Those 33 terrorist groups in Ramsey County? It was “a very big lie”

Just weeks into the new Ramsey County Sheriff administration, we finally know why former sheriff Bob Fletcher ignored Minnesota Data Practices requests for the 78 Terrorism Information Briefs he boasted about preparing and disseminating since 2005.”They never existed,” Randy Gustafson, the new public information officer for Sheriff Matt Bostrom, said in a telephone interview on January 19. “It is a very big lie.”But that’s not the only thing Fletcher falsified in this 2009 budget report to the Ramsey County Board, according to Gustafson.  The story is the product of months of work by TC Daily Planet reporter Karen Hollish, made possible by contributions from 57 people through Spot.Us.Follow the early progress of the story here:Hey, Sheriff Fletcher—I’ve got a question Three emails, five voice mails and 23 days later, I finally heard back from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office about our Data Practices Act request. …Something smells fishy, Sheriff FletcherI’d hoped to savor a stack of Terrorism Information Briefs last holiday weekend, but the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department is still ignoring my Data Practices Act request. …There’s a new sheriff in townAfter 16 years of secrecy under the reign of Bob Fletcher, a new sheriff is serving the citizens Ramsey County, Minnesota. On Tuesday, Jan. Continue Reading

Why I love MinnesotaCare

What it would cost me to stay alive for one month without MinnesotaCare = $1,682.76 What it costs me to stay alive for one month with MinnesotaCare = $3 I owe my life to MinnesotaCare. I have type 1 diabetes, which means my pancreas stopped making insulin when I was about 8. I have to take a synthetic version of the essential hormone and constantly monitor my food intake and blood sugars to prevent complications like kidney disease, blindness and amputations. All this is annoying, for sure, but it’s also quite expensive — even when I have private health insurance through an employer. But at the end of November, after my COBRA subsidy had run out, I could no longer afford to keep even that. Continue Reading

Will street cars come back to Central Avenue?

Columbia Heights Mayor Gary Peterson fondly recalls hopping on Central Avenue streetcars with his buddies, back when he was just about 10 years old.

“It used to be kind of a slick way to go downtown,” Peterson said. “I grew up Northeast, and we took it back and forth all the time.”

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“Still stuck” waiting for Medicaid

After decades of construction work, intermittent homelessness and chronic disease, 49-year-old Brian Sullivan’s body is deteriorating, including his teeth. All but five of them were yanked out last year, when he was still eligible for dentures under General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC). But before his dentures were done, Gov. Tim Pawlenty pushed to cut GAMC’s budget by nearly two-thirds — removing services like dental care from the program, which serves extremely low-income adults. “So I’m sitting here with no damn teeth and no way to eat anything. Thanks a lot, Pawlenty,” said Sullivan, who lives in Richfield housing arranged by St. Continue Reading

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | MinnesotaCare and Medicaid expansion

Are you living without health insurance, or are your health care costs being covered by the state? If so, The Daily Planet wants to talk with you.Unlike outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Gov.-elect Mark Dayton has said he will take up the federal government’s offer of expanding Medicaid here. That means tens of thousands of Minnesotans who are struggling with health care costs could find extra help and increased benefits in the coming year.Under the expansion, Minnesotans who are currently enrolled in the state’s General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) or MinnesotaCare programs would be transferred to Medicaid. It’s also expected, according to Ben Hanson over at Minnesota 2020, that some residents who lost their state-sponsored health care under Pawlenty’s administration may be covered once again.Help tell the story by contacting reporter (and very grateful MinnesotaCare recipient) Karen Hollish at khollish@gmail.com. Continue Reading