Physical Access Limited, Access to Justice Maintained

For immediate release

ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 20, 2020) – After careful consideration and consultation, the Judicial Council has recommended further restrictions for in-person courthouse access. In response, Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea has issued a statewide order, ADM20-8001 Continuing Operations of the Courts of the State of Minnesota Under a Statewide Peacetime Declaration of Emergency. The order restricts in-person access to courthouses for only designated case types, and opens up additional opportunities for remote hearings that must occur during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order goes into effect on Monday, March 23, 2020, and is in effect for the next 30 days or until another order is issued, whichever comes first.

“We are committed to protecting the safety of all who must enter into a courthouse during this unprecedented time. The Minnesota Judicial Branch is where people access justice and defend their constitutional rights. The balancing of public health and access to justice during this time is testing our systems and procedures. The steps we announce today will help us maintain that delicate balance,” said Chief Justice Gildea.

For detailed explanations, see the order. Below is a summary of major changes established by the order.

District Court Hearings & Processing – See: section B.

The courts will remain open on a limited basis for in-person contact, and continue to accept filings in all case types. Self-help services and facilities will be conducted via phone or email. District courts may be contacted by phone (bottom of page) or email. Other than specifically provided for by the order, case deadlines established by Court Rules remain in effect unless extended by an order of the Supreme Court or the presiding judge.

Except for specific cases detailed in the order (and below), all other proceedings in all other case types shall be held by ITV or any other remote technology that permits the parties and attorneys to appear without being in the courtroom, or by review of the parties’ submissions without oral argument, to the extent feasible and practicable.

  • The following adult criminal case types, where the defendant is in custody, will be held in the courtroom. The defendant and the attorneys may appear remotely. Victim impact information may be provided remotely. 
    • bail review
    • hearings under Rule 8 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure
    • omnibus hearings that do not require live testimony
    • plea hearings
    • sentencing hearings and
    • probation revocation hearings, if any necessary testimony can be provided remotely. 
  • The following juvenile proceedings, and cases where the juvenile is in custody, will be held in the courtroom. The juvenile and the attorneys may appear remotely.
    • detention review
    • omnibus hearings that do not require live testimony
    • plea hearings
    • certification hearings
    • extended juvenile jurisdiction hearings
    • disposition hearings and
    • probation revocation hearings, if any necessary testimony can be provided remotely. 
  • Juvenile protection proceedings for emergency protective care (EPC) will be held in the courtroom. When possible, EPC hearings will be combined with any admit/deny hearing. Attendance to these hearings will be limited to parties and parent-participants, and their attorneys. 
    • All other proceedings in juvenile protection matters can be held remotely, or will be conducted based on the presiding judge’s review of the written submissions.
  • In all housing/eviction matters, hearings will be held in the courtroom on an emergency basis when there is a showing of individual or public health, or safety, at risk.
  • Hearings will be held in the courtroom for any case type where there is an immediate liberty concern, or when public or personal safety concerns are paramount. 

In-person hearings will adhere to Minnesota Department of Health social distancing guidance to limit the number of people and the proximity of people in a courtroom to the extent possible.

Jurors – See: section B., paragraph 4.

Jurors must follow the instructions on paper summons, but the Minnesota Judicial Branch will not be calling any additional jurors to courthouses for the next 30 days. Individuals with suspected or actual exposure to COVID-19 who are summoned to report for jury duty must contact the court to discuss rescheduling options for his or her jury service.

  • All jury trials underway as of March 13 should continue until the trial is complete, regardless of case type.
  • Grand juries that have been empaneled as of March 23 and are actively hearing a case will continue to hear the case.
  • No new jury trials or grand jury proceedings will start will start prior to April 22, 2020.

Media – See: section C., paragraph 14.

To ensure access to hearings, members of the media who wish to cover a hearing must work with the State Court Information Office or the Hennepin County District Court Communications Specialist. Media must provide 24-hours advance notice of a request to attend a hearing, and will be required to follow all social distancing protocols enforced by court administration and judicial officers. Where multiple requests exist, media may be required to coordinate a pool. There will be no access to public access terminals (courthouse terminals) or non-courtroom space in courthouses for the public or media. Media may work with the Court Information Office to request documents.

