>>Opponents of Proposed 75-Cent Delivery Fee Rally at State Capitol
(St. Paul, MN) — Opponents are at the State Capitol today (Friday), pushing House Democrats to drop plans for a 75-cent delivery fee statewide on everything from pizza to Amazon. Backers contend it’s a better alternative than increasing the gasoline tax. Minnesota Retailers Association’s Bruce Nustad (NOO-stad) says he totally understands the need for road-and-bridge funding, but a delivery fee is remarkably unpopular. He says it’s a “pretty regressive” tax, especially on the elderly and people with disabilities who rely on delivery. The 75-cent delivery fee is in the transportation budget bill the House passed but is not in the companion Senate bill.
>>Legislative Auditor Flags Improper Pandemic Spending by Some State Agencies
(St. Paul, MN) — The legislative auditor says 18 agencies they spot-checked on nearly 400 million dollars in pandemic-related spending “generally complied” with legal requirements, but a just-issued report also spotlights some problems. Auditors say the state Department of Employment and Economic Development did not obtain emergency authority before it bypassed required purchasing processes… the state Education Department used its emergency authority for a non-emergency purchase… the state Health Department did not conduct complete physical inventories. And the legislative auditor found the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s Office inappropriately used about 29 hundred dollars in federal COVID funding to respond to civil unrest. The Star Tribune reports agencies in their responses to the report generally defend their work, contending all the purchases complied with state law even if they deviated from usual practices.
>>Dedication of 34th Infantry ‘Red Bull’ Monument at Fort Snelling Cemetery
(Fort Snelling, MN) — A monument honoring the National Guard’s 34th ‘Red Bull’ Infantry Division will be unveiled Saturday at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Kevin Gutknecht (GOOT’-neck) of the 34th Infantry Division Association says a group of retirees recognized there was not a Red Bull statue at Fort Snelling and raised 17 thousand dollars for the project. He says 100-year-old World War II veteran and Red Bull soldier Donald Halverson of Crystal is taking part in the public dedication tomorrow morning (Saturday 11am). Gutknecht (GOOT’-neck) says they raised enough money to put another moment in the State Veterans Cemetery near Little Falls.
>>Prayer Vigil in Winona Friday Night for Madeline Kingsbury
(Winona, MN) — There’s a prayer vigil in Winona tonight (Friday 7:30 pm) for 26-year-old Madeline Kingsbury, who disappeared on March 31st after dropping her kids off at daycare. Police are inviting the community to gather in Veterans Memorial Park for the “Shining a Light for Madeline” event. Those attending are asked to download the Candle App to their phone instead of using real candles. Organizers hope this will be the shining light that brings Maddi home. There have been multiple law enforcement and volunteer searches for Kingsbury since she went missing more than a month ago.
>>Man Charged with Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting Lake Elmo Woman
(Stillwater, MN) — A man from New Auburn is charged with multiple felonies after reportedly holding a Lake Elmo woman against her will and sexually assaulting her for over 24 hours. Washington County deputies went to check on the woman Tuesday when she didn’t show up for work and found her screaming for help at a window of her apartment as a man pulled her out of sight. Officers say they used force to get inside and arrest 35-year-old David Powers, bringing the woman to the hospital to be treated for several injuries. She said Powers had been staying with her for a few weeks but “snapped” after a sporting event.
>>MN Drivers & Farm Equipment Need to Share Roads This Spring
(Mankato, MN) — Drivers traveling on Minnesota roads this spring, especially in the rural areas, should watch for large planting equipment moving from farm to farm. MnDOT’s Scott Thompson says safety is a shared responsibility, so it’s also important for farm operators to make sure that their equipment utilizes running lights, as well as flashers. Thompson also encourages farmers to use a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night. The weather is finally allowing producers to get into their fields and do some planting.