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Post-Obamacare, Minnesota uninsured rate drops to 6.7%

Plus: Nolan praises U.S.-Cuba initiative; Maple Grove homicide followed by chase and killing of suspect; Minnesota exports up 5.8 percent; a USD survey on sex while driving; and more.

Still more people getting Big Gummint between them and their doctors. In the Strib, Christopher Snowbeck says, “The federal health law helped about 135,000 adults in Minnesota get health insurance this year, according to a new state survey. As a result, the uninsured rate for adults under the age of 65 was 6.7 percent in September, according to the report from the Minnesota Department of Health. The share of those lacking health insurance was down from about 10.7 percent in 2013 … .”

Rick Nolan is one person delighted with today’s big news on Cuba-U.S. relations. The AP says, “Nolan praised Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. would re-establish diplomatic ties to Cuba. Nolan traveled to Cuba in 1977 during his first stint in Congress and was involved in a past deal to release U.S. prisoners held there. Nolan says he hopes to travel to Cuba next year to meet with officials there. Another Democratic member of the Minnesota delegation, Betty McCollum, described the announcement as ‘a new beginning.’ “

At the conservative site Tom Steward says that same Big Gummint is leaving Lake County fiber optic customers with the check. “ ‘Get connected, stay connected, live connected.’ That marketing tagline sums up how Lake County officials manage to keep one of the most expensive federal stimulus broadband projects in the country alive. The costs of the Lake Connections fiber optic network project in the vast northern Minnesota wilderness continue to increase, and local taxpayers are now footing part of the ever-growing bill. In recent months, the USDA Rural Utilities Service began withholding county payments, reportedly concerned the project might run out of $66.5 million in federal stimulus grants and low-interest loans before finishing the job. Companies owed several million dollars pulled back from the project, while other vendors began insisting on payment up front.” The story doesn’t say how exactly “local taxpayers” are footing the bill.

Gun-blazing drama on 694 this morning. In the PiPress, Joe Lindberg’s story says, “ A Maple Grove rest stop homicide early Wednesday quickly led to a police chase that ended with authorities fatally shooting an armed suspect after the individual crashed on Interstate 694, according to the Hennepin County sheriff’s office.  It began with police dispatched to the scene of an apparent shooting at the Elm Creek rest stop on Interstate 94 in Maple Grove about 1 a.m. Wednesday. There they found one man dead, according to the sheriff’s department. Within minutes, officers spotted a vehicle matching the suspect’s description near the I-694, I-494 and I-94 split. Police from several area agencies – with the help of a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter – pursued the vehicle until it crashed into the wire median on I-694 near Rice Street.”

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In the Strib, Tim Harlow says,‘We have more questions than answers at this point,’ [Sheriff Rich] Stanek said during a news conference Wednesday. ‘We want to get at what happened, why it happened and how it happened.’ Stanek said the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is leading the investigation of the I-694 shooting at the request of Hennepin County. The Maple Grove Police Department is investigating the homicide in their city. ‘This is somewhat unusual in that you have [crimes in] two counties and three cities,’ Stanek said.”

The GleanMaybe this is the real reason all our millionaires have moved to South Dakota? John Hult of the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader reports, “A paper co-authored by [U of South Dakota professor Cindy] Struckman-Johnson, recently published in the journal ‘Accident Analysis and Prevention,’ found that 33 percent of men and 9 percent of women at USD have engaged in some sort of sexual activity while driving. More than a third of those who did reported speeding, another third said they’d drifted from their lane and 11 percent said they’d let go of the steering wheel. ‘It’s absolutely not safe,’ Struckman-Johnson said. ‘What to do about it, I don’t know.’ ” What would Nancy Reagan say?

A pleasant spike. The AP reports, “State officials say Minnesota exports have jumped nearly 6 percent in the last year. Minnesota exported a record $5.5 billion of manufactured, agricultural and mining products in the third quarter of 2014, the Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Wednesday. That’s up 5.8 percent from the same period last year.

Talk about an overabundance of caution. KARE-TV and the AP say, “Carmike Cinemas has decided to cancel its planned showings of ‘The Interview’ in the wake of threats against theatergoers by the Sony hackers. Sony Pictures Entertainment told theater owners on Tuesday that it would be supportive of their individual decisions on whether or not to show the film, which is still set for a Christmas release, according to multiple reports. Carmike Cinemas operates 278 theaters across the country including six in Minnesota: Apple Valley, Mankato, Mounds View, New Ulm, Oakdale, and Wilmar.” Based on early reviews, it sounds like this new version of “Annie” poses a greater threat to audience safety.

Says Peter Cox at MPR, “A rapist held indefinitely in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program will begin living in a Le Center, Minnesota, supervised group home on Monday. Robert Jeno’s conditional release is rare for a program that holds more than 700 men after they’ve served their sentences for sexual offenses. He is the first client to be released outside of the Twin Cities metro area. Jeno, 50, served about a decade in prison for two sexual assaults against women and an assault with a knife. In 1992, he was ordered held in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.”

Remember all that prattle about the gummint getting its finances in order just like every family and small business has to do? City Pages’ Cory Zurowski reminds readers, “The Minnesota Republican Party, known for its constant braying about ‘fiscal responsibility,’ may want to learn to walk it like it talks it. State GOPers are spending so far beyond their means that they were forced to get a line of credit just to cover day-to-day expenses. After November’s elections, the party showed a $1.5 million debt. So it had to take a $75,000 line of credit with Alliance Bank — while owing $85,000 to other banks. The GOP’s woes are nothing new. Its books have been a disaster for years.” It’s a variation on that classic Vietnam line about saving a village, only here they have to borrow money to attack the opposition for spending money it doesn’t have.