Minnesota Nurses Association

I had the opportunity to visit with some nurses the other day.  Their main issue is still safe staffing.  In essence, this means that a nurse’s caseload should be structured so that each patient is able to get the services necessary. What seems to be happening is delays in care or treatment, delays in medications, and increased inability to answer call lights.  Ideally, there should be a mechanism whereby units could be closed until a strategy is in place to deal with additional responsibilities. Another item of concern is the number of times nurses submitted requests for additional help and requests were ignored or given inappropriate responses.  This hardly builds confidence in the level of care being received.

My understanding is that the care situations haven’t  improved in the hospitals where the strikes took place.  First, nurses shouldn’t have to take such drastic actions to make sure their patients get the care they deserve. Secondly, I wonder whether administrators are placing costs over care.

We are facing problems in many aspects of healthcare and we should be able to do better. The Concern for Safe Staffing Report will be released on March 1, 2017.



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Somali Cultural Night

Students at Eagan High School invited the community to a Somali Cultural Night at Eagan High School. The program included singing, dancing, poetry, speakers and a fashion show. One young lady talked about the security and love that her parents provided throughout her life, part of which was spent in a refugee camp. It was very moving. The reception afterwards had the same enthusiasm and energy level. A very special evening! The students did a great job and deserve a lot of praise for their efforts.

Somali Cultural Celebration, Eagan High School

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I attended the BIG CHECK EVENT this afternoon at the Eagan Municipal Center. The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council presented checks to local arts groups for their community arts projects.  Two of the groups honored were the Eagan Men’s Chorus and Eagan Parks and Recreation. The Parks and Rec award will fund Welcome Home, a celebration of 20 years of the Eagan Art House.


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Thomas Friedman and St. Louis Park

Last year, Tom Friedman addressed Minnesota’s legislators in One Minnesota and he said that he had a book coming out after the election in which he mentions growing up in Minnesota. (One Minnesota is a day at the beginning of session when legislators gather to hear various speakers.)  The book is Thank you For Being Late.  In it, he talks about growing up in St. Louis Park, as did  Senator Franken and the Cohen Brothers.
In today’s StarTribune, there is an article called “The star power of St. Louis Park” and the reporter goes into detail about St. Louis Park.  It is a good article,
I recall being part of a team that audited their school district’s Community Education program decades ago and was impressed with the community at that time.
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Last Thursday evening the Minnesota House – controlled and dominated by GOP legislators led by Speaker Kurt Daudt, voted to pass HF-1. This bill was supposed to provide insurance premium relief to over 120,000 Minnesotans, who this year have to cope with HUGE INCREASES in payments for their health insurance. These are Minnesotans whose income is above the level where they qualify for subsidies – over 120,000 people. These are people like yourself who work hard, sometimes holding down more than one job to make ends meet, your neighbors, co-workers.

Instead of providing financial relief to these people who are victimized by health insurance companies outrageous raises of premiums, the GOP doubled down on their misery!

Gov. Dayton released this detailed response to the approval of HF-1 by GOP Legislators. It is shocking to read what they did.

Rep. Masin voted AGAINST this “relief” bill, and stated the following:

“A disastrous response to people who are concerned about obtaining health insurance to cover their healthcare. The Governor’s message gives some of the sordid details of the Republican bill that passed off the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday evening. What is the point of paying for health insurance if it doesn’t provide necessary coverage for anything? Why provide money to insurance companies that show no concern for people’s well being?

Please contact the Speaker of the House, legislators saying Minnesotans needs something that works for our residents. Please ask the Governor to keep fighting for Minnesotans and reject any legislation that makes things worse for Minnesotans.”

[Rep. Kurt Daudt: phone: 651-296-5364 Email: rep.kurt.daudt@house.mn]
[Use this tool to find your legislator]

It took long years, many legislative battles, and even the untimely deaths of sick people who could not get health care to save their lives, to pass legislation that made health insurance affordable and insured health care accessible in Minnesota. Last night, the GOP in the MN House took Minnesota back to the dark years of nearly a decade ago!


Gov. Dayton’s letter lays out the case, point by point, how insurance companies come out the winners here!

They get from you the premiums, then they get the dollars allocated by the state to provide relief from the high premiums, and in addition, their obligation to provide coverage for your health care is drastically reduced.


