(Bemidji)  The Bemidji Police Department announced that they are reestablishing their K-9 program in 2024. A Labrador Retriever highly trained in the detection of controlled substances, as well as location of evidence, missing people, and non-violent offenders will begin training in March along with Officer Kniss. The Department has set up a fundraising  goal of 130 thousand dollars, and donations can be sent to Bemidji Police Department, Attn: K9 Program, at 613 Minnesota Avenue NW, Bemidji.

>>Poll Shows Support For State Amendment To Protect Abortion

(Minneapolis, MN)    Minnesota voters would support a state constitutional amendment to protect abortion and reproductive rights.  An online MinnPost-Embold Research poll of more than 15-hundred Minnesotans shows 53-percent would support such an amendment.  About 34-percent of those asked said they would oppose such a measure, with 13-percent saying they were unsure.  The poll also shows Minnesotans are in favor of an amendment to guarantee equality of rights under the state constitution, with 60-percent supporting such a measure.  State lawmakers have previously considered both proposals and are expected to do so again during the next session of the legislature.

>>Two Dead After Crash In Itasca County

(Sand Lake, MN)    Investigators say two people are dead following a crash yesterday in Itasca County.  The Minnesota State Patrol says a Toyota Camry was hit by a semi as it tried to cross U.S. Highway 53 in Sand Lake Township.  The 81-year-old driver and an 83-year-old passenger in the Camry died in the crash.  Investigators say alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

>>New Laws Go Into Effect Jan. 1

(St. Paul, MN)    A handful of new laws go into effect in Minnesota at the start of the new year.  That includes the new statewide earned sick and safe time law, which makes all workers eligible for paid time off.  Employees will get one hour of sick time for every 30 hours put in.  Workers can use paid time off if they’re sick, taking care of a family member, or getting help for domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault.  Another law aimed at helping workers makes it so employers can’t ask applicants about their past or current pay in the hiring process.  There’s also a so-called red flag law going in place, which makes it so certain individuals can be barred from owning a gun.  Minimum wage will also go up, and schools will be required to provide free menstrual products.

>>Smith, Klobuchar Say US Postmaster Committed To Improving MN Mail Delivery

(Washington, DC)    Minnesota’s two U.S. senators say the Postmaster General has promised solutions to the state’s current mail delivery problems.  Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar met with Louis DeJoy on Friday and say they talked about a variety of issues affecting postal service employees and customers.  Klobuchar said DeJoy committed to addressing worker pay and understaffing while denying accusations that the Postal Service was giving Amazon packages a higher priority than regular mail.  The two senators are working with Congresswoman Angie Craig to pass a bill that would create more accountability in Postal Service operations.

>>UofM Signs Agreement With CentraCare For St. Cloud Medical Campus

(St. Cloud, MN)    Plans for a medical school campus in St. Cloud are taking another step forward.  The University of Minnesota Medical School and CentraCare signed an agreement yesterday that will turn an empty building into a training ground for future doctors.  CentraCare has pledged 50-million dollars to support the effort, while state lawmakers have designated 15-million dollars for the project so far.  The first students should begin training at the campus in 2025.

>>$14B U.S. Steel Deal With Nippon Is Getting Push Back From Union Leaders

(Undated)    The United Steelworkers union that represents workers in Minnesota is denouncing Tokyo-based Nippon Steel’s proposed 14-billion-dollar deal to buy U.S. Steel.  USW President David McCall says the agreement demonstrates the same greedy and shortsighted attitude that has guided U.S. Steel.  He added that he was working to keep U.S. Steel domestically owned and operated, but the company decided to sell to a foreign-owned business.  The union represents workers at the U.S. Steel-owned Minntac mine in Mount Iron and the Keetac mine in Keewatin.

>>Top MN Baby Names In 2023

(Minneapolis, MN)    Theodore and Charlotte are the most popular baby names in Minnesota this year.  That’s according to M Health Fairview.  Over 12-thousand-400 babies were born within the health system in 2023.  Theodore was the most popular boy name, followed by Henry, Liam, and Jack.  Charlotte was the forerunner for girls, followed by Evelyn, Olivia, and Lucy.

>>Final State Flag Design Could Be Chosen Today

(St. Paul, MN)    Members of the State Emblems Redesign Commission hope to wrap up their work on a new design for the Minnesota state flag today.  The panel has already chosen a final design and will consider suggested tweaks to help the new flag better represent the state.  The commission has until January 1st to complete its final report to state lawmakers recommending the new state flag and seal.

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