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Workers prepare for looming federal government shutdown




As Sept. 30 budget deadline looms in Washington, federal government employees prepare for the worst-case scenario.

MINNEAPOLIS — The political drama playing out in the nation’s capitol is reverberating in Minnesota, as the state’s 20,000 federal workers brace for a potential Oct. 1 federal government shutdown. 

Congress has until Sept. 30 just to pass a continuing resolution to keep the federal government running at full steam for another month. Eventually, it will be come down to last-minute negotiations between the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate, but as of Wednesday, House Republicans still weren’t on the same page with each other.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been negotiating with the conservative House Freedom Caucus, a group of GOP House members demanding concessions in exchange for their “yes” votes on the budget. Even a vote on rules motion to set up a vote on the Department of Defense budget failed to get the needed votes.

“This is an unnecessary crisis that the Republicans have created. I’m shocked that they’re not feeling the weight of what’s happening with their conference, and their majority,” US Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who belongs to the Progressive Caucus, told KARE.

“I just hope that Kevin McCarthy somehow develops a backbone and stands up for the American people and negotiates with us so that we can help make sure there is no shutdown and deliver the votes for him.”

An estimated 800,000 federal workers would be furloughed or required to work without pay in the event of a shutdown. Some federal services would continue while others, such as processing new claims and benefits would slow down or be put on pause.

Fellow Minnesota Democrat Angie Craig Wednesday introduced a bill that would suspend pay for members of Congress during a government shutdown.

“In a shutdown, our air traffic controllers have to come to work every day and they don’t get paid. Our TSA agents have to come to work every day and they don’t get paid,” Rep. Craig told KARE.

“Members of Congress, the very people who couldn’t come to some sort of agreement, they get paid during a government shutdown. So, I just think philosophically it is so wrong.”

Craig serves on the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus along with fellow Minnesota Democrat Dean Phillips. The group is working behind the scenes to come up with ways to solve the budget deadlock.

“The White House and Democrats negotiated in good faith with Speaker McCarthy, shook hands, and reached a deal this summer to prevent the very quagmire in which America now finds itself,” Rep. Phillips told KARE.

“As a member of the House Democratic leadership team and the Problem Solvers Caucus, I’m working tirelessly with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to prevent an unnecessary and inexcusable shutdown.”

McCarthy told Capitol reporters he’s doing all he can to avert a shutdown, but that part of the responsibility lies with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to present compromise budget plans that can win support in both the House and Senate.

Some Republicans see the threat of a shutdown as leverage to downsize the federal government and chip away at the nation’s $33 trillion debt. One proposal that’s been floated is an eight percent cut in government spending, except for the Department of Defense.

But that plan didn’t commit new funds to supporting the allied efforts to defend Ukraine. And it very likely would be dead on arrival in the Senate.

KARE reached out to all four Republican members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation but as by story deadline, none had responded to our inquiries.

Federal workers in Minnesota say they’re weary of the uncertainty in Washington over whether paychecks will still flow or they’ll have what they need to serve the public.

“Like many people, I’m nervous, anxious. This is going to affect not only the VA but the entire American people,” said Jake Roman, a Minneapolis Veterans Administration Hospital nurse who heads the American Federal Government Employees Local 3669 union.

He said the VA will continue to accept and treat patients, and nurses and doctors would continue to work. But he worries about the strain on employees and patients because the shutdown would force a temporary hiring freeze in a medical system that is already understaffed.

“You’re going to have people burning out more. You’re going to have higher turnover,” Roman told KARE.

“We’re hired to be healthcare professionals. We’re hired to take care of our veterans. We’re not hired to be political pawns in some game.”


Download the free KARE 11+ app for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and other smart TV platforms to watch more from KARE 11 anytime! The KARE 11+ app includes live streams of all of KARE 11’s newscasts. You’ll also find on-demand replays of newscasts; the latest from KARE 11 Investigates, Breaking the News and the Land of 10,000 Stories; exclusive programs like Verify and HeartThreads; and Minnesota sports talk from our partners at Locked On Minnesota. 

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Dog attack leaves 7-year-old with visual injuries




A dog attack has left a 7-year-old girl with scrapes on her legs and back and cuts on her lips.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — A 7-year-old who was hurt in a dog attack Tuesday is still processing what happened.

“I was just walking and then it pushed me and started attacking me,” said Yamah Yekeku.

She went to drop off a package at her neighbor’s home. Then the dog ran toward her.

“It’s is third time chasing somebody,” Yekeku said.

Her mother Mary Innis pointed out the scrapes on her legs and back, and the little cuts on her lips.

The dog who attacked her is a part of 13-year-old Yazmina Warsame’s family.

“She was really sweet, she was very playful,” she said.

Warsame said her dog’s name was Diamond, a 1-year-old Pitbull.

