Newsletter: Wednesday, October 14th 2020

Newsletter: Wednesday, October 14th 2020

--Minnesota Department of Health website Tuesday reported 1,150 newly reported cases of COVID-19 and 7 new deaths which included two in Stearns County. Morrison County reported 4 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

--Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced Tuesday the expansion of the state’s saliva testing program, including the opening of new saliva testing sites and a pilot of the mail order program. Semi-permanent saliva testing sites will open in Moorhead on October 17 and Brooklyn Park on October 20. These sites will offer free saliva tests to any Minnesotan who believes they need to be tested, as part of the state’s strategy to provide easy access to quick, reliable testing. “Widespread testing is critical to our state’s strategy to combat COVID-19,” said Governor Walz. “By increasing access to testing across Minnesota, these saliva testing sites will allow us to better track, understand, and fight the virus in our communities.” “These new testing sites will help eliminate barriers to testing, giving Minnesotans access to saliva testing with a quick and reliable turnaround of results,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “The progress we’ve made on our state’s testing strategy is the product of working in partnership with community leadership, local public health officials, health care systems, and many others.” Saliva testing has been underway in Duluth since September 23 and testing will begin in Winona tomorrow. In addition to the new Brooklyn Park and Moorhead locations, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will open an additional six sites later this month—two in Greater Minnesota and four more in the metro area—for a total of 10 such sites across the state. Details on those locations will be announced when available. Full details can be found on the COVID-19 Community Saliva Testing website.

--On September 29, a new campaign led by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the White House was launched to keep kids safe online. The campaign is titled Safety Pledge. This campaign aims to provide free resources from the NCMEC to help parents, educators, and other caregivers learn more about the risks that children face online and empower the children in their lives to respond to those risks safely. With many children being educated remotely this fall and using virtual devices for school lessons and social interactions, it is essential that we work together to help keep children safe online. The website has a under the “Take the Pledge” tab individuals can digitally sign and make their formal commitment to safeguarding children online. In 2019, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office nationally certified their response to missing, abducted and sexually exploited children through NCMEC and the Missing Kids Readiness Program. Our patrol division is one of four Minnesota patrol divisions certified through the MKRP. The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office is committed to collaborating with the NCMEC to keep our children safe. Details are also their website.

--A St. Cloud man was killed in a crash Monday. The Minnesota State Patrol says it happened just after 3:30pm on Highway 23 in Richmond. Forty-five-year-old Brad Grunig was heading east near Becker Lake Circle when his vehicle went off the road and struck a sign and several trees. Grunig was not wearing a seatbelt.

--A reminder that schools in Minnesota will be off tomorrow and Friday what what some still call the MEA break, others have changed the name but again no school Thursday and Friday for students.

--There will be a debate/forum for the State Senate seat in District 9 on Tuesday, October 20th at 9:05am on AM960 KLTF between State Senator Paul Gazelka and challenger A. John Peters. Questions can be emailed to before the debate next week, there will be no phone calls during that time period on the air.

--A 30-year-old St. Cloud man is accused of selling heroin to a woman who later died, according to a criminal complaint filed May 15th in Benton County District Court. Eric Duane Mitchell was charged with one felony count of third-degree murder and one felony count of third-degree controlled substance. According to the complaint, officers responded to a medical situation in the 110 block of Greenwood Lane in Sartell in late April. A 33-year old woman was pronounced dead at the scene; an autopsy found the death "was the result of toxic effects of heroin," the complaint states. The woman's cell phone showed a conversation with Mitchell where she asks Mitchell, "how soon can I do the second one" and Mitchell responds, "you can do it right now if you want." A friend of the woman told officers Mitchell had "introduced meth to (the woman) about five months prior," the complaint states. Officers found items with a powdery substance on them in the garage; a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension laboratory found heroin on a piece of aluminum foil from the garage. Mitchell's first court hearing was on September 22, where a judge ruled he could be released on a $50,000 unconditional bond or released with conditions he submit to random testing and agree to not possess or use alcohol or drugs. His next court date is scheduled for Nov. 18.

--Two vehicle fires, a grass fire and two fire alarms recently prompted response by the Brainerd Fire Department. The vehicle fires were reported at 8:44pm last Thursday on the 17000 block of Highway 18, and at 11:52pm Saturday on the 1100 block of Quince Street. Both fires were extinguished. After extinguishing the vehicle fire on Quince Street, firefighters also checked a nearby structure and ventilated the building. The grass fire was reported at 12:45pm Saturday on the 15000 block of Thompson Road. The fire was extinguished with assistance from the DNR Forestry Division. Two acres of grassland burned. The two fire alarms were reported at 1:23pm Friday on the 800 block of Southeast 28th Street and at 9:32 p.m. at Comfort Suites Lodge, 7376 Woida Road, Baxter. Firefighters investigated both alarms, which were determined to be maintenance matters.

--Joshua Hart and Kimberly DeMarre of Little Falls, a girl on Oct 12th.

--Linda Jacobson, age 67 of Little Falls

TODAY= AM shower, some sun, windy, PM showers, high 60.
TONIGHT= showers early, then clearing, windy, low 29.
THURSDAY= sunny and windy, high 44, clear night, low 27.
FRIDAY= sunny, not as windy, high 43, snow showers late, low 26.

NFL= Vikings running back Dalvin Cook reportedly will miss the game this Sunday with Atlanta following a groin injury on Sunday against Seattle. Cook did have an MRI Monday which showed no significant damage. Vikings after Atlanta have their bye week.