It’s the greatest system in the world, except for pretty much every other one. Says Stribber Christopher Snowbeck, “Rural hospitals are crying foul over health insurance rules that could steer local patients away from their medical centers and toward doctors and hospitals in faraway communities. The concerns are directed at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota in the state’s individual health insurance market, where people in HMOs are pushed to get care from a subset of providers. As a result, some patients must pay much higher costs for ‘out-of-network’ care from hometown doctors and hospitals, or drive dozens of miles for care from ‘in-network’ providers.”
A classier kind of scam. Deanna Narveson of the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat says, “A mother, her son and his wife are facing multiple felony charges in Minnesota for swindling unsuspecting art buyers by claiming to be selling items from wealthy estates that didn’t exist. Derry Todd Dettmer, 44, of New Ulm, Jessica Confer Dettmer, 35, of New Ulm and Kathleen Frances Dettmer-Skelly, 72, of Welcome were arrested and charged with swindling Jan. 25. … Through the scheme, which involved multiple email addresses, bank accounts, falsified records and fake websites, they took in more than $1 million from several victims and spent much of the money. Buyers would transfer down payments for nonexistent art pieces to Dettmer-Skelly’s account.” If they get back in business I’ll let my original copy of dogs playing poker go for in the low two figures.
Give us another couple months to catch our breath. Sam Easter for the Forum News Service says, “The 2016 election is just barely over, but David Hughes, a Karlstad Republican, said his bid for Congress is just getting started — again. Hughes, who works for General Atomics at Grand Forks Air Force Base, is a former Air Force officer who campaigned for Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District, which includes much of the western half of the state. His conservative platform — and what he calls the ‘Trump bump’ — won him about 47.4 percent of the vote. Incumbent Democrat Collin Peterson received nearly 52.5 percent. Hughes said he already is campaigning on social media, making appearances at agricultural expos and soon will head to Washington to seek the support of Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture.”
The white supremacist next door. Archie Ingersoll, also with the Forum folks, reports from Nome, North Dakota, “This 62-person hamlet in Barnes County is facing a question other sleepy North Dakota towns have already grappled with: What should be done when white supremacist Craig Cobb is trying to move in? Cobb, aka Paul Craig Cobb, has already tried to turn the towns of Leith and Antler into enclaves of white supremacists. Now, it’s believed he started last week to move into the former Zion Lutheran Church in Nome, about 70 miles southwest of Fargo. At a meeting of the Nome City Council on Sunday, Feb. 5, Mayor Bruce Storhoff said he’s heard Cobb intends to buy the old church, which is currently zoned as a residence and not a gathering place.”
Of course he bought a car. Says Paul Walsh for the Strib, “A Prior Lake man with a long rap sheet was sentenced to prison for nearly seven years for fraudulently obtaining at least $3 million in government construction contracts and costing those who did business with him many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Gerard L. Roy, 55, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Minneapolis on convictions for mail fraud and money laundering.”
Interesting choice of words. Chris Tomasson of the PiPress says, “Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald said it wouldn’t be right seeing Adrian Peterson in a jersey that’s not purple. Fitzgerald, the Arizona Cardinals’ star receiver, grew up a Vikings fan and once was a ball boy for the team. He is friendly with Peterson and hopes the running back finishes his career in Minnesota. ‘I hope he’s able to work something out and stay in Minnesota because when you think of Adrian Peterson, he is synonymous with the Minnesota Vikings,’ Fitzgerald said at the site of Sunday’s Super Bowl LI. ‘With what he’s been able to accomplish over his illustrious career, he’s a Hall of Famer, and he deserves to be able to play with one team his whole career.’’’
An upside. Dave Chanen of the Strib says, “President Donald Trump’s election and his first two weeks in office have become both cash cow and membership catalyst for social activism groups across the Twin Cities. No matter what side of an issue the group promotes, leaders say each Trump executive order or threat to a segment of the population brings huge donations, a spike in membership and volunteers and greater attendance at events and rallies. For some organizations, the numbers have reached historic levels. Since November, the membership of Minnesota’s American Civil Liberties Union has nearly tripled from 5,760 to 15,960. A man who has donated more than $20,000 to the ACLU said in jest that Trump was going to make him broke because ‘he will probably do something next month to make me give more money.’” Pal, you can bet on it.
Who wants a pony? The AP reports, “Volunteers are scrambling to find homes for hundreds of wild horses in South Dakota that were spared a possible trip to the slaughterhouse but are now suffering through a harsh winter. The horses, some of them blind, were once kept at a troubled South Dakota sanctuary. Now a small group of volunteers from across the country is working 10 hours a day to feed and care for animals, using rented plows to carve paths through 15-foot snowdrifts. In a nearby hotel room, other volunteers are sorting through adoption applications and networking through social media, desperately trying to find homes for the horses before they are forced to leave the property next month.”