About the Minnesota Judiciary

The Minnesota Judicial Branch is made up of 10 judicial districts with 295 district court judgeships, 19 Court of Appeals judges, and seven Supreme Court justices. The Judicial Branch is governed by the Judicial Council, which is chaired by Lorie S. Gildea, Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.  The Minnesota Judicial Branch is mandated by the Minnesota Constitution to resolve disputes promptly and without delay. In 2018, there were nearly 1.2 million cases filed in district courts in Minnesota. For more information please visit www.mncourts.gov.

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Holdingford Area Schools Emergency Child Care

Holdingford schools will provide childcare to children that have parents working in emergency/health services or other qualifying positions. (please check full list on website)



Childcare hours are 6:30am-6pm. Please enter door 8 and bring your child to the kids' zone room. If there is a change in your child's care schedule please email
kendra.posch@isd738.org or call 320-746-4465.



If transportation to and from childcare is an issue please call Kendra at 320-746-4465.



We want to reiterate that in order to continue to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the child care being provided by our district should only be utilized when absolutely necessary.



If your family has an alternate care plan (ex. older siblings, neighbors, family members, etc), we ask that you strongly consider utilizing that plan instead of our district's child care. As you are aware, social distancing is one of the main prevention methods being emphasized to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and doing so when we have large groups of students is a difficult task. We will also be checking students temperatures as they arrive and if they have a fever of 100 degrees or higher they will not be able to attend child care.



We thank you for taking this matter seriously and are here to support you if needed.





For a full list of approved occupations please go to the school website at:
http://www.isd738.org/covid-19-information.html

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Albany Area Schools is offering emergency childcare for those in health care and emergency roles. See link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeXlWBBQqHI2eyhPRc0BLNKyDPXFeVm66qr4KyTw_UlGXPpxw/viewform

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Access to Food Service for Albany Area Schools students: Beginning Wednesday, 3/18 through Friday, 3/27, Albany Area Schools Food Service will provide cold bagged breakfast & lunch meals to any students needing this service during school closure. These meals may be picked up as a drive-thru line from 9:00 am until 11:00 am at both the Avon Elementary School (parent drop off area) or Albany Secondary School (Door 1-main entrance). These meals are available to all students regardless of financial circumstances. Please remain in your car as staff will come to your car with the meals. This process will remain in place should there be an extended closure time. We will provide families with updated information as necessary. If families in need of meals are unable to pick up meals, for other delivery options, please emailfoodservice@district745.org. Please direct any questions to Jan Notch, Food Service Director, (320-845-5075) or emailfoodservice@district745.org.

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Senior Dining (Congregate Dining and Meals on Wheels)

Congregate dining at all dining sites has been suspended.

Beginning March 19, Meals on Wheels delivery will take place once every two weeks with two weeks of meals delivered until further notice.

March 30-April 1: hot “grab and go” meal pickup available at all congregate dining sites along with an additional 10 frozen meals. Meals on Wheels delivery of 1 hot and 10 frozen meals will also continue on these days. Frozen meals can be refrigerated for 5 days and kept in the freezer for 30 days. Please call your dining site to reserve meals and learn pick-up times.

March 30-April 1: St. Cloud Senior Dining will have a frozen meal pickup with drive-up option for seniors age 60 and older with a quantity choice of 10 or 20 meals from 11 am to 12:30 pm at Whitney Senior Center, St. Cloud. To be eligible, seniors must reside in Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, Wright, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Isanti, Chisago or Pine counties. If you are not currently registered to receive meals from Catholic Charities, you must complete and submit the Home Delivered Meal Program Registration form by regular mail to 157 Roosevelt Rd, Suite 200, Saint Cloud, MN 56301, or email tocharlene.ridlon@ccstcloud.org. When completing the form, please indicate how many meals you would like to receive, and the pickup date. Contact Charlene Ridlon at 320-229-4591 orcharlene.ridlon@ccstcloud.orgwith questions or to receive a copy of the registration form.

No additional Meals on Wheels delivery drivers are needed at this time, but please check back for updates.

