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Many large school districts moving to distance learning on Election Day

Plus: The role of Indian tribes in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District; Mimi Parker of Low has died; Stillwater’s Zephyr Theatre faces financial trouble; and more.

Students doing schoolwork from home during the global coronavirus outbreak.
Students doing schoolwork from home during the global coronavirus outbreak.
REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

At the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Josh Verges says, “Nearly half of Minnesota’s largest school districts are keeping students home on Tuesday in order to stay out of the way of voters. Students in St. Paul and South Washington County are expected to interact with their teachers from home, and Election Day will be counted toward the districts’ legally required minimum days and hours of instruction. In seven other big districts – Anoka-Hennepin, Osseo, Rochester, Lakeville, Robbinsdale, St. Cloud and North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale – students have the day off but teachers will be working. Of the state’s 20 largest districts, the remaining 11 are holding classes as normal.”

For MPR News, Mathew Holding Eagle III reports, “For the first time in history the new 8th Congressional District includes all seven of Minnesota’s Anishinaabe reservations. White Earth Tribal Chairman Michael Fairbanks says the redistricting is a good thing. ‘It’s important not only to our little neck of the woods but it covers across the whole 1855, 1854 area where the bulk of the Ojibwe people, we were at. That’s kind of our ancestral grounds and I think it’s important that all of us Ojibwe nations are part of one district and I’m hoping that our voices come out and speak and we have a good election.’ Seeking a third term in the new 8th District is Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber running against Democrat nominee Jen Schultz. Both candidates say they have reached out to tribal nations seeking their support.”

At KARE-TV Diane Sandberg says, “Minnesota has finally received some much-needed rainfall over the past few days, but drought conditions persist, prompting the National Weather Service to issue both a Red Flag Warning and burning restrictions for a large portion of the state on Sunday.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is citing extreme fire conditions as a reason for the warning.”

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At KSTP-TV Richard Reeve says, “At North Community High School Saturday, the auditorium stage was transformed into a classroom of hope. ‘It’s a respite, an artistic respite for the community,’ declared Sean Garrison, a north Minneapolis artist. … Garrison organized the performance art event, called ‘Northside Love: A poetry, paint, and peace experience.’ … A week ago Friday — three people were gunned down at a Lake Street bus stop. The victims included a 65-year old woman, a 19-year old man, and a 15-year old boy. None of this was lost on members of the Brooklyn Park Lions Drum and Dance Team — playing at the Northside Love event.”

For The Current Reed Fischer writes, “Mimi Parker of Low has died, according to social media updates by the band. Parker, who co-founded the Duluth-based rock group with husband Alan Sparhawk, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two years ago. Since then, Low had cut back on live performances and Parker received treatment.”

Says Stribber Tim Harlow: “With opening day less than a month away, Metro Transit is in the final phase of testing on the D-Line, the agency’s newest bus rapid transit line. ‘We are working to make sure all systems work together,’ said Katie Roth, Metro Transit’s director of arterial bus rapid transit projects. … The D-Line largely will replace Route 5 and run between Brooklyn Center and the Mall of America starting Dec. 3. Testing also includes Transit Signal Priority (TSP) technology, which is designed to keep buses running on time and will be in place at more than 50 intersections on Chicago, Fremont and Emerson avenues.”

This also in the Strib. Matt McKinney and Rohan Preston write, “Tucked away on Stillwater’s Main Street, the Zephyr Theatre has been a welcome addition to the St. Croix Valley since it arrived in 2016, hosting live theater, music performances and one-of-a-kind events. … After COVID-19 hit, the little theater punched back, creating an Ice Palace Maze that drew 47,000 people and earned $745,000 this year in ticket sales. And then it derailed. The trouble spilled into public view in October, when the Zephyr abruptly laid off most of its staff, canceled productions and saw its executive director, Calyssa Hall, resign. Hall’s temporary replacement has since quit, as have the former board chair and treasurer. Adriane Lepage, a Stillwater consultant hired in August to write the theater’s strategic plan, cut her work short and urged the board to suspend Hall after discovering financial mismanagement, including a lapsed registration that made it illegal for the theater to solicit donations.”

An AP story says, “Iowa authorities say an 18-year-old sex trafficking victim who pleaded guilty to killing a man she said raped her escaped from a women’s center where she was serving her probation sentence. Pieper Lewis was seen walking out of the building at the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines shortly after 6:15 a.m. Friday, and at some point that day her GPS monitor was cut off, according to a probation violation report. A warrant was issued for Lewis’ arrest and the probation report asked for her deferred judgment to be revoked and have her original sentence imposed, KCCI reported. She could face up to 20 years in prison.

A Daily Beast story by John Fiallo says, “Mike Lindell’s request to retrieve his seized phone from the feds was shot down by a judge on Thursday, reported Politico. Lindell, a longtime ally of Donald Trump, had his phone seized by the FBI in September as part of their investigation into a breach of Colorado voting systems after the 2020 election. The My Pillow CEO had also requested to view the affidavit justifying his phone’s seizure, but that motion was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Eric Tostrud, a Trump appointee. Tostrud ruled that the feds’ seizure of the phone was justified, and that the affidavit was ‘extensive,’ legitimate, and contained confidential names among its 80 pages that didn’t belong in the hands of Lindell, or else the entire investigation would be kaput.”

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