>>Republican Joe Fraser kicks off challenge to Klobuchar for U-S Senate
(Duluth, MN) — Republican Joe Fraser has launched his challenge to Democratic U-S Senator Amy Klobuchar with stops earlier today (Tues) in Duluth, tonight in Moorhead, and tomorrow in Rochester and Mankato. He says, “By re-electing somebody [Klobuchar] who’s been campaigning on the same platform for essentially 18 years and really we’re not seeing any improvements — it’s time for a change.” Fraser, entering the race only about nine months before the election, will likely have a tough battle because of Klobuchar’s consistently high poll numbers. He responds, “the Goliaths of the world can be beaten.”
>>Planned Parenthood consolidating clinics in Twin Cities, Des Moines
(St. Paul, MN) — Planned Parenthood North Central States announced today (Tues) it’s consolidating clinics in the Twin Cities and in the Des Moines, Iowa area and eliminating nine current staff positions and 27 open positions in the region. The organization cites provider shortages, increasing charitable care costs, reimbursement rates not keeping up with inflation and “threats from hostile states… in a post-Roe landscape.” Among the changes: the clinic in (the Saint Paul suburb of) Woodbury will consolidate into Planned Parenthood’s Rice Street Health Center in Saint Paul. Officials say their Vandalia facility in Saint Paul will expand abortion care when family planning services move to Rice Street. Planned Parenthood North Central President Ruth Richardson says “as the volatility in the health care landscape continues and the cost of providing care climbs, we have a duty to continually change and adapt.”
>>Winners in MN-DOT “Name a Snowplow” Contest announced
(Undated) — “Dolly Plowton,” “Barbie’s Dreamplow” and “Beyon-sleigh” are just three of eight winners of MnDOT’s 4th annual “Name A Snowplow” Contest. At today’s (Tues) announcement Governor Tim Walz said, “I will say… I’m a little partial to the ‘You’re Killing Me Squalls!’ which is [a] wonderful reference to Sandlot.” Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said she’s excited to debut the first-ever Native name chosen, the Dakota word for snowplow, Waipahinte. (why-pay-HEEN-tay). Other winning names include ‘Taylor Drift,’ ‘Clark W. Blizzwald,’ and ‘Fast and Flurrious.’
>>Port of Duluth-Superior reports largest iron-ore tonnage since 1995 in 2023 shipping season
(Duluth, MN) — The Port of Duluth-Superior is reporting a good shipping season for 2023, with total tonnage up 4.5 percent over the previous year and slightly higher than the five-season average. Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Deb DeLuca says iron ore led the way as the port’s “King Cargo.” She says, “21-and-a-half million tons of iron ore moved through the Port this year, this season. It’s the most in a single season since 1995, which I think is very impressive.” DeLuca says there’s a lot of demand for steel and all the mines in northeast Minnesota are up and running. The Port of Duluth-Superior posted tonnage increases over last season in eight categories, led by cement with a 29-percent increase and grain, up 22 percent. Vessel arrivals totaled 775, the most since 2018. And DeLuca says, driven by demand, 2023 was the longest international shipping season in the port’s history at 277 days and also one of the longest Great Lakes navigation seasons at 305 days.
>>Craig heralds law enforcement on U-S House floor for largest fentanyl bust in MN history
(Washington, DC) — Authorities earlier this month made the largest fentanyl seizure in Minnesota history – over 65 pounds totaling 280,000 pills — and today (Tues) on the floor of the US House, Representative Angie Craig acknowledged the efforts of the Washington County Drug Task Force. Craig says, “It’s difficult to comprehend the devastation that could have fallen these families if these pills had reached our community. In Minnesota, we know that fighting the fentanyl crisis requires all members of our community to do their part.” Investigators say the drugs were stuffed inside toy animals, then mailed from Arizona to Minnesota. In total, six Minnesotans were arrested. They have a joint court hearing set for March 7th.
>>Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Announces $2.3M in Grants
(Shakopee, MN) — The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has announced $2.3 million in grants plus two new publications aimed at supporting the teaching of Native American content in Minnesota schools. The campaign, “Understand Native Minnesota,” seeks to improve the narrative of Native Americans in the K-12 education system. The two publications, “A Guide to Reliable Native American-Related Teaching Resources” and “Minnesota Native American Essential Understanding for Educators,” are now available.
>>25th Anniversary ALS Circle Tour Canceled Due to Warm Weather
(Duluth, MN) — The 25th Anniversary ALS Circle Tour is the latest Minnesota winter event to be canceled due to warm weather. Organizers cite a lack of snowfall as the reason behind the decision. The anniversary celebration will be rescheduled for next winter.
SPPS Superintendent Finalist for Madison Metro School Superintendent Position
(Madison, WI) — St. Paul School District Superintendent Dr. Joe Gothard is among three finalists for the superintendent position at Wisconsin’s Madison Metropolitan School District. Gothard emerged as one of the final candidates from a pool of 60 applicants. SPPS posted a message on its website for families, highlighting Gothard’s achievements and discussing plans for leadership transition if he is selected for the position.
>>Shakopee High School Student Dies 5 Days After Car Crash
(Shakopee, MN) — Shakopee High School is mourning the loss of a student who died from injuries suffered in a vehicle crash. The Scott County Sheriff’s Office say a car driven by 16-year-old boy went into the ditch last Wednesday night and crashed into tree near Stonebrooke Golf Club. The driver suffered life-threatening injuries and died in the hospital on Monday. Shakopee Public Schools identified the victim as junior student Evan Martin. Deputies say Martin was wearing a seat belt and they don’t believe alcohol or drugs were a factor.
>>Fargo Man in Custody in Connection with Armed Robbery
(Fargo, N.D.) — A 34-year-old Fargo man is in custody in connection with an armed robbery Monday. Fargo Police requested SWAT assistance for a high-risk search warrant as the suspect, Claudio Degollado, was believed to be armed. Degollado was arrested during the SWAT operation and transported to the Cass County Jail on suspicion of armed robbery and burglary. Police have not disclosed the name of the business that was robbed or released any additional information.
>>Barry Manilow to perform for final time at “X” this summer
(Undated) — Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Barry Manilow is scheduled to perform for the final time at the Xcel Energy Center on August 2nd. Billboard magazine ranks Manilow as the number one adult contemporary artist of all time. He has 12 number-one hits and has won Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards. Tickets for the St. Paul show go on sale Friday at 10am at Manilow.com and Ticketmaster.
>>Vikings Fullback CJ Ham Added to Pro Bowl Games Roster as Alternate
(Eagan, MN) — Minnesota Vikings fullback C-J Ham is headed to the N-F-L Pro Bowl Games in Orlando this weekend. Ham is taking the roster spot of 49ers full back Kyle Juszczyk, who is playing in the Super Bowl on February 11th. This is the second career Pro Bowl selection for the 30-year-old from Duluth. Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter and long snapper Andrew DePaola were voted as starters on the N-F-C team by the fans.