Ohio Boat Parades, Road Rallies Buoy Trump and His Supporters Across the Country

When a flotilla of pontoon and fishing boats decked out with “Trump 2020” flags cruised past him this summer, Dale Fullenkamp got an idea.

“I figured I don’t have a boat, but I do have a tractor,” he said.

Soon he was leading nearly 300 combines and tractors pulling hay wagons and manure spreaders through the western Ohio village of Fort Recovery, one of many parades nationwide organized by a swell of grassroots supporters for President Donald Trump.

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Rand Paul, Ted Cruz Stump for Virginia Republican Candidates

It was cold and rainy, but approximately 150 people attended the Chesterfield GOTV Rally in a covered arena at Keystone Acres on Sunday afternoon. Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) headlined the event. Virginia candidates Nick Freitas, Daniel Gade, and Leon Benjamin appealed to supporters to not only vote, but to encourage friends and community members to vote.

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Gov. Walz Activates National Guard after Chauvin’s Third Degree Murder Charge Dropped

Gov. Tim Walz activated the Minnesota National Guard on Thursday to assist local law enforcement in protecting the greater Twin Cities.

“In light of developments in the George Floyd case, we’ve taken the precautionary step of asking the Minnesota National Guard to prepare to help ensure safety for Minnesotans,” Walz said in a statement. “I want to remind Minnesotans that today’s ruling marks a positive step in the path toward justice for George Floyd.”

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Gov. Whitmer Near Bottom of Economic Freedom Report

According to a report from a center-right organization The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earned a fifth-to-last ranking among all 50 governors in the United States.

The 2020 Laffer-ALEC report on Economic Freedom ranks all 50 governors by results and policy.

Whitmer ranked 43rd for results, 41st for policy and 46th overall.

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Mass Data Collection of License Plate Numbers Upheld by Virginia Supreme Court

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled Fairfax County’s mass collection of vehicle license plate numbers does not violate legal privacy protections in a decision criticized by civil liberty advocates.

The Fairfax County Police Department won a lawsuit that challenged its use of automated license plate readers, which tracks times and locations of drivers. Because the court ruled the information the readers compile is not legally protected as personal, identifying information, Fairfax Police and other police departments in the commonwealth can continue to use them.

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TRUMPDATE: Latest From the Team Trump Virginia Campaign for October 26

Welcome to the Monday edition of our daily Virginia Trump campaign update! We will provide our readers with daily updates on the Trump Virginia campaign from today to November 3 (and after…if need be!).

It’s officially eight days until the election on November 3 – and five days until early voting in Virginia closes.

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Justin Fairfax Says He is Poised to Help All Virginians as the Next Governor

If elected governor, Justin Fairfax is determined to bring the Commonwealth and its residents out from underneath the current issues plaguing Virginia brought forth by the coronavirus pandemic and a destructive political landscape. 

Last month Lt. Gov. Fairfax officially announced his entrance into the 2021 gubernatorial election, hoping to follow in the footsteps of former state governor L. Douglas Wilder and become the second black man elected to the Executive Mansion. 

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No. 18 Michigan Tops No. 21 Minnesota 49-24 in Milton Debut

After playing sparingly for Michigan as a backup his first two years and waiting for this virus-shortened season to start seven weeks late, Joe Milton’s time at quarterback had finally come.

The enormity of the moment hit him in the locker room, just before taking the field at Minnesota.

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New Wave of Prosecutors Pushing to Ignore Sections of Law

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill on Wednesday requiring judges to dismiss cases when both prosecutors and defense attorneys agree. The bill was born after Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood (D) announced that he would not be prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The bill is an example of a national push to allow prosecutors discretion to ignore whole sections of law, according to Heritage Foundation Legal Fellow and former prosecutor Zack Smith.

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Class-Action Lawsuit Targets Wayne County Foreclosure Practices

A Detroiter filed a class-action lawsuit against Wayne County on Thursday, claiming officials foreclosed on her home, sold it at less than half the market value, and then pocketed the proceeds.

