Around town: Bikes, docs, People of Faith rally


St. Paul is getting a new bike shop, according to the Star Tribune. Erik’s Bike Shop will open a new store in the former Auto Workers Union building on Ford Parkway, opposite the now-closed Ford Motor plant. According to the company website, owner Erik Saltvold started in the bike shop business at age 13, in his parents’ Richfield back yard. Now, 36 years later, Erik’s Bike Shops have 18 stores and 300 employees in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The fight for Fairview took a new turn on April 4, with the Star Tribune’s revelation that the University of Minnesota proposed taking over Fairview Health Services — which owns the University of Minnesota Medical Center and the new University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, and several other clinics and medical centers. I’m not clear on exactly what the ownership/partnership relationship is with the University of Minnesota Physicians group. Confused about how the University of Minnesota could take over something it is already a part of? Me, too. But the bottom line is resistance to a takeover by South Dakota-based Sanford Health. What would be better for patients? That’s anybody’s guess — but is it anybody’s top priority?

From the past day’s crop of press releases, a few items of interest:


“On Thursday, April 4, 175 African-American clergy and members of the faith community held a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda. On the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, they assembled to urge legislators to close racial equity gaps and put the children and families in their communities on a firm foundation.

Rev. Billy G. Russell, Pastor at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis said, “Yes, we want to see people saved, but we want to see people fed. We want to see people saved, but we want to see people educated. We want to see people saved, but we want people to have good jobs. We want to see people saved, but we want to see people have the opportunity to go to college. Everyone has the right to be a functional, productive citizen.”

John Schmid sent this along:

Over 50 Minnesotans will gather at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) offices Friday, April 5 at 12:45pm to deliver a symbolic public comment against the proposed increase the distribution of tar sands oil through Minnesota. In the aftermath of recent tar sand oil spills near Parker’s Prairie, MN, and in Mayflower, Arkansas, a group of Minnesotans is calling attention to existence of this hazardous material currently being shipped across Minnesota and the tremendous risks of allowing Enbridge to increase pipeline capacity.

Some good news from the Department of Human Services:

The increase was initially identified in the 2011 annual report, the first released by the newly created OIG. Further analysis showed the number of deaths increased from an average of six per year prior to 2006 to more than 11 in both 2010 and 2011. Within the first four months of 2012, six infant deaths had already been reported. The deaths were predominantly in family child care settings and related to unsafe sleep practices.

The 2012 report (PDF) showed marked improvement in the second half of the year. No infant deaths in child care were reported for 2012 after July. In 2013 one death has been reported. The report said efforts to raise child care providers’ awareness of safe sleep practices and stepped-up enforcement of rules appear to have contributed to the drop.

And from the legislature — maybe they can work together:

The bipartisan group of legislators will be volunteering tonight [April 3] at the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul. The legislators will be preparing and serving an evening snack, laying down mats, and doing some clean up. Legislators will also be given a brief tour and overview of the services provided by the Dorothy Day Center, which is managed by Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.