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Alcohol-related deaths on the rise in Minnesota

Plus: torso, leg found along Mississippi River in SE Minnesota; construction to begin on I-35W bridge across Minnesota River; Lake Superior fisherman report record numbers of whitefish; and more.

REUTERS/Javier Galeano

Via Brooks Johnson in the Grand Forks Herald: “Alcohol is killing more Minnesotans than opioids, meth and all other drugs combined. It’s not because more people are drinking — that number’s been steady in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet per-capita consumption of alcohol has risen, meaning that those who are drinking are drinking much more. Researchers say negative childhood experiences and a collapse of economic opportunity and community structures are driving this century’s increase in drug and alcohol abuse. As more Minnesotans drink themselves to death, it also becomes the new normal.”

Paul Walsh of the Star Tribune reports, “A 27-year-old man has pleaded guilty to quickly downing 10 shots of tequila at downtown Minneapolis bars before driving the wrong way on an interstate and causing a collision that killed two people in another vehicle. Quoc Tran, of Osseo, entered his plea last week in Hennepin County District Court to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 30; a jury trial had been scheduled to start Monday.”

MPR reports: “Overnight lane closures begin Monday on the Interstate 35W bridge across the Minnesota River between Bloomington and Burnsville. The lane closures mark the start of a multi-year project to reconstruct the major freeway bridge, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reported. The $127 million project — scheduled to last through 2021 — also includes the addition of a pedestrian crossing of the river, along with resurfacing of the freeway from 106th Street in Bloomington to Cliff Road in Burnsville, and adding another northbound freeway lane.”

This from the AP: “Two boys discovered human remains along the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota on Saturday. Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsch said the boys found a torso and an attached leg with a boot. The Winona Daily News reported that the boot appears to match a boot found on a human leg that was discovered July 21 along the river near Kellogg. In April, a 61-year-old Pepin, Wis., man disappeared after taking his sailboat onto Lake Pepin. His boat was found unoccupied, with the motor running, the next day.”

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Another AP story says, “Commercial fishing operations near the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior are reporting record numbers of whitefish and a strong recovery of lake trout since a decline in the early 2000s. Commercial fisherman Craig Hoopman told the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board that he’s seeing record numbers of young whitefish and a strong rebound in lake trout numbers, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. Fishing has been exceptional so far this year, said Hoopman, who chairs the state Department of Natural Resources Lake Superior Commercial Fishing Board.”

From the Duluth News Tribune, Peter Passi says, “Preparations are already in the works for the delicate movement of the William A. Irvin, Duluth’s 611-foot long floating museum. For the first time in about 30 years, the retired laker will leave its berth in Minnesota Slip, squeezing through the abutments of the pedestrian lift bridge with just over 7 inches to spare on either side. The ship has never before passed through the bridge, which was built after the vessel was moored and placed on display in the slip. Inch by inch, the Irvin will be guided meticulously via winch cables attached to both its bow and stern.”

In the Strib, Tim Harlow writes, “Taking a State Fair express bus is a blue-ribbon tradition for thousands of fairgoers. But after Metro Transit abruptly cut 67 trips across 40 routes last month, some Drive readers have asked if there will be enough bus drivers to provide the extra service. Yes, says Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla. But to pull it off, the agency has had to make some significant changes.”