Author: The Associated Press

Judge Denies Request to Delay Cop’s Trial in Floyd’s Death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge says he won’t reconsider his decision to hold a March trial for the former Minneapolis police officer who held his knee to George Floyd’s neck as the man said he couldn’t breathe. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled this month that Derek Chauvin will stand trial beginning March 8, as scheduled, and will be…

Minnesota Pharmacies Request to Be Part of Vaccine Rollout

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota pharmacies and health care providers are requesting the state include them in the coronavirus vaccine rollout as the demand for a shot among seniors far outpaces the state’s supply. Pharmacists testified before a Minnesota Senate health committee on Wednesday, telling lawmakers they can provide easier access to a vaccine as the priority groups for doses expands…

Powerball Jackpot Winner Worth $731.1m Sold in Maryland

LONACONING, Md. (AP) — The jackpot-winning Powerball ticket worth $731.1 million was sold in an old coal-mining town in a remote corner of Maryland. Jobs are few in Lonaconing, the hometown of baseball Hall of Famer Lefty Grove. The Maryland Lottery says the ticket was sold at Coney Market. Owner Richard Ravenscroft told The Associated Press he hopes whoever won…

US Jobless Claims Decline to a Still-High 900,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell slightly last week to 900,000, still a historically high level that points to ongoing job cuts in a raging pandemic. The Labor Department’s report underscored that President Joe Biden has inherited an economy that faltered this winter as virus cases spiked, cold weather restricted dining and federal rescue aid…

Biden to Sign Virus Measures, Requires Mask Use to Travel

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is putting into play his national COVID-19 strategy to ramp up vaccinations and testing, reopen schools and businesses and increase the use of masks — including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel. He’ll sign 10 virus-related executive orders on Thursday as the nation is deep in the deadliest wave…

On Day One, Biden Targets Trump Policies on Climate, Virus

WASHINGTON (AP)-On his first day in office, President Joe Biden is moving to dismantle Donald Trump’s legacy by signing a series of executive actions that reverse course on immigration, climate change, racial equity and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The new president signed the orders just hours after taking the oath of office at the Capitol, pivoting quickly from…

Minnesota Vaccine Pilot Program Spots for First Week Filled

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota health officials on Wednesday announced that all 6,000 spots in a coronavirus vaccine pilot program reserved for Minnesotans over 65 have been filled after issues with the registration website caused it to crash on Tuesday. The 12,000 doses reserved for the program this week — half of which are reserved for teachers and child care workers…

Wisconsin Lawmakers Introduce Police Reform Package

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Three Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at reforming police use-of-force policies and investigations. Republican Sens. Van Wanggaard and Alberta Darling along with Democratic Sen. Lena Taylor unveiled the package on Wednesday. The legislation would create a board that could investigate officer-involved deaths, require annual reports tallying use-of-force incidents, prohibit training on the use of chokehold,…

Pharmacist Charged in Attempt to Ruin COVID-19 Vaccine

(Ozaukee County Sheriff via AP) MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin pharmacist accused of trying to spoil dozens of vials of COVID-19 vaccine has been charged with attempted misdemeanor property damage. Online court records indicate Steven Brandenburg was charged Tuesday in Ozaukee County Circuit Court. He pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors have warned more serious charges could follow if tests show…

The Latest: Harris Gives Sendoff to Pence on Capitol Steps

WASHINGTON (AP) – Vice President Kamala Harris has now taken on a role that would have typically been performed by the outgoing president. Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, stood on the U.S. Capitol steps Wednesday to bid farewell to her predecessor, former Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife, Karen. The two couples stood and chatted for…

Klobuchar: Democracy Cannot Be Taken for Granted

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (AP) — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar took center stage at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and used her introductory address to remind Americans that democracy cannot be taken for granted. Klobuchar says the insurrection at the Capitol just two weeks awakened Americans to their responsibility to carry the torch for democracy. Klobuchar…

Trump Pardons Minnesota Man Who Served Time for Drug Offense

UPDATE: MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Donald Trump has granted clemency to two Minnesota residents convicted of drug charges. Trump commuted the sentence of Cassandra Ann Kasowski, of Moorhead, who has served more than seven years of an 18-year sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled substance. The case involved the transportation of mass…

The Latest: Biden Sworn in as Nation’s 46th President

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden has officially become the 46th president of the United States. Biden took the oath of office just before noon Wednesday during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. The presidential oath was administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Biden was sworn in using a Bible that has been in his family since 1893 and…

The Latest: Harris Sworn in as 1st Female Vice President

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kamala Harris has been sworn in as the nation’s first female vice president. The former U.S. senator from California is also the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency and becomes the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government. She was sworn in Wednesday by Justice Sonia Sotomayor,…

Trump Pardons Ex-Strategist Steve Bannon, Dozens of Others

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has pardoned former chief strategist Steve Bannon as part of a late flurry of clemency action benefiting nearly 150 people, including rap stars and former members of Congress. The pardons and commutations for 143 people, including Bannon, were announced after midnight Wednesday in the final hours of Trump’s White House term. The last-minute clemency,…

The Latest: Biden, Harris Arrive at Capitol for Inauguration

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden has arrived at the U.S. Capitol ahead of his inauguration as the United States’ 46th president. Biden and his wife, Jill, arrived at the complex on Wednesday morning, about 90 minutes before his noon swearing-in ceremony. They were accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and were greeted by U.S. Sen….

