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Number of Minnesotans without health insurance hits record low


Let’s accept good news where we can find it. The AP reports, “State health officials say the rate of people in Minnesota without health insurance has fallen to a record low. The Minnesota Department of Health said Monday that the rate of Minnesota residents without health insurance fell to 4.3 percent in 2015. That’s down from 8.2 percent in 2013.”

The Bern, pushing hard. Brian Bakst at MPR writes, “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pressed his supporters to keep his insurgent candidacy moving by giving him a much-needed Minnesota win on Super Tuesday. The Democratic presidential hopeful, whose Monday visit marked his fourth consecutive day in the state, told a midday rally Monday at the Minneapolis Convention Center that a victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the state was within reach. … Chelsea Clinton spoke to about 75 supporters of her mother’s presidential campaign Monday morning in Duluth.”

For USA Today Nicole Guadiano reports, “Bernie Sanders focused on climate change during a rally here Monday, announcing opposition to two pipeline projects that would affect the state. Enbridge Inc.’s Sandpiper and Alberta Clipper pipelines would bring a combined 1.4 million more barrels of oil per day into Midwestern refineries, according to the campaign.”

For The Guardian, Megan Carpentier writes, “while the polls show Clinton and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders neck and neck in this 77-delegate state and outsiders might consider the contest fractious, supporters on both sides of the divide are keen to embody the ‘Minnesota nice’ ethos – which is not meant with a shred of irony. ‘Primarily [my friends support] Bernie,” University of Minnesota student and Sanders volunteer Roland Taracks said on Sunday, after returning to Sanders’ St Paul headquarters from several cold hours of door-knocking. ‘However, there are a few people who do support Clinton and we’ve had great conversations.’ … despite the oft-stated concerns that Sanders supporters might stay home in November if their candidate isn’t on the ballot, Minnesotan Clinton supporters need not worry too much. Though many Sanders supporters with whom the Guardian spoke had not previously volunteered for a candidate or a cause, every one planned on voting in the general election regardless – and many had positive things to say about Clinton.” Yeah, I don’t see a problem patching that one up.

And while you’re at it, check to see if you’re covered for collision with an Asian carp. MPR’s Bob Collins writes, “The Minnesota Court of Appeals delivered a strong piece of advice to newcomers with a decision today: Check your auto insurance. In its decision, it ruled that a company that’s not licensed to write insurance here isn’t required to provide coverage to a policyholder who moved here from out of state.” Good to know.

The Oromo community has issues. For the Strib Christopher Aadland writes, “About 200 members of Minnesota’s Oromo community rallied at the State Capitol on Monday to protest treatment at the hands of the Ethiopian government. The protest was in response to a crackdown on Oromo protestors in Ethiopia, who have opposed government plans to evict farmers from their land to expand Addis Abba, Ethiopia’s capital city.”

Uh, that’s $17 million just to … tear it down. In the PiPress, Sarah Horner says, “Costs continue to climb for the demolition of the former Adult Detention Center and West Publishing buildings affixed to the river bluff in downtown St. Paul. What started as a $11.5 million project back when the Ramsey County Board first approved funding for it in late 2014 has now climbed to $17 million, according to information provided by Ramsey County. The board will vote Tuesday on whether to transfer money from its capital improvements fund to cover the increase.”

Uh oh, the Strib is out with another one of their editorials attacking Second Amendment rights. “Minnesota lawmakers this year will try once more for modest measures aimed at curbing gun violence. They’ll be aided by groups like the Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense, which [former Rep. Gabrielle ] Giffords was here to unveil, and Everytown for Gun Safety, which plans to be active here. This time, responsible gun owners should listen hard to what these groups have to say. This state has a strong culture around hunting and gun ownership. Expanded background checks, stricter penalties for gun traffickers and straw buyers, and other common-sense measures hold no peril, and only minimal inconvenience, for law-abiding gun owners. That’s why polls show support for such proposals among average gun owners.” Uh huh. It’s the “not so average” ones that worry me.

Thirty new full-time staff for St. Paul schools. Solvejg Wastvedt at MPR says, “St. Paul Public Schools has committed to hire the equivalent of 30 full-time support staff, including counselors and social workers under a tentative agreement between the district and teachers, some details of which were released Monday. The union leadership recommended the contract agreement be ratified. Membership is expected to vote on Friday. The district also will set aside $4.5 million over the next three years for restorative justice in schools, with six schools piloting the practice next year.”

The Strib’s Amelia Rayno and Dave Chanen write about Gopher basketball Twitter controversy. “Minneapolis police told the Star Tribune they are not involved in a criminal investigation, and the AP’s unnamed source said the three players are not under investigation. University spokesmen declined to make President Eric Kaler and interim athletic director Beth Goetz available to address the situation Monday, but senior associate athletic director Chris Werle acknowledged that investigative action was being taken. ‘We’ve seen some of the things on social media and we’re looking into it,’ he said, adding that he wasn’t aware of any related reports or complaints to the school.” Hm. No “complaints.”

Medical tech. Stribber Joe Carlson has a story saying, “[Paul] Vetsch is one of the first people in the state to try a machine called the Luna fluorescence angiography system, which uses a special dye and near-infared laser light to map ‘microcirculation’ in the capillaries a few millimeters below the skin. Such blood flow is critical to healing stubborn wounds, particularly for people who have radiation treatments for cancer and for diabetic patients like Vetsch, whose injuries are slower to heal because of their underlying condition. Without adequate blood flow, doctors may start to consider options like skin grafts, vascular surgery or limb removal.”

Overdue. Riham Feshir at MPR reports, “An attorney for the Mall of America has asked a Hennepin County judge to drop a restraining order against Black Lives Matter protest leaders. Susan Gaertner said the legal move served its purpose to keep protesters out of the mall in the planned December protest. She filed the motion to voluntarily dismiss the restraining order Monday.”

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