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Minnesota climate report predicts ‘serious consequences for human health’

Source: Midwestern Regional Climate Center
Annual average minimum temperature (°F) across Minnesota for 1900-1959 (left) and 1960-2013 (right).

We’re doomed. Or at least climate change is going to have direct health impacts in Minnesota. That’s the glean from the Minnesota Climate and Health Profile Report 2015. [PDF] Kevin Allenspach of the St. Cloud Daily Times gets to deliver the bad news: Minnesota is getting warmer and wetter with more erratic and drastic heavy rainfall “events” (which I guess is the same as a storm).  The areas of concern: Air pollution, extreme heat, floods, drought, changes to ecosystems which will cause health problems, mental stress, more waterborne disease outbreaks, drownings, an increase in diseases caused by ticks and mosquitoes and exposure to toxins from harmful algal blooms. On the plus side: fewer reasons to relocate to Florida.

Former Brownsdale Police Chief Jason Mindrup has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman in 2013, reports the Austin Daily Herald. Mindrup was found guilty of second- and third-degree sexual assault in October 2014. Mindrup allegedly denied the accusations, but prosecutors pointed out DNA testing showed Mindrup’s saliva on the victim’s breasts. The Brownsdale City Council voted unanimously to fire Mindrup in November 2013.

Adrian Glass-Moore of the Fargo Forum reports that the defense attorneys for Thomas Carey and Brandon Smith, both 20 and hockey players for the Lincoln Stars, are expanding their initial argument. They allegedly had sex with a 15-year-old girl and now stand accused of using a minor in a sexual performance, possession of child pornography and dissemination of pornographic work, all felonies. The defense has portrayed the girl as a sexual predator who enticed the players into a sexual liaison after a game against the Fargo Force in February 2014. Now they are expanding their argument to claim that the sex tape is protected by the constitutional right to privacy and free speech. The dissemination of the video is simply an example of “sexting,” argues Carey’s attorney, Jade Rosenfeldt, and is therefore protected.

Members of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe took umbrage at a planned autopsy of a spiritual leader who died in a car accident last weekend. Tom Olsen of the Duluth News Tribune reports that Mushkoob Aubid, 65, died Saturday after a car accident near Cromwell. His family said he had a heart condition and suspect that was the cause of death, not the crash itself. Medical examiners said an autopsy was mandatory and removed his body to the medical school at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The family then said an autopsy violated their burial beliefs that require the body to remain intact. They protested Sunday at UMD for the release of the body. Sixth Judicial District Judge Robert Macaulay ordered the medical examiners to turn over Aubid’s body, which they did at about 9 a.m. Monday morning. Members of the band said they hoped it would serve as a teachable moment. “It’s our teachings, our traditions. It’s the way we were taught as a people to do,” said Lee Staples, a Mille Lacs Band elder and spiritual adviser.

Over in Cass County, the increasing number of female inmates means outsourcing their imprisonment, writes Monica Lundquist of the Brainerd Dispatch. But this is not necessarily a bad turn of events. Jail Administrator Joel Norenberg told the county board Tuesday that eight women are in its jail in Walker, another eight are at the Crow Wing County Jail and four more are at the Hubbard County Jail. Cass pays Crow Wing County $49.41 per day for boarding the inmates. It pays Hubbard County $55 per day. However, Cass County’s CFO, Larry Wolfe, said that because those jails are more efficient than the Cass County lockup in Walker, it would actually cost more per day to house them in Walker than at the other facilities. Therefore the county is saving money by farming out its inmates.

Duluth International Airport lost service to Orlando and Phoenix and flights to Detroit were reduced last year, but Candace Renalls of the News Trib reports that airport officials are pretty happy that the number of travelers using the airport dipped only 1 percent. Thomas Werner, the airport authority’s executive director, said the airport’s volume compares well to other similarly sized airports in the region. Renalls checked: The Grand Forks airport lost service to Denver and its passenger total dropped 2 percent; Rochester lost service to Phoenix but added flights to Detroit and Atlanta, and passenger totals jumped 6 percent.

