Archive for Hot Topics

Governor Walz Directs Schools to Make Long-Term Strategic Plans for COVID-19

ST. PAUL, MN – Walz orders the temporary closure of schools to allow for new safety measures

Children of health care professionals, emergency workers to receive care

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 20-02, authorizing the temporary closure of Minnesota K-12 public schools to students in order for school administrators and teachers to make long-term plans for the continuity of education and essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools will be closed to students by Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 27 to accommodate this planning between school staff, teachers, and administrators with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

“My top priority as Governor is the safety of Minnesotans. As a former teacher, and father of two teenage kids, I’m especially focused on the safety of our children.” said Governor Walz. “I am ordering the temporary closure of schools so educators can make plans to provide a safe learning environment for all Minnesota students during this pandemic. Closing schools is never an easy decision, but we need to make sure we have plans in place to educate and feed our kids regardless of what’s to come.”

Executive Order 20-02 requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders, and other emergency workers during previously planned school days to ensure Minnesota’s first line of defense against COVID-19 can stay on the job.

“There is nothing more important than the health, safety, and well-being of Minnesotans,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “This decision was made with children and families in mind, as well as our educators, to best support our schools and educational system in the weeks and months ahead and make sure that we have a plan in place for our kids who rely on school for meals and other critical needs.”

The Executive Order also makes provisions for the continuity of mental health services and requires schools to continue providing meals to students in need.

“The safety and well-being of our students is always our top priority,” said MDE Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “That is why we are committed to creating an education delivery model that can sustain learning, no matter the circumstances. Minnesota has long valued education and we will continue to work with our school leaders to ensure that our students continue to receive the education they need and deserve. Educators are caring, creative people and I am confident they are going to work to meet the needs of our students in these extraordinary times.”

The Governor advises and urges Minnesotans to continue following the Minnesota Department of Health’s community mitigation strategies during this temporary closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while students are not in school.

A statement from Bishop John M. LeVoir of the Diocese of New Ulm regarding COVID-19 and Mass obligation

NEW ULM – Given the rapid spread of the COVID-19/coronavirus and to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading infection, I am dispensing the faithful from the obligation of attending Mass on Saturday evening or Sunday for the next three weekends (March 14/15; 21/22; 28/29) in the Diocese of New Ulm. If the faithful decide that gathering for Sunday Mass would constitute a risk to themselves or others, they have the freedom not to attend. However, Masses will continue to be celebrated in parishes in the Diocese of New Ulm as regularly scheduled.

A map of parishes in the Diocese of New Ulm may be found here: https://www.dnu.org/parishes-2

The Diocese has parishes in or near to the Herald Journal and Enterprise Dispatch areas.  They are located in Winsted, Darwin, Silver Lake, Litchfield, Hutchinson, and Glencoe.

A more extensive statement from Bishop LeVoir to Catholics in the Diocese of New Ulm can be found on the diocesan website, www.dnu.org.

Luce Line State Trail closed to horses March 7 – May 15

McLEOD, CARVER, AND HENNEPIN COUNTIES, MN – The horse trail along the Luce Line State Trail, from Vicksburg Lane in Plymouth to the City of Winsted, will be closed from Saturday, March 7 to about May 15. The closure is intended to prevent damage to the tread way from wet conditions and frost coming out of the ground, according to a release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Signs will be posted on the horse trail notifying users of the trail closure. DNR conservation officers and local law enforcement officials will monitor compliance

The main tread way will remain open for permitted uses. Horseback riding is not permitted on the main tread way at any time.

Those who choose the Luce Line Trail to walk their dogs are reminded that dogs must be leashed and dog waste should be picked up. Trail rules say that dogs must be on a leash that is 6 feet or shorter.

Questions regarding the horse trail closure or any other trail-related issues can be directed to Rachel Henzen, DNR area parks and trails supervisor, at 651-259-5875.

Wright Co. Auditor/Treasurer’s office to be open additional hours for absentee voting

WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – The Wright County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office has announced that it will be open additional hours for those interested in absentee voting for the Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP) and township elections.

The PNP will be Tuesday, March 3 and the auditor/treasurer’s office will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29 and extend its closing time Monday, March 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Township elections will be held Tuesday, March 10. Similar time frames will remain in place for this election as well, with the office being open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7 and extending its office hours from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, March 9.

The who wish to vote early in either election can do so during regular business hours at the Wright County Government Center in Buffalo from now until the day before either election.

Caucus Finder website available

ST. PAUL, MN – For the first time in 28 years, Minnesota voters will be going to the polls to determine delegates in the presidential nomination primary Tuesday, March 3. However, that doesn’t mean the state caucuses are going away.

Caucuses will be conducted throughout the state Tuesday, Feb. 25, with all scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and run for a couple of hours.

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State announced this week that its Caucus Finder feature is operational on its website, to help those interested in attending the caucus to find the location. The Caucus  Finder is available HERE.

The webpage will instruct individuals to type in their street address, and the locations for the four major parties on the 2020 ballot – Republican, Democrat, Grass Roots/Legalize Cannabis, and Legalize Marijuana Now – will be available.

There has been the misconception that the caucuses would be eliminated with the switch to the presidential nomination primary. However, the primary is operated by the State of Minnesota, while caucuses are meetings run by the individual political parties. They will still serve the same function as they always have, including endorsing candidates, selecting delegates, and setting the goals and priorities for the party platforms.

Caucus Finder website available

ST. PAUL, MN – For the first time in 28 years, Minnesota voters will be going to the polls to determine delegates in the presidential nomination primary Tuesday, March 3. However, that doesn’t mean the state caucuses are going away.

Caucuses will be conducted throughout the state Tuesday, Feb. 25, with all scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and run for a couple of hours.

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State announced this week that its Caucus Finder feature is operational on its website, to help those interested in attending the caucus to find the location. The Caucus  Finder is available HERE.

The webpage will instruct individuals to type in their street address, and the locations for the four major parties on the 2020 ballot – Republican, Democrat, Grass Roots/Legalize Cannabis, and Legalize Marijuana Now – will be available.

There has been the misconception that the caucuses would be eliminated with the switch to the presidential nomination primary. However, the primary is operated by the State of Minnesota, while caucuses are meetings run by the individual political parties. They will still serve the same function as they always have, including endorsing candidates, selecting delegates, and setting the goals and priorities for the party platforms.