We have a winner! The NPR story, by Mark Memmott, says: “If you haven’t gotten in touch recently with relatives in New Jersey and Minnesota, this might be a good time to check on how they’re doing. Three winning tickets for the Powerball lottery’s latest big jackpot — $448.4 million — were sold. One was purchased at a still-unknown location in Minnesota. Two were bought in New Jersey … A quick check of our archives shows we’ve got a growing list of stories about lottery winners — some of whom have been luckier than others.”
For the Strib, Paul Walsh reports: “Officials at the Minnesota Lottery headquarters said they are working to validate the winning ticket, and then they’ll say more Thursday afternoon. Lottery officials said earlier Thursday that the winning ticket was bought in Anoka County. Identifying which outlet sold the ticket will occur when the winner is revealed, said Ed Van Petten, the Minnesota Lottery’s executive director. As for this jackpot: If the Minnesota winner of the 0.333333333 (etc., etc.) portion of the jackpot opts for the immediate cash payout, the after-taxes bottom line will come to about $58.3 million.” Dear Winner, whoever you are … I’m certain I’ve always said nice things about you.
The governor is “deeply concerned” … Jim Ragsdale of the Strib reports: “Gov. Mark Dayton said he is ‘deeply concerned’ by a New Jersey judge’s statements in a case involving Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and his family, and urged the stadium authority to use caution in negotiating a final contract with the Wilfs to build the team a new $1 billion stadium. ‘I am deeply concerned by the judge’s findings that the Wilf family committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty; violated New Jersey’s civil racketeering statute; and presented untruthful and inaccurate financial statements,’ the governor said in a statement. ‘Those practices are far from the legal standards for doing business in Minnesota.’ … ‘since the Stadium Authority has not yet signed the final agreement, I would urge the Board to have its legal counsel assure them and the people of Minnesota that ‘all of the representations made by the team and its owners are truthful and accurate.’ “ Just curious … will the Strib editorial board also see this as a private business matter?
At NBC Sports, Mike Florio writes: “The Vikings continue to characterize the situation as a ‘private business matter,’ but it could become a very public business crisis in Minnesota, if a final review is conducted, and if anything improper is discovered. Dayton said he wasn’t aware of the New Jersey litigation when the stadium deal was reached with the Vikings. While we’ve got no issue with folks in Minnesota ensuring that they weren’t the victims of fraud or any other corporate chicanery, it would be unwise to use the verdict as cover to undo or sweeten a deal about which Dayton or others in government may now have remorse. Amid news that airport-based electronic gambling that was expected to raise $3 million in 2013 has resulted in $33,586 through six months, there’s a chance that the politicians made bad assumptions about the public funding mechanisms. If so, that’s not something that can fairly be blamed on the Wilfs.” Why, to even suggest they did would be the most scurrilous form of conjecture!
You can imagine who’ll start shrieking about “conflict of interest” and “fraud” if they don’t … The AP says: “The citizen board that’s directing Minnesota’s new, state-run health insurance exchange is working on a policy to root out their own possible conflicts of interest. The board of directors of MNsure met Wednesday in St. Paul. That’s the new online marketplace that will help enact President Obama’s health care overhaul, and is likely to help extend health insurance to about 300,000 Minnesotans who don’t currently have it. The exchange is supposed to start operating on Oct. 1. Several members of the seven-member board have ties to the health care industry. They’re working on a policy that requires them not to use their positions to profit personally or to assist others in profiting at the expense of MNsure.”
Got an elderly parent who forgets to take their meds? Dan Gunderson at MPR reports, “Martha Hitzeman is legally blind, and at 87, needs medication for pain and to prevent strokes. But sometimes she forgets to take her pills. ‘She was starting to miss doses, sometimes maybe four or five doses in 10 days,’ said her daughter, Marie Fuchs. ‘So I knew she wasn’t getting the medication she needed.’ Fuchs, who manages her mother’s medication, enrolled Hitzeman last August in MedSmart, a pilot project run by PioneerCare, a long-term-care facility in Fergus Falls. Her mother now has a small device on her kitchen table that holds two weeks’ worth of medication. The automated dispenser beeps twice a day — and keeps beeping until Hitzeman tips it over and the pills are dispensed.”
Good interactive graphic by MPR’s Dave Peters on broadband availability around the state: “The National Telecommunications and Information Administration put out a new broadband map for the country this week and noted again what it called the significant gap between urban and rural availability. At download speeds of 10 megabits (think high quality video conferencing for telecommuters, complex gaming, telemedicine for remote diagnostics and care), urban America is 99.6 covered. Just under 84 percent of rural America has those speeds available. … I keep waiting for the state’s northeastern corner to turn blue as the federally supported fiber project kicks into gear.”
The head of the Minneapolis Police union doubts the department will ever be able to avoid a few bad actors on the force. Elizabeth Dunbar and Cathy Wurzer at MPR write: “The head of the union representing Minneapolis police officers said Thursday that Chief Janee Harteau is asking the right questions about how to prevent racially charged incidents involving officers. ‘We hire from the human race, so will we ever rid the department of people who can be problems? I don’t think so,’ Lt. John Delmonico told MPR’s Morning Edition. … Delmonico also said he thinks some members of the community have an inaccurate perception of how the department’s ranks are holding themselves accountable. ‘In 2012, about half the complaints that came into internal affairs about cops were from other cops’, he said. ‘So I think if you look at other professions where, do they really police themselves, and what is the ratio of complaints against that profession from their own people, I’d say we’re probably at the top of the list.’ ” And how many repeat offenders has the union agreed should be fired?