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Battenfeld: Charlie Baker’s vaccine passport could trigger blowback from voters, businesses

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Battenfeld: Charlie Baker’s vaccine passport could trigger blowback from voters, businesses

Gov. Charlie Baker’s about-face on vaccine passports could trigger legal opposition and further alienate him from conservative GOP voters who oppose government-mandated vaccine requirements.

Baker, who potentially could face a conservative opponent in next year’s election, revealed on Monday that the state will “soon” come out with a digital coronavirus pass program. This comes after the governor said in April that the state had no plans for such a program.

The passport would be a QR code and presumably required for admission into restaurants, sports venues and other businesses — although Baker didn’t reveal details of the program.

“It’s easy to access, it’s a universal standard and we’ve been working with a bunch of other states,” Baker said in an interview with GBH’s Boston Public Radio.

Baker’s announcement comes on the heels of newly elected Boston Mayor Michelle Wu hinting that the city could also soon require proof of vaccination passports to get into business venues.

Vaccine passports like the one that’s been implemented in New York are becoming more common amid an alarming surge in the deadly COVID-19 virus around the world.

The new omicron variant could also force state and local governments to consider new actions to limit the spread of the virus — although President Biden said on Monday he would not be instituting any lockdown measures because of the new variant.

But while passports may sound like the right thing to do, it will force Baker to walk a fine line with voters and maybe some businesses that strongly oppose the vaccine requirement.

As a Republican, Baker can’t be seen as too authoritarian or against personal civil liberties, or put him in favor of an invasion of privacy.

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One in custody after police chase ends in Granite City, Illinois

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One in custody after police chase ends in Granite City, Illinois

ST. LOUIS — Jacita Massenberg is the executive pastor of Tabernacle Church St. Louis on West Florissant Avenue.  The church is approximately two miles away from the area where two St. Louis Police officers were wounded Wednesday.  

Massenberg said a combination of violence and other tragedies have added up to a noticeable increase in stress and sadness from some community members.   The church is inviting anyone experiencing grief or struggles to attend a hope and healing service.  The new service will launch on Feb. 5 and take place each Saturday at 3 p.m.

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Ask Amy: Dad moved in, now — how to get him out?

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Ask Amy: Offering hope regarding the endless pandemic

Dear Amy: I’m asking a question on behalf of my friend, “Brad,” who is in a sticky situation.

Brad’s dad had surgery several weeks ago and is doing well now.

He stayed with Brad while he recuperated for nearly two months — all through the holidays.

The dad has his own home nearby and is a widower.

He has settled into Brad’s home with absolutely no regard for other family members. Brad’s daughter recently packed her bags and moved out because there is no more privacy at the home.

Brad and I actually took the dad to a medical appointment and then took him to his house to see what shape it was in.

The home is organized, cozy and his own, but he is refusing to leave Brad’s house.

He has no concept of privacy. He took over the entire first floor living room, kitchen, guest bathroom, den, and dining room.

Brad can’t enjoy his own home anymore, and his dad won’t budge!

Do you have any ideas on how to politely and tactfully ask Dad to return to his own home?

Is there a way I can mediate this situation to take some of the burden of Brad?

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University of Minnesota Duluth looks to build academic health care center in downtown medical district

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University of Minnesota Duluth looks to build academic health care center in downtown medical district

DULUTH, Minn. — The University of Minnesota is requesting funding to design and build a new academic health care center affiliated with its Duluth campus and located in downtown’s burgeoning medical district.

The University of Minnesota said in a news release that it’s collaborating with Essentia Health and St. Luke’s to provide a larger health care workforce to “address the needs of Duluth, Greater Minnesota and local Indigenous populations.”

As a part of the university’s 2022 comprehensive legislative request, it is asking for $12 million for the design phase.

“This opportunity is in line with our land-grant mission and our continued commitment to Greater Minnesota and the Duluth region, specifically. We are thankful for the opportunity to discuss how academic medicine, including training and clinical research, can enhance the great care provided to Minnesotans in the region,” said Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

The new building would be built in close proximity to Essentia and St. Luke’s. Mayor Emily Larson said during a Thursday news conference that its exact location is still being determined, but St. Mary’s Medical Center is a potential location. Essentia Health announced last week that St. Mary’s will be demolished once its new $900 million hospital is complete. St. Luke’s is also in the process of redeveloping its entire campus.

“This is proof that we are leaders for health care technology and innovation and proof that people want to be here, and the more opportunity we give them to be here, our population grows, our vision grows bigger, and we can make the best use and purpose of this in the city of Duluth,” Larson said.

If the proposal is approved, design could begin this summer. U President Joan Gabel said in the news release that the goal is to have the new building completed as early as fall 2025.

“The University of Minnesota is committed to expanding our capacity to provide world-class care for Minnesotans in Greater Minnesota,” Gabel said. “Through this important partnership, we are amplifying the university’s impact and contribution to communities by creating new space for classrooms, specialty labs, student life and beyond.”

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