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State tracking 48 travelers as part of Ebola monitoring system

Plus: MNsure website still buggy; why third parties did so poorly Tuesday; the latest on Adrian Peterson; and more.

Ebola virus virion  CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith
CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith
Ebola virus virion

The post-election freak out factor is lower, so don’t expect a lot of media hysteria. But MPR’s story says, “Minnesota health officials said Wednesday they are tracking 48 travelers from West Africa for signs of Ebola, a precautionary move taken as part of the state’s new monitoring system. The travelers arrived in Minnesota from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The Minnesota Department of Health considers them low-risk because they did not have a known exposure to Ebola during their time in those countries. Officials are also working to contact another 12 travelers to begin monitoring.”

Similarly, this’ll barely raise a whisper now that the shouting is over. MPR’s Kia Farhang reports, “IT workers on Minnesota’s health insurance exchange still are dealing with serious bugs 10 days before the next open enrollment period begins. The MNsure website has been hobbled by dozens of technical problems causing frustration for many users. During a MNsure board meeting Wednesday, Brian Keane, a principal with Deloitte Consulting, which the state hired to fix the troubled website, said the current code is much better than last year’s, but about 10 major problems remain.”

The latest on Adrian Peterson? Matt Vensel of the Strib says, “One likely scenario for [Commissioner Roger] Goodell would be to suspend Peterson retroactively for the eight games he has missed and then fine the running back an amount equal to the salary he earned during that time, said Michael McCann, the founding director of the New Hampshire-based Sports and Entertainment Law Institute. While the move would cost Peterson millions in lost salary, McCann said, it would get the running back on the field quickly and allow Goodell to wash his hands of the matter while also appearing to take a tough stance.”

On the dismal performance of third parties on Tuesday, Tim Pugmire of MPR says, “Looking over the election results, [Independence Party Chairman Mark Jenkins] said it’s clear that 8 to 10 percent of Minnesotans are still looking for a third-party alternative. But he said support for IP candidates was diluted this election by stronger-than-expected showings by minor-party hopefuls. For example, Legal Marijuana Now candidate Dan Vacek finished third in the six-way race for attorney general. ‘Apparently, if you put marijuana in your party’s name, that gets you an instant 3 percent,’ said Jenkins.” Hmmm. How does The Edina Haute Pot and Fusion Sushi Party work for you?

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What the? The Strib’s Paul McEnroe writes, “A violent patient in Minnesota’s sex offender treatment program admitted in therapy that he was grooming his new roommate for sex, but the staff failed for weeks to intervene or prevent the rape that subsequently occurred. The sequence of events, detailed in a recent state investigation, will result in the state paying $203,000 to settle a lawsuit by Michael Mrozek, the victim in the 2010 attack. In addition, Deputy Human Services Commissioner Anne Barry has apologized to Mrozek, telling him by letter that the agency ‘sincerely regrets the sexual assault that was perpetrated upon you by your roommate. So does any of that dough go to Mrozek’s victim?

This one has gone on seemingly forever, and now the Supreme Court will get its shot. MPR’s Elizabeth Baier says, “The Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday will hear objections to a city of Winona law that limits the number of rental homes on each city block. The case began when the city of Winona decided to limit rentals near the Winona State University campus. Supporters of the rule say it has helped stabilize the neighborhoods closest to the university, where many homeowners turn their property into college rentals. But a group of Winona homeowners has long argued that the city does not have the authority to limit the number of homeowners who can rent their properties.”

Also at MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar reports, “In an effort to cope with heavier rains and warmer temperatures that climate change brings, some communities are beginning to grapple with ways to help people adapt to the inevitable, even as they work to cut greenhouse gas emissions. That means creating more spaces for stormwater to flow to ease flooding, and mapping sites where people can cool off during heat waves.” And James Inhofe will be the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Newspapers are infatuated with the wonders of “divided government.” The Strib editorializes, “We welcome the resurgence of a state GOP that was on the mat just two years ago, mired in debt and plagued with internal division. Minnesota needs at least two strong parties — and after this election, it’s plain that it does not have three. The Independence Party that elected Gov. Jesse Ventura in 1998 lost its major-party status Tuesday, diminishing its chances of being a competitive force in the next several elections. We also believe that despite the bad example set in hyper-partisan Washington, Minnesota Republicans and DFLers are capable of collaborating sufficiently to produce positive results.” Thanks, Mom.

With that in mind, check out Bill Salisbury’s PiPress story. “Divided government could once again spell legislative logjams, as it did three years ago when Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature shut down state government for nearly three weeks over a budget dispute. ‘It’s a prescription for gridlock unless we all rise above that and do better,’ Dayton said Wednesday. ‘I will be as conciliatory as I can be,’ he said. But he asserted the onus is on the House Republicans to compromise and meet him halfway to resolve differences. Daudt tried to shift responsibility back to Dayton and his allies. ‘It’s up to the Democrats’ to avoid gridlock,’ he said.” See. We’re really getting somewhere.