Wisconsin Begins Distributing, Receiving At-Home COVID-19 Tests

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state has started distributing and receiving at-home test kits for COVID-19. Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Traci DeSalvo says more than 12,000 kits have been ordered and more than 1,600 have been returned as of last week. “People are ordering a kit and having it on hand for when they’re ready,” she said. “It’s…

The Latest: Acting Attorney General Resigns as Biden Enters

WASHINGTON (AP) — Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen will resign when President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office. The Justice Department says Rosen’s resignation goes into effect at noon Wednesday. Rosen has run the department since former Attorney General William Barr resigned on Dec. 23. He was previously the deputy attorney general and deputy transportation secretary. Rosen has kept a…

Some Minnesota Elementary Students Head Back in School

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Many Minnesota schools are welcoming back some of their youngest students for in-person instruction, with more elementary schools expected to follow in the coming weeks. Some school districts opened for kindergarten, first- and second-grade students on Tuesday and plan to bring back older elementary students next month. Others will begin their reopening process later this month or…

The Latest: 12 Army National Guard Removed From Inauguration

WASHINGTON (AP) – Pentagon officials say 12 Army National Guard members have been removed from securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after vetting by the FBI, including two who posted and texted extremist views about Wednesday’s event. There was no specific threat to Biden. Two U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties to right-wing…

DNR Board to Consider Mining Fee Increases Next Week

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources’ policy board is expected to reconsider a plan to dramatically increase mining fees in Wisconsin. The new rules would increase fees and costs for nonferrous mining operations by about $502,000 per project. They also would require companies to supply more detailed feasibility and construction plans to the department and establish…

Everyone Over 65 Next in Line for Vaccine in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Everyone over age 65 in Wisconsin will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting on Monday. The state Department of Health Services said Tuesday that prioritizing that population will help save lives. However, the department cautioned that how quickly they will be vaccinated depends on how much vaccine the state receives from the federal government. There…

2 National Guard Members Removed From Biden Inauguration Security

WASHINGTON (AP) – Two U.S. Army National Guard members are being removed from the security mission to secure Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration. A U.S. Army official and a senior U.S. intelligence official said the two National Guard members have been found to have ties to fringe right group militias. No plot against Biden was found. The Army official and the intelligence official…

Biden Taps Rachel Levine as Assistant Health Secretary

Levine Would be the First Openly Transgender Woman to be Confirmed by Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate. Levine is a pediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general and was appointed to her current post by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017….

Joe Biden to Propose 8-Year Citizenship Path for Immigrants

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day One of his administration. A person granted anonymity to discuss the legislation says it would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status. It’s a massive reversal from the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies….

Judge Orders Company to Take 3M’s Trademarks off N95 Masks

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a Florida company accused of selling counterfeit N95 face masks with 3M’s name on them to stop using the Minnesota company’s trademarks and representing itself as a distributor or authorized retailer for 3M. 3M sued Nationwide Source Inc. in late December, accusing the company of selling more than 10,000 of the counterfeit…

Walz Announces Vaccine Pilot Program Amid Supply Concerns

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says the state will open nine community sites this week to vaccinate adults over 65, pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade educators, school staff, and child care workers. The program announced Monday expands the rollout beyond the first high-priority group that includes healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff, who began receiving doses last month….

Wisconsin’s Top Health Official Departing for Federal Job

(AP Photo/Scott Bauer, File) MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s top health official, who has led the state throughout the coronavirus pandemic, is leaving for a job with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President-elect Joe Biden. Andrea Palm, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, has been nominated as deputy secretary of the federal agency. Palm…

850 MN Guard Members Among Soldiers Securing Inauguration

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — About 850 members of the Minnesota National Guard are among 25,000 soldiers streaming into Washington from across the country for Wednesday’s presidential inauguration. The number of guard members is at least two and a half times the number for previous inaugurals. Before this year, states rotated sending National Guard soldiers to inaugurations. Fewer than 10 from Minnesota…

FBI Vetting Guard Troops in DC Amid Fears of Insider Attack

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. That concern is prompting the FBI to vet all 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event. The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have…

Evers Calls Lack of Second Vaccine Doses “Slap in the Face”

