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Adult smoking on the rise in Minnesota

Apparently more adults are lighting up … WCCO-TV’s story on a new report says: “Minnesota has dropped out of the top 10 of states with the lowest amounts of adult smokers, according to a health report released Friday. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Minnesota now ranks 11th best among all states for adult smoking. In 2009, Minnesota ranked 7th. … In an effort to decrease cigarette use, Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed a 94 cents-a-pack tax increase, which would bring Minnesota’s cigarette tax on par with Wisconsin. The Minnesota Department of Health projects that the tax increase on cigarettes would result in an 11 percent decrease in youth smoking.”

And while we’re puffing … Don Davis of the Forum papers says: “Some Minnesota legislators want to raise the tax on “little cigars,” saying the products cost less than cigarettes, and they can be flavored as a way to attract children. Sens. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, and Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, said little cigars basically are the same as cigarettes, but taxed differently under state law. Their bills would change that. Dziedzic said the only difference is that little cigars have some tobacco in their wrappers, and they are brown instead of the typical cigarette white. ‘Little cigars look, smoke and are marketed just like cigarettes, and they are just as deadly and dangerous,’ Dziedzic said. Little cigars sell for about $1.50 per 20 pack, while cigarettes cost $5, the senator said.”

So much for the sleepy suburbs … Jim Adams of the Strib says: “A restaurant that has been a hot spot for police calls and city code violations will lose its liquor license, the Apple Valley City Council has decided. The council voted 3-2 last Thursday to deny the license renewal requested by Spoon, 14871 Granada Av., deciding against giving the establishment's owners a few more months to correct problems under a temporary license. The owners have said a liquor license is essential to their staying in business. Police say they've been called to the restaurant eight times since May 2011 to quell fights, most recently on Oct. 27. During the last tussle, patrons reported seeing a man pointing a gun, but police never found it.”

And on the other end of town … Mike Durkin at KMSP-TV posts: “Maple Grove city councilwoman LeAnn Sargent has been charged with perjury and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. … According to a search warrant filed in Hennepin County last October, LeAnn Sargent became the center of a family financial mess after her 85-year-old father, Robert Bobleter, died in March 2012. The warrant explains Sargent's siblings became suspicious when $346 was all that was left in their father's bank account. Investigators learned Sargent had been granted power of attorney for her father in 2008. He lived with Sargent and her husband for the last two years of his life while he received hospice care. Yet, in that time investigators found bank records showing more than $97,000 worth of cash advances, checks from her father's account totaling over $76,000, and unusual purchases and expenses totaling over $86,000 — including payments to local spas, realtor-related payments and Miche handbags.” Guys buy ridiculously expensive cars; gals … handbags.

“Reallocations” are not “cuts” … The AP reports: “Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration said Monday that what initially was billed as $225 million in spending cuts in his budget blueprint actually is $58 million less. A Minnesota Management and Budget spokesman said of the $225 million that was billed as ‘cuts’ on material provided in Dayton’s budget release last week, only $167 million is actual spending reductions. The rest are ‘reallocations’ within state agencies to other programs. The issue first was raised by GOP Rep. Denny McNamara during a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee.”

Someone loves our charter school … laws. Tim Post at MPR says: “The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools puts Minnesota at No. 1 in its latest rankings of charter school laws. Some of the components the charter advocate group likes about Minnesota's law: It doesn't restrict the number or types of schools allowed, and it allows charters to be creative by exempting them from the rules and regulations that other public schools need to abide by. Eli Kramer, executive director of the charter school system Hiawatha Academies in Minneapolis, is happy about the ranking, but says Minnesota's focus should be on making sure charter schools are doing high quality work.” Oh, that

Tim Blotz at KMSP-TV reports: “The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women released its 2012 Femicide Report on Tuesday, showing 14 women died from domestic violence last year, down from 23 in 2011. One man and three friends or family members were also victims of domestic homicide in 2012. Ramsey County Attorney John Choi told members of the Minnesota House that 45 underage girls are trafficked for sex on any given night in Minnesota. He said such statistics highlight the need for a statewide network of teen runaway shelters for sex trafficking victims. The Femicide Report documents the domestic violence homicides in Minnesota each year. The coalition gathers its information from news articles and reports provided by law enforcement, county attorneys, court administrators, battered women's programs and family and friends of murder victims.”

Final numbers are in on the “deer harvest.” According to the AP’s story: “Minnesota's deer harvest declined in 2012 but officials say it was a safe season for people who took to the woods. Final numbers released Monday show that Minnesota hunters killed nearly 185,000 deer, down 4 percent from 2011. … The archery harvest was up 5 percent and the muzzleloader harvest increased 1 percent, but the firearms harvest was down 5 percent from last year. The DNR says only one hunter fatality and 19 injuries were reported. Capt. Mike Hammer credits the state's hunter education program, in which 4,300 volunteers taught 23,000 students last year.” Apparently there are no numbers on how many hunters took a Bushmaster out to increase their “harvest” rate.

Will the local stations send up their choppers if he comes to town? Drew Smith of Fox 11 in Green Bay says: “The Green Bay Packers may not be asking their all-time leading receiver Donald Driver back next year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean other teams aren’t interested in seeing what is left in the tank. FOX 11 has learned that the Minnesota Vikings would have an interest in the 37-year-old free agent wide receiver if he does not decide to retire. The question is whether or not Driver wants to play for another team, much less a hated division rival after 14 years with the Packers. The Packers have given no indication they have a desire to sign Driver, but he has been reluctant to consider going to another team for fear of tarnishing his Packers legacy.  However, he has not ruled it out completely. … The Vikings did not make head coach Leslie Frazier available for comment, but a source told FOX 11 he would be open to consider Driver if the Packers decide to pass.” Driver doesn’t own a pair of Crocs, does he?

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Comments (2)

Another point regarding "little cigars"

is that they're used for more than smoking tobacco. The next time you enter SA, Holiday or your local convenience store, take a look at what's on the shelf next to them. Odds are, you'll find cigarette papers.

Really???

Only in the Burbs would 8 calls in a little less that 2 years be considered a "a hot spot for police calls". Heck, in Minneapolis, 8 police calls in one night is considered a "party".