Minnesota reached its highest number of traffic deaths since 2007 last year. 497 lives were lost in crashes on Minnesota roads and Mike Hanson with the Office of Traffic Safety says speed... "Was the number one driving factor for the increase in fatalities in 2021." There were 162 speed-related deaths in 2021--a 33-percent increase from the year before. Also, last year, there were 124 alcohol-related deaths, 24 distracted-related deaths and 109 unbelted motorist deaths.
With the start of the new year, state consumer protection is reminding people to take a look at their online subscriptions. Director Michael Domke (DOM-key) says many people sign up for services on an introductory fee and don't realize it. "You may have signed up for online streaming service to three years ago when it was a good deal. And it's auto-renewing and you're not even recognizing that that fee has increased annually." It's also a good idea to see if you're paying for subscriptions for things you don't use. Check your bank statements or get a free credit report to [...]
A new law touted by U-S Senator Tina Smith aims to keep emergency medical bills from breaking Americans' pocketbooks. "It says that no one who goes to an emergency room should find themselves weeks later saddled with surprise medical bills, it could be hundreds, or thousands or in some cases tens of thousands of dollars that you didn't expect and you can't afford." The "No Surprises Act" went into effect at the start of this year and bans patients from being held responsible for most unexpected E-R charges from doctors and hospitals outside of their insurance networks that they did not [...]
MN Senate Republicans release redistricting plan, opening way to possible negotiations with Democrats
Senate Republicans late Friday released their plan for redrawing Minnesota's legislative and congressional district boundaries to reflect population shifts in the 2020 census, paving the way for possible negotiations with House Democrats as the mid-February deadline draws near. Both sides are at least publicly optimistic for agreement, but Hamline University analyst David Schultz doesn't think so: "This is really all about power politics, and so not a lot of compromise, a lot of standing ground -- and therefore I think it's pretty likely at the end of the day that the courts will yet again in 2022 draw the district lines." [...]
Free tuition for students pursuing careers in high-need areas... free training for future certified nursing assistants -- among the programs state officials are highlighting as they push to get more Minnesotans into health care which has a serious worker shortage. Diane Rydrych (RYE-drick) with the state Health Department says interest in health care jobs has also been sparked in some unexpected ways: "We've even seen some of the National Guard soldiers who've been out working in long term care facilities... some of them have now... had an opportunity to be there for a resident and provide care and be there for [...]
Week two of the new year is here, are you still on track for your health and fitness goals? Steve Hintz, an exercise physiologist and founder of "Fitness First M-N" says the biggest key is to make a specific plan to reach your goals. "If you have a goal, but you don't have a plan, it is merely a wish. Be patient, be persistent, it is a process, and it is not going to happen, as I said, on your timeline." Hintz says pitfalls can include making comparisons to others with different goals and outcomes, setting unrealistic "vanity" goals, lack of [...]
Following new research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shortened their isolation and quarantine recommendations for people who test positive for COVID-19. Those who are COVID-positive but are no longer showing symptoms of the virus can shorten their isolation period from 10 days down to five days, followed by another five days of strict mask-wearing around others. The change comes as scientists conclude most COVID-19 transmissions occur in the one to two days before, and the three days after symptoms appear. Minnesota health officials continue to recommend that people get vaccinated, get a booster when eligible, wear masks in [...]
A new study proves even further, far too many Minnesotans are still unable to put enough food on the table. Joel Berg is CEO of Hunger Free America: "Three-hundred-and-93-thousand Minnesotans, including one-in-10 Minnesota children live in households that can't afford enough food. The only good news is because of the massive increase in federal aid -- there was a pretty significant drop over 2021." Berg says in addition about one-in-four Minnesotans eligible for SNAP benefits(formerly food stamps) aren't taking advantage of the program.
If you're planning to do some recreating on the ice over the holiday break, the DNR encourages you to put safety first: "Don't put your safety in someone else's hands. Make sure you are checking ice conditions for yourself. Just because someone else is out on the ice and you see their tracks from the day before, that doesn't mean the ice is safe for you to go out on." The DNR's Lisa Dugan says ice conditions can change day-to-day so quickly.
Extra enforcement will be on the state's roads looking for impaired drivers heading into the New Year holiday. State Patrol Sergeant Troy Christenson says over Christmas... "We had 155 DWI arrests for the Christmas time and usually, we're around 220, so we are down significantly, so that's a good sign, hopefully, we continue to educate people of the dangers of drinking and driving." Sgt. Christenson is urging all drivers to plan ahead for a sober ride and put away the distractions.