Author: The Associated Press

US Jobless Claims Fall to 406,000, a New Pandemic Low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week to 406,000, a new pandemic low and more evidence that the job market is strengthening as the virus wanes and the economy further reopens. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that applications declined 38,000 from 444,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly applications for jobless…

Many COVID-19 Restrictions Ending, Not Eviction Moratorium

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota housing officials are urging state legislators to proceed carefully in negotiating an end to a moratorium on rental property evictions. While other coronavirus restrictions are being lifted, lawmakers have failed to reach a compromise on ending the eviction moratorium. Housing commissioner Jennifer Ho said the anxiety of both owners and renters is real. “Why…

8 Dead in Shooting at Railyard Serving Silicon Valley

(AP Photo/Noah Berger) SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — An assailant opened fire at a California railyard serving Silicon Valley, killing eight people. Authorities say the suspect is also dead. The shooting took place around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday at a light rail facility in San Jose next door to the sheriff’s department and across a freeway from the airport. The facility…

Wisconsin Lawmakers Consider Banning Transgender Athletes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Female athletes are urging Wisconsin lawmakers to ban transgender people from participating in girls’ and women’s sports, while opponents of the Republican-backed measures say they are discriminatory and chasing a problem that doesn’t exist. A broad array of more than 30 groups opposed the measures that got their first public hearings Wednesday before three legislative committees….

Amazon to Buy MGM, Studio Behind James Bond and ‘Shark Tank’

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) NEW YORK (AP) — Online shopping giant Amazon is buying MGM, the movie and TV studio behind James Bond, “Legally Blonde” and “Shark Tank,” with the hopes of filling its video streaming service with more stuff to watch. Amazon is paying $8.45 billion for MGM, making it the company’s second-largest acquisition after buying grocer Whole Foods…

Gunshots Heard Near Floyd Square on Anniversary of Death

(Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP) MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minneapolis intersection where George Floyd died has been disrupted by gunfire, just hours before a family-friendly street festival marking the anniversary of his death at the hands of police. Associated Press video from the scene Tuesday morning shows people running for cover as shots ring out. Police say one person later…

Conservation Officer Killed While on Duty Is Identified

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (AP) — Authorities have identified the state conservation officer who died while on duty when a semi struck her pickup truck in Itasca County. Sarah Grell, 39, of Cohasset, was killed Monday morning while driving north of Grand Rapids, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The patrol says Grell’s pickup was hit broadside by the…

Moderna Says Its COVID-19 Shot Works in Kids as Young as 12

(AP) – Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine strongly protects kids as young as 12. The company released the preliminary findings Tuesday based on testing on more than 3,700 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States. Earlier this month, the U.S. and Canada authorized another vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech to be used starting at age 12. Moderna intends to submit…

Biden Doubling Spending to Prepare for Hurricanes, Storms

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is doubling U.S. emergency spending to help communities prepare for hurricanes and other extreme weather events while launching a new effort at NASA to better understand and track the impacts of climate change. The $1 billion in federal spending being announced Monday is a small fraction of what the U.S. spends on weather-related disasters….

Pace of COVID-19 Vaccinations Picks up in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s coronavirus vaccination rate has accelerated after several weeks of sluggish inoculation numbers. The state pace remained above 40,000 shots a day on Sunday, a level not previously seen for more than two weeks. Data shows a big increase in first vaccine doses which now average nearly 18,000 a day, up from about 10,000 a…

27 Possible Voter Fraud Cases in Three Million Wisconsin Ballots

Nearly 3.3 Million People Voted in the 2020 Presidential Election

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Just over two dozen potential cases of voter fraud out of more than three million ballots cast in the November presidential election have been identified by Wisconsin election officials and forwarded to local district attorneys for possible prosecution. That’s according to documents obtained Friday by The Associated Press under the state’s open records law. The 27…

Biden to Host Floyd Family at The White House Tuesday

The Meeting Comes as the Floyd Family Marks One Year Since George Floyd Lost His Life in Minneapolis

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will host George Floyd’s family at the White House Tuesday to mark the first anniversary of his death at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday the president would mark the anniversary of Floyd’s death, but offered no further details on his plans. Floyd died…

2 Dead, 8 Wounded in Downtown Minneapolis Shooting

The Shooting Happened Early Saturday Morning in Downtown Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A shooting in downtown Minneapolis killed two people and wounded eight others, police said early Saturday. The 10 people shot included five men and five women, the police department said in a series of tweets. Two of the men died and another man was at a hospital in critical condition, police said. The other seven wounded people…

Attorneys: Rittenhouse Trial in November Could Take 2 Weeks

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, Pool) MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Attorneys say the November trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois man accused of killing two people during a protest in Wisconsin last summer, could take up to two weeks. Rittenhouse’s attorneys and prosecutors confirmed with Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder during a status conference Friday that the trial will begin…

