>>Walz to Announce 2 New Appointees to Minnesota Supreme Court

(St. Paul, MN) — Governor Tim Walz is announcing two new appointees to the Minnesota Supreme Court later this morning (Mon 11am) during a news conference. The two new judges will succeed retiring Justices G. Barry Anderson and Margaret Chutich (CHEW’-ditch) . The six finalists for the vacancies are University of Minnesota senior associate counsel Lisa Beane; Civil Rights Appellate Clinic founder Elizabeth Bentley; Court of Appeals Judges Keala Ede and Theodora Gaïtas; Stearns County Judge Sarah Hennesy; and Solicitor General for the State of Minnesota Liz Kramer. Anderson will retire in May and Chutich’s last day on the state’s high court is July 31st.


>>Minnesota Reps Help US House Pass $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package

(Washington, DC) — Members from Minnesota helped the U-S House pass a 95-billion-dollar foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and other allies. Republican Representatives Brad Finstad, Michelle Fischbach and Peter Stauber voted against the additional support for Ukraine. Finstad wrote on social media, “I stood with the House GOP today and voted to put the American people first by saying NO on sending $60B more taxpayer dollars to Ukraine.” Democrats Angie Craig, Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar, Dean Phillips, and Republican Tom Emmer voted “yes.” Omar was lone member from Minnesota to vote “no” on the Israel security bill. She said in a statement, “It’s unconscionable to provide a blank check to the Israeli military while the genocide of Palestinians continues.”


>>Minnesota Lawmakers on Passover Break Until Wednesday

(St. Paul, MN) — The state legislature is on a two-day break for Passover, and many items are still up-in-the-air with four weeks remaining in the 2024 session. Backers of sports betting need buy-in from several stakeholders to pass a bill and it’s unclear whether it will happen this session. Negotiations continue on Uber/Lyft driver pay, but some analysts say the Minneapolis City Council delaying the start of their ordinance until July 1st takes some pressure off and could push the issue into a summer special session. Democrats want a roughly one-billion-dollar bonding bill for public works projects, but there’s speculation Republicans could demand more money for rural emergency medical services before helping them pass it. And, the D-F-L has yet acted to put an Equal Rights and abortion rights constitutional amendment on the ballot.


>>Trial Begins for 7 Defendants in Feeding Our Future Fraud Scheme

(Minneapolis, MN) — The first criminal trial for seven defendants in the $250 million Feeding Our Future fraud case is set to begin today(Monday) in Minneapolis. To date, 70 people have been charged in what U-S Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger has called the largest COVID-related fraud scheme in the country. Since the indictments, 18 defendants have pleaded guilty to their crimes. Prosecutors say dozens of people and several nonprofit organizations defrauded the Federal Child Nutrition Program, using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to spend tens of millions of dollars in program funds on cars, luxury items and properties. The money was intended as reimbursements for the cost of serving meals to children.


>>6 Arrested, 6000 Fentanyl Pills Seized in Mankato Drug Bust

(Mankato, MN) — Six people are in custody after a weekend fentanyl bust in Mankato. Police and the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force say they searched a home on Saturday and found just under six thousand counterfeit oxycodone pills. Investigators say field tests confirmed the presence of fentanyl. Six suspects were arrested on suspicion of first-degree sales and possession of a controlled substance. Officers say in a statement, “It’s crucial work to crack down on the distribution of counterfeit pills and powder containing fentanyl.”


>>Spring Riding Season Begins on Minnesota Roads

(St. Paul, MN) — Authorities in Minnesota are reminding drivers that the spring motorcycle season is underway. State Motorcycle Safety coordinator Jay Bock says, “cycles are out on the roadways. We gotta kind of re-think that, know that they’re out there, check those blind spots, look twice, and share the road with everybody.” He’s encouraging riders to please pay attention, keep track of those following distances, have that safety gear on, and share the road as well. Bock says there is not a lot of sand on the roads this spring thanks to the lack of snow this winter. There have been two motorcycle fatalities in Minnesota so far this season.


>>Mental Health Services Available for Minnesota Farmers

(St. Paul, MN) — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is offering free and confidential tools to farmers and livestock producers during springtime business and financial challenges. Farmer and M-D-A spokesperson Meg Moynihan says while she thinks farmers are optimistic and looking toward the future, many came off a bumpy year in 2023. For immediate help with depression, anxiety, stress, or any mental health concern, farmers can call the Minnesota Farm and Rural Help Line at 833-600-2670 or text “FARMSTRESS” to 8-9-8-2-1-1.


>>MPCA Marking Earth Day with Water Quality Initiative

(St. Paul, MN) — Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials are marking this Earth Day (Mon 1030am) with what they call a “major” and “transformative” water quality initiative, dealing with the health of the Mississippi River within Minnesota’s boundaries. Arne Carlson, the Republican former governor who’s mounted a campaign to clean up the state’s waters, says he hopes the M-P-C-A is not coming in with a little bit of reform. He says, “”We need massive reforms, and we need them now.” Carlson has been particularly critical of plans for sulfide mining in northern Minnesota, which he warns will contaminate Lake Superior and the rest of the Great Lakes. He’s blasted the Walz administration for its stance on mining.


>>MOA Celebrates Earth Day with Largest Ever Ladybug Release

(Bloomington, MN) — The Mall of America (MOA) is celebrating Earth Day today (MON) with their largest-ever release of ladybugs into the plants at Nickelodeon Universe. An annual spring tradition, M-O-A distributes ladybugs among their 30,000 live plants and trees to serve as a natural pesticide. This year, the mall invites the public to help them release a total of 144,000 ladybugs.




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