Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


GOP leader Daudt: ‘Philosophy behind (MNsure) is flawed’

Scam alerts; guardians’ end-of-life decisions challenged; state park-permit numbers rise; more moose studies; praise for Joan Mondale; and more.

These hook-ups could be entertaining, in a wonky sort of way … Says Doug Belden of the PiPress: “The top party leaders in the Minnesota House clashed sharply over MNsure but pledged cooperation on bonding and other issues at a session look-ahead Monday. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said the forum … is one of several he and House Speaker Paul Thissen will do in the run-up to the Legislature reconvening Feb. 25. … When Thissen started criticizing proposed GOP alternatives, Daudt, a Republican from Crown, jumped in, saying Minnesotans don’t want a ‘blame game.’ ‘The whole philosophy behind this is flawed,’ Daudt said of MNsure.” Wait a minute … the GOP has “alternatives”?

Your … alleged … scammer du jour. Jennifer Bjorhus’s Strib story says: “Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said she is suing Heritage Partners, a Minnesota company she claims lured senior citizens with free steak dinners at popular restaurants and then fed them scary estate-management and insurance sales pitches. The civil suit was filed Monday in Hennepin County District Court, alleging consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices. Calling Heritage a ‘living-trust mill,’ Swanson said it promised clients their legal documents would be prepared by an experienced estate-planning attorney. But the clients ended up with boilerplate documents assembled by Dennis Lawrence, an Arizona man who’s not licensed as a lawyer in Minnesota or Arizona.”

Although this one’s pretty sleazy, too. At KARE-TV, Jeffrey DeMars reports: “The Better Business Bureau is warning people who use cell phones about a ‘one-ring’ scam. Like most scams, it preys on the curious, but in this case, a simple return phone call could cost big bucks. The scam is simple. People receive a call on their cell phone. It usually only rings once and typically the person on the other end hangs up before the call is answered. If a person calls back, the scammers collect. ‘So you call back that number and that routes you into either an international chat line or even an adult entertainment line we’ve heard,’ explained BBB’s Dan Hendrickson. Hendrickson said it’s a charge of $19.95 and for every minute extra, it could be another $9 to $10.”

The ability of guardians to make end-of-life-decisions is under review. Dave Chanen of the Strib says: “For 30 years, Minnesota has given guardians the legal authority to have their wards disconnected from life-support technology. But that system has not been without critics. On Monday, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard impassioned arguments in a packed courtroom at the State Capitol about whether court approval should be needed for such end-of-life decisions.”

Article continues after advertisement

The St. Cloud Times story, by Ann Wessel, says: “Minnesota state park annual permit sales totaled 136,300 in 2013, up 2 percent from 2012 despite a late spring, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. That translates into $3.17 million. … Day-pass sales reflected March weather for the past two years. The unseasonably warm March of 2012 saw 5,791 daily permits sold. The unseasonably cold March of 2013 saw 2,941 daily permits sold.”

The GleanKinda related … . Steve Karnowski of the AP writes: “Researchers plan to collar 52 adult moose in northeastern Minnesota starting this week in the second year of a high-tech study that seeks a better understanding of why the iconic species is disappearing from the state. … DNR researchers also plan to collar 50 moose calves shortly after they’re born this spring. Seventy-four percent of the 49 calves collared last May have died, DNR research biologist Glenn DelGiudice said.”

The Strib’s editorial/eulogy on Joan Mondale says: “She served as the nation’s Second Lady at a time of transition in the public’s expectations for political spouses. She chose a role neither fully independent nor fully traditional. Instead, she tailored her personal interests to fulfill a shared mission of public service. Her sincerity shone through her work, winning her the nation’s admiration and an abiding place in Minnesota hearts.”

Meanwhile, next door, in “It’s working-land,” the AP reports: “A group of same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage … The lawsuit names Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, both Republicans, as defendants. A spokesman for Walker didn’t immediately return a message. Van Hollen said in a statement he believes the ban is constitutional and promised to ‘vigorously’ defend it.” Fighting that one will burnish Walker’s resume before CPAC, should he decide to appear.