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Minnesotans in public assistance health care programs lag behind privately insured

Plus: emerald ash borer infestation in Anoka County; Franken on “Letterman” April 1; Viking stadium legacy bricks on sale; and more. 

Mark Zdechlik at MPR News analyzes a new state report showing people enrolled in public assistance health care programs continued to lag behind Minnesotans with private health insurance: “The report for the Minnesota Department of Human Services is based on 12 quality measures. Results for people enrolled in public health programs were significantly lower than the broader population in 10 of the twelve categories. The biggest gaps involved colorectal and breast cancer screening and adult asthma care.

Paul Walsh at the Star Tribune shares the tragic news that St. Paulite Sharon Rice Vaughan, a national pioneer in providing safe haven to battered women, was killed in a car crash while visiting Cuba this week: “‘She was one of the mothers of the movement,’ said Shelly Johnson Cline, executive director of the St. Paul and Ramsey County Intervention Project. ‘She shifted the nation’s perspective on the issue of domestic violence, no doubt about that.'” Vaughan was 73.

The AP is reporting the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed an emerald ash borer infestation in Anoka County: “The infested tree was detected through a call to the MDA’s Arrest the Pest Hotline, which allows concerned residents to report suspicious invasive plants and insects, like the emerald ash borer. Agency staff then confirmed the tree was infested.”

Maybe he’ll try out some of his MinnRoast material. Rachel E. Stassen-Berger at the Pioneer Press reports Al Franken will return to the “Late Show with David Letterman” for the first time as a sitting senator, part of the long line of old friends bidding the retiring late-night host farewell. The senator is scheduled to tape the episode on April 1, appropriately enough. Here’s video of Franken’s previous “Letterman” appearances.

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John Croman at KARE 11 introduces us to a Champlin high school student named Hope Hoffman. Hoffman was born with spina bifida, and, upon seeing Target using “handicapped” on their parking signs, decided to draft legislation to update the wording: “Not everyone who uses those entrances has a disability,” Hoffman told KARE. “Women who are pregnant, the elderly, a lot of people recovering from injuries. Those words are very marginalizing, and we need to refer to people first.”  Hope’s father, Sen. John Hoffman of Champlin, has introduced the bill in the Senate. Her aunt, Rep. Yvonne Selcer of Minnetonka, has the House version.

Tad Simons at Mpls.St. Paul Magazine chats with filmmaker Patrick Coyle about his new movie, “The Public Domain,” starring Emily Bridges (daughter of actor Beau) about the psychological aftermath of the I-35W bridge collapse: “The genesis of the movie came from discussions I had with a friend who had just crossed the bridge when it collapsed and saw it go down in her rear-view mirror,” Coyle says. “We talked a lot about survivor’s guilt, and how an event like that impacts everyone — not just the people on the bridge.”

In other news…

Somali group meets with St. Cloud school leaders over racial tensions [MPR News]

These will probably be heavily edited for content: On sale now: legacy bricks in front of the new Vikings stadium [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]

Little Free Libraries: 5 years later, 25,000 in 50 states, 70 countries [Pioneer Press]

Current and upcoming St. Paul construction projects or planning studies with a significant bicycle component [City of St. Paul, h/t @ReubenCollins]

On April 9th bells across Minnesota are invited to peal to commemorate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the end of the U.S. Civil War [Pioneer Press]

University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication Director Al Tims named National Journalism Administrator for 2014 [Murphy News Service]