>>MN Commerce Department Releases Report on Health Insurance Options
(St. Paul, MN) — A just-released report by the state Commerce Department lays out possible options for Democrats, who are looking to make state-backed health insurance available to more Minnesotans. One option is a new health plan available through MNsure along with other open-market products, at a state budget cost of 86 million to 187 million dollars a year. Another option: allow any Minnesotans to purchase health insurance on MinnesotaCare regardless of income, at an estimated cost to the state of 113 to 364 million dollars per year. The report estimates between 107 and 151-thousand Minnesotans would enroll.
>>More Essentia Health Nurses in Duluth File for MNA Union
(Duluth, MN) — Nurses at the Essentia Health Duluth Clinic 2nd Street want to join the Minnesota Nurses Union and filed for an election vote. The move follows recent organizing votes by nurses at Essentia Health Duluth Clinic 1st Street and Essentia East Market Advance Practice Providers. In a statement Essentia Health officials said, “We respect our colleagues’ rights to consider unionization; however, we don’t feel this is in their best interests or the best interests of our patients. ” The union election date hasn’t been scheduled.
>>Wisconsin Supreme Court Orders Pause in Primary Ballots for Phillips
(Madison, WI) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ordered a pause as it considers Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips’ request to put him on April primary election ballot. The high court has yet to decide whether it will rule on his request, but on Thursday issued a brief order to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. That order – don’t transmit the primary ballot to elections clerks around the state until further notice. Attorneys representing the Elections Commission argued Phillips filed his request too late – just a week ago. Wisconsin’s Presidential Primary Selection Committee met last month and named President Biden as the sole Democrat on the ballot. Phillips contends Wisconsin law requires officials to put on the primary ballot “all candidates whose candidacy is generally advocated or recognized in the national news media.”
>>Mille Lacs County Hit and Run Death Investigation Not Over
(Onamia, MN) — The investigation into the fatal hit and run of Milles Lacs County doctor Cathy Donovan is not over after authorities seized a vehicle of interest. Sheriff Kyle Burton says they’re still seeking additional information from the public. He says, “this could be the vehicle, or it could not be. We just don’t know that yet. And so if there’s something out there that somebody hasn’t shared yet that could be relevant we definitely want to know about it.” The Minnesota B-C-A is testing hair and other samples found on an Edina man’s Tesla to see if they match Donovan’s D-N-A. She was struck and killed while walking her dogs November 13th along Highway 169.
>>Endangered Missing Person Alert Issued for Pine County Man
(Pine City, MN) — Authorities in Pine County are asking for the public’s help locating a man who suffers from dementia. The Minnesota B -C-A issued an endangered missing person alert for 86-year-old Gerald Knapp. The sheriff’s office says Knapp was last seen on Sunday January 28th leaving Askov on County Road 42. He was driving a red 2020 Ford Escape with Minnesota license plates FVP-429. Deputies believe Knapp could be in northeastern Pine County or across the border in southwestern Douglas County, Wisconsin.
>>Minneapolis Man Sentenced to 10 Years for 3 Armed Carjackings
(Minneapolis, MN) — Javon Wilson-Branch of Minneapolis is sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,100 in restitution to victims of three violent carjackings within 24 hours in March 2023. The 19-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting carjacking and admitted involvement in a third carjacking. Wilson-Branch and n accomplice carjacked a Mercedes Benz S-U-V from two victims, then proceeded to carjack a Toyota Highlander in Minneapolis before abandoning it. They then drove the S-U-V to carjack an Audi A6 from another person, who was forced into making unauthorized money transfers to Wilson-Branch’s account.
>>Duluth Police Use Drone Unit in Arrest of Stabbing Suspect
(Duluth, MN) — Police in Duluth say they arrested a stabbing suspect Thursday morning with the help of a drone unit. Officers say two men were involved in fight before they found a 35-year-old man with non-life threatening stab wounds. The 44-year-old suspect barricaded himself in an apartment and the drone was used to help detain the man without incident. He was jailed on suspicion of second-degree assault and theft. The victim was taken to the hospital.
>>Minor Injuries Reported in Moorhead School Bus Crash
(Moorhead, MN) — Some scrapes and bruises but no serious injuries when one school bus rear-ended another late Thursday afternoon in Moorhead. Public Schools Superintendent Brandon Lunak says they were taking kids home from Horizon Middle School on the last route of the day when it happened. He says if both buses were full, there could have been around 100 students on them. Lunak says they’ll review exactly what happened and determine next steps.
>>State Awards $1.5 Million for School Bus Stop Arm Cameras
(St. Paul, MN) — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is awarding one-and-a-half-million dollars in grants for school bus stop arm camera systems. Sixteen schools and bus companies across Minnesota are getting funding in this round of grants. Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson says, “The stop arm cameras are a welcome relief for bus drivers, parents, students and law enforcement in educating motorists, holding violators accountable and changing dangerous driving behaviors.” Nearly seven thousand school buses statewide have been equipped with camera systems through the grant program.
>>Minnesota Farmers See Wide Ranging January Weather
(Washington, DC) — January was a month of extreme weather swings in Minnesota. The U-S-D-A says January started mild for much of the state, which gave way to much colder temperatures and some snow followed by another warm-up. That warm start and end to January coupled with that mid-month winter blast was linked to reports of respiratory illness and muddy feedlots causing livestock stress in parts of the state and may have caused winterkill for some overwintering crops. The U-S-D-A’s weekly crop progress and condition reports resume in April.
>>Wolves’ Edwards and Towns Named NBA All-Star Game Reserves
(Minneapolis, MN) — Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves will be playing in the 2024 N-B-A All-Star Game. Ant and KAT (cat) were named Western Conference reserves Thursday by the league’s head coaches. This is second All-Star appearance for Edwards and fourth selection for Towns. The 34-and-14 Wolves have the best record in the Western Conference. N-B-A All-Star weekend is February 16th through 18th at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
>>Minnesota Wild Defenseman Faber Named NHL Rookie of Month
(St. Paul, MN) — Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber is being honored as the N-H-L Rookie of the Month for January. The Maple Grove native and former Golden Gopher All-American had two goals and 11 assists in 14 games last month. Faber beat out former University of Minnesota teammate Logan Cooley of the Arizona Coyotes and others for the monthly honor. The Wild are off for the N-H-L All-Star break. Forward Kirill Kaprizov is Minnesota’s lone representative in Toronto this weekend.