Philip L. Ellison, an attorney at Hemlock-based Outside Legal Counsel, and others filed the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. Eastern District Court on behalf of Tonya Bowles, who lost her East State property to foreclosure in 2017.

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Ohio Announces Pandemic Grants, Governor Denounces Threats

Small businesses, bars and restaurants, low-income renters, arts groups, and colleges and universities are among those eligible for $429 million in federal pandemic dollars being released by the state next week, Gov. Mike DeWine and his fellow Republican legislative leaders announced Friday.

The aid package, which the governor has promised for several weeks, is scheduled to go before a bipartisan state legislative spending panel Monday. Its passage is assured with the backing of House Speaker Bob Cupp and Senate President Larry Obhof, who joined the governor at Friday’s virtual news conference.

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Omar, AOC Participated in Online Event with Vlogger Who Said ‘America Deserved 9/11’

Rep. Ilhan Omar participated in an online event Tuesday night with a vlogger who once said “America deserved 9/11.”

The event was hosted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and streamed live on Twitch, where the congresswomen played the video game “Among Us” with several other popular gamers. The event was intended to motivate young voters to get to the polls and was viewed more than five million times.

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COVID-19 Update: Virginia’s Current Outlook by the Numbers

A report from the University of Virginia (UVA) Biocomplexity Institute published last Friday showed that the statewide COVID-19 reproduction rate is above 1.0 (1.031) and in all regions except one, meaning the virus is spreading quickly across the Commonwealth, and classifies five out of 35 health districts as a surge.

The UVA Biocomplexity Institute also uses an adaptive model, tracing past and current trends, to predict what could happen in the future. In that report, the model predicted there could be 202,040 total confirmed cases in Virginia by Thanksgiving, an increase of 41,197 confirmed cases from Saturday’s count.

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Bill Giving AG Increased Authority to Investigate Patterns of Misconduct by Police Signed into Law

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law on Wednesday that gives the state attorney general additional powers to investigate unlawful patterns or practices by law enforcement officers and file civil action to stop the misconduct.

Introduced by Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), Senate Bill 5024 was one of several bills approved by the governor this week.

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GOP Challenger Claims Omar Has Repeatedly Canceled Debates

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Republican challenger claimed that the first-term congresswoman has repeatedly backed out of forums and debates, making her one of the only incumbents who hasn’t participated in a debate.

Republican Lacy Johnson called on Omar to agree to a debate before the Nov. 3 election in a statement issued this week.

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Virginia COVID Insights for October 23

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported Friday the following COVID numbers on their Daily Dashboard:

New “reported” cases: 1,180
COVID-confirmed hospitalizations: 702
COVID-pending hospitalizations: 310
COVID-confirmed and -pending intensive care unit (ICU) patients: 233
COVID-confirmed and -pending patients on ventilators: 113
COVID confirmed and probable patients in intensive care units (ICU): 233

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Whitmer Signs Bills Protecting Workers, Giving Businesses COVID-19 Liability Protection, Changing Nursing Home Policy

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a packages of bipartisan bills into law Thursday. In part, the bills aim to protect Michigan workers from COVID-19 and surprise medical billing for any treatment, as well as protect businesses from COVID-19 related lawsuits.

“No Michigander should have to worry about going into work when they’re sick, especially during a global pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement.

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Henrico Parents Demand Kids Go Back to School

After polling parents and holding a public forum, the Henrico County School Board voted 4-1 Thursday for an optional plan to allow in-person learning. The phased approach will allow Pre-K through 2nd grade students to return to school four days a week starting November 30. Grades 3-5 would return on December 7, and older students will return in February.

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Overview of Virginia’s Highly Competitive 5th Congressional District Race

Two first time candidates Bob Good (R) and Cameron Webb (D) are hoping to fill the empty House of Representatives seat of Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, in what projects to be an extremely close and competitive race.

Good, who served on the Campbell County Board of Supervisors from 2015 to 2019, became the Republican nominee after beating freshman U.S. Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA-05) in a GOP convention this past June, collecting almost 60 percent of votes.

