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Minnesota health commissioner resigns over elder abuse controversy

Plus: Super Bowl Host Committee CEO paid almost $500,000 in 2016; Southwest LRT bid restructuring pushes back opening to 2023; Minnesota woman pleads guilty to second-degree manslaughter for killing boyfriend in YouTube stunt; and more.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Says Christopher Magan in the PiPress, “Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger resigned suddenly Tuesday after a series of reports that the state agency he leads was not doing enough to protect seniors from neglect and abuse. Ehlinger’s resignation was effective at the end of the day Tuesday. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Dan Pollock, the deputy health commissioner.”

Thankfully, they’ll pay much less in taxes next year. Reports Rochelle Olson in the Star Tribune: “Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Maureen Bausch and COO Dave Haselman received combined compensation of more than $800,000 in 2016. Bausch was paid $335,424 plus a $123,750 bonus and $9,717 in nontaxable compensation for a total of $468,891. Haselman received $272,632, a $55,714 bonus and nontaxable compensation of $10,141, for a total of $338,487, according to tax documents filed in November. As a tax-exempt, privately funded non-profit, the Super Bowl Host Committee is required to file a federal form listing revenue and expenses, including the salaries of top officers.” 

Speaking of taxes, the Strib editorializes: “The [GOP] bill also hurts Minnesota because of the state’s healthy homeownership rates. Homeowners will lose deductibility of home equity loan interest. Mortgage deductions and property tax deductions will be capped. The bill also eliminates the insurance mandate for the Affordable Care Act, an unconscionable move that could drive up insurance premiums and cost an estimated 227,000 Minnesotans coverage. [U.S. Rep. Erik] Paulsen, who as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee had a hand in shaping the bill, said that while the bill is imperfect, the changes would update the tax code and provide for faster growth. … Most economists, it must be said, do not share Paulsen’s rosy assessment.” 

2023. Stribber Janet Moore reports, “The bid package to build the $1.9 billion Southwest light-rail line has been retooled again, causing the Metropolitan Council to further delay the project, pushing its opening for passenger service to 2023 instead of 2022. The changes announced Tuesday were partly caused by the late addition of a $20 million crash-protection wall separating freight and light-rail trains along a rail corridor just west of Target Field.”

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Step by step. Frank Jossi at Midwest Energy News writes, “A Minnesota electric cooperative is among the latest utilities to offer a commercial green tariff program in response to growing demand from business customers. Great River Energy created its program after a request by a member utility that is also now its first customer. Starting next month, the Dakota Electric Association will offset all of the electricity use at its exurban Minneapolis headquarters with wind energy credits purchased through the Wellspring for Business program. It’s another sign of growing corporate demand for renewable energy extending beyond Silicon Valley and into rural and suburban regions such as those covered by Great River Energy, whose 28 member cooperatives geographically cover about two-thirds of Minnesota.”

Says Dave Olson for the Forum News Service: “A 20-year-old woman has pleaded guilty in Norman County District Court to second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of her boyfriend last summer, a tragic ending to the pair’s attempt at finding online fame. Under a plea agreement between the prosecution and defense, Monalisa Perez would serve 180 days in jail and spend 10 years on supervised probation. The judge, however, will have the final say on her sentence. Last June, police said Perez shot and killed her boyfriend, 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz III, who was holding up a book as part of a stunt they recorded and planned to feature on YouTube. Court documents suggest the two thought the book would stop the bullet.”

Then there’s this guy. For the Forum News Service Tom Cherveny writes, “A former Benson High School student is charged with a felony count of terroristic threats for allegedly posting statements and video on social media that led law officers to evacuate the west-central Minnesota town’s high school gymnasium during a basketball tournament on Friday. Alexander Forsberg, 22, of Moorhead, was arraigned in district court in Benson on the charge Monday. He was released on his own recognizance on conditions that he not consume alcohol or drugs, have no contact with those he allegedly threatened, and not possess any firearms.” Deprived of his precious Second Amendment rights!