>>Special commission adopts design for new state flag
The design for a new state flag approved by a special commission today features a Navy blue outline of Minnesota with a white star inside and light blue on the other half. State Emblems Redesign Commission chair Luis Fitch says he likes how it looks hanging vertically, with the Mississippi River pointing up to the North Star. Fitch says, “For me that’s the story — that the most important river in the United States, and one of the best ones around world and the biggest one, starts here.” Fitch’s description of the A-2 design convinced other members to drop their push for a green stripe on the flag. The new flag will be submitted to the legislature by January 1st.
>>Sharp debate over including Dakota language in design of new state seal
(St. Paul, MN) — As a special commission approved its final recommendation for a new state flag today (Tues), sharp debate over including Dakota language in the proposed new state seal. Republican Senator Steve Drazkowski from Mazeppa says instead of being unifying, it’s divisive: “Something that is identifying one race over all of the races in Minnesota, raising one race over all of the races of Minnesota.” Drazkowski says most people would say what’s in the proposed new state seal “is racist, and is certainly illegal.” Commission member, Doctor Kate Beane responded, “My tribe is in South Dakota because my family was removed, because we were literally chased out of this state by Henry Sibley, who created this flag and seal. And so, I will not be quiet.” Some are pushing for a statewide vote on the flag and seal, but Secretary of State Steve Simon says the Minnesota Constitution doesn’t allow it.
>>MN AG Ellison Announces $700M Settlement with Google Play Store Over Misconduct
(St. Paul, MN) – Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and 52 other attorneys general today announced a $700 million settlement today in their 2021 lawsuit against Google alleging anticompetitive conduct in the Google Play Store. The suit claimed Google illegally monopolized Android app distribution and the in-app payment processing market. As part of the settlement, Google will pay $630 million in restitution to consumers who purchased on the Google Play Store between August 2016 and September 2023, with about $1.16 million going to Minnesota. Eligible consumers will receive automatic payments through PayPal or Venmo, or can choose to receive a check or wire transfer without submitting a claim.
>>M Health Fairview releases top baby names list
(Minneapolis, MN) — M Health Fairview is out with their top baby names for the year. Theodore was the most popular boy name, followed by Henry, Liam and Jack. Charlotte was the front-runner for girls, followed by Evelyn, Olivia, and Lucy. Over 12-thousand-400 babies were born at the M Health Fairview system in 2023.
>>Search for Missing Bloomington Woman Underway
(Bloomington, MN) — The Bloomington Police Department is asking the public’s help in locating 32-year-old Kelsey Koneczny, saying there’s concern for her well-being. Her last known contact was on December 5th while in St. Paul. Koneczny is white, five-feet-four, 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. If you have seen or know her whereabouts, call 911 or the Bloomington Police Department.
>>Minnesota Brothers Charged in Gambling Scheme
(St. Paul, MN) — Two Minnesota brothers are facing charges for running a service that placed bets for others at multiple casinos. The state’s Alcohol and Gambling Control Division began investigating after receiving a tip that the brothers were live-streaming from Minnesota casinos while placing bets for off-site gamblers. Investigators say the brothers would collect a portion of each bet as their fee. 40-year-old Blake Fitzgerald of Farmington and 34-year old Christopher Mattison of Warren were charged in Goodhue County.
>>Drug Investigation Leads to Four Arrests in Moorhead
(Moorhead, MN) — Three people from the Twin Cities and one person from Greater Minnesota face felony drug charges after an arrest in Moorhead Monday. The police department says an investigation led officers and other agencies to conduct a traffic stop on I-94. During the vehicle search, they found over 2,500 M-30 fentanyl pills valued at around $26,000. Officers arrested 25-year-old Trevor Gabrick of Plymouth, 24-year-old Desmine Moore of Robbinsdale, 30-year-old Dupree Williams of Hopkins, and 32-year-old Steven Smith of Crookston. They were all booked into the Clay County Jail.
>> Amazon reportedly in talks to acquire Bally Sports’ parent company Diamond
(Undated) — Amazon is in talks to acquire Diamond Sports Group (DSG), the parent company of regional sports network (RSN) Bally Sports North. The New York Times reports the tech giant is “actively negotiating a multiyear streaming partnership.” DSG filed for bankruptcy this year, leaving the status of its regional sports networks undecided. In November, a bankruptcy judge ruled that Timberwolves and Wild games would still air on Bally for this season only. The Twins, whose contract with Bally expired after the 2023 M-L-B season, have yet to name a TV partner. Amazon’s Prime Video Sports has expanded rapidly in the last two years, landing exclusive rights to the N-F-L’s Thursday Night Football and Premier League soccer.
>>UMLC Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court for MN Woman’s Denial of Unemployment Benefits
(Golden Valley, MN) — The Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, after the state denied unemployment benefits for a woman fired from her job at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals for not getting the COVID vaccine per company policy. Tina Goede said it would have compromised her religious beliefs. The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the denial of jobless benefits and the state Supreme Court declined to take the case. The Upper Midwest Law Center expects the U-S Supreme Court to decide in a few months whether it will take the case.
>>Impairment Believed to be Factor in Vergas Crash
(Vergas, MN) — The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office says impairment is suspected to be a contributing factor in a Monday night crash that injured one person in the west-central Minnesota community of Vergas. Deputies say 45-year-old Joshua Carlson of Vergas was driving an SUV when he struck a tree, parked cars, a home, and a garage before being ejected from the vehicle. Carlson was airlifted to a Fargo hospital. There’s no word on his condition. There were no passengers in the vehicle and no other injuries were reported.