Mary Turck's blog

Trouble ahead? Three health insurance alerts

Think you don’t need to worry because you already have health insurance? Think again: insurance companies keep changing the game. Three stories give reasons to think twice about your insurance: Preferred One’s pull-out, higher costs with “automatic” renewal, and sneaky drug price increases.

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Holding police responsible — or not — in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Back in the day, when I practiced law, I frequently appeared before a judge who really didn’t like my (juvenile, poor, wrong-side-of-the-tracks) clients. On one memorable day, I began my protest with, “The law says …”

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Farming into the future: Hmong American Farm

“Farmers often work twelve-hour days,” Yao Yang explained. Having water available near the field is a big deal. That’s often not the case on rented fields, but it’s an important part of the Hmong American Farm. So are the simple washing sheds where they can prepare produce for market, and the cooler where produce can be stored until it’s picked up for delivery.

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Changing lives, one mom at a time

Deb Avenido’s 15-year-old client faced big problems. “She was homeless with her mom and her brother through her whole pregnancy. They would stay at a family shelter for a month – that’s as long as they could stay there. Then they’d go to a motel or to a friend, and then back to the shelter.”

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Four school stories to follow: What were they thinking?

A no-bid contract for $375,000 between Minneapolis Public Schools and an organization that barely exists. Programs that actually work to close the achievement gap. A change in St. Paul school start times. A strategic plan that is neither strategic nor a plan. These stories-in-progress involve our kids and our money, which is reason enough to start following them.

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St. Paul Police Department Manual: They should not have Tasered Chris Lollie

“• The ECD shall not be used in any interview or interrogation situation unless the physical defense of the officer or others becomes an issue.

“• The ECD should not be used as a pain compliance technique including used to escort or prod individuals. …

“• A subject who is simply walking or running away from a scene and not posing assaultive/violent or potentially assaultive/violent behavior should not be exposed to the ECD.”

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Police "think they're 100% justified"

Jeffry Martin said he expects absolutely no action from police or the City of St. Paul on the Chris Lollie case. “They [the police] think they’re 100% justified,” he explained. So there will be “no change in policy, no discipline of police.”

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What happens when police screw up?

Ferguson police shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. St. Paul police tased and arrested Chris Lollie, a black dad who was waiting for his kids in a public space near their preschool. Beverly Hills police stopped, cuffed and arrested Charles Belk, a film producer and business executive, as he walked to his car, because he “fit the description” of a bank robber — “tall, bald head black male.”

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Lessons from Nicaragua

Nicaragua is not sending waves of refugees to the United States. Instead, Nicaragua, along with Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize, is receiving waves of refugees coming from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. What’s going on here?

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Silver bullets and real solutions for students and schools

Picture this: a silver bullet solution for the Achievement Gap, a single thing that schools can do to get all children reading by third-grade and college-ready by the end of high school.

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