How many hours a year do you spend dealing with your health insurance contract? Stribber Christopher Snowbeck writes, “New managed care contracts announced last week mean an estimated 475,000 Minnesotans in public health insurance programs must move to a new health plan for 2016. That’s about six times the number of switches with previous contract changes, and has advocates worried enrollees could fall through the cracks.”
How does $5.69 million sound? The KARE-TV story on the settlement the state reached with the company involved in what are politely referred to as “glitches” with student tests says: “Officials with the Minnesota Department of Education announced that Pearson, its testing contractor, will credit the department $1 million in fees and provide up to $4.69 million worth of additional services and support for districts and schools at no cost to the state. … Spring Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) were complicated by complaints from districts about various issues, and several days of technical disruptions resulting from server delays and malicious, third-party ‘distributed denial of service’ (DDoS) attacks, intended to overload and slow Pearson’s system.”
After the president’s call to clean up coal-fired power plants, Angela Davis at WCCO-TV writes, “Minnesota has been a leader in renewable energy for a long time. Our state is home to more than 145 wind and solar companies. But we still have coal-burning power plants as well. On Monday, local energy leaders called for Minnesota to create its own action plan to boost the state’s clean energy efforts. … Minnesota already has about 15,000 people working in clean energy jobs. Wind and solar energy companies, along with biomass, geothermal, hydro, and waste-to-energy businesses, expect to create more than 35,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.”
Entirely coincidentally, Dave Shaffer of the Strib reports, “CenterPoint Energy said Monday it will seek another rate hike for its 823,000 natural gas customers in Minnesota. The Houston-based company said in a statement and in filings with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that it seeks a $54 million annual increase, or 6 percent, in revenue. If approved, the new rates would increase the average residential customer’s bill by about $5 per month, the company said.”
Could this have been Dick Cheney’s secret bunker? Josh Moniz of the Rochester Post-Bulletin says, “An unspecified southeastern Minnesota location was among the more than 600 corporate, private or government ‘Victims of Chinese Cyber Espionage’ over the last five years, according to a secret NSA map obtained by NBC News. … In southeastern Minnesota, there is a single red dot that appears to be located in the Winona area. However, the map does not list which entities the dots represent.” What if it was one of those pie shops in Lanesboro?
When you’ve got a good shtick going … you keep it going. Kevin Tibbles and Matthew Vonn of NBC News report, “Meet three-year-old James Tufts, who’s running to become the youngest mayor of Dorset, Minnesota. He’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Robert ‘Bobby’ Tufts, 6, who was 3 when elected and is known as ‘America’s cutest former mayor.’ But his brother, Bobby, is nervous for him once he takes the top job. ‘If he wins, it’ll take up all our fishing time and we won’t get to go fishing that much,’ he said.” So what’s his position on the school bond referendum?
Do you think? Matt Sepic of MPR reports, “The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says too much road salt is winding up in Twin Cities lakes and streams. A recent study found three dozen bodies of water with chloride levels that exceed state standards. Too much salt can harm fish and encourage invasive plants.”
And where they get the $10,000? MPR’s Madeleine Baran writes, “Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis offered to give a priest who had been convicted of sexual misconduct $10,000 in exchange for leaving the priesthood, according to a court filing by the priest. The Rev. John Bussmann made the allegation in a claim submitted Monday as part of the archdiocese’s bankruptcy case. He said the archdiocese owes him $680,365 in unpaid salary, living expenses and other support.” Can a priest be convicted of chutzpah?
Talk about representing the state well. In the Wichita Eagle Shelby Reynolds writes, “Seven young basketball players from Minneapolis, Minn., were arrested late Sunday night after they went on an assault spree on foot in south Wichita, police said Monday. The boys, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old, were in town for the Mid America Youth Basketball tournament and were staying overnight at an area hotel, Wichita police Lt. James Esponiza said. Police first responded to the 500 block of South Broadway at around 11 p.m. on Sunday. A 48-year-old man there reported that the group of teens approached him as he stood on his front porch, yelled at him, made threats and threw rocks, bottles, bricks and chunks of concrete. The man suffered injuries to his abdomen, arms and legs … .”
Not exactly the chase scene from “Bullitt.” MPR’s Jon Collins writes, “A 35-year-old Inver Grove Heights man was arrested after stealing a Minnesota Department of Transportation truck from a construction site Monday and leading police on a short pursuit. The truck driven by an agency inspector was taken from a construction site on Highway 61 in Hastings, Minn. shortly before 7:30 a.m., according to a spokesperson for MnDOT. Minnesota State Patrol spokesperson Lt. Tiffani Nielson said troopers and Cottage Grove police followed the vehicle as it traveled at under 55 mph on the highway.”
Who out there remembers that long-ago era when high schools just had football “teams,” instead of “programs”? David La Vaque of the Strib tells us, “The football coach at one of Minnesota’s fastest-rising high school programs resigned Monday on the eve of the 2015 season amid a widening school district investigation of player eligibility concerns. Mike Pendino, who coached at East Ridge for five seasons, submitted his resignation Monday morning … . JoJo Garcia, a top defensive lineman who verbally committed to the Gophers, confirmed to the Star Tribune that he was deemed ineligible to play. He said he was not the only East Ridge player with a residency issue. ‘There are a couple of big-time recruits that probably shouldn’t have been there,’ Garcia told the Star Tribune.” If their wives drive them to practice in cars with Texas plates you know something’s up.
Janet Moore of the Strib has more detail on the next round of airport dining (and drinking) options. “After nearly five hours of discussion Monday, a MAC subcommittee recommended a slate of new shops, restaurants and entertainment options that were hotly contested among the would-be concessionaires … . A proposal to replace the TGI Friday’s on Concourse C, space on Concourse E and in the main terminal mall provoked more debate. Staff members and the committee recommended a Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar, a Leeann Chin outlet and a Dunkin’ Donuts shop, but another proposal featuring local fare failed to pass muster. That idea involved a sports bar concept pitched by the Minnesota Twins, Angel Food Bakery of Minneapolis and Smack Shack, a popular food truck turned restaurant.”