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Minnesota AG Swanson launches opioid awareness campaign

Attorney General Lori Swanson
Attorney General Lori Swanson

Yeah, I don’t think the website alone is going to do it. Don Davis of the Forum News Service says, “Educating the public about opioid drugs may be the best way to fight their dangers. That is what Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson hopes. On Monday, Feb. 13, she announced that she has adapted a year-old Wisconsin opioid public awareness campaign to counteract the growing addiction problem to opioid pain killers. Swanson said a website ( is the centerpiece of the effort, with a brochure and public service announcement for television stations and movie theaters also available.” Maybe a couple million PSA texts?

No, he’s just from Fertile. Another Forum reporter, Barry Amundson reports, “A Fertile, Minn., man has been arrested on drunk driving charges after investigators said he drove a car through a bank wall early Friday and caused ��heavy damage’ to the building. … Deputies determined Trent Kenneth Vesledahl, 20, was driving the vehicle when it hit the building, causing ‘heavy damage to the wall’, according to a news release.” 

So you’re telling me you have enforce laws after you make them? In the PiPress, Christopher Magan writes, “Minnesota has some of the most progressive equal-opportunity rules in the nation, but it isn’t doing a very good job of implementing them. Those are the findings of a first-of-its-kind equity audit of Minnesota’s hiring, purchasing, contracting and affirmative action policies that aim to make state employees and contractors more representative of the people they serve. … In 2015, the audit found, only about 3 percent of the roughly $2 billion the state awarded in contracts went to businesses owned by someone from a targeted group. The majority of that 3 percent went to businesses owned by women, leaving just a fraction of a percentage point going to business owners of color.”

The GOP’s “high-risk pool” idea for health insurance doesn’t make much sense if you do that math thing. At MPR, Mark Zdechlik says, “For many Republicans looking to scrap the Affordable Care Act, the fix will come from separating people into two pools. The lower-cost one would be for healthy people. Those with expensive medical conditions that drive up health spending would be sorted into the more expensive ‘high-risk’ pool. The goal is to hold down skyrocketing premiums for people who buy non-group insurance, but experts say high-risk pools create their own problems. Returning to them sounds simple, but the economics are terrible, said Karen Pollitz, a researcher with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.” I don’t know a lot about the insurance business, but that sounds like the exact opposite of how the game is supposed to work.

Well, this’ll spike road rage. Also at MPR, Martin Moylan says, “Safe drivers in the Twin Cities and several other markets are often getting hit with unfair insurance rate hikes, a consumer watchdog group claims. In Minneapolis, drivers found not at fault in an accident were still hit with penalties averaging 8 percent rate increases, according to a study from the Consumer Federation of America. However, the insurance industry says the study is flawed and shouldn’t be believed.” Nothing to see here, folks. Let’s keep it moving.

We’re No. 5! Dee DePass at the Strib tells us, “Minnesota produced $3.3 billion of non-fuel minerals in 2016, ranking the fifth in value among states, according to government data. Minnesota mines produced 4.4 percent of the nation’s non-fuel minerals, with iron ore, sand, gravel, and crushed stone topping the list of minerals mined from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, according to a recent report issued by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Minerals Information Center. Minnesota’s production was only exceeded by Nevada, Arizona, Texas and California.” That’s right. We’re big on crushed rock.

Basically, the squabbling Lunds were told to “chill.”  Mike Hughlett of the Strib reports, “A five-day trial baring a bitter divide in the Lund supermarket family ended Monday with a judge peeling off philosophical pearls, quoting from the Bible and American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Hennepin County Chief Judge Ivy Bernhardson said she wanted ‘to leave Ms. [Kim] Lund and Mr. [Tres] Lund and the whole Lund family with some words from the gospel lesson’ she heard at church on Sunday. Those words came from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the Book of Matthew: ‘But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment,’ as the New International Version puts it. …‘While they only are words, there are profound thoughts behind these words. I wish the parties peace,’ she said.” She did not, however say, “Now get the hell out of here and don’t darken my courtroom door ever again.”

Anchor down. Aimee Blanchette of the Strib has the story on Jeff Passolt. “Fox 9 anchor Jeff Passolt is recovering after slipping on the ice last week and breaking his hip. The accident happened while Passolt was on assignment at the Capitol. He was there to interview Gov. Mark Dayton and afterward, he hit an icy patch. ‘I was able to drag myself to my car … but I don’t remember it clearly or my drive home,’ Passolt said. … A blonde woman in a small black sedan stopped to help Passolt. He’s been trying to find her to thank her since the fall, but so far, no luck.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 02/14/2017 - 11:05 am.

    A Few Years Back

    BEFORE the A.C.A. became law,…

    I was IN Minnesota’s former “high risk” healthcare pool for a few years.

    It was NOT cheap with a high deductible and premiums around $1,000/month at the end, and would likely have much higher premiums now.

    Even so, the state taxpayers were subsidizing it massively through a variety of mechanisms which drew primarily from the middle class.

    In addition to that, I got the distinct impression that, because Minnesota HAD that high risk pool to cover folk,…

    the insurance companies were simply refusing to cover people they would likely have covered in many other states,…

    bumping even MODERATE risk people off their balance sheets,…

    leaving the state responsible for covering them,…

    and ONLY insuring the fabulously healthy in order to maximize profits.

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