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Bill would require financial literacy classes prior to high school graduation in Minnesota

Plus: Minneapolis Public Schools says district hit by encryption virus; DNR bald eagle loses egg; pesky potholes; new MDH database offers information on violent deaths; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

For KARE-TV Gordon Severson says, “There’s an interesting idea floating around the state Capitol, requiring all high school students in Minnesota to take a personal finance class before graduation. That idea was presented twice during the Senate Education Policy Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon. ‘I think this is a top priority. I hope you guys can help me work on this’, Senator Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake) said while presenting his bill. Draheim’s bill would require all high school students to take an online financial literacy class in order to graduate high school. Minutes later, in the same committee meeting, Senator Steve Cwodzinski (DFL-Eden Prairie) presented basically the same idea.”

Stribber Jeremy Olson says, “Minnesota on Wednesday launched one of the first U.S. state databases to help people think about the unthinkable — the causes of homicides, suicides and other violent deaths. Sorting out the means used in suicides and who commits homicides can help communities prevent them and help individuals protect themselves and their loved ones, said Dr. Brooke Cunningham, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). ‘We can better understand where and why these deaths are happening and work with our partners to develop tailored strategies to protect Minnesotans’, she said. The dashboard breaks new ground by pairing available demographic data on homicides, suicides and other violent deaths with details from law enforcement and coroner reports.”

A KSTP-TV story says, “The Minneapolis public school district is now warning families after its system was hit by an encryption virus. Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) on Wednesday urged caution about receiving, interacting with or responding to any suspicious emails or phone calls after the district’s system was infected with an encryption virus. The district added that it ‘has not paid any ransom to the threat actors’ and — while saying data may have been accessed — said it hasn’t found evidence that the data has been used to commit fraud. However, it noted that the ‘threat actors may contact employees or staff in an attempt to coerce MPS to pay a ransom.’”

For Hunter Dunteman says, “A Minnesota-based contact lens company was ordered to pay more than $40 million in restitution after a federal jury determined the organization provided illegal kickbacks to eye doctors that filed more than 64,000 false claims. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota announced on Tuesday, Feb. 28, that a federal jury found that vision company Precision Lens, headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, had acted in violation of the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute for nearly a decade. … The jury found that the kickbacks led to submission of 64,575 false claims to the federal Medicare program from 2006 to 2015.

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At Joe Rao says, “On Wednesday the drama that the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter have been engaged in for the past few weeks, reaches its pinnacle.   Venus and Jupiter have been slowly approaching each other, and this evening they will be closest together, appearing side-by-side about one-third up in the west-southwest sky at sunset. That favorably places them for viewing for at least two hours. … [Wednesday’s] conjunction will be the best for nearly a decade. Not until Feb. 7, 2032 will Venus and Jupiter come closer to each other (0.35 degrees), and that will be in the morning sky.”

For The Kansas City Star Helena Wegner reports, “A female bald eagle lost one of its eggs less than a week after a storm swept across Minnesota, blanketing the bird in snow. One of its two eggs cracked in the nest, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Nongame Wildlife Program said in a Wednesday, March 1, Facebook post. ‘In the 10 years we’ve been watching this nest, we have never seen this occur’, the agency said. It’s unclear how the egg cracked.”

For WCCO-TV Jennifer Mayerle says, “This winter hazard hangs around a lot longer than snow. Pesky potholes are creating problems for drivers, but hitting one isn’t always the end of the road. Slowing, swerving and striking. Drivers do their best. Pothole after pothole on one stretch of Hennepin Avenue at Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis makes them hard to avoid. … If your car does end up in the shop, drivers can file a claim in the Twin Cities with forms online. If you damage your car on a state highway, you have 180 days to file a claim. MnDOT says in order to have a valid claim, it has to know about the pothole and have a reasonable amount of time to fix it. If there’s negligence on MnDOT’s end, it could be liable. Here’s where to report a pothole in Minneapolis and St. Paul and with the state.”