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Stem cell work at U of M could accelerate under new deal

Some bona fide progress on the medical front … Jeremy Olson of the Strib says: “Donating umbilical cord blood — a rich source of life-saving stem cells — hasn’t been an option for new mothers in Minnesota for years. But a new partnership between the University of Minnesota and the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank in Missouri could restore that chance — and accelerate research at the U, a pioneering center for cord blood transplants and stem cell research. Leaders of the two organizations are meeting Tuesday to finalize a deal allowing the university Medical Center to collect cord blood after childbirth and send it to St. Louis to be stored and matched to patients who need it. … U researchers are trying, among other things, to determine if cord blood medicine can move beyond rare cancers and become effective treatments for common diseases such as diabetes. They also are studying ways to coax cord blood stem cells to work faster, especially for cancer patients at risk of fatal infections while their immune systems recover.”

More deer than usual dodged the bullet … Dan Kraker of MPR says: “Through Thursday, hunters had killed a little more than 92,000 deer — down about 7 percent from last year. The Department of Natural Resources attributes much of that decline to last weekend’s cold, windy weather, which restricts deer movement and tends to limit the hours hunters spend in the field.”

There aren’t many like this one … Joy Powell’s Strib story on cops releasing the ID of the man killed on the lawn of an Orono doctor says: “The armed man killed by police outside a slain Orono doctor’s home was identified Sunday as Ted C. Hoffstrom. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Sunday that both Hoffstrom, 30, of St. Anthony, and Dr. Stephen L. Larson, a prominent OB-GYN physician, died of multiple gunshot wounds. Police have released no information on a possible connection between the doctor and Hoffstrom … The house where he was slain, on Heritage Lane, is a split-level overlooking Tanager Lake, with deeded access to Lake Minnetonka. The 3,795-square-foot house sits in a cul-de-sac. Officers who went there Friday night had requested a Taser to use on a man they encountered in the front yard. Radio transmissions indicated there was a gun on the porch near the man.”

In the PiPress, Andy Greder says: “Hoffstrom graduated from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in 2009 and passed the Minnesota bar exam in October. Family and friends will remember him as a happy, caring, educated, fit and driven man, the spokeswoman said. Hoffstrom graduated from St. Anthony Village High School in 2002 and the University of Minnesota in 2006. He was a campaign volunteer for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party and had internships with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, Hennepin County District Court, the Minnesota State Senate and the Hennepin County Drug Court. He is survived by his two parents and two younger brothers. ‘I never saw him angry,’ the spokeswoman said. Hoffstrom does not appear to have a criminal history, according to public records searches.”

Computer error … Josephine Marcotty of the Strib reports: “Water main ruptures at five Woodbury locations sent 33 people at an apartment complex out of their homes Sunday when water gushed into their building. Another 50 homes and businesses were left without water for most of the day. City officials said it appears there was a major glitch in the computer controls, which may have increased pressure throughout the system. Crews were called in Sunday to repair the broken pipes and are expected to have all water restored by sometime Monday.”

An employment opportunity, with some sweet employee benefits …. Martin Moylan of MPR says: “St. Paul-based Pearson Candy plans to add up to 40 jobs as it moves production of Bit-O-Honey candy from Illinois to Minnesota. Pearson bought the brand from Nestle USA in May. ‘We’re certainly very excited for the potential arrival of Bit-O-Honey to St. Paul,’ said CEO Michael Keller. ‘We have to finalize a lot of details. But if we are successful in moving the assets to St. Paul and successful in hiring the employees that we need, we will have grown our employee population in St. Paul to nearly 200.’ “

The GleanOr, if not candy … how about police work? Mara Gottfried of the PiPress says: “With a large number of St. Paul police officers expected to retire next year, the department is holding its first job fair this month. … The Police Federation and mayor’s office disagree with each other’s calculations for how St. Paul officers’ pay compares with other Twin Cities police departments. The union has figured that an officer’s pay over his or her career puts St. Paul 22nd out of 27 cities in the area, Titus said. Pay starts at about $49,000 and tops out after 20 years at about $77,000, he said. The mayor’s office says figuring in total compensation, including benefits, for patrol officers over a 30-year period puts the department third among the 25 largest police departments in the metro area.”

Was this in the party platform? Todd Richmond of the AP says: “Pressure is mounting on Gov. Scott Walker to veto a Republican bill that would make it harder to strip public schools of American Indian mascots, but the governor still isn’t saying what he will do. The leader of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission wrote to Walker on Nov. 8 urging him to kill the bill. Jim Zorn said using American Indians as mascots is stereotyping. Senate Democrats sent Walker a similar letter on Wednesday.”

Neal St. Anthony in the Strib says — no big surprise here — that Delta is getting a very good deal for its Chisholm call center: “Earlier this month, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), the northeastern Minnesota economic development agency that’s funded by taconite taxes in lieu of property taxes, gave Delta a $5.9 million ‘forgivable’ loan to renovate and expand Delta’s customer-call center in Chisholm. … They may not be state dollars, but they are public dollars. And shouldn’t privately owned Delta, a global aviation player, invest in its own call center? After all, Delta says Chisholm is among its best performers, in a tip of the hat to a great workforce.”

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