>>Drought Conditions Continue Getting Worse in Minnesota

(Lincoln, NE) — Drought conditions continue to worsen and expand across Minnesota. This week’s U-S Drought Monitor map finds one-third of the state in a moderate drought and nearly three percent in extreme drought. The extreme conditions are in southeastern Minnesota, the St. Cloud area, and now Crow Wing County in central Minnesota. Just under 80 percent of the state is in a moderate drought. Rain and thunderstorms are in the forecast for most of Minnesota this weekend.

>>State’s 2nd Cannabis Dispensary Opens on White Earth Reservation

(Mahnomen, MN) — Minnesota’s second retail recreational marijuana store is open in Mahnomen and is being run by the White Earth Nation. Chairman Michael Fairbanks was at the store when it opened Thursday and says he was surprised how far people came. He says two people in line drove four hours from the Twin Cities area and there were customers from the Moorhead and Fergus Falls areas. White Earth’s medical cannabis dispensary opened earlier this week and Fairbanks says they have plans to open a second recreational marijuana store as early as next week. Tribal nations don’t need to wait for the state’s licensing system to begin.

>>Cleanup Continues After Train Derailment near Perham in Otter Tail County

(Perham, MN) — Authorities in west central Minnesota are investigating a train derailment near Perham. The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office says the train went off the tracks late Thursday night on U-S Highway 10 near the intersection of County Road 60. No injuries are reported. Deputies say B-N-S-F Railway to working on cleanup and looking into the cause of the derailment. Officials haven’t said how many rail cars are involved.

>>New Free School Meals Program Begins This Fall in Minnesota

(St. Paul, MN) — Minnesota’s new Free School Meals for Kids program begins this fall. Department of Education Assistant Director Emily Honer says the state legislature provided funding to ensure that every single student can have one breakfast and one lunch at no cost. She says, “We know kids learn better when they have a full belly.” Honer says the program also supports Minnesota farmers and producers. There’s more information on the Department of Education’s website.

>>ND Higher Ed Committee Concerned About Minnesota’s North Star Promise

(Bismarck, ND) — A legislative committee in North Dakota is looking at how to respond to the new free college scholarship program in neighboring Minnesota. The North Star Promise will provide free tuition to in-state students whose families earn 80 thousand dollars or less. A large number of Minnesota students are enrolled in North Dakota schools and officials are concerned about what it effects it will have on their campuses. President Brian Van Horn told the committee, ““The impact is great, especially on a small campus like Mayville State University that’s very close to the Minnesota line.” The North Star Promise program begins in the fall of 2024.

>>U of M Study Shows Lower Vaccination Rates for Minority Groups

(Minneapolis, MN) — A new University of Minnesota study shows that vaccination rates for different racial and ethnic groups dropped behind rates for the state’s white population. U of M Senior Research Fellow Colin Planalp says “Minnesota took six months to vaccinate 50 percent of its white residents, but it took 12 months to vaccinate 50 percent of its Black and Latino populations, and even longer, 15 months, to vaccinate half of the state’s American Indian population.”

>>Gasoline Prices Continue to Rise in Minnesota

(St. Louis Park, MN) — Gas prices are on the rise in Minnesota in early August. Triple-A Minnesota reports today’s (Friday) average for regular unleaded is three-dollars-and-81 cents a gallon. That’s 22 cents more than we were paying last week at the pumps and nearly 40 cents more than two weeks ago. Energy analysts say the extreme heat is causing some issues at the oil refineries.

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