by the specifics of an agreement between the defense and prosecution reached in August, when he pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the deaths of Mack Motzko, 20, and Sam Schuneman, 24, on July 24 after Blue crashed into woods along North Shore Drive near his home. Blue is expected to serve the first five years in prison and the balance on supervised release.”

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For KMSP-TV Karen Scullin says, “The 35W corridor project into downtown Minneapolis was completed just a few months ago but during construction, and even now, one unsightly problem still keeps popping up: Graffiti. The continued trouble is a costly problem for the Minnesota Department of Transportation and even more so for the City of Minneapolis. … The majority of it is in the metro with 800 to 1,000 areas to paint over every year. Paint alone costs taxpayers $33,000 a year and, although they try, it rarely seems to match the original.”

For Bring Me The News, Tommy Wiita says, “Marc Lore, the soon-to-be co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, has been selected to head up Minnesota’s latest bid for a World’s Fair. Lore was named on Thursday as the co-chair of the Minnesota USA Expo 2027 board. He will be joined by Robert Clark, who served as the U.S. Commissioner General of the USA Pavilion at the recently concluded Expo 2020 in Dubai. In 2018, Minnesota lost a bid to host the World’s Fair in 2023. … However, since that loss, momentum and effort has gained traction since then. The state is trying an aggressive campaign to host the first Specialized Expo in the United States since 1984, when it was hosted in New Orleans.”

Molly Guthrey writes for the Pioneer Press: “It’s been awhile since the word ‘humid’ was used in a weather forecast for the Twin Cities, but it’s a possibility next week. ‘There continue to be strong indications next week will be very warm and humid,’ the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service reported in a tweet on Thursday. ‘Temperatures will rise into the 70s and 80s, but even some 90s are possible if conditions are just right. Record highs next week are in the upper 80s to lower 90s and could be in jeopardy.’”

Betsy Helfand writes for the Pioneer Press: “COVID-19 has made its way within the walls of the Twins’ clubhouse. Again. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, infielder Luis Arraez and starting pitcher Dylan Bundy have all tested positive for the virus, which also infiltrated the clubhouse multiple times last season, including on a road trip to California during which the Twins were forced to postpone games. … All three are said to be exhibiting minor symptoms and are vaccinated. They will remain in Baltimore when the rest of the team heads back to Minnesota on Thursday night.”

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