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Racer who once retired wins Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in just under 15 hours

Plus: Minneapolis starts towing cars violating winter parking rules; state lawmakers consider further regulating forever chemicals; effort to replace Minnesota’s flag are under way; and more.

An image of a sled dog team from a previous John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.
An image of a sled dog team from a previous John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

For the Star Tribune, Christa Lawler reports, “After nearly three days and 300 miles spent cruising near the North Shore, Keith Aili’s team of Alaskan huskies stopped Tuesday just shy of the finish line — a swatch of orange paint sprayed into packed snow between the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino and Lake Superior. Ultimately, it was Rudolph, the dog behind Aili’s lead dogs, who coaxed the team through to make it official — 14 hours, 59 minutes, 20 seconds and the veteran musher’s second Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon title.”

At KSTP-TV Krystal Frasier says, “Minneapolis residents will now need to adhere to new parking restrictions or risk having their vehicle be ticketed or towed. Monday, tow truck drivers were seen hauling vehicles that were parked illegally. City leaders told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Tuesday that 153 vehicles had been towed so far, and 934 tickets issued. The ticketing and towing began after an adjustment period. Over the weekend, warnings were issued instead of tickets after the restrictions started last Thursday.”

For MPR News, Nicole Ki reports, “[Shawn White] was there on Saturday getting her hair braided just a few days after the state Senate passed the CROWN Act, also known as Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair. Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign the bill, which bans discrimination against people based on their natural hair texture and style.”

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Also at MPR News, Michelle Wiley says, “The Minnesota Department of Health has closed COVID testing sites that people once visited in droves. But the agency said use of the sites at places like St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport had dropped. But that’s left some Minnesotans wondering where they’ll get a COVID test now. ‘It’s just a natural transition away from our emergency response work to the regular operations of health care and public health,’ said Chris Elvrum, the state health department’s COVID operations manager. ‘People can still find tests, it just won’t be at our state sites.’”

The Minnesota Reformer’s Deena Winter says, “A House panel took up three bills Tuesday that would more strictly regulate a group of chemicals that have been made by Maplewood-based 3M since the 1950s. … Studies have shown the chemicals accumulate in the environment and the human body and are toxic. One bill would ban the chemicals in firefighting foam. Another would require manufacturers that sell products with PFAS in Minnesota to disclose that to the state. A third would ban all non-essential use of the chemicals in products.”

A KSTP-TV story says, “A proposal to require paid sick time is now able to be heard on the floor of the Minnesota House after it passed the Ways and Means Committee on Monday. The bill, House File 19, is not listed on the calendar to be taken up on the house floor yet. The legislation has a companion bill in the Minnesota Senate that is due to be taken up by the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Wednesday. The plan would require employers to offer at least 48 hours of paid sick leave per year equaling an hour of paid earned sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked.”

WCCO-TV’s Caroline Cummings says, “Minnesota lawmakers are considering a proposal that would create a 16-member commission to redesign the state flag. Supporters of the plan say the state flag right now doesn’t pass the good flag test for its design — simple designs with meaningful symbols, few colors and no words — described by the North American Vexillological Association, a group of flag enthusiasts who study flags. Some have also suggested that there are racist undertones to the current design.”

At the Pioneer Press Jared Kaufman reports, “The Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt clues may seem a little corny, sure — but this year’s medallion hunt took that literally. Ken Soles and his hunting partner, Tony Honkomp, uncovered the medallion frozen inside a crushed can of Asian-style baby corn on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Phalen Regional Park in St. Paul. And they presented a registered patch and all of this year’s clues, good for the full $10,000 prize.”

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Dave Kallman says, “Seth Larson was certain he kept the puck. It was Feb. 6, 1996. He was a sophomore in Red Wing, Minnesota, and he’d scored three consecutive goals in a high school game, his first natural hat trick. Long after his hockey days were done, two totes of mementos — from trophies from when he was a ‘Squirt’ to news clippings from his 1997 state champion team — had been moved numerous times and placed in storage. Still the question nagged at him: What happened to that puck? Meanwhile, Sarah Cook was growing up across the Mississippi River in Hager City, Wisconsin. She would wander through her grandfather’s woodworking shop, where her father also worked, and would sit on her grandmother’s lap as she engraved metal that would become part of the plaques produced there. … .”