This modified service will continue in two-week increments until the Minnesota Department of Health advises that it is again safe for seniors to participate in congregate dining.

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Avon Chamber

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the April 2nd meeting will be canceled.

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Donations Needed in Response to Coronavirus

Our local healthcare community is reaching out to
the public to ask for donations for much needed items. They are looking
for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), including surgical masks, N95's
(respirators), goggles, safety goggles, Powered Air Purified Respirators,
face shields, home-made masks and face shields, and scrubs. These items
will be used by area health professionals, including first responders, to
help fight coronavirus. All items must be new.

"We are working to get the equipment to where we
need it most," said Renee Frauendienst, Public Health Division Director.
"This is a great way for people to do something for their neighbor."

Anyone who has any of these items to donate, in
any quantity, please call the Stearns/Benton County coronavirus hotline
at 320.656.6625 or 1.877.782.5683. Hotline staff will direct people on
how and where to donate the equipment. Anyone sewing masks is asked to
call the hotline as well to learn how to donate these items. Stearns
County's Emergency Management Department will disburse collected gear to
the local healthcare facilities.

For those looking to donate any other items
should call the hotline as well. They can advise on other donations, too.
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A message from Avon Police Chief Corey Nellis:

“As we navigate these unchartered waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to reach out to our followers and to the City of Avon residents. In connection with the Avon Fire Department and the City of Avon staff, we wanted to reach out and remind you we are here, and you are not alone. If you are struggling with obtaining essential need items for your household during this time, contact us. We have designated personnel who will review your request. Upon review, we will coordinate and try to partner with services to help you with your emergency essential needs. If you know of someone who is struggling, please contact us as well. Our city will work together with the community and community needs and do what we can realizing sometimes our resources can be limited as well. Please contact us with any questions, comments or concerns. And, please let others know that may not have Facebook. Thank you.”

To reach the Avon Police Department, private message the Facebook page, call 320-356-7575 or emailavonpolice@co.stearns.mn.us.

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Senior Linkage Line - 800-333-2433

The Senior LinkAge will continue to be the resource to call during the COVID-19 emergency situation. We can assist older adults and those providing services with alternative services if the current support network has changed. The Senior LinkAge Line team is also working closely with DHS to provide feedback on any areas in the state where more resources are needed - including home delivered meals.

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The Bear Trap in Sauk Centre will have take out available Tuesday through Saturday.  Lunch from 11 am - 1 pm and dinner from 4 pm - 8 pm.  Call 320-351-3505 for takeout or curbside pickup.   Off sale liquor also available during those hours.  

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Stay fit, stay healthy, and STAY home!

BIG announcement today! Snap Fitness has partnered with FitnessOnDemand to offer FREE 90-day access to a specially curated library of virtual workouts that can be done at home! Available to members and non-members alike, we've launched this collaboration to help everyone stay fit, healthy, and positive while many stay home to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus. 

Visit snapfitness.com/freeapp to get your sweat on at home!

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Minnesotans Urged to Take Care of Mental Health During Social Distancing

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases daily in Minnesota, across the United States and around the world, so do levels of anxiety, stress, and worry. For many, these feelings are compounded by social distancing.

It’s important to protect the health and safety of everyone, and the only way to do that is to prevent and slow the spread of the disease through social distancing and other quarantine measures. Yet while we protect our physical health during this pandemic, we can’t forget to address our mental health.

“Nationally, online screenings for anxiety have increased by nearly 20% over the last few weeks, and for many, social distancing inevitably means isolation and loneliness, said Shannah Mulvihill, Mental Health Minnesota’s executive director. “It’s essential that people take care of their mental health as well as their physical health at this time, and we are working to share information, resources and suggestions that can help with that.”

Suggestions for managing mental health concerns during COVID-19/social distancing:

1.     Check-in with others and connect through more than just email, text, and social media. Call or video chat with your friends and family to make sure they are okay and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

2.     Identify things you can do to reduce stress and anxiety. Consider what has helped you handle stress in the past, and make adjustments as needed to do those things (i.e. connecting with friends via Facetime instead of over coffee, exercise/yoga videos online instead of a group class, etc.)

