New Brighton man convicted of murdering neighbor

Not a lot of suspense to this one. Says Chao Xiong of the Strib, “A Ramsey County jury convicted a New Brighton man Tuesday afternoon of first-degree murder in the shooting death last year of his neighbor after a bitter, years-long feud. Jurors also found Neal Zumberge, 58, guilty of three related charges — attempted first-degree murder, second-degree murder with intent and attempted second-degree murder with intent — in the May 2014 shootings of Todd Stevens, and Stevens’ girlfriend, Jennifer Cleven.”

Walker Watch, post-Big Day in Minnesota (where to hear him talk, it isn’t working quite as well as it is in Wisconsin). Says the Wisconsin Radio Network: “‘Walker’s supposed plan is not serious health policy. It is a campaign document which provides nothing more than window dressing for a massive roll-back of the freedom to access quality affordable health care,’ said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. ‘The American people are tired of the constant efforts to undermine health care reform. It’s time to recognize that the health care law is here to stay. Rather than going backwards, we need to work together to make the law better and lower costs.’

For the Strib, Patrick Condon writes: “While he promised a full repeal of Obamacare if he’s president, Walker’s proposal retains one well-known principle of the law: the requirement that customers can’t be denied insurance coverage if they have a pre-existing decision. It’s not clear how that would be enforced without the so-called individual mandate that’s inherent to the current law; Walker did not take questions from the press at the Brooklyn Center event.” Not that he’s intimidated by questions, you understand. He just doesn’t take them.

Phillip Elliott at TIME writes, “Walker outlined a plan for overhauling America’s healthcare system that draws on the broad principles behind the Affordable Care Act. There are differences in specifics: the insurance exchanges are now called pools, where small businesses can band together to buy coverage for employees; young adults can stay on their parents’ plans but only if states OK it; and Americans without job-based insurance would qualify for government subsidies based on age instead of income. And there are some conservative ideas in the mix too: states would run more of the program, insurance regulations would be scaled back or scrapped and medical malpractice lawsuits would be limited.”

But he has fans. In the National Review Yuval Levin says, “I think it’s the most substantively and politically serious conservative health care reform we have yet seen from a presidential candidate, and hopefully it will spur some more to come. … An approach like the one Walker laid out today would be a huge step in the right direction. The problems with the health-care system that preceded Obamacare called for a move to the right, not to the left — toward provider competition and consumer choice, not centralized prescription and expert management. This proposal offers such a move, going well to the right not only of Obamacare but also of what came before it.”

The Glean

As for the system we have now, the AP writes, “A Minnesota health insurance company started a public push on Tuesday to maintain its foothold in the state’s public programs. Minnesota contracts with health plans to cover low-income residents on MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance. A new statewide competitive bidding process is slated to leave out UCare, forcing its 360,000 consumers to pick a new plan and costing the company a sizable portion of its business. UCare representatives met Tuesday with state lawmakers to discuss the pending bid process.” Apparently “Medicare for everyone” still isn’t on the table.

Is the Archdiocese in on this? The Strib’s Ricardo Lopez writes, “Some of Minnesota’s top religious leaders said Tuesday they are preparing to campaign for payday lending changes in the state. Leaders with the Minnesota State Baptist Convention, meeting this week at an annual gathering, said they would advocate for congregants who are harmed by high-interest, short-term loans. They are partnering with ISAIAH, a religious coalition that represents more than 100 congregations around the state. ‘The burden caused by payday loans is creating a crisis for children and families in our communities, hurting especially those who are most vulnerable’, the Rev. Billy Russell, president of the organization, said in a statement. Russell said it’s an industry that creates ‘considerable profits for those who design these predatory products.’”

And in that vein, welcome to Wisconsin. Says Peter Cox for MPR, “A former priest, currently in prison in Minnesota for sexually abusing two boys, has been sentenced to three years in prison in Wisconsin for sexually abusing a third boy. … He’ll serve the Wisconsin prison sentence when he completes the five-year sentence he’s serving at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Lino Lakes.”

Speaking (again) of our fine, if-heavily-imbibing neighbors to the east, the Forum News Service reports, “A 23-year-old River Falls, Wis., man has been ticketed for providing false information to Cottage Grove police, telling them last month that his name was “F— Y–.” Police, who were following up on a report of suspicious activity, found the man with no shirt and lying in a yard, according to the report. He had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.233 … .” A guy named “F— y–”? The Florida of the Midwest.

Gov. Dayton, treaty-buster? Says the AP, “A group of Chippewa Indians has notified Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration that it plans to harvest wild rice without state licenses to assert rights the members believe they hold under an 1855 treaty that ceded a large part of northern Minnesota to the federal government, drawing a warning Tuesday from the state Department of Natural Resources. They plan to gather wild rice on Hole-in-the-Day Lake in Nisswa on Aug. 27 and are urging conservation officers not to issue citations or seize their wild rice or harvesting equipment, Frank Bibeau, an attorney for the 1855 Treaty Authority, which is organizing the event, said by phone Tuesday.”

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