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320,000 Minnesotans must switch Medicare health plans

Plus: only ham radio store in Minnesota to close; northern Minnesota sees record high temps; Minneapolis mayor says timeline for clearing homeless encampment may have to be pushed back; and more.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Christopher Snowbeck of the Star Tribune writes, “Anxiety, frustration and hints of exasperation are all in the mix as more than a quarter-million Minnesota seniors face the prospect of selecting new Medicare health plans in the coming months. An estimated 320,000 Minnesotans with Medicare Cost health plans must switch to a new policy because a federal law is eliminating the coverage next year across much of the state.”

At KMSP-TV Christina Palladino tells us, “It’s an end of an era for ham radio enthusiasts as the only store in Minnesota closes in the next few weeks. Radio City in Mounds View has been in business for 36 years, serving generations of loyalists and newcomers to the ham radio community. … The owners say they’re looking to close Radio City by the end of the year or perhaps sooner. They said some of their most loyal customers are possibly interested in keeping this store going, but at this point the owners are looking forward to their next chapter: retirement.”

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Kirsten Swanson at KSTP-TV reports, “The Minnesota chapter of the American Red Cross said it now has dozens of volunteers on the ground in response to hurricane-turned-tropical storm Florence. Red Cross volunteers gathered in the Raleigh-Durham area during a training before going to work in emergency shelters set up across the state for evacuees of Hurricane-turned-Tropical Storm Florence. … But sometimes, even the best-laid plans go awry. ‘Yesterday, I spent the whole day hunkered down in a motel with the rest of my team,’ Krueger said, after explaining the storm had moved into their area unexpectedly. … Her team got the all-clear Saturday morning and went back to work. She expects to be in North Carolina for three weeks.”

Says Mark Craig in the Strib after the Vikings’ tie in Green Bay. “Daniel Carlson’s first game at Lambeau Field might be his last. At least in a Vikings uniform. In one of the worst days for special teams in franchise history, the Vikings had a punt blocked for a touchdown and then watched helplessly as Carlson, their rookie kicker, missed three field goals wide right, including a 35-yarder as overtime ended in a 29-29 tie with the Packers. It would be shocking if the Vikings didn’t spend Sunday night strongly considering a move at kicker. Dan Bailey, the most accurate kicker in Cowboys history, is still available, as is — don’t laugh — Kai Forbath, whom the Vikings released in favor of Carlson.”

Also in the Strib, this from Erin Adler. “Toasty temperatures in northern and north central Minnesota broke records Sunday, including one set nearly a century ago. In Brainerd, the mercury climbed to 89 Sunday, beating a record of 82 set in 2015. It reached 87 in International Falls, beating a record high of 85 set in 1922, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Duluth. The average high for Brainerd this time of year is 69 degrees, while 65 degrees is typical in International Falls, said Bryan Howell, an NWS meteorologist in Duluth.”

At MPR, Nina Moini reports, “Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says a previously stated goal of clearing a growing homeless encampment in the city by the end of September may have to be pushed back. There have been mounting health and safety concerns about the encampment near East Franklin and Hiawatha avenues, which is now home to more than 300 people living in tents. Organizations that have been assisting residents of the encampment say it’s comprised mostly of chronically homeless Native Americans, many of whom suffer from drug addiction.”

MPR Jon Collins reports, “More than a year after Mohamed Noor shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk, also known by the surname Damond, in the alley behind her southwest Minneapolis home, the former police officer is scheduled to appear for a court hearing to consider motions his attorneys have made about the murder and manslaughter charges. Noor, 32, is charged with shooting and killing Ruszczyk, 40, last summer. … The omnibus hearing in Hennepin County District Court … Thursday will revolve around motions filed by Noor’s attorneys seeking to dismiss the charges and suppress psychological testing of Noor by the Minneapolis Police Department.”

Deon Roberts in the Charlotte Observer has this: “Wells Fargo’s chief financial officer criticized the media on Friday, insinuating that journalists and news outlets are running negative headlines on the company because they are an ‘ad seller.’ ‘A lot of these negative headlines refer to things that have been previously really well aired and vetted. But it’s a very reliable ad seller, I think. And it’s a business model for some people,’ John Shrewsberry said at a financial services conference in New York. ‘We need to make sure that we strive for operational excellence,’ he said. ‘We need to make sure that we don’t make big mistakes. We need to make sure that we’re super transparent, sometimes more transparent than others on common issues. But I don’t know when it’s going to stop being a reliable ad seller or business model for certain outlets or journalists.’”