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DHS uncovers more improper payments; asks counties, tribes to pay back feds

Plus: poll finds 44 percent of Minnesotans favoring impeachment; Walz calls for public hearings on insulin; Minneapolis marketing agency behind South Dakota meth campaign; and more. 

MPR’s Briana Bierschbach writes: “The Minnesota Department of Human Services has uncovered more improper payments, and counties and tribes are on the hook to help pay the money back. The payments total more than $10 million and include improper checks to substance abuse providers, a welfare assistance program and child foster care services. They come on top of the recent discovery of $29 million in overpayments the department made to two state tribes over a span of more than a decade for substance abuse treatments.”

KSTP-TV reports: “44 percent of Minnesotans say based on what they have learned so far, the U.S. House of Representatives should impeach President Trump, according to a new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll. Another 37 percent say they should not vote to impeach, and 19 percent are undecided. … The president’s major problem in Minnesota is a plummeting ‘favorability’ rating from already low levels. According to the poll, 53 percent of Minnesotans either view him unfavorably or extremely unfavorably.  That compares to 31 percent with favorable or extremely favorable views of the president, and 12 percent who remain neutral.”

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From the AP: “Gov. Tim Walz on Monday urged Minnesota lawmakers to hold public hearings to try to break an impasse over legislation to make insulin more affordable. Lawmakers in an insulin work group have made little apparent progress in closed-door talks over the past month toward reconciling the differences between competing House Democratic and Senate Republican plans. The governor told reporters that public hearings with testimony from experts and advocates could provide the necessary push to find middle ground and reach a deal that lawmakers could pass in a one-day special session sometime betweenThanksgiving and New Year’s Day, rather than waiting for the 2020 regular session, which opens Feb. 11.”

This from Maria Lockwood in the Duluth News Tribune, “Former Duluth and Superior Mayor Herb Bergson remained in custody at the Douglas County Jail Monday, Nov. 18, on a probation hold. Herbert William Bergson, 63, was sentenced to one year of probation and 20 days in jail Nov. 30, 2018, after pleading no contest in Douglas County Circuit Court to obstructing an officer. Bergson was involved in a one-vehicle crash when his vehicle slid on ice and hit a tree in Lake Nebagamon Feb. 13, 2018. … According to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Bergson was released from a previous probation hold Oct. 15 due to a medical issue. Another warrant was issued Oct. 31 when he didn’t report to his probation agent as scheduled.”

In the New York Post Tamar Lepin reports, “Looks like they really ‘methed’ this one up. South Dakota on Monday launched a nearly half-a-million dollar methamphetamine prevention campaign — with a head-scratching slogan. The anti-drug crusade’s website is and the logo is an outline of the Mount Rushmore State with the phrase: ‘Meth. We’re on it.’ TV ads, billboards and posters about South Dakota’s growing epidemic feature people of all demographics saying, ‘I’m on meth.’ The state’s Department of Social Services paid Minneapolis-based marketing and ad agency Broadhead Co. nearly $449,000 to create the campaign.”

Says Kelly Smith in the Star Tribune, “The waiting lists keep growing for preschool admission, mental health therapy and counseling for sex trafficking victims at the Family Partnership. That’s why the more than century-old Minneapolis nonprofit says it needs to  build a new $22 million resource center to keep up with the increasing demand for services. The nonprofit, which plans to break ground on the new center this winter and open it in early 2021, will move programs spread across the city into one building that will have more than three times the space. The project, half of which is being publicly funded, is part of a broader revitalization of a busy Lake Street intersection marked by vacant lots and empty storefronts.”

Says Adam Uren for BringMeTheNews, “This Friday, you can give a pet a new home and family without paying the usual adoption fees in Minneapolis. Minneapolis Animal Care & Control has announced a push to get as many pets as possible adopted in time for the holiday season, and will waive its usual fees for pets adopted from its shelter between 1-6 p.m. this Friday. The city usually charges adoption fees ranging from $50 for cats and dogs (adopted by city residents, $100-$250 for non-residents) to $1,000 for large, exotic birds.”

Says the Star Tribune’s Marissa Evans, “If Jacob Bloom had not found his apartment, he thinks he’d still be on the streets. Or dead. After several years of homelessness, the Marine veteran who served in Iraq has started laying the groundwork for a stable civilian life. …Bloom, 35, said his luck turned after he got help paying his rent with a federal Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher. Bloom is one of 862 formerly homeless veterans statewide benefiting from the rent support. But more than 100 veterans who qualify for a VASH voucher are still looking for a landlord willing to accept it.”

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