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Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic resting after successful surgery

Plus: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey compares pothole repairs to bagels and cream cheese; Feds no longer pursuing death penalty for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.; Target discontinues Archer Farms; and more.

Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic
Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

For the Strib, Rochelle Olson says, “Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic said she had successful surgery at the University of Minnesota on Monday to remove a cancerous tumor and she plans to return to the Capitol soon. Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, issued a statement late Tuesday saying that she’d had an abnormal pap smear in December and that additional tests revealed she has cancer. On Friday, her doctors determined that she should have surgery on Monday, her statement said. The senator didn’t indicate where the tumor was or whether she will need additional treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. She was able to vote from home Tuesday.”

For NBC News Dareh Gregorian says, “A Republican state senator in Minnesota said Tuesday he was voting against a bill to provide free breakfast and lunch for school students in part because he’d never encountered anyone in the state who was hungry. ‘I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that is hungry,’ Sen. Steve Drazkowski said in remarks on the floor of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul before voting on the legislation. ‘I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that says they don’t have access to enough food to eat.’ ‘Now, I should say that hunger is a relative term,’ the 58-year-old legislator added. ‘I had a cereal bar for breakfast. I guess I’m hungry now.’”

An MPR News story says, “Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says city crews will be working additional overtime and weekend hours to address what’s been a terrible season for potholes in the region. … ‘To give you an idea of what it’s like — if you think of smearing cream cheese on a really hot bagel, some of it sticks. And some of it doesn’t. It’ll get us through these next several weeks here while we wait till the freeze-thaw cycle finishes,’ Frey said.”

For The Associated Press, Jim Salter and Michael Tarm report, “U.S. prosecutors said Tuesday that they will no longer seek the death penalty for a Minnesota man already on death row but awaiting resentencing for the kidnapping and killing of North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin in 2003 — a case that led to changes in sex offender registration laws. U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider in North Dakota filed a notice with the court withdrawing his effort to seek the death penalty for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. — a move he told the Associated Press he had to make after he was ‘straightforwardly directed by’ Attorney General Merrick Garland to do so.”

At The Minnesota Reformer Deena Winter reports, “Four months after Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck, suffocating him on the pavement outside Cup Foods, Jacqueline Bilek called the Minneapolis Police Department about a man who was putting fliers on windshields condemning Black Lives Matter. Bilek called the 5th precinct police station to see if the man was dangerous, because she’d heard he was having mental health problems. Officer Scot Kaiser answered the phone. After hearing her story, Kaiser launched into his own diatribe about the activist group, Bilek said, calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist group that ‘we will wipe off the face of the Earth.’”

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For The Street Sarah Jane Callahan says, “[Target] has worked to keep its inventory fresh and new throughout the years. It even developed its own in-store brands that became top sellers. Target launched its own grocery brand, Archer Farms, in 1995 according to the Target website and it included items like bread, milk, pasta and more. The store brand provided private label quality at store brand pricing. Archer Farms expanded to include more than its original food and beverage staples. The Target store brand went on to sell cereal, cookies, crackers, ice cream, yogurt, frozen pizza and much more. The Archer Farms store brand made quality products that consumers felt comfortable buying, and it became a top seller next to top label brands in each aisle. To much surprise, Archer Farms is being discontinued.”

For Northern News Now, Rob Coles and Ben Lewer say, “A growing deficit could force a northern Minnesota school to close for good this spring, possibly leading students to travel far distances just to get to class. The South Koochiching-Rainy River District, or ISD 363, is located near the Canadian border. It’s made up of two K-12 schools which are about 80 miles apart from each other. The first is Northome, just east of Red Lake. The other is Indus, between Baudette and International Falls. But in a recent school board meeting looking at ways to make up for big budget losses, members voted to explore closing the Indus school.”

And for Mary Morse Marti says, “Changes are coming to the 7.5-mile trench between the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis now occupied by Interstate 94. Supporters of a proposed multimodal transportation corridor conversion are hoping newly introduced legislation will help their vision become reality. … [A bill at the Legislature] would designate $600,000 to the Minnesota Department of Transportation to answer key questions about the boulevard idea that are not addressed in the project’s federally mandated Environmental Impact Statement, and to give affected communities and decision makers the information they need about the boulevard conversion in order to make informed decisions. The 55-year-old highway infrastructure in the I-94 trench is failing.”