>>MNsure Logs Record Number – Over 146K Minnesotans Enrolled Before Jan. 15th Deadline

(St. Paul, MN) – The state-run MNsure exchange logged an all-time record of over 146 thousand Minnesotans who signed up for private market health insurance before the final January 15th open enrollment deadline. But enrollment for 2024 health insurance can still be possible for those who learn they no longer qualify for Medicaid or state-subsidized MinnesotaCare — and for those with qualifying “life events” such as getting married, having a baby, or losing health insurance at work. MNsure C-E-O Libby Caulum says in any of those cases, “MNsure is the front door. So you can come to MNsure (if) you need health insurance and you’re not sure what you might qualify for, come to MNsure.org.” And Caulum says members of federally recognized tribes can enroll in health insurance through MNsure at any time of the year.


>>Man Charged in Assault on Transgender Hospital Worker in Rochester

(Rochester, MN) — Olmsted County prosecutors are charging a man for the alleged assault of a transgender worker at a Rochester hospital in mid-December. The criminal complaint says the victim told police she was assisting security when 54-year-old Frederick Krueger threatened her and called her out by name. Court documents say Krueger needed to be restrained and head-butted the victim as staff tried to take control of him. Krueger is charged with fourth-degree assault motivated by bias.


>>St. Louis Park High School Closed Due to Fights Thursday

(St. Louis Park, MN) — Classes and all activities are canceled today at St. Louis Park High School in response to two fights on campus Thursday. School officials say a fight between groups of students happened at the end of the day, and later two adults were involved in another fight. Staff and police broke up the second fight and two people were arrested. Some minor injuries were reported. All other schools in the St. Louis Park district remain open.


>>Cigarette Smoking Blamed for Thousands of Minnesotan Deaths in 2021

(Undated) – New numbers show that cigarette smoking is blamed for the deaths of thousands of Minnesotans in 2021. Janelle Waldock of Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation says commercial tobacco products are killing too many, as “6,530 people died from a smoking attributed disease. The last time we did this report that number was slightly less. We’ve seen it rise by three-and-a-half percent.” Waldock says they’re urging the legislature to end the sales of menthol and flavored tobacco products in the state.


>>National Blood Donor Month, U of M Dr. Touches on Critical Need

(Minneapolis, MN) – January is National Blood Donor Month, a time to bring awareness to the critical need for blood donations. University of Minnesota Medical School Dr. Claudia Cohn says we struggle nationwide to maintain sufficient blood supplies, but this time of year is when the supply drops significantly. Cohn says the blood industry “depends upon industries and schools to host blood drives. During the holiday season, when schools aren’t open and a lot of businesses have extended holidays, those blood drives don’t happen.” Cohn says extreme weather across the country and low post-pandemic donation levels contributed to this year’s lower-than-usual inventory.


>>Games Begin at U.S. Pond Hockey Championship on Lake Nokomis 

(Minneapolis, MN)  —  The puck officially drops today on the 19th annual U-S Pond Hockey Championship on Lake Nokomis in south Minneapolis. A total of 300 teams are playing this opening weekend. Organizers say the recent cold snap allows them to create safe ice rinks on the lake. The tournament continues next weekend as teams advance to play for the coveted “Golden Shovel” championship trophy.


>>New MN Guidebook “100 Things to Do in Minnesota Before You Die” Out Now

(Undated) – Minnesota author Julie Jo Larson just released her latest book, “100 Things to Do in Minnesota Before You Die”. In the book’s Food and Drink section, Larson suggests a stop at the Wings Airport Cafe in Brainerd, not only for the food but to watch as airplanes take off and land. She says, “It’s just a really fun afternoon, and in the summertime, you can watch people come, sometimes we have famous people from across the country flying and using our resorts and things. So, you’re never sure who you’re going to bump into.” Larson suggests taking her book with you when you explore the featured location and having someone from that spot sign the chapter as a way to keep a record of where you’ve been.


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