A Minnesota man started “The Batman Project” several months ago to surprise children “who are a little down,” he told Maggie Stivers of the Bemidji Pioneer. The man, who prefers to remain anonymous, worked his magic Monday morning in Doris Vleck’s first-grade class at Horace May Elementary in Bemidji when he visited Kody Fischer, 6. Kody’s mother, Tanya, died and he is now being reared by his grandparents, Kathy and Dennis Fischer. “I’m here to see a very special friend, Kody,” Batman said as he entered the classroom. Kody slowly raised his hand, Stivers wrote. Batman and Kody went to a pair of chairs in the corner and the class listened as Batman read “The Lonely Pine” to Kody and the class. “I cried through the whole thing,” Kathy Fischer said. “He now has bragging rights for a very long time.” Batman then left to visit children at other schools and the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center.

Austin police warn of a phone scam making the rounds in the area, according to the Austin Daily Herald. The caller will claim to be from the IRS and tell the victims they owe money to the IRS and if they don’t pay now, they’ll face steep penalties in the future. The IRS does not make phone calls to people delinquent on their taxes, police say.

Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 02/10/2015 - 01:02 pm.


    I’m open to hearing all info they present and am not against the notion of climate change but how do you expect me to take you serious with only 100 years worth of data. The map shows 1900-2013 which is a pretty small sample size.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/10/2015 - 04:37 pm.


      This particular map only goes back a hundred years, but that is hardly all the data climate scientists have. Tree rings go back at least 4000 years and sediment samples can go back hundreds of millions of years. And there are ice core samples too, which go back quite a ways.

      But I’m sure you knew that already and just wanted to grouse about what you perceive to be a deficiency in this particular map.

  2. Submitted by Mike Brady on 02/10/2015 - 02:33 pm.

    Please, Kevin A.

    I’m pretty old, over half the sample period and I’ve always believed putting so much pollution into the air will have its consequences. The problem is the lack of integrity in our leaders and watchers.
    How dumb do they think we are to swallow these ramifications to warming weather.

    “The areas of concern…which will cause health problems: mental stress, more waterborne disease outbreaks, drownings, an increase in diseases caused by ticks and mosquitoes and exposure to toxins from harmful algal blooms.”


  3. Submitted by Jeff Michaels on 02/10/2015 - 03:14 pm.

    Gosh, more bad global (oops) climate change news

    OMG, now our health is at risk. Am I the only one who wonders why there never seems to be any media stories about the possibility there could be some benefit to global warm (oops) climate change?

    For sure, folks doing that type of research have realized there is no money available for that type of finding. But I keep hope alive, however, there is an enterprising Minnesota reporter who might have the courage to focus a story on the possible benefits of climate change.

    I am sure there has to be at least one but I am also very, very certain such an article would never appear in the local establishment media. . . but I will still keep hope alive.

  4. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/10/2015 - 04:31 pm.

    Climate Change Good News!

    Sure, there are benefits to having a warmer planet. The growing season gets longer, there’s more carbon in the air for plants to feed on, and we have less shoveling to do here in Minnesota.

    On the flip side though, the growing season is less predictable because you don’t know if you’re going to get the proper rainfall in the proper areas to grow your crops. You could end up with a sever drought or you could have an enormous deluge like Duluth saw a couple of years ago. That’s hardly a wining formula if you’re a farmer, let alone a city planner who has to build roads and sewer systems to handle all that water.

    Those are, of course, just a few of the relatively minor consequences of global warming we have to deal with. So yeah, there are benefits, but at the end of the day they don’t outweigh the bad bits.

  5. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/10/2015 - 04:44 pm.


    From the report, this explains why these particular dates were used.