Every Minnesotan is either directly having to cope with premiums that jumped skyhigh, or knows someone close who is affected by that.

But there is more to this! The bill also lays out the ground for future reductions of essential services and benefits to ALL MINNESOTANS, at all levels. The elimination of many services and the essential benefit cuts is a disaster for the health care of ALL Minnesotans.

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2017 Legislative Session Begins

On January 3, the newly-elected legislators took their oath of office in the Minnesota State Capitol.  The Capitol has undergone extensive renovation and it is quite impressive.

On January 4, the legislators attended the One Minnesota Legislative Conference held at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  The morning agenda included panels on health insurance and business priorities.  The afternoon was devoted to a workshop titled “Building Trust through Civil Discourse.”  It was offered through Next Generation, a program of the National Institute for Public Discourse.  The facilitators are legislators from other states.

On January 5th, the House met again and passed a tax conformity bill. Essentially , this makes the state tax form more compliant with the federal form.  It is important that this is done in a timely manner to ensure that people will have the appropriate forms when they start filing their taxes later this month.

Some committees met this week and the rest will start next week.

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Rev. Dr. William Barber II On The Election Outcome

I had the opportunity to hear Reverend Dr. William Barber II recently and was extremely impressed by his explanation of the election results last month. He said the outcome of the election happened because it is a repeat of history. He repeated that “America has resiliency” numerous times throughout his talk and said this is a fight against the third reconstruction.

In the beginning, he talked about leadership issues in the Bible and then went on to talk about the history of the United States, part of which described the Mississippi Plan of 1876. Reverend Barber emphasized that we must understand our history if we are going to make progress. Restoring the Voting Rights Act is essential!

He said that Hope has two children, Anger and Courage.

You can listen to his message here:

Rev. Barber’s video


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Celebrating Thanksgiving

While challenges and problems abound, it is helpful to take time to reflect on the blessings we have received.

“Look at the World” by John Rutter does a great job of that.  I love the refrain:

Praise to thee, O Lord of all creation. 

Give us thankful hearts that we may see

All the gifts we share and every blessing,

All things, come of thee.

Wishing you, your family and friends a great Thanksgiving.

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Raising kids is hard!

This article, by Pamela Druckerman was published on October 13, 2016 in the New York Times was [See link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/opinion/the-perpetual-panic-of-american-parenthood.html]. It was titled The Perpetual Panic of American Parenthood.

Here is my reaction: Raising kids is difficult and that experience is shared among parents all over the world. But in the USA, and in American politics, the topic seems to get less traction, although in this election season it gets some attention.

Parents receive government supports of varying degrees to raise their kids, but that support in the USA is much lower than elsewhere, nearly non-existent.

The outcome of this is outlined in a study to be published in the American Journal of Sociology which finds that “Americans with children are 12 percent less happy than non-parents, the largest “happiness gap” of 22 rich countries surveyed.” That is, among 22 countries surveyed, American parents with children are the most unhappy by comparison to American who are not parents. This is a rebuke of the US culture and society values.

The author traveled and lived in other countries, and has some base to compare the issues involved in raising kids in those countries and in the USA. Other countries offer supports such as high-quality day case, after-school activities which allow kids to both socialize and for the parents to have time for themselves or to carry out needed chores without the kids underfoot. College costs are significantly less, in some cases the annual cost is less than the cost of a single week in an American college! American realities can be a shock to people from other countries, and in some cases shock them in a very real way.

The author tells of her own experience how the opposite effect was true fro her: Leaving the US created some palpable sense of relief insofar as motherhood was concerned.

The article also provides a bit of analysis and contrast of the approaches and solutions proposed by the two candidates for President.

Thank you, Pamela Druckman, for shining a light on this issue.

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The Memorial for Jacob Wetterling

The memorial for Jacob Wetterling was inspiring!  It truly showed that each life makes a difference.

In the search to find Jacob, there are so many children and families that have been helped.  Jacob’s life here may have been short, but he is extremely well-known  and has had a profound influence on all of us.

Jacob will always be connected with hope.  Patty and Jerry Wetterling are shining examples of  faith, love, determination, courage and grace. May God bless Patty and Jerry Wetterling, the Wetterling Family, and all those who were part of the the quest to find Jacob.

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