Jean Hopfensperger of the Strib says, “The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis made public Thursday a detailed financial audit report, the first time it has provided more than a summary report to the public. The report found the archdiocese spent $8.8 million over the past decade on costs related to clergy misconduct. That does not include settlements and other payments made by the archdiocese’s insurance company, the report said. More than $6.2 million was spent on cases involving misconduct with minors … .”
MPR says, “The archdiocese showed a $3.9 million operating loss in fiscal year 2013 compared to a $1.5 million operating surplus the year before. Officials attributed that loss to an increase in reserves the archdiocese might need to cover unknown future costs related to clergy abuse claims. The financial condition of the archdiocese is ‘solid’ even with that uncertainty, they said. … MPR News reported previously that internal financial reports showed the archdiocese used stealth accounts to pay nearly $11 million from 2002 to 2011 — about 3 percent of overall archdiocese revenues in those years — for costs tied to clergy misconduct under former Archbishop Harry Flynn and his successor, Archbishop John Nienstedt.” The poor and hungry are grateful…
“Psychogenic,” you say? Amanda Dyslin of the Mankato Free Press reports, “There is still no definitive answer for what caused 30 students in Springfield to become ill last week, but ‘diagnosis by exclusion’ has resulted in the Minnesota Department of Health pointing to psychogenic illness, said spokesman Doug Schultz. A battery of air-quality tests by numerous agencies, as well as tests conducted on the patients at Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield, have not turned up any irregularities. Carbon monoxide exposure, which originally was suspected, was ruled out. ‘You’re basically left with a mass psychogenic illness,’ Schultz said. ‘(But) it’s nothing you can prove.’ “
Want $1,000 back? At KMSP-TV, Tim Blotz says, “A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers held a meeting at the Capitol on Thursday to announce new legislation aimed at preventing insurance fraud that can cost the average Minnesota family an additional $1,000 a year in premiums. … Five main goals:
- Increase fraud penalties
- Allow law enforcement to more efficiently share data and records with each other
- Protect privacy of records of accident victims
- Eliminate billing practices that can mask fraud
- Impose new restrictions on use of repackaged drugs.”
That might have been chilly… Emma Breysse of the Jackson Hole Daily writes, “Six men from Hastings, Minn., are unharmed after spending a night stuck in the backcountry near Togwotee Pass in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Max Jacoby, Richie Jacoby, Kyle Ryman, Aaron Peine, Brent Zeien and Travis Krinkle were found 11 miles southwest of Togwotee Mountain Lodge on Wednesday afternoon after a roughly 18-hour search. … The six men were ‘experienced’ snowmobilers and had visited the Togwotee area before, Gilliam said, but they ended up stuck in deep snow in a gully near Tripod Peak. When they could not get out by dark, they spent the night in the backcountry.”
Slate has a collection of photographs by Mark Brautigan. They are loving impressions of his home state — Wisconsin.
I doubt he got any shots of this. Lee Bergquist of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, “A father and son who operate a large potato farm in northern Wisconsin have agreed to pay $100,000 in restitution in connection with the poisoning deaths of more than 70 wild animals, including at least two bald eagles. Alvin C. Sowinski, 65, and Paul A. Sowinski, 46, of the Town of Sugar Camp, also face penalties of up to $100,000 each and up to a year in prison… . Among the wildlife poisoned with pesticides by the Sowinskis between 2007 and 2010 were at least two bald eagles, a turkey vulture, nine coyotes, one bobcat, three ermine, crows, songbirds, squirrels, skunks and other unidentified animals.” No doubt they think of themselves as “outdoorsmen.”
Speaking of photos… Birder — or is it “owl-er” — Bill Marchel has an essay and pictures in the Strib of owls found around here. He says, “Minnesota birders will always remember the historic owl invasion that occurred during the winter of 2005. There were thousands of great gray owls in the state, as well as hundreds of northern hawk owls. Also present that winter in unusually high numbers were boreal owls, but these small and secretive raptors are much less obvious and rarely seen. The southward movement of owls is called an ‘irruption’ by biologists. Bird experts theorize that the owls traveled into Minnesota that year, departing from their typical ranges in central and northern Canada, because of an apparent shortage of prey, particularly voles, which are small mouse-like rodents.”
The propane “crisis” is backing off… a bit. Says Tom Hauser at KSTP-TV, “Bill Grant testified before members of the joint House-Senate Legislative Energy Commission. He says the department has received many complaints from Minnesotans wondering if price gouging has been occurring, which his department is investigating. Grant says the average price of propane has dropped to $3.47 per gallon, down from $4.67 two weeks ago. However, it’s still more than double the average price of $1.67 per gallon reported in October.” Can you imagine if the price of gasoline spiked from $3.29 to $6.58 a gallon?