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CenturyLink to pay $8.9 million to Minnesota customers who were overcharged

Plus: Edina ends agreement with Lime scooters; Bloomberg visits farm in southern Minnesota; teachers union opposes changing Minnesota Constitution to address achievement gap; and more.

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

In the Star Tribune, Stephen Montemayor reports, “CenturyLink, the nation’s third-largest telecom company, has agreed to pay $8.9 million to tens of thousands of customers in Minnesota who were allegedly overcharged, state Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Wednesday. The settlement also requires the company to reform its billing practices by disclosing its true prices, honoring all promised prices and discounts, and banning what officials deemed ‘sham internet fees.’”

Says Tim Nelson at MPR, “Lime is out of juice in Edina. Edina City Council members voted Tuesday night to end a cooperative agreement with the bike and scooter provider that’s been running the app-based ride-share service in the city since 2018. The bikes and scooters got pulled off the streets for the winter last fall, but a two-year deal to bring them back was set to automatically renew in March. City Council members ended the deal in a 4-0 vote, in accordance with a staff recommendation. Council members cited safety as a primary concern.”

Reports WCCO-TV: “Although St. Paul recorded 30 homicides in 2019, police statistics from last year show that violent crime in the capitol city was at a quarter-century low. The St. Paul Police Department released preliminary year-end crime statistics Wednesday, saying that, in general, 2019 saw a drop in crimes against people and an increase in crimes against property. Violent crime hit a 25-year low, police say. This is despite a 100% year-over-year increase in homicides, with the most gun violence the city has seen since 1992.”

For The Rochester Post-Bulletin, Brian Todd writes, “The [Goodhue County] board heard a presentation concerning refugee resettlement during a committee of the whole. An executive order by the Trump Administration requires local governments to provide written consent to the federal government prior to any refugees being resettled in the county. The order only applies to individuals being resettled as part of the U.S. Refugee Admission Program.  Arneson said the county board voted 3-2 to continue accepting refugees through the program.”

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Tim Pugmire at MPR reports, “Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg paid a brief visit to a farm in southern Minnesota Wednesday, saying he wants to better understand rural America. ‘I come from the city, but you’re the backbone of America, and we eat and live based on what you do, and I think it’s easy for us living in big cities to forget about the rest of the world,’ Bloomberg said … . During the stop in Wells, [farmer Darin] Johnson said he’s pleased Bloomberg is talking about the need to expand rural broadband. He said data and technology are a key part of modern agriculture, and farmers need good internet service.”

A KARE-TV story says, “State health officials are urging parents to get their children vaccinated following the death of an infant who developed pertussis, also known as whooping cough. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that the child was diagnosed with pertussis in August, and died of complications in November after being hospitalized for three months.”

Says Andy Mannix in the Strib, “Minnesota’s highest-ranking FBI agent is heading to Washington, D.C., to help lead the agency’s division in charge of thwarting terror attacks. Jill Sanborn came to the FBI’s Minneapolis field office in April 2018 to serve as special agent in charge of Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. She assumes her new post, as assistant director of counterterrorism, in a time of uncertainty for many Americans over international conflict in the Middle East.”

Also from the Star Tribune, Mary Lynn Smith says, “The largest organization representing Minnesota educators announced Wednesday that it opposes a plan to change the state Constitution in an effort to narrow the state’s persistent academic achievement gap. Education Minnesota, the union representing 80,000 members who work in preK-12 schools and higher-education institutions, announced its opposition as the authors of the proposal launched a public effort to woo support for their ‘out-of-the-box’ idea.”

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