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Black Lives Matter starts group in Fargo-Moorhead

ALSO: Rep. Walz has fundraising lead; MDH offers online radon tool; feral cats bedevil Austin and Mower County; and more.

Hoping to add their voices to the national debate, a small group has started a chapter of Black Lives Matter in Fargo-Moorhead. Rick Abbott of the Fargo Forum reports that the group staged more than a week of protests downtown. Derrick Williams, 20, a junior at North Dakota State University originally from Fort Hood, Texas, said the group’s Facebook group has grown to more than 300 members. Kilo Owen, an 18-year-old NDSU freshman from Minneapolis, said the group started with just three people but has seen about 40 at its downtown protests. Dialogue between police and organizers has been common. “We just want equal rights as much as anyone else wants equal rights,” Owen said. “We want to do it the peaceful way.”

The Minnesota Department of Health wants Minnesotans to be more aware of radon. John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune reports that a new online tool offered by the department helps draw attention to the gas. “We need to be concerned because all of Minnesota is at an elevated level of radon risk because of the geology underneath of the state,” Pat McKone, regional senior director for the American Lung Association, told Lundy. The naturally occurring, colorless and odorless gas is linked to more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. The county-by-county map shows where radon is more concentrated.

Five-term U.S. Rep. Tim Walz has a strong lead in fundraising against contender Jim Hagedorn. Glen Olson of the Winona Daily News reports that second-quarter 2016 reports show Walz has raised $218,665 since April, has $489,459 on hand, and has no debt. Walz has raised more than $1.146 million so far in the election cycle. Hagedorn has raised $69,550 since April, has $54,953 on hand and owes $26,833. It has raised $190,189 overall in the campaign cycle.

The state is bracing for a nasty heat wave to hit Wednesday through Friday. Nathan Hansen of the Winona Daily News reports that the National Weather Service says a high-pressure front will bring excessive heat and humidity, bringing temperatures in the mid-90s to near 100 Thursday and Friday. The heat index means it will feel like it is 110 degrees. Overnight lows will be in the 70s. Saturday could also be warm, but temperatures will drop back into the 80s by Sunday. The National Weather Service offers these hot-weather tips: drink plenty of water; avoid strenuous activity during the afternoon; make sure animals and pets have plenty of shade and water; don’t leave children or pets alone in an enclosed vehicle; eat smaller meals; wear loose-fitting and lighter clothes.

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Speaking of high heat, there have been several alligator sightings near Brainerd. The Brainerd Dispatch reports that the Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an alligator in Sylvan Township, then several days later near Hardy Lake. Deputies checked the areas but did not locate any creatures. Several days later, an alligator was found on a bike path south of Brainerd. Deputies retrieved the alligator and took it to the Safari North Wildlife Park. Was there only one alligator? Only time will tell.

Feral cats are becoming a problem in Austin and Mower County. Jason Schoonover of the Austin Daily Herald reports that the Mower County Humane Society discussed several trap, neuter and release programs to reduce the feral cat population. The Humane Society said it takes in 340 to 400 animals each year and euthanizes more than 100 cats each year while out of 136 cats found last year, only one owner came in to claim a missing cat. Later, the Austin Police Department leadership said that while police won’t cite residents for feeding feral cats, a person takes ownership of a feral cat if they continually feed or harbor the animal and that makes the person responsible for making sure it has shots and that it isn’t a public nuisance.

The Rev. David Grundman, a priest at St. Michael’s Church in St. Cloud, agreed without hesitation to donate a kidney to a stranger. Stephanie Dickrell of the St. Cloud Daily Times reports that after Grundman found he wasn’t a match for a friend in need of a kidney, he elected to have a nondirected donation, which means it won’t go to someone he knows. Ty Dunn, a transplant surgeon with University of Minnesota Health and director for the Living Donor Program, said that’s what the program is all about. Previously, living kidney donation was only available for people who knew the recipient.

While the Mayo Clinic stands behind its new electronic health records system as a groundbreaking way to document patient care, it also increases the clerical burden on doctors and nurses, increasing burnout. Brett Boese of the Rochester Post-Bulletin writes that while the data system will enhance coordination and improve quality of care, Mayo Clinic’s Tait Shanafelt found in a study that the increased clerical duties led to decreased job satisfaction and an increased risk of burnout. It found eight “usability priorities” to address professional burnout. “The goal is to understand the needs of users, what they need to do their work, and to evaluate how well the new system will meet those needs,” said Steve Peters, co-chair of the Plummer Project-Epic Implementation at Mayo Clinic.