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VIRUS OUTBREAK-EASTER SERVICES

For many, Easter Sunday marks a return to in-person worship

BOSTON (AP) — For many Christians, this weekend marks the first time in three years they will gather in person to celebrate Easter Sunday, a welcome chance to share one of the faith’s holiest days side-by-side with fellow parishioners. In the United States, the pandemic stuck in March, 2020, forcing many churches to resort to online or televised Masses weeks ahead of Easter. In Boston, Catholic churches are among houses of worship opening their doors with few COVID-19 restrictions for Easter services. On Saturday evening, hundreds of people in Minnesota gathered in the grand Cathedral of St. Paul to observe an Easter Vigil service.

BOY SHOT-MINNEAPOLIS

Boy, 10, shot dead while in Minneapolis apartment with minor

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Police say a 10-year-old boy was fatally shot while he and another juvenile family member were alone in a downtown Minneapolis apartment. The shooting happened late Friday. Police say they were called to the apartment to find the 10-year-old boy with a life-threatening gunshot wound. The child died at a hospital. Police have not released the age of the other juvenile who was with the boy at the time. Police say they are still trying to figure out what happened. The boy’s parents are cooperating with police.

LUCKY CHARMS-INVESTIGATION

FDA investigating Lucky Charms after reports of illness

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating Lucky Charms cereal after dozens of consumers complained of illness after eating it. The FDA said Saturday it has received more than 100 complaints related to Lucky Charms so far this year. Several hundred people have also posted on a food safety website, iwaspoisoned.com, complaining of nausea, diarrhea and vomiting after eating Lucky Charms. General Mills Inc., the Minneapolis-based company that makes Lucky Charms and other cereals, said it’s taking those reports seriously. But the company said its own investigation has not found evidence of consumer illness related to Lucky Charms.

ELECTION 2022-MINNESOTA

Walz has $4.1M in campaign cash; Jensen and Gazelka lead GOP

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Campaign finance reports show Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has $4.1 million in the bank for his reelection campaign. Meanwhile, Dr. Scott Jensen and Sen. Paul Gazelka are the money leaders among candidates seeking the Republican endorsement for governor. The reports show Jensen — a former state senator who’s running as a COVID-19 skeptic — ended the first quarter with over $774,000 in cash on hand. Gazelka is a former Senate majority leader running on a law-and-order platform. He finished the reporting period with over $406,000 in the bank. Minnesota Republicans hold their state convention next month to endorse candidates for governor and other statewide offices.

PRISON GUARD-METH

Stillwater prison guard faces meth smuggling charges

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a prison guard with smuggling methamphetamine to an inmate. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Friday that 24-year Faith Rose Gratz faces one count of methamphetamine possession with intent to sell and one count of possession of 50 grams or more. Both charges are felonies. According to a criminal complaint, investigators discovered the scheme after they confiscated a cellphone from an inmate at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater in Bayport this month. They learned Gratz had given the inmate the phone and messages on it included the two of them laying out delivery plans. Police and prison investigators caught her with about 233 grams of methamphetamine in her truck when she drove up to the prison on April 8.

MINNESOTA LEGISLATURE

Divided Minnesota Legislature will return with much undone

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A deeply divided Minnesota Legislature returns from its Easter-Passover break Tuesday. Lawmakers have just five weeks left to decide what to do with the state’s $9.25 billion budget surplus plus $1 billion in unspent federal pandemic relief. There’s been little meeting of the minds between the House Democratic and Senate Republican majorities. They have yet to translate their handful of bipartisan successes to bigger deals on taxes, spending and policy. There is no constitutional requirement that the Legislature pass anything this session, given that it approved a budget last year. Any untouched surplus will stay in the bank for next year.

PRISON TATTOOS

State officials looking to launch prison tattoo program

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State corrections officials are looking to a launch a prison tattoo program in hopes of curbing bloodborne diseases as inmates ink themselves with homemade tools. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the Corrections Department is searching for an experienced tattoo artist to oversee tattoo studios in state prisons. The aim is to slow the spread of diseases like hepatitis C that can spread when inmates try to tattoo themselves or each other with unsterilized tools like electric motors and ballpoint pens and share contaminated needles. Corrections spokesman Nick Kimball says as of January anywhere from 1,200 to 3,500 of the prison system’s 7,511 inmates were infected with hepatitis C. He says treatment can cost between $20,000 and $75,000.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MINNESOTA

Minneapolis schools drop COVID mask mandate

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis school district is dropping its mask mandate next week. The Star Tribune reported the district will end the mandate on Monday. The district also will end contact tracing work and quarantine time for unvaccinated adults and students exposed to COVID-19 will shrink from 10 days to five. The quarantine period will still last 10 days for those who test positive for the disease. The St. Paul school board voted April 12 to lift that district’s mask mandate on Monday.

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