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Oldest-known wild bear dies in Minnesota

Details on wolf attack; “ex-lover in freezer” story gets national attention; health insurance premiums moderating; Dayton backs minimum wage hike; and more.

So they’ve canvassed all of Siberia and they know for sure …? Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “The world’s oldest-known wild bear has died of old age in northern Minnesota, quietly coming to her final resting place in a shady spot that a bear would find as a good place for a daytime nap, a leading state researcher said Tuesday. The decomposed corpse of the female American black bear, known to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) researchers as Bear No. 56, was found last Wednesday by state researcher Karen Noyce in the Chippewa National forest near Marcell. The bear was 39 1/2 years old. The bear was first captured and radio-collared in July 1981 by DNR scientists during the first summer of a long-term research project on bear population ecology.” Oh … “known.” Never mind.

Also a bit more on that wolf attack story. The AP reports: “As of Tuesday, the DNR was waiting for DNA test results to confirm whether a wolf trapped and killed in the same campground early Monday is the animal that attacked Graham, and for results on whether it had rabies. Despite a 4-inch gash on his scalp, 17 staples to close the wound and ‘the worst pain of his life,’Graham didn’t seem fazed Monday by his encounter, nor the needle that delivered a rabies shot following the attack. … Graham said the attack came without warning. ‘There was no sound at all. Didn’t hear it. It was just all of a sudden there,’ he said. Graham’s girlfriend fled to her Jeep, while two other members of the camping party slept through all the screaming, kicking and fighting, he said.” Hey, everyone, thanks for the help.

At the PiPress, David Hanners follows up on the story of the woman who allegedly stuffed her (dead) former lover in a freezer. It’s getting national attention. “Police are trying to find the three young children of a Shorewood woman who prosecutors say killed her boyfriend and stuffed his body in a freezer. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Monday that jailed murder defendant Jetaun Helen Wheeler had her children ‘in hiding’ and that police are trying to find them to make sure they are safe. … Officials have had concerns about the children before. In October, Wheeler allegedly told a worker at a church-run organization that she planned to leave her kids at a hospital because she ‘wanted to give all of this up’ and they’d be better off without her, according to a misdemeanor complaint filed in February. … Investigators were also suspicious about what they didn’t find — there were no items of men’s clothing in the home, even though the man had lived with Wheeler for some weeks.”

A bit of a headline misfire here, though: “Man found in freezer trying to leave girlfriend.” If it were me, I’d have tried to leave by the front door, or in a car.

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And the average middle-class family income has increased how much? A St. Cloud Times story says: “Large employers in Minnesota saw health insurance premiums increase by 5.4 percent during 2012 — a lower rate of annual increase than the previous two years, according to a new survey. In addition, about 30 percent of large employers surveyed said they were using an employee wellness program to try to reduce costs through a healthier workforce. The findings from the Minnesota Health Action Group, which is based in Bloomington, suggest that health insurance trends for large employers in Minnesota are in the same ballpark with national trends. … There has been speculation nationally that as key provisions of the federal health care overhaul … kick in during 2014, some employers would drop health insurance. But the Minnesota group’s survey found no evidence that employers are walking away from offering benefits … .” Not that evidence has had great value in that debate.

Speaking of inciting the fever … Corey Mitchell of the Strib says:Hillary Clinton is scheduled to visit St. Louis Park on Sunday, Oct. 27, as part of Beth El Synagogue’s national speaker series. Clinton, President Obama’s former secretary of state, has long been seen as a likely candidate to seek the Democratic nomination to succeed him in 2016. … Ticket prices range from $100 for general admission to $500 for preferred seating.”

The GleanGov. Dayton was at the State Fair, and he hyped the minimum wage. Baird Helgeson of the Strib says: “The fight to raise the minimum wage came to the State Fair on Tuesday, as labor groups and faith leaders urged fairgoers to press lawmakers to raise the state’s base wage to $9.50 an hour. … Gov. Mark Dayton swung by the event at the sweltering AFL-CIO pavilion and said all workers should be paid a living wage so they can support their families and have an honest shot at the American dream. He said a lower minimum wage forces more working people onto public assistance.” I forget — will a higher minimum wave also drive our millionaires to South Dakota, or just all the super-sizing-your-fries jobs to Wisconsin?

There was some rain up north last night, but fire danger has officials closing off some camping areas. Dan Kraker of MPR writes: “Two small fires burning in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area have prompted the Superior National Forest to close some campsites and portages, though all entry points to the wilderness remain open. The largest fire has burned 15 to 20 acres near the South Arm of Knife Lake, northeast of Ely near the Canadian border. Planes will drop off 16 firefighters by the end of the day to battle the blaze and canoeists should give a wide berth, information officer Becca Manlove said.”

City Pages’ Kevin Hoffman has this about a Replacements concert … in Minnesota: “A video of Paul Westerberg signing autographs that surfaced last night asks the question on everybody’s mind: Will the Replacements be playing any shows closer to home? And the answer appears to be, ‘Oh yeah.’ ‘Any chance there’s a Minnesota show’? the nervous fan asks. ‘Oh yeah,’ Westerberg replies. ‘Really?’ asks the stunned fan. ‘I’m sure we’ll do something,’ Westerberg confirms.”

Sally Jo Sorensen is not buying a WCCO-TV story: “A friend sent a ripening August 23th CBS Minnesota story about the You Can Run But You Can’t Hide booth at the Minnesota State Fair to Bluestem, Booth At State Fair Accused Of Being Backed By ‘Hate Group’ that’s a great example [of] lazy fair reporting. In the lead up to the clip, there’s chatter that CBS Minnesota received “emails” about the booth, but the report itself asserts something slightly different going on: The group “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Intl.” has gained attention at the Minnesota State Fair over accusations that it’s a hate group. . . . The group’s booth has been protested by some fair-goers after they found it listed as an anti-gay hate group on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website. ‘We’ve heard that a few times, but I really don’t want to say anything right now,’ one of the booth volunteers said. Protests? Really?  If that’s the case, where are the visuals and interviews with the protesters?” But enough of that … what’s yummy to eat? News at 10.