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Malnutrition deaths spiked during COVID in Minnesota

Plus: Gov. Tim Walz’s tax rebate proposal; Minnesotans’ Silicon Valley Bank tribulations; Josie Johnson receives highest U of M honor; Edina allows “No Mow May”; record northern pike caught on Mille Lacs; and more.

Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

Says Jeremy Olson for the Strib, “Deaths from malnutrition are rare in Minnesota, but they increased in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic — primarily among women 85 and older living alone in rural areas. The unexpected finding was part of a broader Mayo Clinic analysis of final death certificate data in 2020, when 10% of the state’s 52,030 deaths were caused by COVID-19. Social-distancing measures in Minnesota might have prevented hundreds or thousands of COVID-19 deaths, Mayo researchers said, but the resulting isolation contributed to the state’s 123 malnutrition deaths that year. The state had averaged about 80 malnutrition deaths in the prior two years.”

WCCO’s Beret Leone writes, “Minnesota’s “first lady of civil rights” was honored in a big way Monday. Dr. Josie Johnson — known for her tireless fight for equity in the state — has been awarded the Regents Award from the University of Minnesota.”

For MPR, Brian Bakst says, “The legislative session will almost certainly produce tax reductions of some kind. DFL Gov. Tim Walz and party leaders in the Legislature all say they’ll include tax relief in the final agreement on a two-year budget. … The debate comes down to who will get the tax breaks and how much. A few proposals appear to have the most traction. There is considerable interest among top legislative DFLers to offer extra dependent credits for low-to-middle income families, particularly those with young children. The argument is it would help offset child care expenses. Credits might be higher for children younger than five but there would be some allowance for those up to age 17. Walz is back with another rebate proposal to provide tax givebacks of up to $2,600 per family making $150,000 or less in taxable income, with lesser amounts for single filers making $75,000 and below.”

Fox 9’s Courtney Godfrey reports, “Michael Harlan, 28, of Bloomington, Minnesota was found guilty of third-degree murder Thursday, but fled the courthouse before he could hear the judge read the verdict. According to court documents, Harlan is responsible for the death of 29-year-old Cole Linnell after he sold him fentanyl pills that were made to look like Oxycodone …Harlan was out on bail when he arrived to the Hennepin County Courthouse for a hearing last week. Linnell’s mother was in the courtroom Thursday and says Harlan claimed he needed to use the restroom and never returned … Harlan now has a warrant out for his arrest.”

Stribber Nick Williams reports, “Early Monday morning, after days of intense anxiety and stress, Liz Giorgi finally exhaled. Giorgi — the chief executive and co-founder of a Minneapolis-based on-demand photo and video services studio called Soona — could access her company’s deposits from Silicon Valley Bank, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based lender that collapsed at the end of last week following a tumultuous bank run. Giorgi had backup plans to meet payroll and protect Soona’s 150 or so employees in case funds didn’t land Monday. ‘Thank goodness they did’, she said. Across Minnesota, CEOs that use (Silicon Valley Bank) for payroll processing or lines of credit faced a similar predicament.”

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At ABC News story by Mary Kekatos says, “When the United States saw COVID-19 cases and deaths rise around this past Christmas and New Year’s, many Americans feared the country was in for a third winter wave. But as quickly as both metrics went up, they also came down. Weekly cases and deaths in late winter 2022-23 are on par with what was seen in spring 2022, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … During the first winter wave, weekly cases peaked at 1,714,256 the week of Jan. 13, 2021, as did weekly deaths at 23,378, according to CDC data. Subsequently, during the second winter wave — due to the omicron variant — weekly infections reached their high point of 5,630,736 the week of Jan. 19, 2022, and weekly deaths saw a high of 17,373 the week of Feb. 2, 2022, the data shows. By comparison, according to the CDC, the highest number of weekly cases seen during the most recent winter wave was 472,601 the week of Dec. 7, 2022 — the first time the peak has not surpassed 1 million.

This from Diane Sandberg at KARE-TV, “Edina is stepping up to help bees and other pollinators, and asking residents to do their part by waiting to mow their yards until the end of May.  During ‘No Mow May’, the city will temporarily suspend the laws requiring residents to keep their yards trimmed, in the hope more pollinators will find a welcoming habitat in the growing turf.”

Alexandra Simon of KARE-TV says, “Another Minnesota angler will have his prize entered into the record books after a massive catch on Mille Lacs Lake. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said a 46 1/4-inch northern pike caught on the Lake on Jan. 22 has tied the current catch-and-release state record. The man behind the catch, Brad Lila, said reeling in the record fish was no easy feat.

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