MADISON, Wis. (AP)-Gov. Tony Evers is blasting federal officials for promising to release the remainder of their COVID-19 vaccine stockpile when it apparently had already been exhausted. Evers said Friday that Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar promised governors earlier this week that the Trump administration would release vaccine it was holding in reserve to speed…

Walz Blasts Feds for Uncertainty Over Vaccine Expansion

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Gov. Tim Walz has sharply criticized the federal government for the sudden uncertainty over whether states would receive increased shipments of coronavirus vaccines from the national stockpile. The Democratic governor accused the Trump administration of “lying” earlier this week about speeding up supply. Walz said he and six other governors recently sought permission to tap their second…

Wisconsin GOP Official Who Made ‘War’ Post Resigns

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The chairman of the St. Croix County Republican Party, who had posted online that his members should “prepare for war,” stepped down on Friday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that members of the St. Croix County Republican Party Executive Committee asked for John Kraft’s resignation. His post, made before the riot last week at the U.S. Capitol, garnered…

Officials: Extremist Threat to Minnesota Capitol Has Faded

(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski) MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities now believe there is no credible, immediate threat from extremists to Minnesota in the runup to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Friday, but he said law enforcement agencies won’t be taking any chances. The FBI this week warned of potential attacks at state capitols following the insurrection at…

Wisconsin Teen Charged With Killing Infant Daughter in Woods

(Wisconsin Circuit Court Access/Wisconsin State Journal via AP) MONROE, Wis. (AP) — A 16-year-old boy has admitted fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in southern Wisconsin, according to prosecutors. Logan Kruckenburg-Anderson, of Albany, is charged as an adult with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. He’s being held on…

Wisconsin Launching Mobile Vaccination Program

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin is launching a mobile coronavirus vaccination program next week. Gov. Tony Evers announced the effort Friday. Evers says nine mobile labs will be dispatched across the state starting Tuesday. They will be staffed by members of the Wisconsin National Guard as well as pharmacy and nursing student volunteers through a partnership with the University of…

Minnesota Lawmakers Introduce Anti-Copper Mining Legislation

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are ramping up efforts to prevent mining companies from gaining a foothold in Minnesota with legislation that aims to slow or ban copper-nickel mining in the state’s northeastern Iron Range. Legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum and a companion state bill seeks to ban copper mining on federal lands in the Rainy River watershed….

Capitol Rioters Included Highly Trained Ex-Military and Cops

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least 21 current or former members of the U.S. military or law enforcement have been identified as being at or near last week’s Capitol riot, with more than a dozen others under investigation. That’s what an Associated Press review of public records and social media found. In many cases, those who stormed the Capitol appeared to…

Winter Storm Creating Blizzard Conditions, Closing Roads

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A slow-moving winter storm with gusty winds is whipping up blizzard conditions and causing hazardous travel in southwestern Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the region until 6 p.m. Friday. Winds of 30 mph and gusting as high as 60 mph were creating whiteout conditions on area roadways. Forecasters…

Biden Unveiling $1.9T Plan to Stem Virus and Steady Economy

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is unveiling a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan to turn the tide on the pandemic, speeding up the vaccine rollout and providing financial help to individuals, states and local governments, and businesses struggling with the prolonged economic fallout. More than 385,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19. Biden hopes his multipronged strategy…

Essentia Plans for Public Vaccination as Minnesota Health Officials Expand Vaccine Eligibility

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Health has told hospitals, health care systems, and other vaccination providers that they can now provide coronavirus shots to a broader group of the population, including Minnesotans 65 and older. Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement that the move is meant to free providers to use all available doses as quickly…

Line 3 Protesters Chain Themselves Together in Piece of Pipe

BACKUS, Minn. (AP) — Two people accused of chaining themselves together inside a piece of pipe to protest the construction of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 oil pipeline replacement in northern Minnesota were arrested Thursday morning, authorities said. Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said the incident took place about 10:30 a.m. in McKinley Township, west of the town of Backus….

Ex.-Michigan Gov. Snyder Charged in Flint Water Crisis

(Paul Sancya/AP Photo) LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has been charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty in the Flint water crisis. Residents’ tap water became tainted by lead. A legionella outbreak has been connected by experts to ruinous decisions that turned a river into the city’s water source in 2014-15. The indictment filed…

Pharmacist Accused of Spoiling Vaccine Has License Suspended

(Ozaukee County Sheriff via AP) MILWAUKEE (AP) — A state board has suspended the license of a Wisconsin pharmacist accused of ruining more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine because he thought it was unsafe. Steven Brandenburg was working at Advocate Aurora Health in Grafton, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee when he was arrested last month. The arrested followed…

US Unemployment Claims Jump to 965,000 as Virus Takes Toll

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking unemployment aid soared last week to 965,000, the most since late August, and evidence that the resurgent virus has caused a spike in layoffs. The latest figures for jobless claims, issued Thursday by the Labor Department, remain at levels never seen until the virus struck. Before the pandemic, weekly applications typically numbered…