Steep drop in teen smoking; more of them trying e-cigs

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

This is good news. The Strib’s Colleen Stoxen reports, “In the steepest decline ever found in Minnesota, the percent of high school students who smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days dropped from 18.1 percent in 2011 to 10.6 percent in 2014. The 2014 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey also found fewer young people used used chewing tobacco and cigars between 2011 and 2014.  Efforts to curb cigarette smoking appear to be helping. They include a 2013 tobacco tax, bans on indoor smoking, and tighter restrictions on youth access to tobacco products.”

With snow comes … crashing and plowing. MPR’s Jon Collins sums up the morning by saying. “The Minnesota State Patrol is receiving reports of dozens of crashes across the state on Monday as morning commuters coped with snowy and icy conditions. Lt. Eric Roeske reported 180 crashes across the state between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., which led to 15 injuries. About 131 vehicles also spun off state roads. Most of the crashes occurred in the Metro area. … Minnesota Department of Transportation Kevin Gutknecht said roads are already completely covered by snow in the western part of the state, from Moorhead to St. Cloud and down to Montevideo, as far east as Mille Lacs Lake. Eight-hundred plows are on the roads statewide, with 250 of those in the Metro area alone.”

The AP reports, “A semi loaded with live turkeys likely destined for someone’s Thanksgiving table skidded off a Minnesota interstate as a winter storm moved into the region. The State Patrol says the driver of the semi wasn’t seriously hurt when the rig slipped off Interstate 94 near Dalton in western Minnesota and overturned down an embankment Monday morning. State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow says the semi was loaded with turkeys in cages, but he’s not sure how many. Grabow says some of the turkeys were killed, but doesn’t know the number.” Now, if they’d been wearing helmets … 

And if you don’t pile up your vehicle by yourself there’s probably a deer out there with your name on it. The AP says, “The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says thousands of people experience deer-car collisions in the state each year. There were nearly 2,100 crashes statewide last year. Sherburne County saw more than any other county, with 178 crashes.”

The reason for this descent into winter is described at AccuWeather by Brian Lede. “A powerful storm has moved into the Bering Sea and has become the most intense storm to ever impact the region. … the storm has become the most powerful storm to ever move over the Bering Sea in recorded history in terms of central pressure. Previous to this storm, the old record stood at 925 millibars (27.32 inches of Hg) from a powerful storm that moved over the Bering Sea on Oct. 25, 1977. To put this in perspective, the lowest pressure recorded in Hurricane Sandy was 940 millibars (27.76 inches of Hg). … As a result, arctic air is expected to invade a large part of the United States during the new week.”

“Subsidies”? As in from Big Gummint? The Strib’s Adam Belz writes, “If everything goes right, [Darrin] Smedsmo, his business partner Nick Kvidt and the government will pay $3.2 million for the 30 units and a garage. On the day tenants start moving in next year, the property will be worth an estimated $2.2 million. It is a growing conundrum of rural life in Minnesota and across the Midwest. Prosperous towns complain that a housing shortage slows economic growth. Developers say it makes no financial sense to build apartments in these towns without subsidies.”

Speaking of gummint and subsidies. A Strib commentary by Columbia Heights resident Brooke Kelley continues the discussion over rapidly escalating tuition costs at the U of M. “The tuition freeze is a step in the right direction, but claimed savings are hard to take seriously when the question is whether the cost is too high to begin with. If costs have outpaced inflation, the unnecessary increased expenditures should be identified and evaluated for true need. ‘Reinvesting’ administrative cost cuts is just another word for a shell game. How are these reinvestments different from new programs that require more administration?”

But tax collection had a good month. Another AP story says, “Minnesota collected nearly 5 percent more in taxes in October than was anticipated. Minnesota Management and Budget said Monday it collected just under $1.7 billion, $75 million more than forecast. Tax collections for the fiscal year, which started in July, are slightly ahead of projections.”

Still watching #pointergate, i.e. KSTP-TV’s widely ridiculed story on Mayor Betsy Hodges’ “gang signs,” City Pages’ Jesse Marx says, “By noon Friday, #pointergate was the top trending hash tag in the entire United States. … Perhaps the craziest part of this story — besides the fact it was broadcast at all — is that Kolls doubled down rather than apologize, insinuating on Twitter that people who questioned the race-baiting nature of his report were actually the racists. … Unfortunately, the madness didn’t end there. Kolls produced a followup story Friday titled ‘Law Enforcement: Criticism of Mayor Hodges’ Photo Report Misses the Point’ in which he repeated the same exact claims as the first. Later that evening, on Joe Soucheray’s radio show, Kolls wouldn’t say whether he believed the mayor was endorsing a gang lifestyle. …  Kolls admitted on Soucheray’s show that [John Delmonico, president of the city’s cop union] was among the cops who gave him the photograph.” … which he didn’t mention in his report.

Pardon the self-promotion, but here’s comment on the matter from Joe Loveland and yours truly on our blog.  

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/10/2014 - 04:56 pm.

    Free Marketeer Out Staters?

    So those Metro-hating out staters sent a boat load of Republicans to the state capitol so they could get some government subsidies for housing? I’m shocked to find gambling going on in this establishment.

    Maybe employers need to start paying a decent wage and we wouldn’t need this business socialism. We shouldn’t be interfering in the free market like this.

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