If you can't afford health insurance … three ways to get help

Health insurance costs a lot — family coverage costs more than $1300 per month. Most people can’t afford that. In other countries, the government provides health insurance. Not here. So what can you do to get help paying for health insurance?

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Congestion pricing in the Twin Cities: An interview with Tom Fisher

A while ago I was attending a parking policy seminar as part of my role as a Saint Paul Planning Commissioner. We had a great panel discussing how to cure our downtowns of their predilections for surface parking lots (among other things).

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A look inside Saint Paul's 8-80 Vitality Fund

Ever since Mayor Chris Coleman introduced his 2015 budget in August, I’ve been anxious to learn more about the details of the Mayor’s proposal for a new $42.5 million “8-80 Vitality Fund”. Last week a list of projects were posted online in preparation for the City Council’s October 8th budget review session. I shared the list with streets.mn readers in my post, “Saint Paul’s 8-80 Vitality Fund Can Help Saint Paul Work for Everyone” (October 7, 2014). But I still had a lot of questions about the details, so I headed down to City Hall to listen in on the Council discussion. The majority of the time was spent reviewing the Palace Theater renovation project and the newly prepared list of projects to be funded with the remaining $9.5M

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Minneapolis should skip streetcars

Streetcars: They’re hot right now. However, in Minneapolis, in 2014, in the places they are proposed, they are also probably not a good idea. Or at least, they are certainly not a good use of hundreds of millions of dollars in transit funding that’s already too scarce and ill-budgeted.

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Conservation districts are (still) a bad idea

Minneapolis Conservation Districts are back in the news, and they look to have some broader support as the ordinance goes to a full city council next week. We’ve covered the topic at streets.mn before, with a dissenting take, some reasons to support them, and a fun podcast for those who hate reading. Even burgeoning news source The Wedge Times-Picayune picked up my annoying Twitter rant yesterday (side note: I’m still awaiting my signing bonus as an official correspondent).

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Colombian flower industry: These roses have thorns

Colombian organizers Josefa Gomez and Leonardo Luna Alzate speaking in Minneapolis

It’s hard to imagine a beautiful flower has anything to do with the ugly side of free trade and globalization. But for Josefa Gomez and other workers in the profitable flower industry of Colombia, providing bouquets for U.S. and world vases has meant increasing hours with falling pay, growing health problems and human rights violations.

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Metro Transit promises more, better shelters; Community members remain skeptical

(Photo by Sarah Ellen Miller) Transit and Econ Development Organizer for Harrison Neighborhood Association Michael McDowell said this stop on West Broadway and Emerson gets more than 200 riders a day, but doesn't have heat. He hopes the new program will consider it for renovation.

A new goal to construct and renovate bus shelters in low-income neighborhoods has been met with skepticism rather than excitement from some community members.

Metro Transit announced through Metro Council last week that they are the recipients of a $3.2 million Ladders of Opportunity grant — part of which will be used to construct and renovate bus shelters in Minneapolis and St. Paul by the end of 2015. Officials said with more and better shelters, they hope to increase ridership, and improve safety and comfort.

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Unique art on the Green Line LRT platforms

I was always fascinated by a 2011 WCCO article regarding Art Along the Light Rail (Blue Line). I took an #mspwalkin St. Paul the other day, although it was raining so it wound up being a couple hours of getting lost in the skyway. Nonetheless, I took the newer Green Line to the Union Depot and back, and saw some really nice art at various LRT platforms.

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Unconditional surrender: The U.S.-Brazil deal to end WTO-authorized retaliation

If the World Trade Organization trade dispute, U.S. Upland Cotton Subsidies (WT/DS267), were a war, the October 1 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to settle the dispute contains Brazil’s unconditional surrender to U.S. demands.

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Worries linger over Postsecondary Teaching and Learning closing

(Photo by Bala Sivakumar published under Creative Commons License)

When the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning announced last week that it will shutter in two years, it left some faculty members worried about their future in the college.

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