Archives for February 2020

PAUL BUNYAN ADDING BROADBAND EXPANSION

Paul Bunyan Communications has been awarded a Border to Border Broadband Grant from the state of Minnesota to expand its fiber optic services. As a result, the cooperative will begin expansion construction in late 2020 and continue into 2021. The project is estimated to cost $5.68 million, with the State of Minnesota Border to Border grant contributing $2.35 Million of that money. Access to quality broadband service is considered vital to health care, education, business, and recreation.

NEW RECOMMENDATIONS SURROUNDING POLICE SHOOTING REDUCTIONS

A new report offers nearly 30 recommendations for reducing deadly police shootings in Minnesota – but one watchdog group says the findings fall well short of meeting that goal. Michelle Gross is with Communities United Against Police Brutality, and she says there’s a lot missing from the report….

Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington…

Harrington says the department needs more spending authorization from state lawmakers to put the recommendations in place.

SNOW SURVEYS UNDERWAY

A survey team with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, has begun collecting snow surveys throughout the region, and it will run until March 6. The team is taking the surveys to assist Corps’ water management officials in determining how much water is contained within the snowpack this year. This information is shared with other agencies such as the National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey and helps determine what steps can be taken to reduce flood risks across the region.

RED LAKE TRIBAL MEMBERS TO VOTE ON LEGAL POT

Red Lake tribal members will soon be voting on the legalization of medical marijuana on the Red Lake Reservation. That comes after the Red Lake Tribal Council… .earlier this month… passed a resolution to vote on whether medical marijuana should be available for Red Lake tribal members. The referendum vote to authorize the production, regulation, and distribution of medical marijuana on the Red Lake Reservation will be voted on by Red Lake band members on the May 20th ballot.

FLU STILL A BIG ISSUE IN MINNESOTA

While the coronavirus is getting most of the attention right now, seasonal influenza is doing the most damage in Minnesota right now. The latest flu surveillance data from the Minnesota Department of Health showed a surge last week in hospitalizations and patients showing up in clinics with flu-like illnesses – and the second flu-related death of a child this season. The uptick comes as an unusual early spread of a B strain of influenza, historically tougher on children, has given way to an A strain of the virus.

NORTHLAND FAT BIKE RALLY COMING TO LAKE BEMIDJI

SATURDAY, MARCH 7th at 9:30am, don’t miss the 6th Annual Northland Fat Bike Rally at Lake Bemidji State Park. It all begins at the Visitor Center. It is a timed ride open to all levels at both the 10K and 28K distances. Spectators are welcome. All riders must register and attend a pre-race rules meeting. There is no fee for the event. Free-will donations will support the Trek North Mountain Bike Team and Bemidji Composite Mountain Bike Team. All vehicles entering the park must have a vehicle permit. Awards will follow off-site.

STUDY RELEASED FOR LOWERING DRUG PRICES

After nearly one year of public study and deliberation, Minnesota Attorney General Ellison’s Advisory Task Force on Lowering Pharmaceutical Drugs Prices has released a report and 14 recommendations for lowering prescription drug prices…

SOLAR JOB REPORT SHOWS MINNESOTA FALLING BACK

Minnesota saw a dip last year in its number of solar-industry jobs. After seeing gains in 2017 and 2018, Minnesota experienced a nearly 6 percent decline in solar job growth last year. The drop runs counter to growth at the national level. Ed Gilliland with The Minnesota Solar Foundation says there’s still optimism surrounding Minnesota’s solar output and its potential for more jobs, and there’s no reason to think job growth will not rebound….

Minnesota employs more than 43-hundred people in the solar industry.

WAVE OF FATAL FARM ACCIDENTS CAUSES MINNESOTA OFFICIALS TO ISSUE WARNING

Minnesota officials are calling attention to a recent wave of fatal farm incidents – and they’re urging farmers to take safety precautions when working in grain bins. Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap says many farmers are desperate to salvage their crops following a rough year weather-wise…

As a result, he says, a farmer might jump in to remove the clump – and can become trapped if they’re working alone or not using the proper safety equipment. The state says ten people have died in farming-related accidents in Minnesota since last June.

FIREFIGHTERS IN LINE FOR ADDITIONAL SUPPORT WHEN FIGHTING HEALTH ISSUES

In the State Capitol, legislation that would deliver additional support for Minnesota firefighters who face higher rates of cancer, cardiac issues and trauma… the Hometown Heroes Act, received a public hearing. Rep. Cheryl Youakim (YOU-ah-keem)…

The bipartisan legislation establises one-time lump-sum “Critical Care” grants for all Minnesota firefighters diagnosed with cancer or cardiac issues, guaranteeing $30,000 per diagnosis.

Catherine Thompson

Manager of Broadcast Media

House Majority Caucus

504A State Office Building

St. Paul, MN 55155

Office: 651-296-5499 Cell: 612-310-9558

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