3.     Maintain structure in your day. Many people are now working remotely and/or are at home with their children. Creating structure/schedule in your day can help daily life to feel more “normal.”

4.     Get outside if you can, even if it’s just in your yard, on a balcony, or just opening a window. Fresh air and sunshine can be very helpful in improving overall mood and decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety.

5.     Take breaks from social media and news articles that are focused on COVID-19. While it’s important to stay informed, too much information can be overwhelming.

6.     If you’re concerned about your mental health, take a free, anonymous mental health screening at www.mentalhealthmn.org. If you screen positive for a mental health condition, you’ll receive resources and information about next steps.

7.     Know the resources that can help you, including the following:

Minnesota Warmline: A peer-to-peer line for mental health recovery and social isolation, open Monday-Saturday, 5 PM to 10 PM. Toll-free at 877.404.3190 or text “support” to 85511.

Mental Health Helpline: Connections to mental health treatment and services across the state, open Monday-Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Toll-free at 800.862.1799 or via online chat at www.mentalhealthmn.org.

Minnesota Crisis Text Line: Text “MN” to 741741

Minnesota County Crisis Response: Search by county or zip code at www.mentalhealthmn.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.TALK (8255)

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline: 800.985.5990 or text “talkwithus” to 66746

For more resources related to mental health and COVID-19/social distancing, visit www.mentalhealthmn.org.

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Health officials confirm first death due to COVID-19 in Minnesota

Victim contracted the virus through contact with another COVID-19 case

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today reported the first confirmed death of a Minnesota resident due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The death occurred March 19 in a Ramsey County resident in their 80s who recently tested positive for COVID-19 and was the contact of an earlier confirmed case.  

“Gwen and I extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones during this time of loss,” said Governor Tim Walz. “As COVID-19 continues to spread in Minnesota, we must all do what we can to keep each other safe.”

“My heart is with the family, friends, and neighbors who are grieving,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “This loss is deeply felt by our entire community. Now more than ever, each of us must do our part to prevent the spread of this virus, especially to our most vulnerable Minnesotans.”

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said the death underscores the importance of protecting our most vulnerable Minnesotans during the outbreak.

“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the patient,” Commissioner Malcolm said. “We’ve all seen reports of outbreak-related deaths in other states and countries, but this Minnesota death reminds us how important it is to continue working to protect each other during this outbreak.”

Commissioner Malcolm emphasized the importance of all Minnesotans doing their part to slow the spread of the virus and protect those in our communities who might be at higher risk of severe illness or death. The most vulnerable include those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions.

Steps that everyone can take to slow the spread of the virus include:  

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms, for seven days after your illness onset or three days after your fever resolves without fever reducing medicine, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

State and local public health have implemented a series of community interventions such as temporary closures of restaurants, bars and schools, recommended social distancing measures such as staying home as much as possible, maintaining a distance of 6 feet from other people, replacing in-person work meetings with teleworking, and cancelling gatherings of 50 people or more. Also, do not hold events with more than 10 people where the majority of participants are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including gatherings such as those at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes and support groups for people with health conditions.

Visit Strategies to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota for our recommended community mitigation strategies.

Since the outbreak started in December 2019, more than 284,000 cases and 11,800 deaths have been reported worldwide. The U.S. reported 19,624 cases and 260 deaths as of this morning.

More information about the coronavirus situation in Minnesota, the U.S. and internationally can be found on MDH’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage.

A hotline for the public is open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hotline number is 651-201-3920.

-MDH-

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Minnesota Small Businesses Now Eligible For SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Thanks to a concerted effort by the state of Minnesota and the SBA to contain the economic impact of Coronavirus, the state's small businesses are now eligible for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and can apply for a loan on our website at SBA.gov/disaster.

  • This program can provide low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and private non-profits.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. 
  • The current interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The non-profit rate is 2.75%.
  • These loans have long-term repayment options, up to a maximum of 30 years. 
  • Need help filling out the application? Access these step-by-step instructions

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Stearns County shutters its doors

The Stearns County Board of Commissioners took action March 19 to issue a local emergency declaration. This act allows for Stearns County to change business practices that not only protects their employees but also safeguards the public.  The declaration allows all county departments to determine how to continue providing services while maintaining social distancing in compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders and guidelines of the Minnesota Department of Health.  

