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Washington, Ramsey County officials bust multi-state human trafficking ring

Plus: former KARE 11 anchor Paul Magers announces retirement; Carver County named as healthiest in Minnesota; University of North Dakota cuts women’s hockey; and more.

The GleanKSTP-TV’s story says, “Four individuals from Minnesota and Orange County, California, are facing multiple charges of racketeering and sex trafficking after a multi-agency human trafficking investigation. … The four are charged with racketeering, sex trafficking, promotion of prostitution, concealing criminal proceeds and engaging in the business of concealing criminal proceeds in connection with a criminal operation profiting off the sale of vulnerable people for sex, according to Washington County Attorney Pete Orput and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, who announced the charges Wednesday. The investigation revealed a trafficking operation out of Irvine, California, through which Chinese nationals were being used for the purpose of prostitution throughout the country, including in Minnesota.”

Big news for a guy who was once a very big deal around hereReports LA’s CBS 2: “Paul Magers announced his retirement Wednesday after 38 years in television news, including the past 13 years as an evening news anchor with CBS2 in Los Angeles. In an interview Wednesday with CBS2’s Pat Harvey, Magers announced he had been in treatment for alcohol addiction and was looking forward to sobriety, retirement and spending more time with family. Magers said: ‘By retiring now while I’m relatively young and healthy, I look forward to doing all the things with family and friends that are hard to schedule when you have a full-time job that includes odd hours. I definitely won’t miss putting on a suit, tie and make-up, except on Halloween. And I am excited to now have the time to pursue my longtime passion, amateur puppeteering.'”

Yeah, until there’s serious money for infrastructure, you might want to think about this one. A Strib editorial says, “Who’s for allowing heavier trucks laden with construction materials on state and county roads and city streets? Not Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and more than a dozen other sheriffs around the state. Stanek says heavier trucks “take longer to come to a complete stop, are less stable and have more brake maintenance problems” than lighter ones. Not county officials. Dakota County Commissioner Tom Egan says allowing heavier trucks to rumble away from the several aggregate material suppliers in the south metro area would cost his county’s taxpayers an additional $30 million a year in road repairs.”

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Good thing coal is going to make a comeback. Steven Mufson of the Washington Post says, “Westinghouse, one of the most storied names in the nuclear energy business, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the future of the nuclear power industry and leaving question marks about the future of four reactors under construction in the United States. In Minnesota, Westinghouse is a vendor for Xcel Energy’s two nuclear plants in the state, providing fuel fabrication and refueling services, Xcel said in a statement.”

Everyone, move to Carver county. Says Kate Raddatz at WCCO-TV, “New figures list Carver County as the healthiest in the state of Minnesota. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation just released its annual health rankings, which showed Carver County atop all other counties for health outcomes, and also listed Olmsted County at the top of the list for health factors. The foundation explained health outcomes represent ‘how healthy counties are within the state,’ whereas health factors represent ‘an estimate of the future health of counties as compared with other counties within a state’, based on health behaviors, clinical care, and other environmental factors.”

Reinsurance is so sexy. MPR’s Brian Bakst says, “Saying they cannot afford to wait for a congressional rewrite of the nation’s health laws, House and Senate negotiators announced a deal on a bill that aims to rein in soaring health insurance costs in Minnesota. The proposal would prop up the individual insurance market by creating a reinsurance program to help insurers cover expensive medical claims. Lawmakers are expected to finalized the legislation later Wednesday.” Is there a re-re-insurance market?

If this really happens, there’ll only be one thing left worth living for in North Dakota. At MPR, Bob Collins writes, “Hockey is pretty big in Grand Forks. But not for women. Not anymore. The University of North Dakota sent eight players to the Olympics in women’s hockey. Five more players are heading for the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship. Ten might play in next February’s Olympics. But, no woman will ever again play hockey in Grand Forks. … The school is shutting the program down. It’s one of the most successful in the country.”

The person who crashed an SUV into a state building? Mara Gottfried of the PiPress says, “Police have identified the driver suspected of striking the Minnesota Department of Administration building in St. Paul on Tuesday as a 16-year-old boy. He’s also suspected to have been in a crash at a St. Paul high school about 15 minutes earlier, police said Wednesday.” Now … back in my day … we actually took driver training.