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MN Blog Cabin Roundup, 2/20

High cost of health insurance; getting real with the metro map; assault on integrity in Oklahoma; and more.

On the cost of health insurance: sometimes all you can do is laugh

from Minnesota Prairie Roots by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

I PROBABLY SHOULDN’T be penning this post because it’s likely to raise my blood pressure. And that’s not a good thing considering I want to avoid activity that would necessitate a doctor’s visit.

Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for doctors and nurses and other medical professionals who possess the skills and talent to help heal people.

But I’m frustrated about the ever-rising cost of health insurance. Last year my family forked out $11,022 to cover three of us—two late fifty-somethings and a 20-year-old. Do your math. That’s just shy of $919/month.

Measuring the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, and getting real with the map

from by Nick Magrino

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Here in the Twin Cities, we have quite a few municipal and other borders, more than the average metropolitan area. Probably as a result of us having had two cities to begin with, we didn’t do as much land annexation as other large cities in the west. We’ve got first ring suburbs like St. Louis Park, Columbia Heights, and South St. Paul that are legally separate from the central cities even though they were largely built out at the same time. This in itself isn’t that unusual, but we have many individual urban suburbs while very conspicuously not including large chunks of sprawl in the legal boundaries of our core cities, and this is uncommon among cities that did the bulk of their growing after World War II.

Assault on integrity: Oklahoma lawmakers try to ban critical thinking

from Thoughtful Bastards by Paul Udstrand

Maybe you’ve heard about a recent initiative by Oklahoma lawmakers? Seems republicans in Oklahoma have decided to ban the Advanced Placement United States History Curriculum in the state’s public schools because those courses don’t celebrate America enough. You can read an article about it here. This is nothing new; Republicans have been complaining about school curriculums for decades, it’s been part of their “Culture War” for as long as I can remember.

Jim Watkins is educating the world on craft cider at Sociable Cider Werks

from Red Current by Eric Pleiss

Sitting down with Sociable Cider Werks co-founder Jim Watkins, you get the idea that he lives for the lighter side of life—but that he also takes his cider and his business very seriously.

Fort Snelling: Going back in time

from Squeaky Green Machine by Heidi Van Heel

Located in the heart of the Twin Cities where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers converge, Fort Snelling State Park provides not only a quick nature escape, but also the opportunity to temporarily go back in time. When I walk through the park, I always find myself reflecting on the early days of Minnesota’s history and imagining what it must have been like for the first people living here – then I’m brought back to reality by the roar of an airplane and the soft hum of the freeway. Growing up a fan of Little House on the Prairie, I know that my notions of the early days of life in Minnesota are often romanticized, so I set to work looking into the history of the park. Unfortunately in addition to the more well-known Dred Scott connection, I found a large portion of disappointing history but also some that surprised me.

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