>>Biden touts $1B federal grant to replace Blatnik Bridge during stop in Twin Ports
(Duluth-Superior, MN-WI) — Earth Rider Brewery was the venue and “Investing in America” the theme as President Joe Biden visited Superior, Wisconsin this afternoon (Thurs) after flying into Duluth International Airport. The president wasted little time getting to the just-announced one-billion-dollar federal grant to replace the aging Blatnik Bridge, telling a cheering crowd, “For decades, people talked about replacing this bridge but it never got done — until today.” Biden told the audience a new Blatnick Bridge means 10-thousand union construction jobs and said, with the help of the congressional delegation, it will be built with American iron and steel.
>>Ricky Cobb family speaks out after state trooper charged with his murder
(Minneapolis, MN) — The family of Ricky Cobb the Second spoke out today (Thurs) in support of murder charges filed against the state trooper who shot Cobb last summer as he began driving off during a traffic stop on I-94 in north Minneapolis. Cobb’s twin brother Rashad is calling for justice to be served. “We’re not asking for the world,” he said. “We’re just asking for what’s righteously ours.” Twenty-seven-year-old Trooper Ryan Londregan s charged with unintentional second-degree murder, first-degree assault, and second-degree manslaughter. Cobb’s mother Nyra Miller said she’s in it for as long as it takes to get justice for her son.
>>U-S Rep. Craig introducing bill to totally eliminate federal income tax on Social Security benefits
(West St. Paul, MN) — Second District Congresswoman Angie Craig, a Democrat, is introducing a bill in the U-S House to completely eliminate federal income tax on Social Security benefits, regardless of income. Craig says about the current situation: “I do consider it double-taxation, and I can’t tell you how many seniors in my district come up to me and say the same thing.” How Craig would pay for it is bound to be controversial. There’s currently Social Security *payroll* tax on the first 168 thousand dollars of income, and Craig’s bill would raise that cap to 250 thousand dollars. Craig contends it would allow Social Security to keep making all payments on time through 2054. She says, “that’s 20 years longer than the current projection of 2034 out there, plus over 75 years, reduce the [national] debt by nine trillion dollars.” Craig acknowledges it’s “an uphill battle” in the Republican-controlled U-S House but says she looking for a co-sponsor in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
>>University Of Minnesota Narrows Presidential Search To Four Candidates
(Minneapolis, MN) — The number of candidates for president of the University of Minnesota is down to four. The Presidential Search Advisory Committee will conduct open houses and public hearings the week of February 12 when finalists will visit each campus to meet with students, staff, faculty, and the public. There were originally 46 applicants for the job. Interim President Jeff Ettinger is scheduled to step down on June 20th. He succeeded Joan Gabel after she left last year to become chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh.
>>MN Rep. Curran to Serve 2 Days in Jail for Drunk Driving
(Minneapolis, MN) — State Representative Brion Curran from Vadnais Heights will spend two days in jail with an additional 88 days stayed with conditions, after pleading guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree DWI. Officers responded to reports of a vehicle leaving the roadway last October 9th on I-35 near Harris, just north of the Twin Cities. Officers found Curran driving slowly on the highway’s shoulder with hazard lights on and a flat front left tire. Curran admitted to having “three drinks” and had a blood alcohol content level of .16.
>>Princeton Fire Chief Resigns After Public Department Outcry
(Princeton, MN) — Princeton Fire Department Chief Ron Lawrence has resigned, effective March 1st, following a vote from 33 out of 36 firefighters who expressed “no confidence in their chief.” In a letter to the city, Lawrence stated, “It’s been an honor to serve the PFRD for almost 29 years as a firefighter, Captain, Assistant Chief, and Fire Chief.” The group of firefighters demanded the city terminate Lawrence by February 8th, or they threatened to quit.
>>Warm temps forcing changes to Brainerd Ice Fishing Extravaganza
(Brainerd, MN) — With near-record warm temperatures in the forecast for next week, the Brainerd Jaycees are making some changes to their Ice Fishing Extravaganza. The Jaycees say their commitment is to the safety and well-being of all participants so the tournament will pivot to a hybrid model. Anglers will use the same Fish Donkey app they used for the 2021 tournament during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anglers will register for the tournament by uploading a photo of their ticket and anglers will be able to fish on one of multiple Brainerd area lakes. The tournament remains scheduled for February 3rd but with extended contest hours.
>>Walz administration stepping up search for permanent cannabis director after critical report from legislative auditor
(St. Paul, MN) — The Walz administration is stepping up efforts to find a permanent director for the state Office of Cannabis Management, even as a new report from the legislative auditor concludes the administration missed some standard background checks on the first director, who resigned the day after she was appointed. The governor’s office says they’re using a professional recruiter from the Minnesota Management and Budget Office to a complete a national search for the new director. Charlene Briner has been serving as interim O-C-M director since last summer and was formally appointed to that position today (Thurs). Governor Walz named Erin DuPree as the agency’s first director in September, but Dupree stepped down the next day following reports that her Apple Valley business sold illegal T-H-C products.
>>MN DEED Announces $2.4M in Grants for Women Entering Non-Traditional Occupations
(Undated) — Minnesota DEED announced today (THURS) nearly $2.4 million in workforce grants to help women and underserved adults facing employment barriers. Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) Grants and Adult Support Services are programs that provide specialized training for high-wage, high-demand, non-traditional jobs. DEED says anyone interested in either program should contact a CareerForce location near them by calling 651-259-7500.