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AG Keith Ellison asks for slowdown on Fairview-Sanford merger

Plus: Class action lawsuit against state Department of Human Services; Justus Ramsey house to be disassembled and stored; ‘Name a Snowplow’ open for voting; rideshare apps under scrutiny; and more.

Fairview Riverside Hospital in Minneapolis

In the Strib Christopher Snowbeck says, “Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has asked for Sanford and Fairview to slow down their proposed mega-merger, saying a scheduled closing for the transaction on March 31 is coming too soon to address questions about the deal. … [Deputy Attorney General John] Keller said the Minnesota Legislature is just beginning to gear up for hearings on the merger.”

A KSTP-TV story by Eric Rasmussen says, “A class action lawsuit accuses the Minnesota Department of Human Services of violating the constitutional rights of dozens of people who spent weeks and months in county jails instead of getting mental health treatment in state hospitals. O’Shea Chairse, the one named party in the complaint, spent 49 days in the Hennepin County Jail last year after a judge found him incompetent to stand trial in his criminal case and ordered him to treatment at a state run facility. Minnesota law gives DHS 48 hours to move someone out of jail after a civil commitment.”

At KMSP-TV Tom Lyden says, “On the second floor of Fairview Southdale Hospital, just above the emergency room, is where you will find 71-year-old Michael Puff. He’s been at Fairview Hospital for eight months, after suffering two strokes. Before that he spent 10 months at Methodist Hospital.  He is a patient with complex medical needs and is unable to feed and bathe himself. On January 10, his family received a three-sentence letter from M Health Fairview, informing them Michael had been discharged five days earlier, on January 5, and they would no longer be allowed to visit him unless they were taking him from the hospital. … Dr. Puff said he doesn’t know the hospital’s motivation, but the family wonders if the visitor ban is intended to force them to take Michael home, even though he requires 24-7 nursing care that they can’t provide and haven’t been able to find.”

Stribber James Walsh writes, “The historic Justus Ramsey House is going to come down after all. But instead of a wrecking ball doing the job, the 1852 stone cottage will be disassembled, catalogued, moved off Burger Moe’s patio and stored.”

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This from Tim Nelson says, “Bobsled Dylan? Mary Tyler More Snow? Blizzo? Which of those — or 57 other possible names — ends up on state snowplows in Minnesota is now in your hands. The Minnesota Department of Transportation on Wednesday issued its latest list of prospective snowplow names, for a third year of its popular ‘Name a Snowplow’ contest. The list of 60 names up for an online vote follows a call for entries late last year — and features the state’s penchant for grafting popular culture onto winter.”

At WJON-AM Jeff McMahon reports, “Uber and other ride-sharing apps are under scrutiny in the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Rideshare Association has approached city and state leaders asking for more protection for rideshare drivers, especially in the percentage of each fare the driver keeps. Members of the association are asking for more transparency in how they are paid. Right now, a driver does not know how much the rider is being charged for the trip. Drivers claim the rideshare company keeps well over 50% of the fare charged to the rider.”