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Minnesota roundup: Air quality alert issued in Twin Cities; congressman to skip Trump inauguration; 3 more state news stories

MINNEAPOLIS—The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Monday issued an air quality advisory for the Twin Cities metro, effective until midnight Wednesday.

Fine particle pollution is expected to be at levels that may be harmful to children, the elderly and people with pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory disease, according to an MPCA news release. Anyone planning to participate in activities that require prolonged physical exertion — both indoors and outdoors — should consider rescheduling these activities, the news release said.

"Exposure to high levels of fine particles has been linked with both respiratory and cardiovascular health effects," the news release said. "Fine particles may exacerbate pre-existing health conditions and may cause some people to experience chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing or fatigue. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician."

The MPCA advised people who may be vulnerable to fine particles to avoid vigorous physical activity and exposure to sources of air pollution, including wood fires and heavy vehicle traffic.

Visit the MPCA's website at pca.state.mn.us for more information on fine particle pollution and an updated air quality index.

Pedestrian fatally struck by car in Fridley

FRIDLEY, Minn.—A pedestrian from St. Paul was struck and killed by a car early Monday morning in Fridley.

A Honda Civic traveling northbound on University Avenue N.E. had a green light at the intersection of 57th Avenue Northeast when it struck the 50-year-old man who was crossing against the walk signal about 5:46 a.m., according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

The driver saw the pedestrian and braked but was unable to stop in time, the State Patrol said.

The victim, who died at the scene, was not identified by police Monday morning.

The driver, Tou Feng Lee, 41, of Brooklyn Park, was not injured and is cooperating with the accident investigation, according to police.

Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the crash, police said. The accident closed the northbound lanes of University Avenue during the accident investigation.

Minnesota congressman to skip Trump inauguration

MINNEAPOLIS—U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota became the latest Democratic lawmaker to announce a boycott of Donald Trump's Friday inauguration as the 45th president.

"I will not celebrate a man who preaches a politics of division and hate," Ellison said via Twitter on Monday afternoon. "I won't be attending Donald Trump's inauguration."

Ellison, who represents Minneapolis in the 5th Congressional District, joins more than 30 other Democratic representatives who are skipping the inauguration.

The pageantry of inaugurations are usually bipartisan affairs, but Trump's controversial statements in the 2016 campaign have led Democrats such as U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon from Georgia, to call Trump "illegitimate."

Ellison is so far the only member of Minnesota's congressional delegation to say he'll skip Trump's inauguration. Sen. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, both Democrats, say they'll attend the ceremonies.

Ellison's announcement comes as he seeks support from Democratic leaders to be the party's next chair.

He's competing against U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez; the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; and several state Democratic Party leaders.

1 dead, 4 injured by apparent carbon monoxide in fish house

FAIRMONT, Minn. — Sheriff's officials say a woman died and four other people were hospitalized after they were overcome by apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Sunday, Jan. 15, while ice fishing in southern Minnesota.

Authorities say the group was in an ice shanty on Wilmert Lake in rural Martin County. A 21-year-old woman died at the scene about 2 p.m. A 20-year-old man was taken to St. Mary's in Rochester, about two hours to the east. Three other adults were treated at local hospitals.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office is investigating the death. The sheriff's office provided no other details.

Three Minnesota Democratic congressman on ag committee

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking member on the U.S. House agriculture committee has announced the 20 Democratic members that will serve on the committee this year.

Three are from Minnesota, including Peterson.

Among the main duties will be reauthorizing the 2014 Farm Bill, said Peterson who represents most of western Minnesota.

Other Minnesota Democrats named to the ag committee were Rep. Tim Walz,, who represents southern Minnesota, and Rep. Rick Nolan, who represents northern Minnesota.

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