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140,000 Minnesotans required to get new health insurance

Cook County attorney charged; Target Center renovation details; charges against Ellison, other protesters dropped; Gophers-UND rivalry to resume; and more.

In the mostly nuance-free outrage over canceled health insurance policies, Kevin Diaz of the Strib says: “At least 140,000 Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own are being notified that their plans will no longer be available under the new federal health care law, adding to the national furor over canceled policies that has overtaken the health care debate. Unlike many states, Minnesota guarantees renewability of health insurance plans, meaning that technically, no policies are being canceled. Some who are being offered different plans, however, say that’s a distinction without a difference. Industry officials say higher premiums and added benefits are likely in store for most of those who now buy high deductible/limited coverage plans on the individual market. … For buyers on the individual market, the most significant changes are new rules limiting deductibles and requiring ‘essential health benefit’ such as coverage for maternity, chemical dependency treatment and prescription drugs.”

This story … again. Jenna Ross of the Strib reports: “Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell has been charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl, according to news reports. Former U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger, who was appointed to review the case, announced the charges Thursday morning at a news conference in Grand Marais. … [A] restraining order was filed a year after a courthouse shooting in which Scannell was shot and seriously wounded by a man he prosecuted for having sex with a teenager. A second man who was shot also survived. The shooter, Daniel Schlienz, died of a blood disorder a month later in jail. After recovering, Scannell was outspoken about the trend of older men preying on young girls in Grand Marais.”

Details of the Target Center renovation include the following, according to an MPR piece by Tim Nelson:

  • “$27.2 million for a new box office, lobby, stairwells, skyway connection to southwest parking, renovation to and new bathrooms, food courts and concessions, new bowl seating
  • $18.2 million: Contingency fees, consultants, etc.
  • $16.6 million: Technology upgrades including sound, … voice over IP, cable, scoreboard upgrades, ribbon boards, and control room.

  • $13.9 million for new club spaces on Levels 1 and 2, club space improvements on Levels 4 and 5.

  • $13.5 million: Outside building shell, outdoor media mesh and signage.

  • $6.4 million: Building operations and back of house, including stage relocation and energy conservation measures.

  • $933,000: Basketball locker rooms and facilities.”

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Yeah, we’ll let that slide … Henry Jackson of the AP writes: “The House Ethics Committee won’t investigate eight House members arrested during an immigration protest near the Capitol earlier this month. The committee published a report Thursday saying each lawmakers had made a $50 ‘collateral payment’ and that charges had been dropped. The committee says there’s no reason for further investigation because the local charges are resolved. Democrats Luis Gutiérrez and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois; Raúl Grijalva of Arizona; Keith Ellison of Minnesota; Joseph Crowley and Charles Rangel of New York; and Al Green of Texas were arrested during an Oct. 8 event.”

How did I miss this yesterday? In the PiPress, Joe Soucheray, ever the everyman, zeroes in on one of the great indignities affecting us all … shaggy putting greens: “[T]here is talk about privatizing St. Paul’s golf courses. I suppose there are two ways to look at that. One, privatizing might result in more efficiency and faster putting surfaces, not to mention more updated bathrooms in the likes of the Highland clubhouse. Two, for all the property-tax money we pay in St. Paul, it is a shame that the golf courses are not top-notch amenities husbanded at least as well as all those green bicycle-rental kiosks. And will our property taxes go down if the city no longer is paying for golf courses? They had better, or golf will be the least of this city’s problems.” I feel his pain. For what I pay in property taxes here in Edina, the very least the city could do is groom out my polo pony.

How did they screw this up …? Stribber Paul Walsh says: “One of the most heated rivalries in college hockey will end a three-year hiatus starting in the 2016-17 season, now that the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota have agreed to a two-year deal to play each other. The Gophers will host North Dakota for a two-game series in the 2016-17 season at Mariucci Arena and then travel to Grand Forks for a series in 2017-18 at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Dates for both series between the powerhouse programs have yet to be set.”

That Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving-with-the-family thing is so over … John Ewoldt of the Strib reports: “Mall of America is planting itself smack dab in the middle of the ‘open on Thanksgiving’ debate. The Bloomington mall opens officially at midnight on Black Friday, ‘but stores have the opportunity to open earlier if they choose,’ mall spokesman Dan Jasper said. In addition to Macy’s, which announced earlier this month that it would open stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Len, Athleta, Gap, Godiva, American Eagle, Aerie and Express all plan to open at 8 p.m. Last year Sears opened its stores at 8 p.m., including its Mall of America location, but the retailer has not yet announced hours for this year’s holiday season yet. Nordstrom, the only major department store to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to fully decorate its stores for the holidays, will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.”

And this is while Bob is still alive … . Ula Ilnytzky of the AP tells us: “The sunburst Fender Stratocaster that a young Bob Dylan played at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when he famously went electric, perhaps the most historic instrument in rock ‘n’ roll, is coming up for auction, where it could bring as much as half a million dollars. Though now viewed as changing American music forever, Dylan’s three-song electric set at the Rhode Island festival that marked his move from acoustic folk to electric rock ‘n’ roll was met by boos from folk purists in the crowd who viewed him as a traitor. He returned for an acoustic encore with ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.’ Rolling Stone has called it one of the most notable events in music history.” So … bigger than the Jonas Brothers breaking up?

City Pages’ Jessica Armbruster follows the controversy over the Walker Art Center’s screening of the much-lauded new movie, “Twelve Years a Slave”: “When an organization hosts an event that might be of importance to a community outside of its regular patronage, how much responsibility falls on that group to handle the publicity and ticketing of that event differently? This is one of the questions being addressed in an open letter to the Walker published recently on local blog Opine Season. … Who exactly will be in the audience — or, rather, won’t be — has been brought up as a concern in the open letter, penned by Chaun Webster, Jeremiah Bey Ellison, Arianna Genis, Shannon Gibney, and Valerie Deus:

We are concerned that though this film is being shown, that peoples of African descent, whose ancestors’ lives and histories were disrupted by the slaveocracy, will be largely underrepresented in the audience. Our position is that equity is not just about the diversity in the art being shown but the material work of creating greater access to exhibitions to ensure that audiences are representative of the subject matter.”