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Ellison could get authority over Fairview-Sanford health care merger

Plus: House passes recreational marijuana bill; judge puts hold on decision over permit to carry age; farmers markets to open; Sean Sherman and Mecca Bos look to dismantle white supremacy through BIPOC Foodways Alliance; and more.

The Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota.
The Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota.

Says Jeremy Olson in the Strib, “Minnesota’s attorney general could gain sweeping authority over health care mergers, especially the Fairview-Sanford merger that could result in out-of-state control of the University of Minnesota’s teaching hospital. A proposal gaining momentum in the Legislature would prohibit hospital and clinic mergers that ‘substantially lessen competition,’ and empower the attorney general to go to court to block or unwind any transactions that don’t benefit Minnesota.”

At WCCO-TV Caroline Cummings reports, “The Minnesota House on Tuesday passed a recreational marijuana bill in a 71-59 vote.  A Senate vote on the bill is scheduled for Friday. There are some differences between each proposal that will likely be sorted out during a conference committee, a joint meeting of lawmakers from both chambers.  Gov. Tim Walz has said he’ll sign the bill as soon as it gets to his desk. The 300-page bill would allow recreational use for adults and shift a black market into a state regulated industry. Lawmakers started debating it Monday night before adjourning until Tuesday morning, when they resumed discussions and, later, held a vote.”

For Wisconsin Public Radio Corrinne Hess writes, “Wisconsin’s public schools have fewer students in the classrooms. And since school funding is tied to enrollment, districts across the state are considering closing and combining schools. Racine, Wausau, Superior and La Crosse are among the school districts with plans to close or consolidate schools due to declining enrollments. ‘The schools are not filled up. There are fewer teachers, fewer kids and a challenge to provide a quality educational experience,’ said Aaron Engel, superintendent of the School District of La Crosse. Engel said the district’s elementary schools are about 70 percent full and its middle and high schools are at about 65 percent capacity.”

KSTP-TV story says, “A federal judge has temporarily put on hold on her decision that struck down Minnesota’s minimum age requirement for getting a permit to carry. U.S. District Judge Katherine Menendez ruled last month that the state’s current law, which required residents to be at least 21 years of age to get a permit to carry, violated the constitutional rights of Minnesotans who are 18 to 20 years old. Monday, Menendez issued a stay of injunctive relief in the case, putting her initial decision on pause for 30 days or while it is appealed. That decision came at the request of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. In Monday’s order, the judge acknowledged the problems that could arise if permits were given to 18- to 20-year-olds and her initial order was overturned.”

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At KARE-TV Alexandra Simon says, “… farmers markets around the Twin Cities are getting ready to reopen for the summer season. The markets in Minneapolis and St. Paul open for the spring/summer season on Saturday, April 29, and other community markets are slated to open in the following weeks. Here’s a look at just some of the markets featuring fresh produce, flowers, ready-made products and more that are getting ready to open in April, May and June … .”

Stribber Chris Riemenschneider writes, “Another Twin Cities brewery is hopping into the concert business this summer with help from some well-known local promoters. Bauhaus Brew Labs in northeast Minneapolis has announced a three-show June-August run dubbed the Sparkyard Sound Series, featuring a crop of touring acts with strong Twin Cities followings from past Basilica Block Party lineups and the Current’s playlists. Vermont rocker Grace Potter — maybe best known nowadays from her cover of “Stuck in the Middle with You” for Netflix’s ‘Grace and Frankie’ — kicks off the series on June 13. She’ll be followed by a cool twofer with Shakey Graves and Lucius on July 28 and then another blowout by Alabaman soul-rockers St. Paul & the Broken Bones on Aug. 17.”

A trio at the Racket says, “Lord knows the standards for political humor are not high these days. An Andy Borowitz post, “Fox Replaces Tucker Carlson with Lying Chatbot,” currently has 14,000 likes on Facebook. Even so, new Strib political cartoonist Mike Thompson seems like a particularly joke-challenged individual. Thompson, of course, drew fire (get it) this weekend for a convoluted two-panel cartoon that smooshed together two subjects: gun violence and Minneapolis’s recent decision to allow the Muslim call to prayer five times a day. To put the most charitable spin on the piece, it’s muddled hackwork working off the dumbest assumptions about city life. Most respondents on social media this weekend were justifiably more blunt in their criticism. (The Strib is probably just excited that he Has People Talking. Sigh.)”

For Civil Eats, Kate Nelson writes, “On a Monday night in January, a dozen people gathered around a dining table in the warm Minneapolis home of acclaimed Native American chef Sean Sherman and his life partner, Black chef and food writer Mecca Bos. The guest list for the dinner, the first in a series of events put on by the BIPOC Foodways Alliance, a new organization from Sherman and Bos, represented a mini melting pot of sorts, all of us from diverse racial backgrounds and various walks of life — media makers, public servants, and others you might not expect to find at a foodie fete like this. Although we didn’t know quite what we were in for, there was a palpable energy in the room, because we were all there for a shared purpose: to help dismantle white supremacy through food — macaroni and cheese, to be precise.”