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Lake Nokomis beaches shut down after E. coli sickens three

Plus: DHS pressuring tribes to return $23 million in overpayments — despite agency being largely responsible for billing errors; Twin Cities retailers hit with counterfeit bills; St. Paul’s Sunisa Lee believed to be first Hmong-American to make national gymnastics team; and more.

Lake Nokomis
Lake Nokomis

Says Jennifer Mayerle for WCCO-TV: “Health officials closed both beaches at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis Tuesday after three kids who swam there became sick with E. coli. It’s the first time in at least 25 years an illness has forced a beach closure at a Minneapolis lake. Officials are trying to determine if there’s an ongoing risk. The typically busy beach areas at Lake Nokomis were quiet Tuesday evening. Signs show they’re temporarily closed.”

In the Star Tribune, Chris Serres reports, “The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is intensifying pressure on two Indian bands to repay $25.3 million in Medicaid overpayments, despite mounting evidence that state officials were largely to blame for the billing error. In letters sent to the Indian bands, acting Human Services Commissioner Pamela Wheelock said the state is legally obligated to collect the excess payments from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and White Earth Nation for addiction treatment services, even if the overpayments were caused by DHS error and were not the fault of the bands.”

In the Pioneer Press, Tad Vezner writes, “A former probation officer received an unusually long prison sentence for lying to FBI investigators about sexually exploiting defendants under his supervision. Dennis Edward Bresnahan, 56, of Forest Lake, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul to 30 months in prison for lying to FBI investigators. The court system’s suggested sentence for such a crime — called an ‘advisory sentencing guideline’ — is zero to six months. Judge Robert W. Pratt said the case ‘exemplifies public corruption and disrespect for the law,’ according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

For BringMeTheNews Adam Uren says, “The New York Times’ Deputy Washington Editor who stoked controversy by suggesting that Minneapolis should not be considered part of the Midwest has been demoted. In a statement to CNN on Tuesday, the NYT says Jonathan Weisman met with executive editor Dean Baquet, during which he ‘apologized for his recent serious lapses in judgment.’ ‘As a consequence of his actions, he has been demoted and will no longer be overseeing the team that covers Congress or be active on social media,’ the Times said.”

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Also in the Strib, this from Jim Buchta. “There is a silver lining to the recent economic turbulence: Mortgage rates have tumbled in recent weeks, triggering a rush to refinance and a race to the closing table for many Twin Citians. At the end of last week the average conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) fell to 3.6%, according to a weekly survey by Freddie Mac. That is nearly a full percentage point lower than last year at this time and the lowest in nearly three years.”

WCCO’s Reg Chapman reports: “Karin Tappero has all of her workers on the lookout for counterfeit bills that have been passed at area Twin Cities Patina stores. ‘We’re just really, really trying to be very aware of all cash passed to us at this point,’ Tappero said. ‘It appears they are trying to pass $100 bills.’ Three of the eight Patina stores in the Twin Cities have been hit. Surveillance video from the Patina store on Selby and Snelling Avenues in St. Paul shows one of several people who have been caught on camera passing counterfeit bills.”

An AP story says, “A new report says cleaning up some of the Great Lakes region’s most heavily polluted areas has led to billions of dollars’ worth of economic development and brought communities closer together. The study released Tuesday was conducted by the International Association for Great Lakes Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It reviews efforts to restore harbors, river mouths and other spots that were contaminated with toxic wastes during the industrial boom era.”

KSTP-TV’s Joe Mazan reports: “Two Minnesotans are celebrating after returning home from the U.S. Gymnastics Championship over the weekend. Sixteen-year-old Sunisa Lee, of St. Paul, took second place and Grace McCallum, also 16, of Isanti, finished third after a huge comeback. Lee is believed to be the first Hmong-American gymnast to make the national team and next year could become the first to make the Olympic team. ‘That would mean everything to me just because I’ve been traning for it my whole life and I just want to do it for the Hmong community and my family and my coaches because they’ve given everything for me,’ Lee said.