The ailing economy has been especially bad for area nonprofits, and the Star Tribune’s Warren Wolfe looks at struggling local social services organizations that must repeatedly restructure or face closing. Wolfe quotes Mike Weber of Volunteers of America-Minnesota, who says “It’s been kind of a perfect storm … All the factors that could turn south are headed that direction.” This comes as state cuts further burden nonprofit clients.
Medicare spends $6,600 per year on Minnesota enrollees, compared with $8,300 nationally — and that’s a good thing. The Pioneer Press’ Jeremy Olson explains our restraint: not ordering unneeded tests. That’s been better for patients, but Medicare, which pays per procedure, provides almost no incentive for this sort of goodness. Still, Minnesota’s frugal model has inspired both President Obama, who has called for health care reform to address Medicare payment disparities, and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who introduced legislation this month to reward efficient medical care.
MPR introduces us to a new vocab word from the world of foreclosures: trash-out. Reporter Nikki Tundel narrates a slide-show illustrating an increasingly common trend: a foreclosed house still filled with the detritus of the former owner. Tundel looks at the cottage “trash-out” industry that has developed, in which private contractors clear out foreclosed properties, some of whose former owners could not afford to move or store their possessions, and so left behind eerily undisturbed properties, which look as though long-gone residents just stepped outside for a moment or two, with food in the refrigerator and just-opened letters by the door.
Meanwhile, the PiPress’ Christopher Snowbeck and Nicole Garrison-Sprenger warn that another wave of near-record-level foreclosures is likely on its way. Lawyer Paul Weingarden produces this menacing quote: “The people who said the foreclosure boom was over — they were whistling in the dark.” According to the story, the biggest factor affecting future foreclosures will be unemployment, which, as John Vomhof Jr. recently pointed out in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, was up in May.
Homicide rates in St. Paul are up, and the police are reaching out to the Hmong community. Reg Chapman of WCCO informs us that, while St. Paul averages 20 homicides per year, the city has had seven so far. Unless I miss my math, with the year nearly half over, St. Paul’s number is below average. However, three of the killings have been from the Hmong community, including Sunday’s drive-by shooting of 23-year-old Chai Moua, reported by the PiPress’ Nick Ferarro.
More homicide: While there are currently no reported suspects or motives in Moua’s shooting, and his family believes he was a victim of mistaken identity, the St. Paul Police department is concerned that the killings in the Hmong community point to a rise in gang activity. Meanwhile, Chapman notes, we’re at a rare point in history: Minneapolis has fewer killings (five) than the Capital City. Last year at this time, Minneapolis had 18.
Minneapolis is also not the same city it used to be — when it comes to advertising. Jeremy Mullman, writing for Advertising Age, charts the city’s new ad topography, in which small boutique advertising agencies, run by ex-employees of our city’s powerhouse agencies, have begun to draw significant business away from their former employers. Mullman illustrates his point with a rather startling fact: In six years, Fallon Worldwide has seen its revenue fall from $82.2 million to $41.6 million, which has got to hurt.
The Strib’s James Lileks takes a look at a very curious case from Minnesota history: that of Dr. H.S. Tanner, a Minneapolis physician from the Victorian era who believed he could starve himself just about indefinitely, and set out to prove it in a 40-day fast. Tanner chose to perform his hunger experiment on public display in New York City, attracting the attention of the New York Times, and the comical skepticism and outrage of a number of other doctors of the era, who were certain Tanner wouldn’t survive his experiment.
John Lauritsen of WCCO gets points for this weekend’s best headline: Ambulance Crashes On Way To Other Ambulance Crash.
Nort spews: The Twins beat St. Louis 6-2 at the new Busch; Francisco Liriano actually pitched a good game. Sore Loser here. The Strib’s Jim Souhan, reflecting on Justin Morneau’s three-run homer Sunday, distills what happens when Morneau doesn’t hit home runs: “The Twins stink.” The PiPress’ John Shipley says that the Minnesota Wild managed to pick up the top-rated North American goaltender, Matt Hackett, in the third round of drafting new players.