CenterPoint Energy is reminding its customers about Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule which goes into effect soon. "It protects Minnesotans who experience difficulty paying their heating bills by preventing disconnection of their natural gas service during the winter heating season." CenterPoint's Ross Corson says that under the Cold Weather Rule, customers are required to set up a payment plan with their utility to prevent disconnection of their service. The rule is in effect from October 1st through April 30th. For more information, contact your utility provider.
Severe weather events this month highlighted the need for accurate weather safety information in a timely manner. Eric Ahasic with the National Weather Service says that is where the Weather Ready Nation Ambassadors program comes in. "It is a way we can reach more people by having school districts, youth sports organizations, or local businesses, religious institutions. Things like that in every community to help us promote weather safety so we are just able to reach so many more people." Ahasic says their goal is to partner with as many people as possible. Any group, large or small, can sign up [...]
The recent spate of drug overdoses in St. Paul has health officials warning of the dangers of synthetic opioids. Lydia Burr is director of Clinical Services for Hazelden Betty Ford in St. Paul: "So synthetic opioids like fentanyl get cut into different chemicals and it's very difficult to know if a chemical that somebody is taking contains something like fentanyl before they take it." Burr says synthetic opioids are extremely potent and it's easy to overdose on a small amount.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is now accepting applications for the Minnesota Main Street COVID Relief Grant Program. DEED Commissioner Steve Grove: "The big picture is this is 64.2 million dollars in grants it will go out in grant amounts of 10,000 or 25,000 based on the size of your company. To be eligible you have to be a business that operates in Minnesota, you have to have a majority of your ownership be from residents of the state." Funding will be distributed in a 50/50 split between the Twin Cities metro area and Greater Minnesota and [...]
As of just past midnight, the Minnesota DNR removed fire restrictions in Cook and Lake counties. The two were the last counties in the state under burning restrictions but the DNR's Larry Himanga cautions: "This isn't saying that fire season, you don't need to worry about it anymore, it's just saying that we're not at the point anymore where we need to restrict these campfires to the extent that we were." Recent rain and a return of near-normal temperatures and higher evening humidity have greatly reduced the chance of campfires or open burning causing a wildfire in those counties.
Dr. Marilyn Peitso with the Minnesota Medical Association says new of Pfizer developing a safe and effective COVID vaccine for children is a cause for celebration--and caution. She says as the Delta Variant continues to spread... "1 in 5 new COVID infections are children, and as a pediatrician, I have seen first-hand that pediatric hospitalization and kids being in the ICU, we have never in the pandemic seen as many kids in the hospital or requiring ICU care as we are right now." Dr. Peitso says statistically it's more likely that a child isn't going to get as sick as an [...]
U-S Senator Amy Klobuchar continues to campaign for lower prescription drug prices. In an A-A-R-P tele-town hall with Minnesotans Monday, Klobuchar discussed the need to give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices for seniors. Klobuchar says she's heard too many stories about consumers that had to put off buying groceries or paying their utility bills in order to pay for their prescription medication... "While these stories may be alarming, they are not unique and we know that if we start Medicare negotiation, that will actually help everyone because the seniors are such a big block of consumers, that'll help prices [...]
The first response team from the Minnesota Salvation Army is in Louisiana providing aid to those impacted by Hurricane Ida. Spokesman Dan Furry: "We've got about 40 mobile feeding units on the ground so there are teams in and working to help provide help, food, and hydration, emotional and spiritual care." Furry says the team is situated midway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge in Gonzales.
Governor Tim Walz is defending a new app his administration launched that gives people access to their vaccine records on their mobile device. Republican Senator and candidate for governor Michelle Benson says it's essentially a government-approved vaccine passport, despite the governor saying in April he had "no intention" of implementing one: "Once again, this administration deciding to go it alone is raising concerns and it's not building trust." The governor responds if people don't want to use the app, they don't have to -- and calls Benson's objection... "This nonsense of scaring people. What I need the senator to do is [...]
Minnesota's drought conditions may mute some of the brilliant colors as the leaves change this fall. The DNR's Jennifer Teegarden says there is some conflicting research that on one hand suggests a drought can actually enhance the colors, but other research suggests severe drought like we're experiencing will make those colors duller. Teegarden says recent rainfall and any additional precipitation may be too late to save the colors, but she says it will help the trees as they prepare themselves for winter.