Many of the services the county provides are currently available either through the mail, via phone or online.  Drop boxes are being placed in the entrances of the County Administration Center in St. Cloud and the Service Center building in Waite Park for residents to drop off paperwork for processing.  Stearns County is also working to identify processes for how face-to-face services can be provided when that interaction is required.  These specifics will be then communicated to the public. 

Stearns County, in collaboration with Benton County, continues the hotline number, 320.650.6625 or 1.877.782.5683, during the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. This has been established for the purposes of answering the public’s questions and the community is encouraged to access that resource.  Individuals can also call the Minnesota Department of Health hotline, which is staffed 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. seven days a week, at 651.201.3920 or 1.800.657.3903.

Stearns County Public Health is also asking every Stearns County resident to do their part to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

 “We are living through an event we’ve not had to deal with in recent memory,” said Renee Frauendienst, Stearns County Public Health Division Director. “The good news is, our ancestors have, and their experience and learning are guiding our response.”

 “We need everyone to work together.  Doing that will help us protect our most vulnerable family members and friends.” Frauendienst added

       Stearns County is asking everyone to practice social distancing, stay home if they’re sick, wash hands, cover coughs, avoid touching their face, clean frequently touched surfaces often, limit movement in the community - only going out for food, medicine or other necessary items.  Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and call your health care provider before going in if you’re experiencing symptoms. 

Stearns County is keeping their website, StearnsCountyMN.gov, updated with guidelines, resources and other information.  

Minnesota currently has 77 confirmed cases, with three of them in Stearns County.

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Minnesota State Parks and Trails: COVID-19 Response

Minnesota State Parks and Trails remain open to the public. We are closely monitoring the situation related to COVID-19 and adjusting our operations as conditions change. We recognize the importance of nature in helping to relieve stress during this time and are committed to providing a safe environment for our visitors to enjoy, while ensuring we protect the health of our staff and Minnesota’s communities.

Beginning March 16, 2020, changes to operation of all 75 state parks and recreation areas across the state will be consistent with guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Health. 

For more information, please visit mndnr.gov/covid-19 or contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367). For the latest information on COVID-19 in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Department of Health.

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Melrose Bowl is offering take out Monday through Friday.  Call for details.

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Cornerstone Buffet and Restaurant is offering take out or delivery.  Call for details.

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The Holdingford Polka Party scheduled for this Sunday March 22 has been canceled. The April 26 Polka Party is still scheduled but looks to be at risk of being canceled.

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Albany Area Schools Community Education

At this time, all Albany Area Schools Community Education programming and services have been suspended until further notice. Currently we are waiting for further direction from the state to determine our next steps and timeline with planning future programming. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we work through what the coming days and weeks hold. If you have any community education related questions, please call our office at 320-845-5060 or email us at communityed@district745.org.

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American Heritage Bank

Bank branches will be closing lobby access to walk-in traffic beginning Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Customers should utilize the branch drive-ups, ATMs, walk-ups (available Long Prairie, Browerville, and now St. Cloud West), tele banc (St. Cloud 320-654-2757, Long Prairie 320-732-7614, Avon 320-356-2866), internet banking at www.LogBank.com and mobile banking channels (iPhone & Android App Store) for all transactional services. 

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Albany Area Chamber of Commerce

Due to the Coronavirus we are canceling this year’s chamber banquet which was planned for April, 17th. We are still accepting nominations and will still be honoring them. I will share those details when we have them worked out.

