New Ulm Medical Center takes steps to improve chronic-disease care

The New Ulm Medical Center has a plan for reducing emergency-room visits in the city.

The New Ulm Medical Center hopes to cut down on emergency-room visits by hiring two registered nurses and a social worker to focus on patients who have chronic diseaseswrites Nate Gotlieb of the Mankato Free Press. The new employees will target patients who might not be seen on a regular enough basis to address their issues. They will pay particular attention to patients with chronic conditions, as well as screenings for breast and colon cancer. The employees will be paid through a $366,312 grant from the Minnesota Department of Health and a $275,000 grant from the South Country Health Alliance. The rest will come from the center’s operating budget. The center has more than 1,200 patients with diabetes, including about 600 who are not at optimal care, officials said.

An investigation into the death of Winona State student Brooke Baures found that the dumbwaiter she died in was functioning properly at the time of her death, reports Abby Eisenberg of the Winona Daily News. Baures, 21, died Dec. 1 when she became trapped in a food-service elevator at the WingDam Saloon and Grill in Fountain City, Wisconsin. Fountain City Police Chief Jason Mork said he and several state of Wisconsin elevator inspectors examined the food elevator. It was functioning properly and didn’t seem to be damaged by the incident, he said. Mork has received a preliminary autopsy report but hasn’t released any findings because he hasn’t yet had the chance to discuss it with the Baures family.

The FBI will most likely be called in to help investigate the theft of about $500,000 in jewels from an Interstate 90 rest area near Rochester, reports Kay Fate of the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Here’s the blow-by-blow from her story: “Officials with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol were called at 12:07 a.m. (Monday) to the Marion rest area on Interstate 90 between Eyota and Rochester. There, they learned that a vehicle carrying seven people on the way home from a jewelry and diamond trade show in Chicago had pulled into the rest stop to use the facilities. Two people stayed with the vehicle. A van pulled up behind their vehicle, said Capt. Scott Behrns, and at least four people — believed to be males — got out of the van, smashed several windows on the victims’ vehicle and grabbed three or four traveling suitcases filled with gold and silver jewelry and loose diamonds. The loss is estimated at ‘a minimum of $500,000,’ he said.”

A 19-year-old Iron River man tried to shoot a deer from his vehicle but instead struck an elementary school. Now he’s facing criminal charges, reports the Duluth News Tribune. The Iron River Police Department received a report about 8 p.m. Saturday of a gunshot heard in the area near Iron River Elementary School. On Monday, a bullet was discovered inside the school. It had traveled through the front door and struck a cement wall inside the lunchroom. The school was unoccupied at the time of the gunshot and there were no injuries. Police said there was no threat against the school.

Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand is retiring after 16 years and has had many successes, but his impact is best reflected in the effect he has had on victims and others during tragedy, writes Tesla Mitchell of the Winona Daily News. Brand made sure he brought tragic news to the family’s doorstep so he could do it in a way that showed there was care and compassion for their situation. He attended nearly every funeral, spent days and nights searching for missing persons and often would cry alongside the family. “Dave wears his heart on his sleeve,” Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman said. “He will be missed for sure.”

An Austin man who often harangues the city and schools has been upbraided by Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm after recent comments during the open comments period at a City Council meeting, reports Trey Mewes of the Austin Daily Herald. Here’s how Mewes describes the man: “Matthew Simonson has called for schools to teach more of Benjamin Franklin’s philosophies, has railed against the Austin city government and has compared Hormel Foods Corp. to the National Socialist German Workers Party at government meetings for years.” At the recent council meeting, Simonson alluded to the fact that the mayor’s house burned down last summer and claimed the city wanted to evict low-income citizens. Though Simonson can still speak at council meetings, Stiehm said he would cut him off if he attacks individuals.

While a dump-truck driver broke the law, perhaps we can all sympathize with his situation. John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune recounts the story of an unnamed driver who didn’t stop for a Minnesota State Patrol commercial vehicle inspection outside Duluth. Instead, he led troopers on what appeared to be a chase on Lavaque Road near Fish Lake. Then he pulled into a gravel pit and parked next to a portable toilet. Troopers called the driver on his cell phone while he was inside the porta-potty. The man eventually came out and was apprehended. “Charges will be pending against the driver. And yes, he was arrested after he came out of a porta-potty,” said Sgt. Neil Dickenson, State Patrol spokesman in Duluth.

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