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State air quality blamed for thousands of deaths per year

Plus: Walz signs bill allowing homeowners to renounce racist language in deeds; Wisconsin radio station editing out Vikings reference from Lizzo song; Ramsey County board getting a raise; and more.

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

At MPR, Catharine Richert writes, “A new state evaluation of Minnesota’s air quality statewide finds it meets federal clean air standards. ‘But even low and moderate levels of air pollution can contribute to serious illness and early death,’ said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Laura Bishop. The state agency worked with the state Health Department to create a new study of how air quality affects human health across the state. The findings are based on data from 2013, the most recently available. The research indicates ground-level ozone or fine airborne particles were a factor in between 5 and 10 percent of all Minnesota deaths that year. That translates to between 2,000 and 4,000 deaths.

A Strib story by Randy Furst says, “Gov. Tim Walz and supporters on Tuesday celebrated a measure that will allow Minnesotans to file a document renouncing racist language in the titles to their homes. Homeowners across the state who have so-called racial covenants in their deeds may now request the county in which they are living to attach a statement to the deed expressing opposition to the language.”

For more on racial covenants, see Greta Kaul’s story from February: “With covenants, racism was written into Minneapolis housing. The scars are still visible.

At Adam Carlson says, “A radio station in Wisconsin couldn’t stand playing a hit song with a reference to the Minnesota Vikings, so they edited the team name out. By now, most listeners of popular music have heard the song ‘Truth Hurts’ by Lizzo. The song is in regular rotation on radio stations and the Minnesota born vocalist even made a reference to the Minnesota Vikings in the tune. … The song is getting a lot of airplay, but there is one radio station editing out the song and eliminating any reference to the purple and gold football team. According to All Access Music Group, 101 FM in Wisconsin going by WIXX defends making changes to the song.”

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Says Brian Bakst at MPR, “Republican Jason Lewis said Tuesday that if he seeks federal office again next year he won’t distance himself from President Donald Trump or his policies. … Lewis, a former radio show host, campaigned as an ally of Trump even as other swing district Republicans sought some space from the president and his agenda last year. ‘You’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound. I don’t think it pays to run away from a Trump presidency,’ Lewis said in an interview.”

In the PiPress, Frederick Melo says, “Five years after the death of railroad magnate James J. Hill, his dream of erecting a public library in the heart of downtown St. Paul became a reality set in Tennessee marble and Minnesota sandstone. The James J. Hill Reference Library opened onto Rice Park in 1921, drawing job-seekers and entrepreneurs to its Roman pillars and Reading Room throughout the difficult years of the Great Depression and beyond. On the cusp of its centennial anniversary, the dream is ending, or at least taking a long pause. Library officials announced Tuesday that the reference library — now better known as a wedding venue and nonprofit business center — will close to the public on July 3.”

Also in the PiPress, this from Tad Vezner:Ramsey County’s board on Tuesday gave themselves a 2.5 percent raise, boosting the board chair’s compensation into six figures for the first time. In recent years, the county board of commissioners has voted to give themselves the same raise that county employees received. County employees received a general wage increase of 2.5 percent this year. The board’s pay raise, which they approved Tuesday and will go into effect Jan. 1, lifts commissioners’ salaries from $94,734 to $97,102.”

For Barron’s, Ross Snel writes, “Financial advisors at Wells Fargo might have hoped the bank would quickly find a replacement for former CEO Tim Sloan, who resigned in late March. A new chief might be able to further steer the company away from a recent history of scandals that have battered its reputation and led to regulatory consequences. But the nation’s No. 4 bank is having a tough time enticing top bankers to take the job … . The bank faces other hurdles in its CEO search. Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway is the company’s largest shareholder, has said publicly the board should avoid hiring a Wall Street banker, and regulators at the OCC must sign off on any pick. Although Wells Fargo has said it intends to replace Sloan, a longtime company insider, with an outsider, it may choose another solution.”