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New Ulm Diocese still resisting release of priest names

Medical-scan plan a money-saver; Kluwe lawyers up; legislative auditor to probe MNsure; heating failure closes health lab; cold weather woes; Rybak has second procedure; and more.

The New Ulm Diocese can’t quite get its head around why it should release a list of problem priests. Elizabeth Baier of MPR reports: “During a hearing on Monday, officials from the Diocese of New Ulm told the judge that the list should remain secret. They moved to dismiss a nuisance claim that demands the diocese disclose the names. In a statement, diocese officials said two of the people named on the list believe the sexual abuse allegations made against them are false and their names should therefore not be made public.” And how would that play in your average criminal proceeding?

So no more MRIs for hangnails? The Strib’s Jeremy Olson says: “A novel strategy that has saved Minnesota millions of dollars in unnecessary medical-imaging scans — and probably prevented dozens of patient deaths — might soon go national. Leaders from Minnesota’s medical and insurance communities met Monday morning to celebrate the project — which has leveled off the skyrocketing growth of MRI and CT scans for back pain, headaches and other problems.”

Say what you will, Chris Kluwe is up for a brawl. Ben Goessling of ESPN reports: “[Kluwe] has retained Minneapolis attorney Clayton Halunen to represent him in the Vikings’ internal investigation, Halunen’s law firm announced on Monday. Halunen will serve as co-counsel with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, according to a statement released by the firm.”

MNsure’s problems will get official attention. At the PiPress, Christopher Snowbeck says: “Minnesota’s legislative auditor said Monday that probes are needed to detail all the problems at MNsure and to find out why troubles that blocked people from getting health insurance weren’t identified more quickly. … The federal government has backed MNsure with about $150 million in grants, including about $70 million spent during the 12-month period that ended in June, Nobles said. The size of the expenditure last year automatically triggers an audit, Nobles said, adding that the review is scheduled to begin Tuesday.”

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It’s just embarrassing when any big operation in Minnesota isn’t prepared for winter. The AP says: “The Minnesota Department of Health said Monday it will suspend most lab operations for at least two days after a heating system failure caused an estimated $1 million or more in damage. The department said the failure happened early Monday, causing some building systems to freeze and water to leak on several floors.”

The GleanSpeaking of Embarrass … Dan Kraker of MPR checked in: “Every morning for the past quarter century, Roland Fowler, a trained weather spotter for the National Weather Service, has walked outside of his cozy wood-heated home to check a box full of thermometers. … Monday’s recorded low of 37 below turned out to be relatively balmy. Still, the day’s biting temperatures were as cold as advertised in Embarrass and across Minnesota. Brimson and Babbitt recorded the low for the day at minus 40 degrees.” Brimson … home of Hugo’s Bar.

KARE-TV’s Boyd Huppert always delivers good copy. Up in Ely for the polar vortex, he says: “Residents of Ely woke up to a temperature of 33 degrees below zero. By mid-morning the wind-chill was 51 below. That was cold enough to freeze solid the lock on the front door of the electronics business where Jake McCulskey works. … Half-a-block away drivers of diesel pick-ups pulled into one of the few stations that could still pump the fuel. Other stations bagged their nozzles, but John Byerly was still able coax a small stream out of the pumps at Tony’s Service … ‘It’s a lot thicker, so it’s running like molasses,’ he said. ‘It’s hard just to get it up out of the ground.’ “

And while we’re at it, someone really needs to toughen up. At the mediaite site, Evan McMurry writes: “Boasting that they had sent a ‘California girl’ to the depths of the polar vortex on Monday, CNN repeatedly made correspondent Stephanie Elam trudge onto the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis … to report first-hand on the ‘historic and life threatening’ cold enveloping the central states. … the Los Angeles-based Elam bundled up at noon to report that:

  • It’s so cold crime is going down.

  • It’s so cold her cup of boiling hot water turned into a snowball in the time of her segment.

  • It’s so cold that authorities are ‘saying make sure you don’t go anywhere’ like the banks of the Mississippi.” But it’s not so cold you can’t dip into the Aster Cafe for a nice cozy expense account lunch.

R.T. Rybak update … Steve Brandt of the Strib says: “Former Mayor R.T. Rybak was in good condition after a procedure Monday afternoon to clear an artery, according to a spokeswoman at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Gloria O’Connell said the procedure took about an hour … She said she did not have information to release on whether Rybak’s heart was damaged by Saturday’s heart attack.”