More than a dozen commercial turkey facilities in Minnesota reported cases of high-path avian flu during September. Minnesota Turkey Growers Association executive director Ashley Kohls says this year’s outbreak is somewhat similar to 2015: "But what’s changed from 2015 is the understanding of how to respond to high-path AI." Kohls says state and federal partners continue to pool and refine resources: "If they have the unfortunate situation of finding high-path AI in their flocks, they’re able to respond in a timely manner so they are able to get back on track with turkey production for their specific farm." Since August 30th, [...]
School board members and educators from what organizers say are "multiple different school districts" this morning (1130am) call on Republican candidate for governor Scott Jensen to apologize for spreading a false rumor about litter boxes in schools. Meanwhile, Education Minnesota teachers union President Denise Specht is hammering Jensen not only for that, but also what he said about gender choice at a recent rally in Hutchinson: "The purpose of his comment suggests to me that he is not at all interested in protecting and helping... all our students." Gender Justice Action's Megan Peterson says it's "shocking and... appalling to see someone [...]
COVID "hero pay" bonuses of just under 500 dollars ($487.45) begin going out today (Wed) to just over one million Minnesota front-line workers. Officials say those choosing direct deposit should receive payment within seven to 10 business days; those who chose payment via debit card will be mailed their bonus within three to four weeks. Department of Labor and Industry's Nicole Blissenbach says: "Final payments (are) not taxable at the state level, however the payments are taxable at the federal level. We couldn't change that through this legislation." Blissenbach says everyone who applied for a hero bonus should receive an e-mail [...]
October 5th is national Energy Efficiency Day and CenterPoint Energy is promoting today's (Wednesday) event. Minnesota spokesman Ross Corson: "It's kind of the start of the winter heating season and the key message is that energy efficiency is one of the easiest, quickest and most cost-effective ways for people and homeowners to reduce their energy use, lower their utility bills and limit their carbon footprint from their energy usage." Corson recommends getting an annual tune-up of your furnace, checking or changing the air filter monthly, and using a programmable thermostat. CenterPoint Energy is Minnesota's largest natural gas provider, serving more than [...]
Investigators in northeastern Minnesota are identifying the three people killed in a plane crash late Saturday night in Hermantown. The Hermantown Police Department says the Cessna 172 crashed into the second floor of a home and came to rest in the backyard. Officers say 32-year-old pilot Tyler Fretland of Burnsville, 32-year-old Alyssa Schmidt of St. Paul and her 31-year-old brother, Matthew Schmidt, all died at the scene. Two people sleeping inside the home were not injured. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to determine what caused the small plane to go down a few miles south of Duluth International Airport.
The state Fire Marshall's Office is investigating after a blaze destroyed three structures and damaged two others Sunday morning in downtown Fairfax in south-central Minnesota. City Councilmember Brad Bastian says nine departments battled the fire and he appreciates all the help to contain the blaze: "These fire crews, they put in a lot of time and effort, training and all that. So it's really good seeing 'em all come together and do these things when it's needed. I mean, anytime you have a fire like that it could spread... really bad." Bastian says he's been told there were apartments on the [...]
State officials have made their final determinations and say roughly one-million-25-thousand Minnesota workers will each receive COVID "hero pay" checks for $487.45. Lunds and Byerly's meatcutter Keith Farr says: "It's better than nothing... I would have liked it to be a little more but, it is what it is. Everyone deserved it, that worked at the time." Some Democratic lawmakers say the hero bonuses *should* be larger. Representative Rob Ecklund from International Falls: "I don't think it's enough.... I think if you look at that, our initial 'ask' of a billion (dollars), we were pretty close to what the needs were." [...]
The Minnesota State Patrol is committed to increasing the number of female state troopers to 30 percent by the year 2030. Lieutenant Colonel Rochelle Schrofer says the pledge is part of the 30-by-30 initiative: "We've expanded this 30-by-30 pledge a bit to ensure that we're not just looking at our female law enforcement (officers) but also to ensure that in all aspects of our agency we have women represented as they should be." About ten percent of the Minnesota State Patrol's troopers and support staff are currently women. Schrofer says they want their workforce to reflect the communities they serve.
Republican challenger Ryan Wilson continues hammering Democratic State Auditor Julie Blaha, for he says not doing enough to halt fraud in the "Feeding our Future" program. Blaha responds federal funding issues are outside the jurisdiction of her office -- but Wilson says... "If the elected state auditor in Minnesota had made an issue of this in a report that she signed-off on to the federal government, it would have gotten attention." Blaha responds the report's purpose is to alert other agencies to possible problems with federally-funded programs so *they* can investigate: "If you try to do somebody else's investigation just to [...]
Chairman Ken Martin says the Minnesota Democratic Party will not retract or apologize for a tweet that Republican Attorney General candidate Jim Schultz supports banning abortion after six weeks. That information allegedly came from a candidate questionnaire, but Schultz's attorney says the Minnesota Family Council acknowledges a mistake and Schultz never even responded to their questionnaire. But D-F-L Chairman Martin says: "Someone's lying here. Either the Minnesota Family Council is lying here, Jim Schultz is lying here, both of them are lying. We know the Minnesota Republican Party has asked their candidates to try to scrub their record of their extreme [...]