It's the second weekend that bars and restaurants in Minnesota are shut down under Governor Tim Walz's COVID emergency order, as he continues pushing for state aid to those struggling businesses: "Along with cooperation with the legislature, I'm prepared to call them back into special session and pass this package immediately." The governor said he wants the special session this coming week. Any deal needs agreement by Senate Republicans. They have not unveiled their plan yet. The parties seem to be talking about a similar dollar amount for aid to restaurants and bars, but a sticking-point could be whether to also [...]
If you're sending out holiday packages to loved ones, Nicole Hill with the United States Postal Service in Minnesota has a few recommended deadlines: "So we're looking at December 18th, send your greeting cards, send your x-mas cards out to your loved ones, make sure they have the right postage, make sure that the addresses are legible." Hill says priority mail should go out by December 19th. For more information about packaging or postage, you can visit usps.com.
Minnesota hog farmers adversely impacted by COVID-19 have until Tuesday to apply for financial help. Minnesota Pork C-E-O David Preisler says the "Hog De-Population Cost-Share Program" can help specific farmers: "It is strictly for farms that had to put animals down because they either didn’t have a place for them to go packing plant-wise, or their barns were full and were not able to move small pigs into finishing barns.” Preisler says eligibility hinges on de-population occurring between March 2nd and September 30th of this year. Farmers can apply for assistance on the Minnesota Ag Department webpage.
An officer who was shot multiple times was treated at the hospital and released, a suspect is in custody, and two other people were airlifted to a Rochester hospital with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds -- that after a nine-hour standoff in Albert Lea which ended just before noon Sunday. Investigators say the suspect, a 21-year-old man from Albert Lea, shot the police officer and two other men in what the city's public safety director called "essentially... an ambush situation." A State Patrol officer fired their weapon, but it's not known if the suspect was shot, although he was injured by shrapnel. It [...]
The latest state budget forecast comes out tomorrow (Tues) and lawmakers are wondering how much red ink they'll have to deal with. The last forecast in May showed a 2.4-billion-dollar deficit -- a four-billion-dollar drop from the previous budget surplus -- due to economic effects of COVID. But Governor Tim Walz says, based on preliminary information he has... "We believe that that number will be materially better. And when I say that, I'm in the dangerous spot of forecasting a forecast." The forecast will tell lawmakers how big a gap they'll have to close in the next state budget -- and [...]
It's Cyber Monday and many of us will be looking for deals online. The Better Business Bureau's Bao Vang says scams are on the rise this time of year and she recommends: "If someone is splashing 'sale', 'limited-time deals' just think twice about whether this is luring you instead of actually being a legitimate sale." Consumers are predicted to spend just under $1,000 each this holiday season on friends and loved ones, according to the National Retail Federation.
Many Minnesota farmers should have started filling out their roster of corn hybrids for the next growing season. University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist Jeff Coulter says the hybrid selection is one of the most important factors impacting yield: "What we’ve consistently found is that when trying to predict the performance of a hybrid next year, it’s best to use multi-location results and trials from a number of different sites in your region." Coulter says putting time into research can help increase yield and maximize profits.
With most of the state's corn harvest now complete, University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist Jeff Coulter says things were mostly smooth for Minnesota corn growers: "I thought it went very well. We had good yields, better than expected in a lot of the state. Moisture levels weren't super high, we were able to get a lot of the field work done, although we had some snow which caused some challenges and stuff, but for the most part, things progressed pretty nicely." The U-S-D-A estimates 99-percent of the state's corn crop is now in the bin.
Heading into the rest of the holiday season, there will be extra law enforcement on the roads looking for impaired drivers. Mike Hanson with the Department of Public Safety says this is among the deadliest time on the state's roads... "When it comes to impaired driving the message remains the same, plan ahead and drive smart, never put yourself in that position where you have to make that decision to get behind the wheel when you should not." Hanson is urging Minnesotans who need to be on the road to stay sober, buckle up, slow down and put away the distractions.
DNR officials are urging caution around the ice this winter. Spokeswoman Lisa Dugan says no ice is 100-percent safe, and ice seldom freezes uniformly. That's why she recommends... "Make sure you're measuring new ice for yourself--there's a lot of information that can be found online, or if you're going out to an area that you're unfamiliar with--make sure you're checking for yourself." Dugan says ice should be at least four inches thick to walk on and up to seven inches thick to ride a snowmobile or ATV on.