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Super Bowl creates super-sized headaches for Minneapolis employers

Plus: feds want clarity on Minnesota schools plan; Gretchen Carlson named chairwoman of the Miss America Organization; auto dealer sues KARE-TV; prisoners seek class-action status for lawsuit over pricey drugs; and more.

Minnesota Vikings

The Star Tribune’s Libor Jany writes: “With Super Bowl LII just around the corner, the traffic and parking nightmares that come along with hosting the country’s premier sporting event have some downtown Minneapolis employers anxiously eyeing the calendar. Insurance companies, banks, hospitals, law firms and other businesses are warning their employees to expect gridlock on the roads and mass-transit delays. Leave your car at home and take the bus or light rail to work, workers are being advised — otherwise, give yourselves extra time for the daily commute. Some are being given the option of working from home.”

The Feds want some clarity. In the PiPress, Christopher Magan says, “Minnesota has work to do on its new plan to grade public schools and ensure every student has the chance to succeed. The U.S. Department of Education wrote to state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius in mid-December asking state leaders to clarify several points of Minnesota’s new school accountability plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.”

Reclaiming tobacco. A Strib story by Kelly Smith says, “Mat Pendleton pulled his kids away from the basketball and video games on a recent Saturday to teach them a bit about a long-lost tradition. Not far from the banks of the Minnesota River, they joined other youngsters trudging through snow in thick brush to harvest traditional tobacco — a cultural practice that’s making a comeback on the Lower Sioux Indian Reservation …  In so doing, they also hope to decrease consumption of commercial tobacco, which is used in cigarettes, cigars and pipes.”

KARE-TV faces lawsuit. The PiPress’ Dave Olson writes: “A Fergus Falls auto dealership has filed a defamation suit against a Twin Cities-based TV news station, alleging that KARE published false and misleading statements in stories about a former dealership employee and claims of overcharging law enforcement agencies. The suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court by Nelson Auto Center names KARE as a defendant along with related business entities. … The suit says KARE’s false and misleading statements damaged the dealership’s reputation, and it’s seeking more than $75,000.”

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She’s one of us. An AP story says, “Former Fox News Channel anchor and 1989 Miss America Gretchen Carlson has been named chairwoman of the Miss America Organization’s board of directors. The organization announced the selection of Carlson on Monday. It marks the first time a former pageant winner has served as the leader of the nearly 100-year-old organization. The organization also announced that three other past Miss Americas are joining the board.”

Talk radio fodder: Via Stephen Montemayor of the Strib, “Five prison inmates infected with hepatitis C are seeking class-action status for a lawsuit that would require the Minnesota Department of Corrections to offer a class of groundbreaking, but extremely expensive, new drugs. The medications, known as ‘direct acting antiviral’ (DAA) drugs, can have a 95 percent cure rate, but they can cost anywhere from $26,400 to well above $100,000 per patient. The litigation joins a series of similar lawsuits across the country that ask whether prison inmates have a right to the latest, most effective drugs even if the cost could overwhelm a state’s corrections budget.”

If only because there’s no reason to think 2018 will be much different than 2017, let’s enjoy this one from Kay Fate at the Rochester Post-Bulletin, “Just when you think the world is a little too jaded, and maybe even the holidays have become a chore, along come Betty Fiek-Johnson and her husband, Jerry Johnson. Theirs is a love story, to be sure, but it’s also a story of renewal, of new beginnings, of compromise and of humor. Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, was their wedding anniversary. Their first anniversary — and it came 70 years after their first date.”