Jobs Recovery Slows, Yet Hiring Picks up in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s jobs agency is trying to direct unemployed individuals to businesses that are having difficulty filling positions. Each week, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is calling thousands of Minnesotans who are out of work to help them with their job search and point them to businesses that are ramping up hiring as…

Rittenhouse Due to Make First in-Person Court Appearance

(Antioch Police Department via AP) MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois man accused of killing two people during a protest in Wisconsin over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, is expected to make his first in-person court appearance. Rittenhouse is set to appear at a status conference Friday morning in Kenosha County Circuit Court. Rittenhouse’s attorneys and prosecutors…

Israel, Hamas Agree to Cease-Fire to End Bloody 11-Day War

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel and Hamas have announced a cease-fire to end a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a standstill. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced late Thursday that his Security Cabinet approved the Egyptian-mediated proposal. Hamas quickly followed suit and said it would honor the…

Republicans Reject Body Cameras for Wisconsin Capitol Police

  MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget committee have voted against buying body cameras for state Capitol police officers, rejecting a proposal from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. The panel on Thursday voted 12-4, with all Republicans in support and Democrats against, to reject spending up to $100,000 over two years on between 35 to 50…

Wisconsin Republicans Reject Funding to Fight Homelessness

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republicans have voted to reject more than $70 million in funding to combat homelessness, a move that Democrats called a missed opportunity to address a problem that worsened due to the pandemic. Gov. Tony Evers had proposed spending around $73 million over two years on a variety of initiatives designed to help homeless people, including…

Masks No Longer Required in State Buildings Beginning June 1

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — New guidance from Gov. Tony Evers’ administration says people vaccinated for COVID-19 will no longer be required to wear masks in the state Capitol and most other state facilities beginning on June 1. The updated guidance for state government follows advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that those who are fully vaccinated…

Appeals Court Hears Case of 3 Ex-Cops Charged in Floyd Death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Attorneys for the state and for three former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd are making oral arguments Thursday before the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Prosecutors will seek to add an additional charge of aiding and abetting third-degree murder to the case. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao are already charged with…

US Jobless Claims Decline to 444,000, a New Pandemic Low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to 444,000, a new pandemic low and a sign that the job market keeps strengthening as consumers spend freely again, viral infections drop and business restrictions ease. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that applications declined 34,000 from a revised 478,000 a week earlier. The number…

Wisconsin Judge Jailed After Appearing on Child Porn Charges

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Wisconsin juvenile court judge accused of possessing and distributing child pornography was taken into federal custody after making his initial appearance in court. The lawyer for Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Brett Blomme, charged in federal court with two counts of distributing child pornography, said in court Wednesday that Blomme decided on his own not to seek…

Wisconsin Republicans Want to End $300 Unemployment Bonus

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin Republicans say they want to end the $300-per-week federal unemployment supplement because it hurts businesses that are struggling to fill vacancies as customers return amid loosened coronavirus restrictions. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Sen. Howard Marklein, chairman of the Legislature’s budget committee, called on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to support the bill they unveiled…

Smokable Medical Marijuana in Minnesota Expected to Cut Cost

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Those enrolled in Minnesota’s medical marijuana program are expected to have a more affordable option to the liquid, oil, and pills currently allowed under one of the nation’s most restrictive medical cannabis laws. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz was expected to sign the bill that passed the House and Senate this week to relax the program by including…

Evers Announces $100 Million to Expand Broadband

(Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File) MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday that the state will be using $100 million in federal coronavirus stimulus funding to award grants for expanding broadband internet access in Wisconsin. The federal funding is in addition to nearly $200 million in broadband expansion proposals Evers made in his state budget, which…

Supreme Court to Take up Major Abortion Rights Challenge

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has agreed to consider a major rollback of abortion rights, saying it will take up Mississippi’s bid to enforce a 15-week ban on the procedure. The court’s order Monday sets up a showdown over abortion, probably in the fall, with a more conservative court ready to consider dramatically altering nearly 50 years of rulings…

UPDATE: Officer Charged in Daunte Wright Death to Stand Trial Dec. 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A December trial date has been set for a former suburban Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in Daunte Wright’s death. Former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter is scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 6, barring any future scheduling conflicts. The date was set during a Monday pretrial hearing, during which Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu…

Wisconsin DOJ Official Alleges Racial, Gender Harassment

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A top administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Justice alleges that Attorney General Josh Kaul’s administration is paying her less and treating her poorly because she’s a Black woman. Division of Law Enforcement Services Administrator Tina Virgil filed a complaint last month with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that she’s the second-lowest paid administrator…

Biden Boosting World Vaccine Sharing Commitment to 80M Doses

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the world in the coming six weeks. White House press secretary Jen Psaki says the doses would come from existing U.S. production of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks. It isn’t yet clear which countries will receive them. President Joe Biden will…

