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Dayton pushes for quick action on construction bill and health insurance rebate

Plus: freezing rain causes dozens of crashes and spinouts in the Twin Cities; more on police shooting of teacher in Mankato; U.S. Bank Stadium protesters released; and more.

Gov. Mark Dayton

For MPR, Brian Bakst says, “In a pre-session interview with MPR News, [Gov. Mark] Dayton challenged lawmakers to pass a health insurance premium rebate bill in the first week and a bonding bill in the first month. He also said time-sensitive features of last year’s unsuccessful tax bill should be acted on quickly to make sure certain deductions are available to income tax filers. Dayton’s insurance rebate plan would provide 25 percent monthly cost breaks to people coping with massive price spikes in plans they purchase on the individual market, which has suffered since the onset of the Affordable Care Act. The plan would apply to individual market subscribers who don’t qualify for federal subsidies.”

I hope you took the advice. Reporting on last night’s ice, Karen Zamora of the Strib writes, “Freezing drizzle and black ice on Monday evening caused dozens of crashes and spinouts that stranded cars and trucks in ditches across the metro area, authorities said. The National Weather Service said at 7:30 p.m. that there have been ‘dozens of accidents reported across the metro and northwest. If you don’t have to travel, stay inside tonight!’ Authorities cautioned travelers that slick roads caused by freezing rain were contributing to multiple crashes. … …The State Patrol reported that Interstate 394 was ‘pure ice.’

More on that fatal shooting in Mankato. WCCO-TV’s story says, “Authorities say an officer used a Taser on a man at the hotel. While the officer was attempting to handcuff the man, he began hitting and kicking him. During the struggle, the officer shot and killed him. On Monday, police identified the man who had been shot as 33-year-old Chase Anthony Tuseth. District officials said Monday that Tuseth was a science and physical education teacher at Tokata Learning Center. He was hired by the Shakopee School District last August and before that had worked at the Integrated Arts Academy in Chaska.”

Despite the constant run of bad publicity, Stribber Mark Brunswick says, “Minnesota’s two Veterans Affairs hospitals received high ratings in an internal VA survey on the quality of care provided by the VA at its 146 hospitals across the country. … USA Today reporter Donovan Slack, who has aggressively detailed problems at VA hospitals nationwide, obtained the ratings and published them last month. … The newspaper reported that many of the highest-rated facilities were in the Northeast — in Massachusetts and New York — and the Upper Midwest, including in South Dakota and Minnesota.”

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Heck, they put on a better show than the Bears. Rochelle Olson of the Strib reports, “The high-flying protesters who flouted U.S. Bank Stadium security at the last Minnesota Vikings game of the season got out of jail without charges Monday, while those responsible for protecting the $1.1 billion structure had little to say about how the trio pulled off the stunt. …The three are Karl Mayo, 32 and the son of former Green Party Minneapolis City Council Member Dean Zimmermann; Sen Holiday, 26, and Carolyn Feldman, 27. … they climbed the ladder to the catwalk and dropped down to unfurl a giant banner protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline and U.S. Bank’s involvement.”

What does it say when a supermarket makes news? Emma Nelson of the Strib writes, “A north Minneapolis neighborhood that hasn’t had a supermarket in a decade is expected to get one in 2017. North Market, a project of nonprofit Pillsbury United Communities, is scheduled to set up shop this fall at 4414 Humboldt Av. N. The site is in the middle of a federally designated food desert — a low-income census tract where a significant portion of the population lives more than a mile from a supermarket.”

This from the Murdoch-owned New York Post. Says Jillian Kay Melchior in a column, “After a college football coach dared to stand up for 10 black players’ legal rights, a mob of at least 3,000 has petitioned for the University of Minnesota’s president and athletic director to fire him. Such is today’s campus witch-hunt culture. Coach Tracy Claeys committed the heresy of questioning whether UMinn’s Title IX adjudication denied his players due process, and supposedly enlightened liberal activists now want him charred at the stake for it. … An 82-page report by the university’s Title IX office leaves no question that these men treated the young woman with cringeworthy disrespect and acted with a profound lack of wisdom. But there’s a legal difference between an orgy and a gang-rape.”

Speaking of the character-building qualities of college football … . The AP is saying, “Western Michigan football coach P.J. Fleck hugged his athletic director while fighting his emotions on his way off the field after a Cotton Bowl loss to Wisconsin that denied the Broncos an undefeated season. … As the final seconds ticked away in Monday’s 24-16 loss to the No. 8 Badgers on Monday, Fleck gathered his players on the sideline to remind them to lose with pride — his way of pointing out that it had been 14 months since the Broncos had such a feeling. … Minnesota looms as another potential suitor if the Gophers decide not to bring back Tracy Claeys after he supported a player revolt over the school’s handling of a sexual assault case that involved the suspension of 10 players.”

I guess exactly what he did will be left to the imagination. A KSTP-TV story says, “A South St. Paul dentist is under investigation by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry after his license to practice was immediately suspended, according to public records.The Complaint Committee of the Minnesota Board of Dentistry filed paperwork Dec. 24 against Dr. Keith F. Ostrosky to surrender his license ahead of a hearing.”

Finally, since the past is always the best predictor of the future, we have this from Ben McLannahan of the Financial Times: “Wells Fargo increased income from overdraft charges at more than five times the rate of its US bank peers in the third quarter — a finding that is likely to concern the consumer banking regulator as it prepares a crackdown on the $12bn-a-year corner of the financial services industry. Most of the big US banks have seen steady growth in revenues from overdrafts in recent years, as they push up one-time fees and as cash-strapped consumers allow balances to dip more often into negative territory. … But overdraft income at Wells — which was rapped last year by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for allowing its employees to open up to 2m unauthorised accounts — was up 7.5 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier. That was more than five times the average 1.3 per cent increase at JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, TD Bankand US Bank, which round out the big five fee-earners in absolute terms.’” They are of course doing it for the benefit of their customers.