• Twin Cities metro hospitals halt ambulance diversions amid COVID-19 crush: COVID-19 pressures have forced Twin Cities hospitals to suspend the long-standing practice of diverting ambulances from their emergency departments when they are overcrowded. ERs are required under federal law to treat walk-in patients, but have long used cooperative diversion systems to protect each other from overcrowding and to reroute ambulances to hospitals with capacity. The idea is to backstop hospitals with one-time surges in demand, or problems such as power outages. But in the pandemic it became a race to see which ER reached capacity and needed to divert ambulances first.
  • 3M ordered to pay $110M in latest earplug lawsuit: A Florida jury handed down a $110 million verdict against 3M in the latest trial over the company's allegedly defective earplugs — a sum twice the size as all other related earplug verdicts combined. The case was the latest in a series of bellwether trials that are meant to shape potential settlements for large-scale litigation on the issue.
  • How to get a free N95 mask in Minnesota: The federal government's free N95 masks are now arriving in Minnesota pharmacies to help fight the spread of the omicron COVID-19 variant. Here's what you need to know about the masks and how to get them.
  • Human chain formed to rescue city bus passengers after Pittsburgh bridge collapse: A 50-year-old bridge spanning a ravine collapsed in Pittsburgh early Friday, requiring rescuers to rappel nearly 150 feet while others formed a human chain to reach occupants of a dangling bus. There were minor injuries from the collapse but no fatalities, authorities said. The collapse came hours before President Joe Biden was to visit the city to press for his $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which has earmarked about $1.6 billion for Pennsylvania bridge maintenance.
  • Ethics complaint against ex-Minneapolis police chief Arradondo dismissed: The dismissal comes after Mayor Jacob Frey issued Arradondo a letter of reprimand for misusing city resources when he held a press conference to urge voters to reject the public safety ballot question in the final days leading up to the November election.
  • Former Minneapolis council member Cunningham accused of violating social media ethics rules: Former Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham may have violated the city's ethics code when he deleted an official Facebook post in August. The city's social media policy states that posts made on council members' official Facebook pages are public records and city property.
  • Family found frozen to death at U.S.-Canadian border identified: Canadian authorities on Thursday released the identities of an Indian family that froze to death last week at the U.S.-Canada border and vowed to aggressively investigate the case of human smuggling. The deceased were Jagdish B. Patel, 39; Vaishaliben J. Patel, 37; Vihangi J. Patel, an 11-year-old girl, and Dharmik J. Patel, a 3-year-old boy.
  • Minnesota GOP operative charged with sex trafficking minors claims feds targeted him for being rich: Anton Lazzaro, the Minnesota GOP strategist charged last year with sex trafficking of minors, is arguing in a court filing that he's being singled out for prosecution due to his wealth and public profile and that the case against him should be dismissed. Lazzaro also argued in the motion filed in U.S. District Court that he was not paying females for sex, but merely giving them expensive presents before they "hooked up."
  • Where carjackings happened in St. Paul in 2021: An uptick in violent carjackings in recent months has left Twin Cities residents on edge. But while the trend has affected urban and suburban communities throughout the metro area, the frequency of these crimes differs from place to place.

How Disney made sound effects in the old days: These methods are very analog and some of them are quite ingenious.

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  • What if the Vikings traded Kirk Cousins ... to the Packers? As one of the world's foremost thought leaders in imaginary Kirk Cousins trades, Michael Rand thought he had covered pretty much everything. Then this came along.
  • Journey begins for Adofo-Mensah as he takes command of Vikings: As Kwesi Adofo-Mensah shared his approach to his new job, he was short on specifics while making it clear he believes his unorthodox path to the job will be an advantage to reshaping the Vikings.
  • Brodin likely to return for Wild vs. Rangers, Talbot to start in goal: Defenseman Jon Merrill and center Nico Sturm aren't on the trip after going on the COVID list, and winger Nick Bjustad remains out with an upper-body injury.

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COVID-19 may have seasons for different temperature zones, study suggests: Colder regions may experience more cases during the winter, while warmer regions may see spikes in the summer, reports Kasha Patel for the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang.


Want to win a $15 gift card of your choice? It's Friday, so that means it's time for another trivia question. The correct answer to this question can be found in a story that appeared in Talkers this week. We can't prevent you from simply Googling the answer, so Googling is encouraged! E-mail your answer to by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. A winner will be selected at random from the correct responses. That lucky reader will receive a $15 card of their choice from one of several retailers — Best Buy, Target, Holiday or Menards — as well as a shout-out in Monday's newsletter.

Here is this week's question: The Biden administration canceled leases for which proposed mine in northern Minnesota this week?

Good luck!


Jan. 28, 1980: Inside the galley at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Ill., cooks prepare meals to feed 8,000 soldiers each day. (Photo: Stormi Greener/Star Tribune)