“Diamond didn’t mean to hurt nobody, she just wanted to play and they killed her for it,” she said.

Brooklyn Park Police and shot killed the dog because they said it went after another child.

“The animal actually ran into a playground area, a park area in an apartment complex and there were two young children that were in the park. The dog took off after one of the children and was trying to bite that child,” said Brooklyn Park Police Precinct Inspector and Public Information Officer Elliot Faust.

Faust said a cadet lifted the child up to his shoulder to protect him.

“The dog was jumping up actively trying to bite the child and that’s when one of our officers shot him,” Faust said.

He said the 7-year-old was treated for her injuries at the scene. Innis said she took her daughter to the doctor’s office on Wednesday to get a rabies shot as a precaution.

Tuesday’s incident was the second dog attack to happen within Brooklyn Park. A 3-year-old was attacked by two Pitbulls, last Friday. Faust said the child’s injuries were extensive, and he’s still recovering in the hospital. He said that attack was the worst dog attack he has ever seen.

“These are not common, they don’t happen frequently, so it is kind of strange that we’re talking about two in one week,” Faust said.

Faust want community members to be more aware of their surroundings and to understand their dog. He said they’ve had more dangerous dog designations so far this year than all of last year.

“As a dog owner it is your responsibility to take control of the animal,” Faust said. One mistake that happens can have tragic consequences.”

Warsame said her dog was just hyper. Diamond also had long nails, Warsame said they were planning to cut.

She’s heartbroken her dog is gone and doesn’t understand why police had to kill her. She wants people to know her dog wasn’t mean.

“People take advantage of the way a big dog looks, they don’t know her personality, so people might have called her mean and I don’t people to think Diamond is mean, and I feel like it’s important to share. She wasn’t a mean dog, she was never a mean dog,” Warsame said.

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MN church group stranded for days in New Orleans




The group was originally supposed to be home this past Saturday.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Twin Cities church group is on its way home tonight, after spending the last few days stranded in New Orleans.

“We are really sick of the airport,” Leisha Tays, supervising the trip, said in a FaceTime call from the airport.

That trip, to the Evangelical Lutherans in America Youth Gathering, was supposed to end this past Saturday.

“Every once in awhile, it would just get bumped back farther and farther and farther,” she said.

That group from Our Saviours’ Lutheran Church in East Bethel consists of 14, mostly made up of kids. Tays says it’s been a challenge to figure out their next steps with a group so big.

“It is frustrating, but I also know it’s nothing I can control,” Tays said. “That’s what I keep telling my kids that I’m here with, is that you can only control yourself.”

“Doing our best, what else do you do, right?” she added.

To keep themselves busy, they’ve spent time exploring New Orleans, a vacation that they were initially alright with extending. They quickly realized there were challenges that came with that, including working through Delta’s vouchers, which covered not nearly enough for a group their size.

“We have been given three $12 meal vouchers per person, which doesn’t really cover much,” Tays said. “Especially in four days.”

They made it through thanks to donations from their church members back home, donating to keep the crew fed.

“A lot of details, and everything went great until it didn’t,” Lisa Rykken Kastler, Director of Congregational Ministries for the church, said.

“There wasn’t even an ask, the situation was such that, ok, you’re gonna need money,” Rykken Kastler added.

At the time of this article’s writing, Tays tells KARE11 that they’re finally taxiing, ready to take off and come home – a vacation they can’t wait to end.

“We’re just exhausted, you know?” she said. “There’s the emotional and the physical exhaustion that’s going on, and we’re ready.”

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Met Council asks cities to sign-off on Blue Line Extension plans




The Met Council is asking several cities to sign off on the preliminary design for the Blue Light Extension.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — The communities along the proposed METRO Blue Line Extension are getting a chance to review and discuss the proposed plans with the public. 

The METRO Blue Line Extension is anticipated to be 13.4 miles between Target Field and Brooklyn Park, and would also run through Crystal and Robbinsdale. The Met Council hopes to start service in 2030, and estimate total ridership would be nearly 30,000 daily trips. 

Now, community leaders will be asked to consent to major project elements like where stations are located and where tracks will go. According to the Met Council, many project details haven’t been determined and the plans leave a lot of room for future design choices.

“This process gives people an opportunity to participate in the line through their elected officials,” said Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle in a press release. “This is a big investment that will serve our region for the next 100 years.”

Each of the municipalities will hold a public meeting and then vote before October 10, the Met Council said. 

“No matter how well we design a project, we need each city to let us know how it will fit into their neighborhoods and serve their communities,” said Zelle. “We’ve held weekly meetings for the past four years to ensure our designs are on the mark. But it’s up to each city council to approve preliminary design plans or recommend changes.”

The proposed plans can be viewed by clicking here.

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