The story that KAXE/KBXE produced was the experiences of two people who attended the rally on the opposite side of the street. If you attended the rally or counterprotest and would like to comment, please contact us.
On Tuesday July 28th there was a rally at Old Central School in Grand Rapids, MN. It was called "Back the Blue" and was in support of local law enforcement.
Across from the rally at Old Central School there were a group of counter protesters - younger folks wearing masks during the pandemic - who are part of the local Indivisible group or there to support police reform.
The contributors to this story found the rally to be less about supporting police than it was about the upcoming presidential election. Most of the "Back the Blue" rally attendees (estimated to be about 150 people) were not wearing masks. Eyewitnesses told KAXE/KBXE that some of the rally attendees ventured to the other side of the street, boxing in and intimidating the counter-protesters who were wearing masks during the current world-wide pandemic and under a state mandate to wear masks.
Minnesota seeks to punish rodeo organizers who bucked governor's safety orderNorth Star Stampede in Effie was warned to limit spectators but didn't comply, complaint says. Also one spectator tested positive for COVID-19. Ellison's complaint says that Effie Rodeo organizers - North Star Ranch - openly defied executive order from MN Governor Tim Walz of allowing more than what was allowed for the venue size - 132 people. They could now face a fine of $25,000 and be forced to forfeit money collected at event and pay costs and attorney fees. At least one person who attended the Effie Rodeo July 23-26 has tested positive.
Itasca County Public is encouraging COVID-19 tests for everyone who attended the Effie Rodeo...they may have been infected by patron with undiagnosed COVID-19. Call 8-327-6784. Our Public Health team will answer and return calls Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can also call the Minnesota Helpline Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. That number is 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504.
The State of MN and the MN Dept of Health have guidelines for events and gatherings. Find more information here.
If you were part of the Back to Blue rally in Grand Rapids email us your perspective. We are working on more interviews about this and have reached out to people who responded to our story and other people involved in both sides of protests in Brainerd, Bemidji and across northern Minnesota.