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TRUMPDATE: Latest from the Team Trump Virginia Campaign for October 24

Welcome to the Saturday edition of our daily Virginia Trump campaign update! We will provide our readers with daily updates on the Trump Virginia campaign from today to November 3 (and after…if need be!).

It’s officially 10 days until the election on November 3 – and seven days until early voting in Virginia closes.

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Ohio’s Largest School System Scraps Plan to Return to in-Person Learning

A day after the teachers’ union in Ohio’s largest school district questioned health and safety preparation, the Columbus City Schools announced students would not return to in-person learning until January.

Some students were expected back for orientation this week and in-person classes were expected to begin this month. But, in a letter to parents, Superintendent Talisa Dixon said the overwhelming majority of students will continue remote learning until Jan. 15.

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Increase in Homeschooling, Working from Home Likely to Last

Increases in homeschooling and working from home triggered by COVID-19 closures may have permanent impacts, according to University of Virginia (UVA) researcher Hamilton Lombard.

“Based on trends over the past few decades, the number of homeschoolers and telecommuters were both expected to continue growing rapidly even before the pandemic. If Virginia’s homeschoolers were a school division, they would be one of Virginia’s largest school divisions, and easily its fastest growing,” Lombard told UVA Today.

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Hospital Network Blocked Clergy from Administering Rites Three Separate Times

On three occasions officials at MedStar Health System (MSHS) hospitals denied entrance to clergy to perform rites including infant baptism and end-of-life last rites, according to a Wednesday press release from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Complaints from a patient and the Catholic Diocese of Arlington led the OCR to push Washington D.C.-area MSHS hospital operator to allow clergy into its hospitals despite COVID-19 regulations.

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Chiropractor Sues Over Statewide Mask Mandate

A medical center filed a lawsuit in the Court of Claims, targeting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration’s statewide mask mandate.

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health issued a cease-and-desist order to Grand Haven-based Semlow Peak Performance Chiropractic. The order seeks compliance with an Oct. 5 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) emergency order issued by Director Robert Gordon.

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TRUMPDATE: Latest from the Team Trump Virginia Campaign for October 23

Welcome to the Friday edition of our daily Virginia Trump campaign update! We will provide our readers with daily updates on the Trump Virginia campaign from today to November 3 (and after…if need be!).

It’s officially 11 days until the election on November 3 – and eight days until early voting in Virginia closes. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot in Virginia is TODAY.

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Mask Usage Only Encouraged, Not Required at Polling Locations on Election Day, Officials Say

Voters in the Commonwealth that arrive at polling places on Election Day without a mask or face covering and refuse to wear one or vote outside will not be turned away, according to election officials.

The Virginia Department of Elections (VDOE) has given election workers throughout Virginia guidance on what to do when a voter goes to a polling precinct without a mask and does not wish to put one on.

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Democratic Party of Virginia Invests Heavily in Virginia Beach Mayor’s Race

Virginia Beach mayoral candidate Jody Wagner out-raised incumbent Bob Dyer in September; Wagner received $321,799, while Dyer received $72,240, according to The Virginia Public Access Project. Furthermore, $167,349 of Wagner’s receipts were in-kind donations from the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA).

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‘Really Bad News’: DFL on Edge After Poll Has Lewis Trailing Smith by One Point

U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis has closed the gap between him and his opponent, Sen. Tina Smith, to only one point, putting Democrats on edge.

A survey released Wednesday by KSTP shows the margin between former congressman Lewis and Sen. Smith has closed to just one point in their race for the Senate. A MinnPost poll released Tuesday had Lewis trailing by four points. 

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DeWine Signals Backdoor Mandates for COVID Vaccines

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, affiliated with the Republican party, has made no bones about the fact that masks, distancing, testing and tracing (a mantra driven deeply into the minds of Ohioans over the past eight months) will be the norm until there is a vaccine – with a significant uptake.

On Tuesday The Ohio Star asked the governor if it was his position to mandate vaccines and immunity certificates in order for buckeyes to return to normal life. The Star also asked if he intended to use backdoor mandates to force compliance with his wish for Ohioans to vaccinate.

