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Minnesota Department of Health report: medical marijuana helps with chronic pain

Plus: diocese of St. Cloud to file for bankruptcy; U.S. Bank Stadium needs curtains to host Final Four; footage of Minneapolis cop shooting car is released; and more.

MPR’s Mark Zdechlik reports: “The Minnesota Department of Health says more than four in ten people struggling with difficult-to-control pain of moderate and high levels reported medical cannabis provided significant relief. The research looked at results of a standard pain assessment tool completed by more than 2,000 people before and after turning to medical cannabis. The analysis focused on 42 percent of the participants who’d ranked their pain as moderate to high at the beginning of the study. Those people collectively reported a reduction in pain scores of at least 30 percent. That’s a threshold considered to be clinically meaningful.

Which one hasn’t applied for bankruptcy? A story by Stephanie Dickrell in the St. Cloud Times says: “The Diocese of St. Cloud plans to file for bankruptcy, officials announced Wednesday afternoon.  The move comes after 74 civil claims were filed against the diocese regarding sexual abuse of minors. The claims named 31 members of clergy who served in the diocese and 30 parishes.  The claims came during a three-year window during which the civil statute of limitations was lifted in Minnesota for allegations of sexual abuse of minors. That window ended in May 2016. Until the Child Victims Act, the diocese had only been served with less than a dozen cases.”

Wait, curtains? Rochelle Olson and Joe Christensen of the Strib say: “U.S. Bank Stadium needs massive curtains to block the sunlight during the 2019 NCAA Final Four — and they won’t be cheap. In a request sent out two days after the Super Bowl, Feb. 6, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) Chairman Mike Vekich sought proposals for the design, manufacture, installment and testing of ‘blackout curtain drapery’ for the stadium. … All the light sources must be draped to meet the NCAA specifications. … The MSFA’s current budget for 2018 building improvements is projected to be $7.25 million. Vekich said the blackout drapery would come from that account.” But, you know, some people say that the event will pump $50 billion into the local economy.

Over at MPR, Brandt Williams and Jon Collins have the unenviable job of reporting out that abuse story in south Minneapolis. “Between August 2011 and June 2017, police made dozens of visits to the family’s home. The family also had contacts with social workers and medical staff. Here’s what we know so far from police calls and criminal, probate and juvenile court records. … Police were called to the home 53 times from August 2011 through June 2017. The calls ranged from loud music, to 13 for domestic abuse, seven for lost or missing children and six asking officers to check the welfare of occupants. In at least 10 cases, officers filed reports in the case. The nature of three calls and their outcome were redacted from information provided to MPR News. It was unclear if officers went inside the home or if they reported the family to county child protection workers.”

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About that $329 million state budget surplus, mother Strib editorializes: “The new numbers assure Minnesotans that they won’t be hearing about a state money crisis in the next three months. But neither can Minnesotans expect much new spending or tax relief. And there’s little extra cash available to ease the challenge of conforming to the new federal tax law without burdening Minnesotans with higher state taxes. … The forecast surplus amounts to a skinny 0.7 percent of the current biennial budget.” Hey, Debbie Downer, we’re having a party here!

First Nye’s, now this. Says Frederick Melo in the PiPress, “The owners of O’Gara’s Bar and Grill on Snelling Avenue have proposed demolishing the 77-year-old St. Paul watering hole in order to build a multi-story apartment building with space for a smaller version of their popular tavern on the ground level. The Irish bar, which describes itself as the city’s oldest continuously operating family bar still in its original location, opened at the southeast corner of Snelling and Selby avenues in 1941.”

Also biting the dust? The voice of the St. Croix Valley. Mary Divine of the PiPress says, “From its home above a storefront on North Main Street in downtown Stillwater, KLBB-AM has been the voice of Stillwater and the St. Croix Valley for almost 70 years. The owner of the hyper-local radio station, known for broadcasting local church services and Stillwater Area High School Pony football games, announced Wednesday that the station will cease broadcasting March 31. … [Dan Smith, owner and general manager] announced last year that KLBB planned to sell 3.6 acres of land in Stillwater that houses the station’s 203-foot tower. The tower, built in 1949, had exceeded its lifespan and needed to be replaced, he said.”

Ditto the Ivey Awards. “It has become increasingly difficult to raise the money necessary to produce the quality awards show we have all come to expect. Fiscal responsibility has always been a source of pride for our non-profit organization and risking its reputation or solvency was never an option. We are proud of the great run the Ivey Awards has had for the past 13 years, though just like a production playing to sold-out crowds, sometimes good things come to an end. Therefore, after very careful thought and consideration, the Ivey Awards is ending its run.”

Interesting analytic breakdown of the T-Wolves by Neil Greenberg in The Washington Post. “The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets get the lion’s share of the attention in the West, but the Minnesota Timberwolves have quietly emerged as the third-best team in the conference. Tom Thibodeau has guided Minnesota to a 38-26 record, with the Timberwolves outscoring opponents by 3.2 net points per 100 possessions, the sixth-best performance in the NBA this season and the best by the franchise since 2003-04. … Minnesota doesn’t attempt many shots in the restricted area, either, producing the fifth-lowest rate of shots from there (24.8 per game). Shots in the restricted area (1.26 points per shot) and three-point attempts (1.09 points per attempt) represent two of the most efficient shots a team can take, behind only the two free throw attempts awarded after drawing a foul (1.54 points per attempt).” And yes, that will be on the test.

Finally, from Peter Cox at MPR: “The Hennepin County Attorney’s office released several videos Wednesday that show a Minneapolis police officer shooting at a car full of people. The videos were evidence in the criminal trial against Officer Efrem Hamilton, who was acquitted on three felony charges related to the incident earlier this month. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he decided to release the videos from the incidents because of media requests. The videos include the body camera and dash cam videos which were introduced as evidence during the trial.”