Officer Charged in Death of Daunte Wright to Appear in Court

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former suburban Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in Daunte Wright’s death is scheduled to appear in court via videoconference. Former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter has an omnibus hearing, also known as a pretrial hearing, Monday afternoon in Hennepin County. The hearing is to go over evidence and determine if there is probable cause…

Minnesota Legislative Leaders Say They Have a Budget Deal

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The two top leaders of the Minnesota Legislature said they reached an agreement with Democratic Gov. Tim Walz early Monday on broad targets for the state’s next two-year budget but that lawmakers will have to reconvene for a special session in mid-June to finish the work. Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House…

DNR Considers Ending Night Wolf Hunt, Shorter Registrations

(AP Photo/Dawn Villella, File) MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin wildlife officials are considering drafting new regulations that would prohibit hunting wolves at night and shorten the window for registering kills after hunters blew past their quota in February. The Trump administration removed wolves from the endangered species list in January. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was preparing to hold…

Marijuana Bill Clears Minnesota House in Historic Vote

The Bill is Not Expected to Get a Vote in the GOP-Controlled Senate

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota House passed a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana use after hours of debate Thursday night in a historic vote that marked the first time either chamber has voted on legalization. The legislation passed on a 72-61 vote after nearly five hours of debate on the House floor. The legislation made its way through a dozen…

Federal Judge Delivers New Blow to Foes of Twin Metals Mine

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A federal judge has rejected a second attempt by opponents of the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota to invalidate the mineral rights leases needed for the project. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden said Thursday that new arguments and evidence raised by the opponents in the 2020 lawsuit would not have changed the outcome of…

Minnesota House to Take up Cannabis Bill in Historic Vote

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota House will vote on a proposal to legalize marijuana use for adults and expunge minor marijuana convictions on Thursday — the first time either chamber has ever voted on legalization. The legislation, authored by Democratic House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, of Golden Valley, made its way through a dozen committees stops this legislative session before…

CDC to Ease up Guidance on Indoor Mask-Wearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places. That’s according to a person briefed on the announcement, expected later Thursday at the White House. The new guidance will still call for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like…

McDonald’s Raising US Workers’ Pay in Company-Owned Stores

(AP) — McDonald’s is raising pay at 650 company-owned stores in the U.S. as part of its push to hire thousands of new workers in a tight labor market. The fast-food giant followed Chipotle, which also announced pay hikes this week. Wages and benefits for U.S. workers have been growing quickly as vaccinations increase and employers try to meet growing…

Vaccinations of 12- To 15-Year-Olds Begins in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Coronavirus vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds will begin Thursday in Wisconsin after an advisory committee for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the inoculations for younger children. “The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announces that children 12-15 years old are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and vaccinations…

US Unemployment Claims Drop to 473,000, a New Pandemic Low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 473,000, a new pandemic low and the latest evidence that fewer employers are cutting jobs as consumers ramp up spending and more businesses reopen. Applications declined 34,000 from a revised 507,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly jobless claims — a rough measure of the…

Sen. Klobuchar’s Father, Columnist Jim Klobuchar, Dies at 93

(Klobuchar Press Office via Fox 9) MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jim Klobuchar, longtime Minnesota newspaper reporter and columnist and father of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, has died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Klobuchar died Wednesday at the Emerald Crest care facility in Burnsville, a Twin Cities suburb, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was 93. Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota…

Report: Ellen Degeneres to End Her TV Talk Show Next Year

NEW YORK (AP) — Ellen DeGeneres is calling time on her longtime-running talk show. Reports say the daytime host, who has seen a ratings hit after allegations of running a toxic workplace, has decided that her upcoming season will be the last. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” started airing in 2003 and has a mix of dancing, games and giveaways along…

Ruling Paves Way for Longer Sentence in George Floyd’s Death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge has found aggravating factors in the death of George Floyd. The ruling made public Wednesday paves the way for a longer sentence for former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin. He was convicted in April on murder and manslaughter counts. He’s scheduled to be sentenced June 25. Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, he would have faced a…

Whitmer Threatens Profit Seizure if Pipeline Keeps Operating

(Garret Ellison | MLive) LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is threatening to go after Enbridge’s profits from a Great Lakes oil pipeline if it isn’t shut down. The Democratic governor issued the warning Tuesday in a letter to Enbridge, a Canadian oil transport company. Whitmer ordered the company last November to close the line by May 12….

Judge Denies Media Requests for Cameras at Potter Hearing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge on Tuesday denied media requests to allow cameras at an upcoming hearing for a suburban Minneapolis police officer charged in Daunte Wright’s death. Kim Potter, 48, is charged with manslaughter in Wright’s death during a traffic stop April 11 in Brooklyn Center. The city’s police chief at the time said he believed Potter, who is white, mixed…