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Judge Dismisses All Charges Against Investigative Journalist Millie Weaver

Charges against investigative journalist Millicent “Millennial Millie” Weaver were dropped on Wednesday, Weaver announced on her Twitter.

Weaver, 29, was originally arrested in August on charges of robbery, a second-degree felony, tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, obstructing justice, a fifth-degree felony and domestic violence, according to the indictment filed on July 20 in Portage County Court of Common Pleas…

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Richmond City Council Committee Advances Ordinance to Rename Confederate Avenue

Richmond City Council’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation Committee voted on Tuesday to advance an ordinance that would rename Confederate Avenue, located in the city’s northside, to Laburnum Park Boulevard.

The ordinance was co-sponsored by councilwoman and committee vice chair Kim Gray, 2nd district, and councilman Chris Hilbert, 3rd district.

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Lance Himes Email Riles Up Ohioans, Many Believe ODH Will Mandate COVID Vaccine

An email from Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes riled-up Ohioans. The email was sent Tuesday to prospective attendees of an ODH webinar on the state’s vaccine plan. 

In the email, Himes wrote, “It is important to note that the Ohio COVID-19 Vaccination Program strategy is a draft framework outlining how to implement mandatory requirements once more details of a vaccine are known.” 

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Lieutenant Governor’s Race Crowded with Hopefuls for Future Governor

Ten candidates have officially announced runs for the 2021 Virginia Lieutenant Governor (LG) primaries, and more are reported to be eyeing the seat. According to the Virginia Constitution, the LG’s primary role is the president of the Senate; however, he has no vote unless the Senate is tied.

Candidate and former Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Paul Goldman told The Virginia Star, “People are going to say, ‘If I get to be lieutenant governor, I’ll be the next governor in four years. That’s what they’re thinking. That’s what they’ve always thought.'”

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‘Calmer Heads’ Could Have Minimized Riot Damage, Police Union President Says

Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Bob Kroll was interviewed on Alpha News’ Facebook live Monday night by Devin Foley, CEO of the Charlemagne Institute.

Kroll is now best known around the country as the man who dealt with Black Lives Matter protesters outside of his house in Hugo, Minnesota, this summer.

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COVID Lockdowns a Boon for Virginia Lottery

The Virginia Lottery recorded $2.15 billion in sales during 2020, slightly lower than the 2019 figure, despite facing statewide shut downs in the spring and the growing economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin Hall, executive director of the Virginia Lottery, gave a presentation Tuesday to members of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, providing updates on the current trend and forecast as well as the implementation of expanded gaming options coming to the state.

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TRUMPDATE: Latest from the Team Trump Virginia Campaign for October 22

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of our daily Virginia Trump campaign update! We will provide our readers with daily updates on the Trump Virginia campaign from today to November 3 (and after…if need be!).

It’s officially 12 days until the election on November 3 – and nine days until early voting in Virginia closes. President Trump meets Joe Biden in the final presidential debate TONIGHT. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot in Virginia is Friday.

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Staff Report: Governor Northam Signs New Laws to Support COVID-19 Response, Reform Policing

Governor Ralph Northam’s office announced Thursday the signing of eight COVID-19 response bills and three criminal justice reform bills. He also proposed amendments to three other bills related to healthcare, COVID-19 relief and criminal justice reform. Northam’s announcement is below:

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Virginia Senate Gives Governor Power to Oust Police Officers

The Criminal Justice Services Board (CJSB) will have the responsibility of decertifying officers engaged in misconduct or criminally charged and implementing statewide conduct standards for law enforcement, if the Senate’s omnibus policing and reform legislation is signed into law.

Last Friday, the president of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Delegates both signed the legislation, and on Wednesday the bill was communicated to Governor Ralph Northam for final approval.

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Whitmer Signs Bill Extending Unemployment into Law

Unemployed Michiganders can get an extra six weeks of benefits under a bipartisan bill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Tuesday.

Whitmer signed Senate Bills 886 and 991 codifying part of her now-void executive orders expanding unemployment benefits to Michiganders from 20 to 26 weeks until the end of the year.

