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Officials: Stay away from kratom Officials are warning Minnesotans not to consume the plant known as kratom in any form because it may be contaminated with the salmonella bacteria. A multiple-state outbreak of salmonella infections was linked to consumption of the plant, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Health, which issued the warning along with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
President Donald Trump's proposal to impose the death penalty on certain drug dealers as part of a strategy to fight the opioid crisis drew no support from local and state experts contacted on Monday. "I think it is a typical inflammatory tough-guy remark, and really is an overreach," said Carol Falkowski, director of the St. Paul-based Drug Abuse Dialogues. "It's always a tricky business if you look at a harsh criminal justice response to what is really a public health crisis."
The Ely family was living on the sofas in various relatives' homes for a period of several months. It only made it harder for them to care for their young son, who has disabilities. "They were ... feeling overwhelmed with the prospects of trying to care for him ... (and) he just wasn't doing as well," said Heidi Favet, leader of the Ely Area Community Care Team. The family's difficulties underscore the conclusion that emerges from an annual county-by-county ranking of population health: Poverty increases the chances that people will experience poor health.
Impact seen in loss of rural maternity care A University of Minnesota study is calling attention to the consequences of declining maternity care in rural counties. According to a U of M news release, the study found that when hospitals closed in a rural county that wasn't adjacent to an urban county, residents experience an increase in out-of-hospital births, an increase in births in hospitals without obstetric units and an increase in preterm births compared to counties that continued to have obstetric services.
It's a safe guess that Austin Berglund has the coolest right forearm of anyone in his preschool. "His friends think it's so cool that he has got a grabber hand with Spiderman and the Hulk on it," said Austin's mom, Christina Berglund of Esko. The 4-year-old, who was born with part of his right arm missing, is on his third prosthetic forearm provided by Shriners Hospital for Children — Twin Cities.
Duluth public schools administrators are proposing tampering with the sacred cow of student-teacher ratios to balance the budget and provide money for support personnel. The School Board, in its business meeting on Monday, heard Superintendent Bill Gronseth present two options to erase a $3.1 million deficit and invest new money that could include teachers but also might add positions such as social workers and reading specialists. Option A calls for investing nearly $3 million in those areas; Option B calls for close to $1.9 million.
When Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church came into existence a century ago, the surrounding neighborhood was as Greek as the church. "Most of the streets around here were Greek," said the church's current priest, the Rev. Timothy Sas, as he sat in a comfortable room in the Pratchios House, across the parking lot from the church at 632 E. Second St. "The two or three blocks around here, very seldom did you come across a person who was not Greek," he said.
A couple who took their baby to urgent care at St. Luke's hospital in Duluth on New Year's Day said they expected a $45 co-pay and were surprised to get a $308 bill instead. What they learned, said Alyssa Campbell of Portland, Ore., was they had gotten urgent care but had been billed under an emergency room coding. "And that seems not right," she said. In an era of extravagant medical bills, $300 isn't a lot. It's not a heavy burden for Alyssa and her husband, Kevin, both of whom have jobs, she said.
A mix of numbers on lung cancer The rate of lung cancer is relatively low in Minnesota, according to a new report from the American Lung Association. With a rate of 55.5 new lung cancer cases per 100,000 people diagnosed every year, Minnesota ranks ninth best — i.e., ninth lowest lung cancer rate — in the country, according to the nonprofit's first-ever State of Lung Cancer report, released last week. Wisconsin has a 61.5 rate, 20th among the states. Utah has by far the lowest rate, at 29.1, and Kentucky by far the highest, at 96.8.
When Lila Hickok first met an applicant for a massage therapist position at her Superior salon, she was taken aback. Actually, "shocked" was her word. "I mean, I could tell he was blind right away because he had his cane," recalled Hickok, who owns La Peinado ("The Hairdo") at 2802 Tower Ave. "And I thought, 'Holy moly, this is going to be something.'"