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Black, Indigenous pregnancy-related deaths are disproportionately high in Minnesota

Plus: Minnesota Teacher of the Year Natalia Benjamin has left the classroom; June and July fourth driest on record; the purple carrot-seed moth invades Minnesota; and more.

An MPR story by Michelle Wiley says, “A snapshot look at pregnancy-related deaths in Minnesota found all of the deaths could have been prevented and that pregnancy-associated deaths were disproportionately high among Black and Indigenous people. The Minnesota Health Department identified 48 people who died of both pregnancy-related and unrelated causes while pregnant, including vehicle accidents and drug overdoses, during 2017 and 2018. In that time period, the state calculated 8.8 pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the Health Department report released Thursday. That’s about half the national rate in 2017, or 17.3 deaths per 100,000 births.”

A Rochester Post-Bulletin story by Jordan Shearer says, “After spending a year as the Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Natalia Benjamin has left the classroom with the intention of having a wider impact. Starting July 1, Benjamin began her new role as coordinator of multi-language learning for Rochester Public Schools, working with students and families who qualify for services. The reason she made the switch, she said, is multifaceted.”

Also at MPR, this from Paul Huttner, “Here are some quick stats on the current drought status in Minnesota.

  • This was the fourth driest June and July on record for the Twin Cities. (Records date back to the 1870s)
  • 34% of Minnesota is now either classified as abnormally dry or in drought
  • Overall drought area in Minnesota increased to 14% from 7% last week
  • Most of Twin Cities area is now in severe drought status.”

Says Christine Schuster for BringMeTheNews, “The rooftop restaurant at a new concept designed to bring art, food and entertainment together in Uptown, Minneapolis opens Friday.  The grand opening of the rooftop at Art + Rec Uptown will coincide with the Uptown Art Fair, and the new anchor tenant at Seven Points is planning to open additional attractions and dining this fall. Minneapolis-based Graves Hospitality is overseeing the development and operations Art + Rec, which will span over 20,000-square-feet once completed this fall.”

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An AP story from Steven Groves says, “A South Dakota government ethics board on Wednesday pressed forward with its investigation of two complaints against Gov. Kristi Noem, resisting an effort from the Republican governor to see them dismissed and extending the time it has to examine the allegations. Noem, a potential 2024 White House contender, is under scrutiny from the state’s Government Accountability Board for allegations that she misused the powers of her office by interfering in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license and flying on state-owned airplanes to political events. She has denied any wrongdoing.”

For The Root Kayln Womack writes, “The Kettle Moraine School District of Wisconsin decided to bar their employees from displaying pride flags in classrooms or displaying their preferred pronouns in email signatures, according to The Associated Press. Superintendent Stephen Plum claims the new decision is simply a reinforcement of established policies. The policy Plum is referring to prohibits staff from using their positions to promote partisan politics, religious views, personal propaganda or monetary gain, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. What does this have to do with a pride flag? Your guess is as good as mine.”

A New York Post story by Chris Oberholtz says, “An invasive moth that feeds on carrots has been found for the first time in Minnesota. A resident near Stillwater first noticed the purple carrot-seed moth, also known as depressaria depressant, on their dill plants and reported it to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. A second report from Montgomery came in a few days later.  With help from the University of Wisconsin Diagnostic Lab, scientists made the identification from photos. ‘The impact of this insect is currently unknown, but because it is associated with the flowers and not the roots of plants, impact on carrots, celery, and parsnip crops should be minimal’, said Angie Ambourn, supervisor of the MDA’s Pest Detection Unit.”

For KSTP-TV Kirsten Swanson says, “Thirty years ago, Matt and Eunice Morelli’s lives changed forever when their son Marco was severely injured in a car accident. The healthy, athletic 28-year-old spent a year in a coma and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Matt and Eunice spent years caring for their son in their own home. A decade ago, they decided it was time to plan for Marco’s future. … They thought they found that place when they moved Marco, now 56, into a four-person group home in Afton. But that home is now dealing with such severe staffing shortages that Matt and Eunice, who are 90 and 87 respectively, are having to provide demanding physical care several days a week. Most weeks, from Friday to Monday, Matt and Eunice bring Marco home to live with them in their small, two-bedroom apartment in their senior living facility.”

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