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Democrats Considering Bill Forcing Taxpayer-Funded Abortions for 2021 Session

Virginia delegates are evaluating a potential bill for the 2021 regular session that would increase funding for abortions under Medicaid and require individual businesses to include abortions in their insurance plans. A House subcommittee met on Tuesday to discuss House Bill (HB) 1445 and hear public comment on the bill. Planned Parenthood and NARAL representatives offered comment, as well as the Virginia Society for Human Life President Olivia Turner.

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Follow the Richmond Money: Mayors Race Wide Open

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney blew away challengers Alexsis Rodgers and Kim Gray with September campaign fundraising. Data from The Virginia Public Access Project shows Stoney’s campaign reported $224,602, Rodgers reported $98,283, and Gray reported $83,455.

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Commentary: Joe Biden’s Green New Deal, a Bad Deal for the Great Lakes State

Michigan’s auto pioneers cemented their historical reputations by making Detroit the home of the American dream. Now in 2020, Joe Biden wants to adopt a radical climate agenda that would eliminate fossil fuels and decimate Michigan’s auto industry. It seems Joe Biden’s dream would be a nightmare to Michiganders.

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Doctor Asks Court to Dismiss Murder Indictment in 25 Deaths

Lawyers for the Ohio hospital doctor charged with murder in 25 patient deaths accused the prosecutor of misconduct and asked Tuesday that the court dismiss the indictment handed up by a grand jury.

Former intensive care doctor William Husel is accused of ordering excessive painkillers for patients who died shortly thereafter in the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System. Prosecutors charged him only in cases involving at least 500 micrograms of fentanyl, saying doses that big in nonsurgical situations pointed to an intent to prematurely snuff out lives.

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Spanberger and Freitas Square Off in Debate on COVID, Health Care and National Security

Incumbent Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Republican challenger state Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) took part in their first debate Tuesday night, discussing a wide array of ongoing issues on the national and state levels.

The forum was moderated by Washington Week Managing Editor and a national political reporter for The Washington Post, Robert Costa, lasting a little less than an hour.

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Congressional Debate: Candidates Scott Taylor and Incumbent Elaine Luria Spar Over Stimulus Packages and Gun Control

Republican challenger Scott Taylor and incumbent Representative Elaine Luria (D-Virginia Beach) faced off Tuesday night in their first televised debate. The 2nd Congressional District race is currently a toss-up.
Political reporter Joe St. George served as the moderator. Questions featured were presented in three segments: from the moderator first, then viewers, and lastly from Taylor and Luria.

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William & Mary Reinstates Three Women’s Sports Teams After Threat of Title IX Lawsuit

William and Mary (W&M) announced Monday it is reinstating the women’s swimming, gymnastics and volleyball sports programs after a group of lawyers representing student-athletes on those teams threatened to sue the university in violation of Title IX compliance.

This all stems from the decision last month by former W&M athletics director Samantha Huge to cut seven sports teams at the end of the current academic year because of large budget deficits as a result of COVID-19.

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Virginia Tech Cancels Spring Break

Virginia Tech announced that the Spring 2021 semester will continue with a combination of in-person, hybrid, and online classes. According to the Monday announcement, the school’s traditional week-long spring break will be replaced with five individual days off spread over several weeks to discourage students from traveling.

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Emails Suggest Walz Admin Quickly Decided Against Restoring Columbus Statue

Emails obtained by the Star Tribune indicate that Gov. Tim Walz’s administration decided not to reinstall a Christopher Columbus statue the same day it was toppled over by a group of protesters.

The statue, which stood outside the State Capitol building, was torn down in broad daylight by a group of vandals affiliated with the American Indian Movement (AIM). Mike Forcia, chairman of AIM, said he alerted Walz’s office of his plans prior to the June 10 incident.

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Ohioans Voting Early in-Person at Nearly Triple the Rate of 2016

Ohio residents are voting at massive rates, nearly tripling the amount of early in-person voting compared to 2016, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced on Tuesday.

Nearly 1.1 million Ohio residents have already cast their ballot for the presidential election, 119% the rate seen in 2016. Nearly triple the amount of people are voting early in-person compared to 2016, the Secretary of State’s office said.

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