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Syphilis cases up 25 percent in Minnesota, primarily affecting Twin Cities men

Plus: Minnesota Senate to vote on recreational marijuana legalization; Minneapolis City Council approves police oversight group members; high mortgage rates mean more new homes available for sale; and more.

Michelle Wiley of MPR News reports, “Syphilis cases in Minnesota rose 25 percent in 2022, reaching their highest level in years according to new data from the Minnesota Department of Health. Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted infection spread through direct contact with a sore. Cases in the state rose to 1,832 last year, an increase of 375 compared to 2021. New cases were mostly among men, particularly among those who have sex with men, and they were primarily located in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, according to state health officials.”

Also at MPR News, Brian Bakst says, “Days after the Minnesota House passed a bill to legalize marijuana, the state Senate is set to debate its version of the legislation Friday.  Legislative leaders tend to avoid bringing bills to the floor that might fail, so passage is deemed likely. The Senate bill has already been discussed in more than a dozen committees. … Public opinion polls have shown a majority of Minnesotans support legalization, despite concerns raised by opponents about traffic safety, addiction and other health consequences of marijuana use.”

For in South Dakota Karen Sherman, Eric Maer and Tom Hansen report, “Just released court documents offer new information on the investigation into T. Denny Sanford. … Sanford was investigated for child pornography and was never charged. Sanford’s lawyers wanted the court to keep search warrants and other documents from the investigation sealed. The documents show the investigation started in South Dakota in August 2019 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sent a cyber tip to the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Stribber Randy Furst writes, “The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve 14 residents for the city’s new police oversight commission. The nominees were selected by each of the 13 council members to represent their wards and by Mayor Jacob Frey, who chose two members, for the 15-member Community Commission on Police Oversight. The council approved 14 rather than 15 commission members because James Westphal, an attorney nominated by Council Member Andrew Johnson, withdrew his name late Wednesday due to a legal matter he said would occupy his time.”

This, from KSTP-TV, “Authorities say a staff member brought two guns to a Minneapolis elementary school on Wednesday, prompting a police response. Officials at Loring Elementary School had locked the guns in a safe before calling the police, according to Sgt. Garrett Parten with the Minneapolis Police Department. The staff member who brought the guns to school was not at the building when police got there. Officers took the guns into evidence.”

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And another from KSTP,A man is dead after a shooting involving federal agents Thursday morning in north Minneapolis. … Negotiations went on for hours before the man emerged from the home, according to a statement from the FBI. At around noon, federal agents then shot and killed the man. A woman from the home was taken to a hospital for medical care, although it’s not clear if she was hurt.”

Says Stribber Jim Buchta, “Higher mortgage rates have put the brakes on new home sales in the metro, leaving builders with far more houses than buyers. So for the first time in more than a decade, many builders are offering discounts and deals ranging from price reductions to appliance upgrades, putting new home buyers in the driver’s seat in the midst of what is otherwise still a seller’s market.” 

For Marielle Descalsota reports, “WalletHub revealed the best and worst airlines in the U.S. in a recent ranking.

  • Southwest Airlines came in at the bottom of the list of 11 US airlines.
  • WalletHub named Delta the best US airline for the second year in a row.”

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In The New York Times we read, “Throughout our reporting inside the Republican Party over the past few months, one person kept showing up: Mike Lindell, MyPillow chief executive and election denier. At the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, he ran to unseat the party chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel. At the Conservative Political Action Committee in Maryland, he couldn’t walk 10 feet without being cornered for a selfie. And more recently, he was a part of news coverage about the Dominion lawsuit and Tucker Carlson’s ouster from Fox News. While plenty of people don’t take him seriously, Lindell represents, maybe better than anyone else, the challenge facing the Republican Party in this moment: an establishment trying desperately to satisfy its base, despite evidence that their extreme beliefs are costing the party elections. After months of reporting on that dynamic, we talk to Mr. Lindell and Ms. McDaniel, two people who sit at opposite poles of the party.”