Sayonara Sandpiper. Mike Hughlett’s Strib story says, “Enbridge Energy Partners has essentially pulled the plug on the controversial Sandpiper pipeline in northern Minnesota, just a few weeks after announcing it’s buying a stake in a different pipeline that doesn’t cross the state. Calgary-based Enbridge is withdrawing its state application for the $2.6 billion Sandpiper. It’s asking for an end to regulatory proceedings, including work on an environmental-impact statement, according to documents filed Thursday with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).”
The voting to repeal Obamacare has only just begun. David Montgomery’s PiPress story says, “Insurers are asking to raise premiums by an average of more than 50 percent for customers on Minnesota’s individual insurance market. Massive proposed premium increases weren’t a surprise, coming on the heels of national market turmoil, the end of a federal subsidy for insurance companies and the withdrawal of a major insurer from Minnesota’s market. These new proposed rates would affect only people who buy individual insurance plans.”
For MPR, Bill Catlin and Matt Sepic write, “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota’s HMO, Blue Plus, is seeking hikes ranging from 36 percent to 67 percent. HealthPartners proposes average increases of 43 percent and 51 percent. UCare’s average is 66 percent. Medica is seeking 59 percent, and PreferredOne wants an average of 63 percent more for an individual plan with children’s dental coverage. These are not the final increases. The state commerce department will issue the final approved rates at the end of the month. And whatever the final rates, they affect only a small portion of Minnesota’s population, a majority of which has employer-sponsored health coverage.”
At City Pages, Mike Mullen reprints a rape victim’s letter in the matter of U of M student Daniel Drill-Mellum. “Abby (she has asked that media not use her last name), retold what happened to her that day in fall 2014 in vivid and horrifying detail. While that couldn’t have been easy to recite in open court, the act of recollection was an easy one for Abby, who said she’d been reliving the incident since it happened. She also challenged Drill-Mellum’s parents, both successful (his father works for the University of Minnesota, and his mother is a doctor) for ‘negligence and enabling behavior’ on behalf of their son, the repeat offender … .”
“Dropping” is hardly the same as “disappeared.” Says John Lundy for the Forum News Service, “The percentage of Minnesotans who are obese has dropped, and the obesity rate is lower here than in other Upper Midwestern states, data released on Thursday show. State health officials aren’t above some not-so-humble bragging about that. ‘Minnesota was the only state in the region, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa, to succeed in keeping its obesity rates firmly below 30 percent,’ the Minnesota Department of Health reported on Thursday, citing newly-released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
The AP is saying, “The Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit demanding the release of squad car video in the July 6 shooting of Philando Castile. Castile died after a St. Anthony police officer shot him during a traffic stop. Video of the shooting’s gruesome aftermath was streamed live online by Castile’s girlfriend, who claimed Castile was shot after he told the officer he was armed and had a permit to carry. Authorities have said they have squad car video.” Just release it. How much worse can it get?
Don’t tell The Donald. Allison Sherry of the Strib reports, “Minnesota has resettled two dozen Syrian refugees in the past year and continues to be among the nation’s top states for exile resettlement, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. State Department. President Obama last year unveiled a Syrian resettlement program to help with a global migration crisis sparked by the country’s civil war. The United States resettled its 10,000th Syrian refugee last week. In Minnesota, 25 Syrian refugees made homes in the past year, landing mostly in Rochester and Minneapolis. The state also took in almost 1,100 Somalis, 166 Ethiopians and 66 Congolese — a large increase from last year through August.”
Day Four on the murder-suicide of a South St. Paul couple. Says Nick Ferraro of the PiPress, “A coroner has determined that Matthew Deyo shot Aric Babbitt before turning the gun on himself last week in the state of Washington, where the married South St. Paul couple went amid an investigation into their alleged sexual abuse of teenage boys in Minnesota. Babbitt’s death has been ruled a homicide, while Deyo died of suicide, said Randall Gaylord, the coroner for San Juan County in Washington, on Thursday. There were no physical signs of a struggle on either of the bodies, he said. … A shotgun and a suicide note were found near the bodies, which were discovered Aug. 25 on Lopez Island, in the San Juan Islands in the northwest corner of Washington.”
You’ve been outbid. Nicole Norfleet of the Strib says, “Ameriprise Financial Center in downtown Minneapolis has sold for $200 million, the biggest real estate transaction in the state this year. Minneapolis-based Founders Properties LLC, sold the office tower to Morning Calm Management, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based real estate investment and management firm, according to a transaction record filed Wednesday.” The curtains have got to go!
At MPR, Bob Collins dives into the drunk driving statistics released yesterday. “Considering that many Minnesota residents are too young to drive, the number of drivers with a DWI remains incredible: 1 in 7. There are some interesting factoids in the report, including the difficulty prosecutors have getting a conviction in some counties. For example, in Kanabec County only 54 percents of arrests result in a conviction. The numbers are nearly as low in Pipestone and Murray Counties (47 percent). Is it a rural thing? The evidence doesn’t suggest so. Cook (96 percent), Wilkin (93 percent) and Watonwan (90 percent) are all rural counties with high conviction rates.”
Finally! We can all back off our anxiety meds. Kristen Leigh Painter in the Strib reports, “Federal authorities have officially saved Minneapolis-St. Paul’s nonstop flight to Japan in a decision that was signed Thursday. As a result, Delta Air Lines said it will switch its existing flight between MSP and Tokyo’s Narita airport to Haneda airport beginning Oct. 29.”
In the PiPress, columnist Ruben Rosario defends quarterback Colin Kaepernick. “This country was founded on protest and rebellion. And the ones leading that push, lest we forget, were mostly the well off elites of their day, not the peons. Some owned slaves. And if you think the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution as written then considered blacks as men or equal, I have primo real estate in Antarctica with imported palm trees and a heated pool and Jacuzzi. Kaepernick also made it a point to say his stance is in no way a slap to the men and women in the military who served/are serving, were injured or died in wars or conflicts. Numerous veterans have come to his defense on Twitter using the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick.”