Minneapolis communications complicated tornado efforts

AFTERNOON EDITION

At MPR, Jessica Mador has a good story about communications issues and last June’s Minneapolis tornado. “Hundreds of storm-related documents show that city officials responded quickly to the tornado and took steps to search for victims, protect public safety, restore essential services and provide emergency assistance. But their ability to inform … residents was plagued by communication problems — and a lack of power. The tornado hit the city’s $15 million high-tech emergency operations center, forcing city officials to set up shop at City Hall until a generator arrived at the center four hours later. … Although city and county officials found it a challenge to communicate with each other and with the public, officials said the 311 system functioned well in a fast-moving situation. The city also used social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook and sent outreach teams with information to the neighborhood. … However, without electricity many people affected by the tornado couldn’t access the Internet and used their cell phones or resorted to simple word of mouth to find out what was going on and where to go for help. Some community advocates were particularly concerned that emergency information did not reach the elderly or immigrant communities where many do not speak English at home.”

Andy Birkey at Minnesota Independent has a story on Michele Bachmann’s endorsements in Iowa. It’s an impressive collection of characters: “Bachmann’s legislative endorsements in Iowa are quite the mixed bag: A state senator who served jail time for selling pot; a former mayor who allegedly stalked his ex-girlfriend until the police intervened; a state senator who can claim to be the first to show Focus on the Family videos at the state Capitol; and a state senator who dressed half naked in a chicken costume to dispense beer to bikers. Sen. Kent Sorenson was the first state legislator to endorse Bachmann, doing so in March 2011. … In 1993, Sorenson was caught in a police sting after he tried to sell an informant marijuana, The Des Moines Register reported. He pleaded guilty to delivery of marijuana and spent 5 days in jail and paid $300. Sorenson told the paper that he was a different person back then and had changed his life.” I’m betting he’s high on the Lord these days. What about you?

ABC News has a story about … Rick Santorum … positioning himself to scoop up Our Favorite Congresswoman’s support, beginning in Iowa: “Just a month out of her Ames Straw Poll victory, Michele Bachmann, another social conservative who had a similar Iowa strategy, seems to be in freefall, and Santorum is hoping to grab the space that the Minnesota congresswoman previously inhabited, and the voters that go along with it. … Santorum said his camp has even been in talks with ‘key people’ in Bachmann’s camp. These people are not paid staff, but Iowa activists that ‘are in conversations with us and see things not going well for her,’ he explained.”

The AP has a story about Twins announcer John Gordon broadcasting his last game Wednesday: “Gordon says after 25 years with the Twins and 43 years in professional baseball, that’s enough balls and strikes. Gordon is ready to see what’s outside the circle of baseball and spend more time with his family, golf and travel.” You have to wonder if John would have lasted 25 years if the Twins were as lousy in his first season as they have been this year?

Three more state agencies have been slapped with EEOC suits for age discrimination. Says the Strib’s Dan Browning: “An incentive designed to entice unionized state workers to take early retirement is causing continuing legal headaches, with the latest migraines striking Minnesota’s departments of Commerce, Public Safety and Natural Resources. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed three nearly identical lawsuits in federal court Monday alleging that the agencies violated age discrimination laws when they signed collective bargaining agreements that included health and dental benefits for workers who retired at 55, but not for older workers.”

Is this another way of saying, “Nerd Therapy”? The AP reports: “Help is on the way for socially awkward engineering students. The Gemini Project, a new program in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering, is teaching social and professional networking skills to students who may struggle in those areas, specifically targeting engineering students. Program chairwoman Tess Surprenant told the Minnesota Daily that training engineering students in social skills is an emerging national trend at technical colleges and something that was widely overlooked before. She said the university has prepared students with the technical skills, but not necessarily the people skills, required to survive in the job market.”

Paul Walsh of the Strib has some background info on the woman killed by police on I-394 last week: “Several weeks before she was fatally shot by a Golden Valley police officer, Katherine Gordon told police in Edina that the devil was talking to her and that she needed to be locked up to prevent her from harming herself or others. … Upon arrival at Edina police headquarters that July morning, the report noted, Gordon said she had driven from California and was looking for a place to live in Minnesota. She added that a ‘spirit’ inside her told her go to the police, and she believed that spirit was the devil or Satan.”

Oh, great … Abby Simons at the Strib says: “A laptop computer containing private data on more than 16,000 patients at Fairview and North Memorial hospitals was stolen from a parked car in Minneapolis in July, potentially exposing patients to identity theft, officials said Tuesday. Hospital officials blamed the loss on an employee of a subcontractor, Accretive Health, which was hired to help with insurance and other patient services. Both hospital groups said they are notifying affected patients in letters mailed today. ‘There has been no evidence that any patient information has been accessed or misused’, Fairview said in a news release. The laptop contained names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers and some medical information on about 14,000 Fairview patients, according to the news release.” And the sub-contractor will compensate each patient how much for its lapse of common sense security?

You may want to skip your breakfast of Oysters Rockefeller for a few days. The PiPress has a story about a bad harvest from Washington’s Hood Canal: “The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat raw oysters harvested from Washington’s Hood Canal that were distributed in Minnesota, 22 other states and four countries. The oysters have been linked to three confirmed and two possible cases of illnesses linked to the vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria. Symptoms, which include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, begin from a few hours to up to five days after eating raw or undercooked seafood. The oysters came from ‘growing area 4’ in Hood Canal and were harvested from Aug. 30 to Sept. 19, the FDA said.”

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/27/2011 - 03:48 pm.

    A $15 million dollar Emergency Management Center with no generator/ Seriously? I have a sump pump and a freezer and I have a generator!!!

  2. Submitted by Jim Camery on 09/27/2011 - 05:27 pm.

    Two months for Fairview to get around to notifying patients that their SSN numbers were stolen? When they knew the computer was gone almost immediately? How arrogant. And incompetent.

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