    “Investigating climate change: What is a good baseline? When analyzing climate anomalies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
    Administration (NOAA) uses the range 1901-1960 to represent baseline climate conditions when compared to current trends or conditions (Kunkel et al., 2013). NOAA explains that 1960 was selected as the end of the reference period because climate data display a pronounced acceleration of heating due to human
    influences after 1960. The current period 1960-2012, is used in this report to represent the effect of human activities associated with significantly increased greenhouse gas emissions. The increase of emissions is sometimes referred to as “radiative forcing” on the
    earth’s climate.”

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 02/10/2015 - 04:48 pm.

    The MOST Relevant Word in “Climate Change”

    is CHANGE.

    As with all big changes, there will be winners and losers, and we don’t yet know who they are, what they’ll need to do, or where they’ll need to settle.

    It is possible that climate change will produce benefits for some people, but,…

    the things that have been important sources of rural people’s livelihoods,…

    and the features of the natural world which have surrounded them,…

    will ALL change.

    When you can no longer make a living doing what you’ve done for your entire life, in the place where you’ve always lived, the kind of disruption that results can and will be very upsetting.

    In some ways this is ironic because climate change is likely to expose rural folk to the same types of disruptions that have been suffered by working class urban folk as the result of the offshoring of their manufacturing jobs.

    The thing that concerns me most, though, is that we have no idea where particular crops will grow fifty years from now (or even if they will grow).

    It’s possible that with the large, looping jet streams we’ve had of late,,…

    jet streams that have caused unpredictable areas to be wetter than normal for days or even weeks,…

    then dryer than normal for days or weeks large areas of formerly productive crop land will no longer support field crops,…

    or will only support them in some years (but not others).

    The bottom line, is, however, that much of the human race depends, for their wealth, their health and their sense of well being, on the world around them staying roughly the same as it has been in their past experience.

    It appears likely that this is will no longer be the case,…

    which will create opportunities for benefit for some few folk (chaos always does),…

    far too likely at the expense of their struggling fellow citizens,…

    but is very likely to create major problems, hassles, perhaps even life-threatening food and water shortages and disease epidemics for those here in the heartland,…

    not to mention major flooding on the coasts,…

    which, for the majority of people will NOT be seen as benefit.

  7. Submitted by T. Zimmerman on 02/11/2015 - 08:39 am.

    Warming planet

    Please take the time to read last weeks news on inflated global temperatures, it is a major scandal not even being talked about. Then there is the cost. The most recent figures I have seen from the “headquarters” in Copenhagen is that it costs $600 for each $5 in benefit. Then there is even an article on PBS about polar bear populations- you can see it yourself.
    Start your quest with Richard Lindzin (sp) professor emeritus at MIT and follow the trail.
    Be well

  8. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 02/11/2015 - 09:02 am.

    Climate Un_change

    Can someone point out the time period where the climate was not changing? It would help us understand the dire situation we are in now.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/11/2015 - 10:52 am.

      Past History

      For the umteenth time, no one is saying that climate has never changed. What they are saying however, is that dramatic change today will have a dramatic impact on our world and society.

      Whether or not climate changed three million years ago is largely immaterial because there weren’t any humans then. Even ten thousand years ago there were only a few million people on the entire planet, whereas today we have several million just here in the Twin Cities. Our situation has changed just a smidgen in the meantime. Instead of grass huts and log lodges we have skyscrapers, airports, seaports, highways, and vast coastal cities where people live.

      Back in the day if a tidal surge wiped out a village a few hundred people would have died and the survivors rebuild their huts in the span of a few months. That is no longer possible given all the infrastructure we’ve built to support modern society. Not to mention that if a city gets wiped out, where are the survivors supposed to go?

      has the light turned on yet? Are you now thinking about the sheer scale of this problem? This is not just an issue of “oh, a couple of people will be inconvenienced by water in the basement.” Sea levels that rise even a little bit will affect the coastal areas of the entire planet. And that’s even before you get into changing weather patterns, which affect what crops can be grown where, where rain falls and how much, and when they can harvest. Mess with those elements and you up-end our entire agricultural system right at a time when we’re struggling to feed seven billion people and we expect to add to billion more over the next few decades.

      That’s not a formula for success.

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