Governor Tim Walz is highlighting state benefits and assistance that are still available to Minnesotans even though the extra 600-dollar federal weekly unemployment benefit is ending: "There's housing, there's needs on food, there's needs on electricity, there's needs on job placement. All of those things are one-stop shopping." The governor says Minnesotans who need help with food, child care or employment resources, or connections for health care or housing assistance should visit ApplyMN. If you need emergency assistance, contact the county human services office or tribal agency where you live. Walz's emergency COVID orders put a freeze on evictions. [...]
Minnesota Democrats are hoping the state figures prominently in their party's national convention which opens in ten days in Milwaukee. D-F-L Party Chairman Ken Martin notes with convention programming only two hours nightly because of COVID, speaking spots will be "premium opportunities and few and far between." "Certainly hope that Amy Klobuchar has a prominent role, given the fact that she was a candidate for president and how well she did and how deep she into the cycle she made it, I would expect she has a role." But Martin says he's hasn't heard yet, and doesn't believe Klobuchar has either. [...]
COVID case numbers are going different directions in different parts of Minnesota, playing havoc with school districts' plans for in-person classes this fall or to continue distance-learning or a combination -- all the while observing guidelines in the governor's latest order. Walz tells parents he wishes there was more certainty, but the virus is not allowing that: "The virus doesn't care that this is bad timing, that we're going up right before school starts. That is just it." Administration officials have been cautioning school districts that they could start the new school year using one learning method and have to [...]
A new trend survey of realtors statewide shows the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the demand in what home buyers are looking for. Chris Galler president of the Minnesota Realtors: "People wanting more outdoor living space, more living space within the home. Especially so that they can work from home, and have appropriate space if they have children to teach them from home." Galler says there is also a high demand for people looking for a second property, such as a cabin -- to serve as a getaway home.
If you haven't already responded to the 2020 census you may be getting an in-person visit in the next few weeks. Spokeswoman Maureen Schreiner says census takers will be taking COVID-19 safety precautions: "So they will be wearing masks. They'll be practicing social distancing. The interviews will only take place in open-air outdoor areas. So if they go up to a household and knock on the door, the interview would be held while they are standing outside." The deadline to respond to the 2020 census is October 31st.
Keep your eyes peeled for motorcycle riders. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says that is even more crucial as they expect more riders on Minnesota roads headed to the annual Sturgis rally in South Dakota starting Friday. "I-90 is a huge funnel point for all the states north and east of us. They head this way they get on I-90. So I-90 is going to see huge volumes of riders." Motorcycle Safety Program Coordinator Bill Shaffer says drivers always need to be extra vigilant to avoid crashes with motorcycles. "Failing to yield the right of way by other motorists, remains [...]
Republican lawmakers say Governor Tim Walz insulted the Minnesota National Guard when he told Mayor Jacob Frey, who was requesting soldiers to control riots in Minneapolis, that instead of trained troops he'd be getting "19-year-olds who are cooks." Senator Andrew Lang, a National Guard major from Olivia, says "to be talked down to like that is unimaginable": "The Governor and I can have our disagreements on political items. We can have disagreements on how we see the future of the state progressing but this was too far, this was across the line. This was disparaging, I would say to the nth [...]
A number of Minnesotans are headed to the huge motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota that begins tomorrow (Fri), despite COVID warnings from state health officials. Commissioner Jan Malcolm says: "There are people coming in to the event from high-incidence states and... it's just a pretty ripe environment for further spread and folks bringing the virus back to their home communities." Malcolm urges Minnesotans who attend the Sturgis rally to quarantine for 14 days when they get back, watch for symptoms, and be tested for COVID five to seven days after returning, even if no symptoms appear.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100,000 Minnesotans have come through MNsure to find health insurance coverage. The head of the state's health care exchange encourages any Minnesotan who does not currently have health care insurance to apply. CEO Nate Clark says depending on your income, you may even also qualify for federal tax credits: "It will help off-set the cost of your monthly insurance premium. And also depending on your income you could qualify for no-fee or very, very low fee insurance coverage." Minnesotans encouraged to apply those that have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance or [...]
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today announced a new pilot project that will help fund at least six electric school buses in communities across the state. MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop says she's committed to a move away from diesel-powered buses for two reasons: "One, we know that they're a major source of emissions in our local neighborhoods and two, because we know that children are especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of air pollution." The new buses are expected on the roads in fall 2022. Officials say each new electric school bus will remove 29 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. [...]