For MPR, Brian Bakst has the story of Michael Hansen: “He’s among the first Minnesotans requesting compensation under a 2014 law that lets people imprisoned for a crime but later exonerated seek payment from the state for their pain and suffering while locked up. A special panel appointed by the chief justice of Minnesota’s Supreme Court has already calculated the awards for Hansen and two others. Lawmakers must now decide whether to pay. If they do pay, they must also find the money since the law did not earmark funds.”
Government lobbying government. In the Star Tribune J. Patrick Coolican writes, “The lobbyist of the public imagination is decked out in Gucci shoes and a bespoke suit, arguing on behalf of a corporate behemoth or powerful labor union. But plenty of lobbyists work for slightly less glamorous clients: the cities, counties, school boards, watershed districts and other government entities that spend millions every year lobbying the Legislature. … As the Legislature gears up to consider a long-term transportation plan and a bonding package that will comprise hundreds of millions of dollars for local projects, every city has a need — and many pay top dollar to argue their case.”
Oh, great. This is all we need. Every backwoods creek filled with “prospectors.” The WCCO-TV story says, “Minnesotans looking to strike it rich may not need to look any further than the Iron Range. Last year, the DNR announced the discovery of gold grains and small gold deposits up near Lake Vermillion. But that’s not the only area to find gold in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Gold prospectors say the precious metal can be found throughout the region. There are some who see the rushing water of our region’s creeks and streams as its own natural treasure.” Buy a ticket to Vegas. The odds are better.
Does blaze pink excite your eye? In the Pioneer Press Dave Orrick writes, “ ‘Blaze pink’ would join blaze orange as legal hunter-safety colors under a proposal at the Minnesota Capitol. The color is now legal in Wisconsin for hunting. That drew criticism from people with a certain type of color blindness. Some critics have said they can’t see bright pink, but can see blaze orange. Some Wisconsin lawmakers initially pushed pink as a way to draw more female hunters, an argument that drew criticism from some women who hunt.”
From the Dept. of Cliches, NBC News’ Harriet Baskas tells the rest of the country, “Too bad Spam-filled chocolate Easter eggs aren’t real, because they might have found a receptive audience in a new location. The gag item, announced in 2013 as an April Fool’s Day marketing trick, would likely be a hit at the Spam Museum, reopening next month in Austin, Minnesota. Austin is the home town of the iconic tinned meat producer, Hormel Foods Corp. When its doors open April 22, the expanded museum won’t have the fictional Easter eggs, but it will have other unusual Spam varieties — including teriyaki and macadamia nut — which speak to the history and production of the spiced ham product invented nearly eight decades ago.” What, no mention of lutefisk? Grape salad?
Movement on the “estate claim” clause. Says John Lundy for the Duluth News Tribune, “The sponsor of legislation to undo estate claims against Minnesotans in their late 50s and early 60s who were channeled to the state’s Medicaid program via MNsure remains ‘cautiously optimistic’ the bill will pass both houses and receive Gov. Mark Dayton’s signature, he said last week. … The News Tribune reported on Feb. 14 about the thousands of dollars the [Rick] Rayburns and two other Pine County couples had discovered in estate claims filed against their properties since being placed on Medical Assistance — the state’s version of Medicaid — via MNsure within the past two years.”
Wisconsin. Still the Florida of the Midwest. From the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram: “A 27-year-old man who reportedly sent threatening packages and emails to a woman has been charged in Barron County Court with two felonies. … According to court records: The woman received packages bearing drug-related references or addresses, such as ‘heroin delivery.’ She told Cooan, whom she worked with in housekeeping at a medical center in Rice Lake, about the mailings and disturbing emails she was receiving.”
Bill Scher at Politico set off Twitter with this story. “Senator Al Franken should be the Democratic Party’s choice for vice president. … Nothing that Franken said decades ago would be remotely as incendiary as the insults Trump spews as a matter of campaign strategy. And Trump’s presence demands new rhetorical weaponry. As Trump himself might say, Franken’s “classy” and “elegant” wit is just what the ticket needs to avoid the kind of brawl that drags everyone down to Trump’s level. Clinton will want to stay above the fray, and Franken can provide the buffer.” Plus, imagine the vice-presidential debate between Franken and Kim Kardashian.
How’s your coverage for shingles? In the Strib, Christopher Snowbeck says, “Mike Ambrose found his Medicare coverage for the shingles vaccine was so skimpy, he couldn’t afford the nearly $200 shot. This winter, after Ambrose suffered through three painful weeks with the illness, he learned that his Medicare health plan covered a much bigger tab — about $1,500 in treatment costs. … Cost has long been cited as a barrier to some Medicare beneficiaries receiving the shingles vaccine, but the problem is drawing fresh attention as awareness of the vaccine grows and wrinkles emerge with insurance coverage.”
Come on, help out. At The Current they’re asking listeners for their list of their/our “10 essential Albums.” “Sure, we deejays and staffers could compile a list ourselves, but that isn’t nearly as much fun as fun involving you and other listeners, readers and members of The Current. … we’re going to broadcast the full countdown of The Current’s 893 Essential Albums according to you during Minnesota Public Radio’s spring member drive this May 5 to 12 … .” I’ve already listed “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” by the Tijuana Brass.