MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Xcel Energy says it will sell its natural gas-fired power plant in Mankato to Southwest Generation for $680 million and use the funds, in part, to support the coronavirus recovery efforts. Southwest is based in Denver, Colorado. The 760-megawatt Mankato Energy Center will continue to provide electricity to the company’s Upper Midwest customers. Xcel says proceeds from the sale will primarily be used to reduce the utility company’s overall financing needs and improve its credit with the net gain from the sale to fund its corporate giving and COVID-19 relief efforts. The sale is expected to close in [...]
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Legislature will reconvene Tuesday to pass a bill to ensure that first responders and health care workers who contract COVID-19 qualify for workers compensation without having to prove that they contracted the disease on the job. Legislative leaders announced the agreement late Sunday. The new rules will apply to a range of emergency and health care workers. The House will convene at noon Tuesday while the Senate will meet at 2 p.m. to pass the bill, using some of the same social distancing rules as when they met March 26 to pass a $330 million COVID-19 [...]
The United States is bracing for a painful week, with a wave of coronavirus deaths expected across the nation. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said. New York City, the U.S. epicenter, New Orleans and Detroit face especially worrying days ahead. Yet President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are striking optimistic tones, insisting that hard weeks ahead will ultimately lead to the nation beginning to turn a corner. Here are some of AP’s top stories Monday on the world’s coronavirus pandemic. Follow APNews.com/VirusOutbreak for updates through the day and APNews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak for stories explaining [...]
Grocery workers across the globe are working the frontlines during lockdowns meant to keep the coronavirus from spreading. Their stores are deemed essential, and their work puts them close to the public and therefore at risk. Often in low-wage jobs, the workers have earned praise from Pope Francis and former U.S. President Barack Obama. But with infection and death rates climbing, workers are demanding better pay, protections and access to testing. Some major chains like Kroger and Walmart are providing bonuses and protective gear. But that doesn't always alleviate workers' fears, especially when customers don't practice social distancing.
Countless doctors and nurses who face an increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus are moving away from their families to protect them. Health care providers have moved to campers, hotel rooms, tents, garages and other temporary housing as they risk exposure to a virus that has claimed tens of thousands of lives worldwide. Some hotels have offered them free rooms, and social media is full of efforts to match medical professionals with housing. The extra layer of isolation means those on the frontlines are sacrificing even more, as they can't be with loved ones for emotional support during this stressful [...]
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Star Tribune) — Gov. Tim Walz, delivering his second State of the State address via the internet, implored Minnesotans to work together to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Walz livestreamed his address from the governor’s residence in St. Paul Sunday and pointed to hopeful signs. COVID-19 has disrupted Minnesotans’ lives in ways never imagined and crippled the state’s economy, yet Walz pointed to hopeful signs. The Star Tribune reports Walz says the state is building hospitals’ capacity, increasing testing to track the spread, adding ventilators and trying to find more personal protective equipment for first responders.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota is approaching 1,000. The Minnesota Department of Health said Sunday the state has 935 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, up 70 from the day before. The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Minnesota rose by five, for a total of 29. The Star Tribune reports the number of long-term care facilities with cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota remains at 32. According to the data, the most common age group for Minnesotans confirmed with the coronavirus is not the elderly, but those between ages of 20 and 44. But older residents are [...]
Get ready for Friday, April 3, with a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press. Coronavirus deaths mount in Spain, Italy and New York, while the outbreak throws 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks and sickens more than a million people. Funeral directors in New York City are facing unprecedented demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors want to use blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients to treat the sick, giving them a dose of the immune system antibodies that fight the virus.
A new report says Minnesota farmers struggled to make a profit in 2019 as bad weather and trade wars combined to keep a lid on incomes for yet another year. According to the annual report from University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota State, median net farm income was up slightly from 2018 but still low at $36,211. Keith Olander of Minnesota State says farming is far from profitable, and Minnesota farmers need a good year. The report found 28% of farms lost money, 45% lost working capital and 46% did not earn enough to cover scheduled debt payments.
HAMLIN, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say two people were killed when a helicopter crashed and burned in west-central Iowa. The crash was reported Tuesday afternoon in Audubon County, a few miles east of Hamlin. Authorities say the aircraft hit a power line before it went down. The names of those aboard have not been released. Authorities say the two were from Minnesota. The crash is being investigated.