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Homeless death rate three times that of other Minnesotans

Plus: Attorney General Keith Ellison to review Beltrami County jail inmate’s 2018 death; Lizzo acknowledges ‘Blizzo’ win in the name-a-snowplow competition; flu cases are down; and more.

Homeless camp tents
MinnPost file photo by Jim Walsh

This from Chris Serres of the Strib, “A major new study shows that Minnesotans experiencing homelessness die at three times the rate of other Minnesotans, and substance abuse accounts for about a third of their deaths. The study, released last month by the state Department of Health, found that deaths from substance use are 10 times higher among homeless Minnesotans than the overall state population. Alarmingly, researchers found that 20-year-olds experiencing homelessness in Minnesota have the same likelihood of dying as 50-year-olds in the general population.”

At MPR News there is this story: “Attorney General Keith Ellison will review the 2018 death of a Beltrami County inmate. Hardel Sherrell, 27, died of medical complications after his pleas for help were ignored by Beltrami County jail and medical staff. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completed its investigation in August 2022 and referred the case to Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson to consider possible criminal charges. Hanson has now requested that the AG’s office review the case.”

A WCCO-TV story says, “A music superstar known for her time in the Twin Cities is reacting to winning the state’s snowplow naming competition. The Minnesota Department of Transportation last week revealed this year’s winners of the popular ‘Name a Snowplow’ contest. ’Blizzo’ — referencing Lizzo — was among the top most popular names. Over 64,000 voters cast a ballot in the contest. Lizzo tweeted a video reacting to the win. ‘Of all the awards I have received, this is by far the highest honor,’ she said. ‘To know that there is a snowplow with the name ‘Blizzo’ that is clearing the streets of the Twin Cities right now makes my heart melt — or freeze.’”

At KSTP-TV Jay Kolls reports, “Ever since a water pipe burst and flooded the Historic Bell Lofts in Minneapolis on Dec. 28, 60 people have been without a permanent home. A Bell Lofts representative met to refund tenants’ security deposits Sunday at a hotel where most of them have been staying since they were displaced. Ikedra West told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she received her full security deposit of $1,500, which she said she needs to help put a deposit down on a new apartment.”

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A story in the Strib by Ellie Roth says, “Christine and Jared Sachs’ farm soon will be in the middle of a city. The second-generation Empire Sachs Farm is home to sheep, cattle and fields of alfalfa and corn. It’s located along a rural stretch in Empire Township, a slow-paced, predominantly agricultural community nestled between the exploding Dakota County suburbs of Lakeville, Rosemount and Farmington. Becoming a city will help Empire stay that way. Spanning 33 square miles and lacking a traditional downtown, Empire officially will become a city once a new mayor and city council are sworn in.”

For The Daily Beast Corbin Bolies reports, “The Washington, D.C., man accused of assaulting Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) at her apartment on Thursday has been accused in several violent and lewd incidents over the past eight years, CBS News reported. Kendrid Hamlin, 26, was previously jailed for 35 days after he spit blood on one Capitol Police officer, kicked another in the groin, and bit another after they took him to the hospital for medical care. He was also arrested for shoplifting from a D.C. supermarket (the charges were dropped) and engaging in a lewd and obscene sexual act in public (he pleaded guilty) — along with a host of bench warrants for failing to appear in court for other cases.”

In the LaCrosse Tribune Rachel Mergen writes, “Influenza hospitalizations and deaths in the state are quickly declining as each week passes by, after Minnesota saw an early peak in November. According to the most recent data released by the Minnesota Department of Health, there were only 16 hospitalizations related to influenza during the week ending on Feb. 4. Those 16 add to the 3,220 hospitalizations so far this season in the state — with a large number happening in November, when some weeks saw more than 500. This influenza season’s high peak and quick drop-off in hospitalizations came weeks earlier than that of any flu season in the past five years.”

For The Center Square Mary Stroka writes, “Minnesota has the sixth-highest state sales tax rate in the nation, but its average local sales tax rate diminishes the state’s combined state and local sales tax rate in relation to other states, according to a new Tax Foundation report. It also has a lower cap on local tax rates compared with many states, Tax Foundation’s Feb. 7 report showed. Combining Minnesota’s state tax rate, 6.875%, with its Census 2010 population-weighted average local tax rate (.61%), which as of Jan. 1, results in a rate of 7.49%. That’s the 17th highest in the nation.