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45% of Minnesota pregnancies ‘unintended’

St. Paul  ballpark site accident kills worker; Metro State’s messy bookkeeping; Target’s new fashion line to debut; Red Wing’s solar plunge; new Duluth restrictions on e-cigarettes; and more.

Almost half of Minnesota pregnancies were unintended. At City Pages, Olivia LaVecchia writes: “A lot of pregnancies in 2008 were a surprise. So says a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health. When one of its researchers crunched the 2008 numbers, she found that in 31 states, more than half of pregnancies were unintended. Minnesota, though, wasn’t one of them. According to the institute’s analysis, here, relatively ‘just’ 45 percent of all pregnancies in 2008 were unintended. That breaks down to 43 unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. ‘Unintended’ means different things. The institute split that label into two categories, ‘mistimed’ and ‘unwanted.’ Most of the women who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant in 2008 wanted a baby at some point, the institute found, just not right then: While 27 percent of the unintended pregnancies were unwanted, many more — 73 percent — came at the wrong time.”

Bad start for construction on the new Saints stadium in St. Paul. Richard Chin and Joe Lindberg at the PiPress say: “A Plymouth man is dead after a collapse at the construction site of the future St. Paul Saints stadium Tuesday morning. Johnny Valec, 61, of Plymouth died shortly after 8 a.m. when a section of the former Gillette building in downtown St. Paul collapsed on the backhoe he was operating. … Heavy equipment was brought to the scene to remove concrete that had fallen on Valec’s machine before his body could be recovered and positively identified by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office.”

Pretty messy bookkeeping at Metro State … . Frederick Melo of the PiPress says: “The Metropolitan State University system in the Twin Cities has shortchanged many of its employees’ paychecks this summer, prompting a call for an outside audit. Heavy turnover in the school’s human resources division contributed to a series of payroll problems, including overlooked promotions and career step increases, administrators said. School officials are scrambling to get the pay raises — which were supposed to have taken effect July 1 — incorporated by the Oct. 4 payroll, if not sooner. It’s unclear how many employees have been affected, but faculty and staff said the problems are more widespread than step increases.”

Well, we’ll keep that in mind … Rik Stevens of the AP reports: “The other jury is in: A second periodical used for everything from predicting the weather to helping people lose weight agrees that this winter’s shaping up to be cold and snowy. The Dublin, N.H.-based Old Farmer’s Almanac which, at 222, is believed to be the oldest continuously published periodical in North America, is predicting that a drop in solar activity and a change in ocean patterns point to colder-than-average temperatures and higher-than-average snowfall totals. The 2014 edition officially comes out Tuesday. Last month, the Maine-based Farmer’s Almanac, said much the same. The younger cousin has been published for a mere 197 years. The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a cold winter for every region but the lower Great Lakes, upper Midwest and the northern states of the Northeast.” It’s actually the cold and snowy … springs … that I have a problem with.

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The GleanO, the horror! Janet Moore of the Strib tells us: “Fashionistas have been anxiously awaiting the Sept. 15 debut of designer Phillip Lim’s clothing and accessories line at Target. But a few eagle-eyed shoppers spotted some of the items last week at a Target store in Duluth, Ga., promptly snapped them up and then may have posted them for sale on eBay. Turns out that a few items were inadvertently stocked at a “handful” of Target’s 1,800 stores and have since been removed, according to Joshua Thomas, a spokesman for the Minneapolis-based retailer. It was an ‘unfortunate operational oversight.’ New York-based Lim is the latest hot-hot-hot designer to partner with Target on a line of men’s and women’s clothing, accessories and footwear.” Is “hot-hot-hot” a scientific description?

MPR’s Jennifer Vogel was down in southern Minnesota looking at Red Wing’s city-owned solar installations. “The longtime deputy director of government services, [Jay] McCleary monitors the city’s electric bills, and he’s been the driving force behind Red Wing’s plunge into solar, which will likely include six projects and 217 kilowatts by year’s end. That will cover just a small fraction of the city government’s overall electricity use. But McCleary thinks Red Wing could save more than a million dollars on power over the 40-year life of the panels and be in the vanguard of a growing interest among small cities in generating some of their own heat and electricity.”

Not so far away, colleague Mark Steil reports: “Inside the plant that supplies St. Peter’s drinking water are several arrays of 20-foot-long white plastic pipes — an industrial-scale version of a water cleansing system routinely used in homes. Using reverse osmosis, pumps force well water through the pipes at high pressure. Filters catch impurities, including nitrates, a by-product of nitrogen fertilizer, and a major reason for the system. Nearly every Minnesota corn farmer applies the fertilizer to the state’s biggest crop. Its use is so prevalent that at least two dozen Minnesota communities have unhealthy levels of fertilizer by-products in their drinking water supplies. When nitrates seep into drinking water supplies they pose a health risk to infants, pregnant women and others. Take them out and the health risk drops — but water bills are certain to rise.

I thought they were a little chewier than usual … Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR tells us: “General Mills says it’s recalling a limited quantity of refrigerated Pillsbury cinnamon rolls with icing because packages may contain fragments of plastic. Consumers who purchased cinnamon rolls with ‘better if used by’ dates of Oct. 30 or 31 should contact the company for a replacement. Two-pack cinnamon roll packages with ‘better if used by’ dates of Oct. 18, 26 or 31 are also included in the recall.”

Nanny state alert! Peter Passi at the Duluth News Tribune says: “New restrictions soon will confront users of electronic cigarettes in Duluth. A series of ordinances passed Monday night by the Duluth City Council will subject people using e-cigarettes to the same restrictions faced by smokers puffing on conventional cigarettes. The ordinances also will prevent hookah bars from doing business in the city.” So where do you go to hook up with Serbian sailors if not a hookah bar?