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5 things to know today: Vaccine myths, Jan. 6 committee, Border restrictions, Pro-union bill, Wildfire smoke

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

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Danielle Matta receives her first COVID-19 vaccination shot from nurse Tiana Crabtree on March 15, 2021, in the community vaccination center in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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1. This COVID-19 vaccine myth has been 'extremely difficult' to dispel in North Dakota

North Dakota vaccine promoters have heard holdouts cite dozens of reasons for declining to get the shot, but one keeps coming up: Some men and women believe the shot will negatively impact their ability to conceive children somewhere down the line.

It's an unfortunate myth, propelled by extensively circulated misinformation, that has been "extremely difficult to combat," said state immunization manager Molly Howell. A recent National Public Radio report tracked the false narrative from its birth on social media to its distribution through fake and misleading news stories.

Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Turley

2. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy yanks GOP suggestions for Jan. 6 committee — including North Dakota's Kelly Armstrong

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Rep. Kelly Armstrong

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North Dakota's congressman was bound for a seat on the Jan. 6 committee Monday — but he's off it again.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., had his selection for the House committee investigating Jan. 6 pulled on Wednesday, July 21, amid a squabble over the committee's membership.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had suggested five Republicans for the committee, including Armstrong, on Monday. But on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of those names — Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. That led to a GOP outcry.

Read more

3. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says border restrictions have gone from 'precautionary to preposterous'

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A U.S. and a Canadian flag flutter at the Canada-United States border crossing at the Thousand Islands Bridge, which remains closed to non-essential traffic to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada September 28, 2020. REUTERS/Lars Hagberg/File Photo

While fully vaccinated Americans can begin visiting Canada on Aug. 9, U.S. restrictions on nonessential Canadian travelers have been extended through Aug. 21.

The extension of the border closure, deemed necessary because of the risk of transmitting the coronavirus, was announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on July 21, and published by the Office of the Federal Register. The register makes available a wide variety of public documents.

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Read more from Forum News Service's Adam Kurtz

4. Labor advocates rally in Fargo, Moorhead in support of pro-union bill

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Organized labor advocates hold a rally in downtown Fargo calling for passage of the PRO Act, a sweeping labor rights bill that aims to remove barriers to organizing unions. David Olson/The Forum.

Advocates of organized labor held rallies outside the offices of U.S. senators in Fargo and Moorhead Wednesday, July 21, calling for passage of the PRO Act, proposed legislation backers say would create sweeping changes to federal labor laws and reduce barriers to organizing unions.

The PRO Act was passed by the U.S. House earlier this year, but it so far has not received approval in the U.S. Senate.

Labor leaders and activists made a tour Wednesday of downtown Fargo and Moorhead, holding rallies at each of the four U.S. senate offices in the metro area.

Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson

5. Wildfire smoke returns to Red River Valley; air quality slowly improving

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Traffic moves along I-94 in smoky weather conditions on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. David Samson / The Forum

Thick haze that shrouded the Red River Valley resulted in unhealthy air quality — including a brief spell of very unhealthy air Wednesday, July 21 — when smoke from Canadian wildfires lingered.

The arrival of the smoky Canadian air, which took a roundabout route in reaching the Red River Valley after first swooping through the Twin Cities, delivered some of the worst air quality in recent memory.

Read more from The Forum's Patrick Springer

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