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Statement from the City of Albany …updated Information on COVID-19 Pandemic With the ever-changing news regarding COVID-19, the City of Albany is following the guidelines as established by the MN Dept of Health to help keep the public safe and slow the spread of the virus. Here is what is happening at the City Administration office: The Albany Public Library will remain closed until further notice. At this time the City Offices will remain open, however we reserve the right to close if circumstances change. We are strongly encouraging you to conduct your City business, pay your bills, etc. without coming to City Hall. There are several ways to do that: 1. Pay by phone with your credit card by calling 320.845.4244. (Utility bills, basic building permits, dog license/golf cart permits, etc.) 2. You can pay directly from our city website at https://ci.albany.mn.us (top right on the home page) 3. Automatic Withdrawal from your bank account 4. Pay at Central MN Credit Union or Stearns Bank 5. Deposit in "Payment Drop Box" at 400 Railroad Ave. 6. Send check by mail to P. O. Box 370 License and building permit applications can be found online https://ci.albany.mn.us. Completed applications can be submitted via mail, fax (320.845.2346) or email (tschneider@ci.albany.mn.us) . The Police Department, Fire Department, and Public Works are trained and well prepared to ensure essential services are provided during the pandemic. The public can expect to see safety personnel responding with additional protective equipment. As always, our utmost concern is for the health and safety of the residents and our staff and we are taking the proper precautions to ensure that our municipal buildings are safe places. With all of us working together, we can decrease the spread of the coronavirus. A local hotline number has been set up to answer questions related to the coronavirus, COVID-19. Stearns and Benton Counties established a joint hotline staffed by Public Health professionals. That hotline number is 320.656.6625 or 1.877.782.5683 and is answered 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Individuals can also call the Minnesota Department of Health hotline, which is staffed 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. seven days a week, at 651.201.3920 or 1.800.657.3903. For more information on COVID-19 please see: MNDept of Health website - https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/prevention.html If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Tom Schneider, Clerk/Adm. tschneider@ci.albany.mn.us or by calling City Hall: 320.845.4244. 

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Serenity Village is closed to visitors at this time due to COVID-19 threat. 

This includes the use of our community room.

We ARE still accepting new residents, including rooms available to RESPITE care.  If you have an elderly family member/friend who is usually able to maintain their independence, but due to current circumstances is unable to do so, we are accepting residents for respite.  For more information call the housing manager at 320-844-8880.

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School providing free lunch, child care for district families  

Melrose – A Melrose Area Public School food distribution plan ensures children around the district don’t go hungry on weekdays while school is not in session during the COVID-19 outbreak.

School staff is also providing child care for pre-kindergarten through grade five children at no cost for all health care staff, emergency care staff and teaching/education staff from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through March 27. If you need child care, please contact Kristie at (320) 256-5160, extension 4219.

To sign up for free lunch, please register your child athttps://www.getregistered.online so school staff know how many meals to distribute. You will be asked to choose the pick-up point.

On March 18 school food service staff prepared brown bag lunches for students which were handed out for the first time at food distribution sites around the district. Every student, from kindergarten through grade 12, is eligible for these free meals. 

There are pick-up points for lunch, from noon to 12:30 p.m., at the following locations in Melrose, St. Rosa, Freeport, New Munich, Meire Grove, Greenwald and Spring Hill: 

– Melrose Area School Parking Lot, door 3



– Melrose Bowl Parking Lot, 16 6th Ave. SE, Melrose



– Melrose Truck Repair Parking Lot, 305 3rd Ave SWMelrose 

– Meadowlark Country Club Parking Lot, 837 Country Club Dr.,  Melrose



– North of Melrose Electric Parking Lot, 205 8th Ave NW, Melrose



– St. Rose of Lima Church Parking Lot, 28905 Co. Rd. 17, St. Rosa



– Sacred Heart Church Parking Lot, 106 3rd Ave. NE, Freeport



– Immaculate Conception Church Parking Lot, 650 Main St., New Munich



– St. John’s Church Parking Lot, 20 State Hwy. 4,Meire Grove

 – St. Andrew’s Church Parking Lot, 211 2nd Ave. N., Greenwald



– St. Michael’s Church Parking Lot, 102 St. Michael Ave. N.,  Spring Hill. 

            Families unable to reach the food distribution locations should call (320– 256-5160, ext. 1009, to arrange meal deliveries, which will be hung on door knobs.

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UPS is following the guidance of global health experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We are reminding our employees about frequent hand washing, and we are regularly cleaning and disinfecting our facilities and equipment. Importantly, we are asking that our drivers, pilots, and other employees stay home from work if they feel sick. 

Many people are asking the same question: is it safe to receive and handle a shipment? The WHO and CDC have stated that the likelihood of catching the COVID-19 virus by touching cardboard or other another shipping container is low. 

