As a Planet reporter from 2009 to 2011, Karen Hollish profiled families within Minneapolis' thriving Somali immigrant community, explored the diabetes epidemic on the Bad River Indian Reservation, and broke the story about former Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher misusing federal anti-terrorism funds. She also covered the Cities' robust bicycling beat and curated the Planet's daily blogs section. Today she lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she plans parties that help homeless pets for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.Photo by Rick Olivo.
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
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
My eighth grade civics class taught me that our government is open and accessible to the people. You can meet with your elected officials and discuss the issues. Since age 15, I have been doing just that. Continue Reading
Each session I anticipate proposals that can and will have an impact on our civil liberties, privacy, and open government rights. Here are some of those that may be introduced as bills. Domestic Intelligence Gathering and SurveillanceContinue Reading
I walked the halls of the Capitol today. I can already feel the political realignment there. The reconstitution of politics at the Capitol is a once-in-a-generation occasion, but more than that a historic opportunity to look with new eyes at issues of accountability, openness and transparency of government to the people of Minnesota. Continue Reading
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Continue Reading