Lawsuit exposes ‘cultural bride’ problem in Minnesota’s Hmong communities

This seems like a big deal. From the Washington Post’s Yanan Wang, we learn more about the story of Panyia Vang, who is suing an American citizen — Thiawachu Prataya of Minneapolis — who “allegedly raped and impregnated her before binding her to a traditional Hmong marriage. … Vang’s story — allegations of initial rape in Laos and a subsequent forced marriage in America — is familiar to many within Minnesota’s 90,000-strong Hmong population, the country’s second-largest after California’s. But she’s an outlier for choosing to speak out. … For years, neighborhood lore in Minnesota’s Hmong communities has recounted stories of girls who had been brought to America from Laos and other Asian countries to serve as ‘cultural brides’ at the beck and call of older men who had already been married several times over. There are whispered tales of the abuse these women endure at the hands of their traditionally-minded husbands.”

Dispatches from the Best Health Care System in the World. “Thousands of Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own are bracing for final word on whether their premiums will spike next year,” writes the Star Tribune’s Christopher Snowbeck. “On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is scheduled to release 2016 rates for shoppers who buy individual policies. … Four insurers that collectively cover most people in the market are seeking average increases of more than 20 percent each, including a proposed jump of more than 50 percent for about 179,000 people with coverage from Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota — the state’s largest health insurer.”

Target uses its power for good. Lauren Coleman-Lochner and Shannon Pettypiece report for Bloomberg Business: “Target Corp. has expanded the list of chemicals it wants suppliers to take out of their products, stepping up pressure on its vendors to respond to consumer health concerns. … The list includes almost 600 substances on Health Canada’s roster of prohibited cosmetic ingredients, such as coal tars and bisphenol A. It also adds triclosan, an antibacterial ingredient that is under review in hand soaps and sanitizers by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and was banned from products in Target’s home state last year.”

The Glean

Choose a side, Minnesotans: muskie or walleye. That’s the root of the tension on Pelican Lake, according to Dan Gunderson’s report for MPR: “For 37 years, the DNR has stocked Pelican with small muskie, helping turn the lake into a kind of muskie paradise. A cousin of the northern pike, the muskellunge has a passionate following among anglers. Muskie grow slowly, but 48-inch catches are not uncommon and Pelican has a reputation as a trophy lake. … [Dave] Majkrzak and other lake homeowners, however, say it’s gone too far. The stocked muskie grow into monsters that eat all the food and damage the walleye fishery, he says. Many of his neighbors agree. The local property owners’ association has hired a lawyer to seek an environmental review before the DNR’s next muskie stocking in October.”

In other news…

Three former coaches are suing the University of Minnesota-Duluth for discrimination. [Star Tribune]

Bike lane controversies aren’t just for the Twin Cities: “Duluth City Council to explore downtown bike lane options” [Duluth News Tribune]

We feel better already: “Chief Harteau tours Mpls. after recent round of violent crimes” [Star Tribune]

You gotta feel bad for the legislators who are going to have to use these port-a-potties in the middle of January. “Hold it! No bathroom access in MN Capitol in 2016” [MPR]

Short answer: too much. “What a beer will cost you at every NFL stadium this season” [Business Insider]

KARE’s fan patrol seeks out the Vikings fan sporting the most random jersey

The “Oprah of music” is from St. Paul. [Star Tribune]

And here’s St. Paul… FROM SPACE:

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