From the outset, UPS has maintained delivery services except where limited by government restrictions. We have also worked in partnership with governments around the world to obtain exceptions that allow our shipments to continue in restricted areas. 

UPS has long been a trusted partner in communities around the world. As with other global humanitarian crisis events, we are helping with relief related to COVID-19 and will continue to seek opportunities to assist our communities in need. 

As this situation is evolving rapidly, we have created a web page with information on how UPS is responding to COVID-19 and tools you can use during this time.

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Bishop Kettler: Public Masses in diocese suspended through April 13

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

By Bishop Donald Kettler

After much prayer and consultation with members of my staff, and in light of the latest recommendations from state and federal health authorities for slowing the rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and protecting the people of our communities, I have made the difficult decision to suspend all public weekday and weekend Masses in the Diocese of Saint Cloud, effective immediately through Easter Monday, April 13. All Catholics in the diocese remain dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass during this time.

Further:

  • I will celebrate the Chrism Mass privately with the deans. They will distribute the holy oils to the parishes in their deaneries at a later time. We hope to livestream the Mass on our diocesan Facebook page.
  • Baptisms should be rescheduled. If a wedding needs to take place, a dispensation needs to be granted by the bishop. Funeral Masses during this time are prohibited; only graveside services are allowed. A memorial Mass should be scheduled for a later date after April 13.
  • Confirmations during this time period remain cancelled. My office will contact parishes to reschedule.
  • All public Holy Week liturgies, including Good Friday services, are cancelled. For specific details regarding liturgies, pastors should consult the “Liturgical Guidelines During the Time of Suspension of Masses” provided by the diocesan Office of Worship.
  • Our churches will remain open for prayer and the sacrament of reconciliation on a schedule determined by the pastor. Social distancing should be encouraged — at least 6 feet between people in prayer and/or waiting to receive the sacrament.
  • All parish events of 50 people or more should be cancelled, per the guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes parish breakfasts and fish fries; drive-through and pick-up options only are acceptable. People who are at a higher risk for contracting the illness — the elderly and those with underlying health conditions — should avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • If any changes to this approach are warranted in the next few weeks, I will notify pastors.

While the threat in your community may not be readily visible, it is very real. I believe these steps are necessary during this national emergency to protect human life and uphold the common good — two foundational principles of Catholic social teaching. While it may seem counterintuitive, we stay in solidarity with one another at this time by staying apart.

This outbreak has caused much fear and anxiety, and I share those same feelings. I haven’t experienced anything like this in my 50 years of priesthood. But we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus never leaves our side. He offers us the grace we need to make our way through this present challenge. “Take courage,” he reminds us. “It is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27).

The measures we are taking don’t mean that we will stop providing pastoral care. My staff and I are committed to helping our parishes and the people of our diocese navigate through this crisis. It will require everyone — diocesan staff, pastors, lay staff and volunteers, parishioners of all ages — to be creative in how we might offer alternative prayer and faith enrichment opportunities, particularly during Holy Week. We must work to make Christ present in other ways in our homes and through our charitable efforts.

I encourage you — individually or as a family — to read and pray over the Sunday Scripture readings and watch our diocesan TV Mass. It is available online at http://worship.stcdio.org/tv-mass, where you will also find a list of channels on which it airs. My staff is working on additional prayer and faith formation opportunities that could be offered online during this holy season. These will be publicized in various ways, including on the diocesan website: www.stcdio.org.

I ask that you also take time to check in — by phone, email or social media — with family members, friends and neighbors, particularly those who are most vulnerable, to ensure they are well and have what they need. Please also continue to support your parish financially during this time. Parishes rely on your generosity to support their staff and ministries, and they need this support now more than ever.

Finally, please join me in praying for all those affected by this pandemic — those who are ill, their caregivers, health care workers, and public officials. We will get through this by patiently making sacrifices, loving our neighbor, and staying close to Christ in prayer. May this time without the celebration of the Eucharist instill in us an even greater appreciation for those times when we will again be gathered, nourished and sent.

I share with you the prayer that Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, recently shared, seeking the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud