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MNsure premium increase for 2015 to average 4.5%

Plus: Nolan calls Mills “Ronald Reagan Republican”; 155 high-poverty schools that need to improve ID’d; unheard early Jackson 5 recording released; an alligator in Nowthen; and more.

mnsure logoThis will be tough on the hysteria-mongers. Says Matt Sepic at MPR, “Costs for health plans offered through MNsure are expected to rise an average 4.5 percent for 2015, officials with the health exchange said Tuesday. Minnesota’s rates will be the lowest of any in the nation and there will be more choices when the new enrollment period launches Nov. 15, the Commerce Department said.”

Christopher Snowbeck (yet another former PiPresser who migrated across town) writes in the Strib, “While the rate release Wednesday provides consumers with their most detailed information yet about 2015 health insurance costs, it doesn’t answer all questions. The Commerce Department, for example, isn’t releasing information about premiums for policies sold in the traditional market ‘outside’ the exchange, which is where PreferredOne customers would need to shop if they want to stick with the health plan.”

One report from the Al Franken-Mike McFadden debate in Duluth. Doug Belden of the PiPress: “The two clashed early over McFadden’s repeated claims that Franken has voted with Obama 97 percent of the time and is the Senate’s most partisan Democrat. That same study said Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican often a target of Democrats for his staunch conservative statements, was one of the least partisan senators, Franken said, and he cited several Republicans with whom he has worked on legislation. McFadden responded by calling Franken ‘the Ted Cruz of the Democratic Party.’ ” Is that grounds for a slander suit?

Meanwhile, there’s this from Brady Slater of the Duluth News-Tribune on the Eighth District congressional race. “[Rick] Nolan accuses Mills of being a classic Ronald Reagan Republican. ‘He supports the trickle-down theory of economics – you give the rich enough money so that enough of it will trickle down to rest of us,’ Nolan said. ‘History shows that doesn’t work. You build a strong economy by building the middle class. You create from the bottom up and middle out. That’s the big difference between the two of us.’  Mills himself does not evoke Reagan when talking jobs policy. Instead, he borrows a quote attributed to an iconic Democrat, John F. Kennedy. ‘A rising tide floats all boats,’ Mills said. ‘The solution is not one industry. We need to get that tide rising again.’ ” Does Mills really want to talk about boats?

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Barely a day after the feds had nice things to say about a handful of Minnesota schools, we get this. Says Kim McGuire in the Strib, “The Minnesota Department of Education has identified 155 high-poverty schools that aren’t doing enough to close the achievement gap between white and minority students or have overall academic performance problems. The designations were made Wednesday as part of the state’s accountability system for schools, a product of Minnesota’s waiver to the federal education law, No Child Left Behind.”

Well, you know someone is going to freak out. MPR’s Tim Nelson, following news of an ebola case in Texas, writes, “There’s no sign of Ebola yet in Minnesota, but public health officials said they are prepared to treat and contain the disease if an infected patient arrives. … Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease division with the Minnesota Department of Health, said the disease similarly could appear in Minnesota. The state has one of the nation’s largest Liberian communities. Ehresmann said Ebola in Minnesota would likely be treated locally. ‘An Ebola patient in Minnesota would go to whoever their usual health care provider was. There are no designated Ebola hospitals,’ Ehresmann said, after getting word of the Dallas case.”

Not quite Bob Dylan in Dinkytown, but still. MPR’s Tom Weber says, “The Minneapolis label Secret Stash Records has released a never-before heard version of the Jackson 5 song, ‘Big Boy.’ The song already has the distinction of being the Jacksons’ first single, but that version was recorded by Steel Town Records with professional musicians playing backup. This newly-found recording is an earlier demo tape featuring an 8-year-old Michael Jackson, along with his brothers Jermaine, Tito, Jackie and Marlon singing back-up and playing instruments. It’s believed to be the earliest recording of the group.” 

Getting a jump on that global warming thing … The PiPress story says, “Helen Zumbaum will never forget her trip to the mailbox last week. On Friday afternoon, she was walking from the front door of her house in the Anoka County community of Nowthen when the woman heard a strange noise and looked up. Sitting in the grass about 20 feet from her was an alligator. ‘At first I thought it was a rag or something else kind of bumpy, but then I looked again and it was like, ‘OK, this is for real … .’ ”

This one appears to be completely science-free, which is to say a list an unpaid intern could have cooked up on a napkin while on break at Starbucks. But hey, we’re #5! In The Huffington Post, Carly Ledbetter offers “The Top Five Cities to Keep on Your Radar.”  “It may feel strange to to put ‘hipster’ and ‘Minneapolis’ in the same sentence, but the city is becoming trendier by the second. Between Minneapolis’ awesome music scene, wealth of vintage stores and pro teams in pretty much every league, there is literally something for everyone.” Who needs journalism when you can drive traffic with lists like that?